Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir speaking at the national independence celebration on December 31, 2008., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SUDAN'S BASHIR THREATENS TO CUT SOUTH SUDAN OIL
May 28, 2013, 5:06 am
KHARTOUM (AFP) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned on Monday he will order the flow of oil from South Sudan to be cut off if Juba provides assistance to rebels in South Kordofan and Darfur.
Bashir said he would "completely close the pipeline" that carries oil from South Sudan to ports on Sudan's Red Sea coast.
He was speaking at a ceremony after the army recaptured Abu Kershola town in the far north of oil-rich South Kordofan, which rebels seized a month ago.
"We warn the government in the South that if they provide any assistance to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) or to the rebels in Darfur, we will completely close the pipeline," said Bashir.
"We will know if they stop the assistance, and we will know if they assist them," he added.
In March Sudan and South Sudan, which split from Khartoum in July 2011, signed detailed timetables to resume the flow of South Sudan oil through a major pipeline in the north that runs to a port on the Red Sea, and eight other pacts to normalise relations.
Bashir said on Monday that all of the nine agreements must be respected.
"Failure to abide by any agreement will nullify the nine accords," he said.
Bashir's remarks come less than a month after the Khartoum government announced that South Sudanese petroleum had returned to Sudan's main Heglig facility.
Heglig, along the disputed border with South Sudan, is where the export pipeline begins a journey of about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) to the Port Sudan terminal on the Red Sea.
The pipeline will carry oil that will bring billions of dollars in revenue to both impoverished nations once exports resume.
But Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing rebels fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states as well as in Darfur -- claims which Juba denies.
Bashir's remarks were delivered at a ceremony to celebrate the army taking back Abu Kershola, a town which rebels of the Sudan Revolutionary Front coalition seized on April 27 during attacks on several nearby areas in South Kordofan.
Its recapture was announced by Sudanese Defence Minister Mohammed Hussein and confirmed by the rebels who said they pulled back for "humanitarian reasons".
Gibril Adam, a spokesman for the rebels, said the fighters pulled out of Abu Kershola to ease a government blockade on the town that was taking its toll on residents there.