World Bulletin/News Desk
South Sudan plans to sell 6.4 million barrels of oil worth $300 million before shutting down its entire production by the end of July due to a row over its alleged support for rebels in neighbouring Sudan, its oil minister said on Saturday.
Sudan, the sole conduit for South Sudan's oil exports, said a month ago it would close two cross-border oil pipelines within 60 days and insisted output be shut by Aug. 7 unless South Sudan gave up support for the rebels. Juba denies backing insurgents.
The shutdown is bad news for both countries, which fought one of Africa's longest civil wars before separating in 2011.
Diplomats worry South Sudan might collapse without oil, the main source for the budget apart from foreign grants. They point to recent looting of aid agencies by soldiers as a sign that Juba is struggling to pay salaries.
Closing the wells is also grave news for Sudan, which has been struggling with turmoil since losing most oil reserves with South Sudan's secession. oil fees from Juba are essential to bringing down soaring inflation, which stokes dissent.
oil industry insiders say once the pipelines are closed it will take several months to restart production as they would have to be flushed of water and cleaned first.
"There is enough crude in the pipeline to meet this," he said. Sudan has said it would allow the sale of oil which has already reached pipelines on its territory or the export terminal on the Red Sea.
Dau repeated South Sudan was not backing any Sudanese rebels. "We are committed to the flow of the oil. It is in the interest of the two countries. We don't see that this shutdown can bring any peace or stop internal rebellions in Sudan."
Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting the "Sudanese Revolutionary Front" (SRF), a rebel alliance, which complains of neglect at the hands of the wealthy Khartoum elites. The SRF in April staged an attack on central Sudan, embarrassing the army on whose support President Omar Hassan al-Bashir depends.
South Sudan in turn accuses Sudan of backing rebels in its eastern Jonglei state, where fighting is making it impossible to realise government plans to search for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. Exxon Mobil.
China dominates the oil industries in both countries, and state firm China National Petroleum Corp is most affected as it runs the oilfields in the South with Malaysia's Petronas and Indian firm ONGC Videsh.
Abdel Belhadj says victim of CIA, British rendition and he was handed to Gaddafi as part of UK deal
Burkina Faso's government has abandoned plans for legislation to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year rule amid protests
"They were killed in different places by shelling and one was killed in an ambush," spokesman Andriy Lysenko said. Eleven others had been wounded in various incidents
Seven nuclear plants across the country were flown over by drones between Oct. 5 and Oct. 20, an EDF spokeswoman said, without any impact on the plants' safety or functioning.
The kidnappers attacked the staff and a contractor for the firm in southwest Nigeria's Ogun state on Friday as they were making their way to work in a quarry
Cuts of at least 10 percent were adopted at the weekend as part of a revision to this year's budget, while job losses and cuts in subsidies to state firms may follow in 2015.
Footage obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union captures eight officers shooting 46 times at a mentally-ill black man armed with a pocketknife
FM Wallstrom said despite the fact that Palestinian authorities did not have full control of their land and the country did not have fixed borders, Palestine fulfilled the criteria in international law for recognition
A panel of three military judges sentenced the four defendants to prison terms ranging from 25 to 45 years. The military prosecutor had sought the death penalty for one of them
A group of Palestinian Muslim worshippers gathered outside the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid beefed-up security, including an Israeli surveillance helicopter that hovered overhead
Khalid al-Nasser, a member of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, was denied entry to Egypt for "security reasons" and sent back to Turkey
Police source says 9-year-old freed after 3 months in captivity upon payment of ransom
The Houthis have remained in control of capital Sanaa since September 21, the group has sought to extend its control to other parts of the country.
Mira Markovic, who has lived in Russia for more than a decade since Milosevic's 2000 ouster, told the Vecernje Novosti newspaper the EU decision meant nothing.
About 10 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the Syrian town of Kobani through the border crossing with Turkey, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Topics expected to be discussed include on-going peace talks with ethnic rebel groups, national reconciliation and reforms.