Sudan’s president has ordered the stoppage of cross-border oil flows from South Sudan, state radio announced on Saturday; just months after the long-time foes settled bitter disputes and agreed to restart the vital crude exports.
Sudan’s president ordered a stoppage of all South Sudan’s oil exports from Sunday, saying his neighbour was backing rebels on his territory, and bringing the foes back to the brink of confrontation after months of relative peace.
The order to shut pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan through Sudan to a port on the Red Sea, the South’s only route to market, came just three months after the countries ended a bitter dispute over crude.
Sudan and South Sudan, which split in 2011 after decades of war, agreed in March to restart the oil flow following a 16-month shutdown triggered by an argument over transit fees and other issues.
Crude had only just started to move through the pipelines in May, with the first cargoes sold last week for shipment from Port Sudan.
Western diplomats have said it is very costly to close the pipelines, which can become blocked if the waxy oil stops halfway.
South Sudan would also have to shut down its entire oil production because it has no storage facilities.
"Sudan will not allow revenues from oil exports from South Sudan to be used to support rebels and mercenaries against Sudan," SUNA state news agency quoted Bashir as saying.
Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin has repeated his country’s long-standing denial that it backs or arms rebels who want to topple the Sudanese regime.
"We haven’t heard anything about the oil being stopped yet. Last we knew, there was an agreement in place for the flow of oil." he said.