Sudan and South Sudan resume talks on oil, security
Michael Makuei Lueth, chairman of the border committee for South Sudan, said he was optimistic about resolving issues such as cross-border trade, the status of citizens in one another’s countries, and the disputed Abyei border region.
“If the government of Sudan is coming to negotiate in good faith, then we are likely to agree on everything except the borders that will follow at a later stage,” he said.
“We’re now going to put the oil agreement in its final form so that it’s initialed,” he said, adding any final pact would require agreement from both presidents in a summit.
Both sides badly need oil revenues to jumpstart their economies. Oil used to provide over half of state revenues in Sudan and accounted for about 98 percent of government income in South Sudan before the shutdown. Both countries are facing soaring inflation and a shortage of the foreign currency needed to pay for food imports.
The African Union and the U.N. Security Council have set a September 22 deadline for the two sides to solve their issues or face sanctions.
To start, mediators want to focus on setting up a 10-km-wide demilitarized buffer border zone to help ensure neither side is supporting armed groups across the border, and to normalise travel and trade between the two countries.