Sudan has given South Sudan a ‘last warning’ that it will close an oil pipeline running from the South if Juba supports the ‘traitors’ in Sudan.
“I now give our brothers in South Sudan a last, last warning that we will shut down the oil pipeline forever if they give any support to the traitors in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on state television on Monday, referring to rebels operating in some regions of Sudan.
On May 26, the Sudanese army clashed with an armed group of Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) in the Dandor area of South Kordofan. Khartoum says Juba supports the SRF, but South Sudan denies the allegation.
South Sudan’s Information Minister Barnaba Marial called for the resolution of tensions over oil and land disputes through an African Union panel.
“Any problem can be solved through dialogue. We are ready to continue the dialogue. Our president has said several times that we do not support any rebels in Sudan,” the South Sudanese information minister stated.
In March, Sudan and South Sudan struck a deal to resume the flow of southern oil exports through pipelines in the north. They also agreed to withdraw their troops from contested border areas to ease tensions and facilitate the resumption of oil exports.
In January 2012, South Sudan stopped its oil production following tensions over pipeline fees and disputed territory.
South Sudan seceded from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with the north. The new oil-rich nation is one of the least developed countries in the world, with one in seven children dying before the age of five.