OSLO, Norway, March 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide commented, “I am pleased that Sudan and South Sudan agreed today on how South Sudan’s vital oil production can start up again in two weeks’ time, and on the transport of the oil through pipelines in Sudan. I commend the two leaders for reaching the necessary compromises.”
Oil production in South Sudan, and the export of oil through pipelines in Sudan, stopped in January 2012. The situation has been tense for some time.
Today, 12 March, Sudan and South Sudan agreed on how the agreements they entered into in September 2012 can be implemented. Earlier this week, they also agreed to establish a demilitarised zone along the whole border between the two countries. The implementation plan has a tight schedule. The military withdrawal from the border area has already started, and the parties will meet again in a week’s time to discuss progress. Two weeks after that, oil production is to start up again.
International Development Minister Heikki Holmås commented, “The agreements of September 2012 lay the foundation for two sustainable states. It is now vital that both countries respect and comply with the agreements they have reached. Norway will continue to provide support for both countries.”
Negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan have been facilitated by a high-level panel appointed by the African Union (AU). South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki has chaired the panel. Norway has provided both political and economic support for the negotiations. Norwegian diplomats and experts in oil and oil management have assisted the AU during the whole negotiation process.
In a statement on 9 March, the chair of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, thanked Norway for its support during the negotiations.
“I am pleased that Norway’s efforts are appreciated both by the parties and by the African Union. Norway is willing to continue to support the AU and the two countries with the implementation of the agreements,” said Mr Eide.
The agreements between Sudan and South Sudan will not affect negotiations between the Sudanese Government in Khartoum and the rebel movement SPLM-N.
“I encourage the Government in Khartoum to enter into direct negotiations with SPLM-N as soon as possible. Without a political agreement, it will not be possible to address the humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan State and Blue Nile states,” said Mr Holmås.