Stalled Sudans’ Talks Dash Hopes of Possible Agreement Before 2 August

Sudan Oil Dispute
Talks are expected to resume on May, 29

Hopes ,even for, a partial agreement over the outstanding issues evaporated Sunday when the Sudan and South Sudan negotiators failed to reach an agreement over oil fees.

The mediation and the international community were pushing the two sides to reach an agreement over two important issues: border security and oil, as there is a great interest for it from the both sides.

For the security issue the discussions are stalled over Sudan’s demand to withdraw “Mile 14” from the buffer zone. On the oil, Juba increased its offer on per barrel transportation fees to $9.16 and $7.20 for the two Sudanese pipelines, while Khartoum lowered it demand for $32 opening the door for more concessions.

The two negotiating teams over oil issues ended their meeting Sunday in Addis Ababa without concluding an agreement over transportation fees. Khartoum actually say Juba should pay the fees in oil crude but Juba refuses.

Sudan says it wants a percentage of each barrel of oil transported and refuses the fixed amount of money saying it will take an advantage of all future increases in oil prices but also will give it a sovereign right on exported oil in a way to avoid any delay in payments.

Juba rejects such demand saying it is not known in international standards and accuses Khartoum of seeking to cover its budget’s deficit by the oil fees.

Another meeting is expected to be held Monday. As, the head of Sudan’s lead negotiating team, Idris Mohamed Abdel-Gadir and its spokesperson Mutrfif Sidiq returned to Addis Ababa after talks in Khartoum.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson, El-Obeid Morawah, reaffirmed in Khartoum that the all the unresolved issues are discussed now in Addis Ababa in order to reach a comprehensive deal with the South Sudan, stressing that no agreement can be enforced before the security issue.

He further excluded international sanction as provided in the UN Security Council resolution 2046, if a comprehensive deal is not reached by the 2 August.

However, the international community was keen to keep the pressure on the two parties and did not exclude sanctions if no deal is sealed before the deadline fixed in the UN resolution .

UN officials stated that the parties should agree on the security matter if they want to get an extension of the three months delay.

US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called in a statement released on Saturday on the two parties to fulfil their obligations under the resolution 2046 before the end of the time limit.

“The US wishes to reiterate the UN Security Council’s decision — in the event that any or all of the parties have not complied with the decisions set forth in this resolution to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the (UN) Charter as necessary,” she further underscored in a statement.

Rice who condemned the recent aerial bombardment carried out by the Sudanese army in Bhar el-Ghazal region , in South Sudan stressed also on the need to stop providing support to rebel groups.

“At the same time, the United States reiterates the Security Council’s call to cease support to rebel groups” she said.

Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the UN Security Council on 9 August which should issue a decision on the talks in Addis Ababa.