Thursday, 9 December 2010

Sudan: SAF and SPLA pen oil safeguard deal

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) have penned an agreement to safeguard the flow of crude oil from Sudanese oil fields. The signing of the new deal coincides with mounting fears among oil companies over post-referendum violence.

The referendum - expected to take place on 9th January in southern Sudan - is key in the 2005 peace deal which ended a two decade civil war between the north and the south of the country. Under the deal, known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the south formed its own government, which has limited autonomy and in which the north has only a small representation.

The safeguard agreement stipulates unity between the SAF and the SPLA in protecting the country's oil fields up to July next year. This will be based on a political arrangement to be agreed once the referendum results are announced.

The build up to the referendum has triggered mass resignations by oil workers for fear of outbreaks of violence related to the vote.

"We reaffirm to those working in those companies, as cited by the content of this agreement, the full commitment of the Sudanese federal government and the government of south Sudan to provide security and safety to them and to their activities," said Sudanese vice-president Ali Osman Taha.

Sudan produces around 500,000 b/d and contributes to both the south and the north's budgetary revenues.

Speaking about the safeguard deal, Sudan's Oil Minister Garang Deng said, "We hope that crude oil will keep flowing in case of unity or secession. This is because by benefiting from oil, we have improved the living conditions of the Sudanese people up to a certain level, both in north and south Sudan."

Source: Tribune Business News

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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