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US welcomes the resumption of oil production in South Sudan, will host economic conference

Sudan Tribune |April 6, 2013

KHARTOUM – The United States has welcomed the resumption of oil production in South Sudan, saying it signaled an important step in implementing a cooperation agreement it signed with Sudan last September.

The Sudanese government announced on Friday that the first barrels of oil would begin to flow through the pipelines to Port Sudan on Saturday.

“We congratulate both countries on this important step in implementing the cooperation accords they signed on 27 September 2012”, the US embassy in Khartoum said in a statement on Saturday.

“We welcome the spirit of cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan and urge the leadership of both countries to continue the full and immediate implementation of the agreements”, it added.

South Sudan took with it nearly three quarters of the oil wealth when it seceded from the north in July 2011, but remains dependent on Sudanese infrastructure to pump its oil to export markets.

The resumption of oil production marks the first stage in the implementation of a wider cooperation agreement signed by both countries in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

South Sudan halted oil production last January following a dispute with Sudan over transportation fees.

In an increasingly bitter argument, the South also accused Sudan of diverting oil for its own profit.

Speaking to the press on Friday, Sudanese government spokesman Barnaba Marial said oil production would restart in Tharjiath oilfield in Unity state’s Koch county before being pumped north to Port Sudan via a 1,400 kilometre-long pipeline.

Another oilfield in the Heglig/Panthou area in Pariang county is also expected to resume production in the coming days.

Both countries have suffered a severe economic downturn as a result of the loss of oil revenues, with South Sudan depending on oil for 98 per cent of its revenue.

The worsening economic crisis following the oil shutdown forced both countries to cut back on spending, as well as introduce a raft of austerity measures.

The two countries as a result of the oil shutdown had to cut back on spending in their institutions by introducing austerity budgets.


US to host economic conference on South Sudan

Sudan Tribune | April 5, 2013

WASHINGTON – The United States State Department announced on Friday that it will host a conference this month for discussions on economic challenges facing South Sudan and ways to help the country face it.

In a press release the US said that the forum taking place on April 16 is held in coordination with the United Kingdom, Norway and the European Union.

“These governments and international financial institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank, are working with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to explore concrete options to help bridge the fiscal gap exacerbated by the oil shutdown of the past year, as well as plans to diversify South Sudan’s economy to allow for sustainable long-term growth,” the statement said

“The South Sudan Economic Partners Forum is an opportunity for representatives of governments and international financial institutions to discuss strategies to address South Sudan’s economic challenges with South Sudanese Government officials and offer support for sound government policy-making”.

The announcement comes weeks after Khartoum and Juba reached an agreement by which oil flow from landlocked South Sudan would resume.

South Sudan, which relied on oil revenues for around 98 percent of income, pumped around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) before a row over transit fees and Khartoum’s move to seize part of the oil prompted it to shut production last year.

The country which became independent in July 2011 must pump its oil to the Red Sea via a pipeline across former civil war foe Sudan to Port Sudan to sell it on international markets.

Both countries stand to receive billions of dollars that will help ease the sharp economic crisis they faced throughout the oil shutdown.

Yesterday the Sudanese finance minister predicted that Khartoum will receive around $2 billion in transit fees from South Sudan.

The US has been unhappy with South Sudan’s decision to suspend oil production and warned Juba that many western countries are not in a position to bail them out given the global economic crisis.

“A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing,” former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters about importance of reaching an oil deal last year after meeting with South Sudan president Salva Kiir.

In December 2011 the US hosted the International Engagement Conference for South Sudan in Washington which discussed issues connected to the strategic development priorities of the Juba government and highlighted opportunities for engagement with private and public sector investors.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

A critical look at Zionist education and racism

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | April 4, 2013

Zionist narrative expects Israeli children to be imbued with a false sense of nationalism which is instrumental to the preservation of its illegally-acquired land. This abstract narrative, incorporating the unification of Jewish identity contrasted with the orientalist image of Palestinians, forms the basis of a culture based upon indoctrination and violence. The misrepresentation stems from the exclusion of the discourse of peace discourse to divert attention from any possible discussion of Israel’s colonial occupation.

Racist discourse is an essential component of Zionist education, creating a dissonance in the social, biological, cultural and demographic representation of Palestinians. The concept of exclusion is ingrained within Israeli collective memory at an early age in order to ascertain a smooth transition into a military philosophy which deems Palestinians as “issues” rather than a population massacred by apartheid laws.

Visually, the enforced elimination of Palestinians from their own history has resulted in a cultural and social vacuum, degenerating into the stereotype of violent, submissive and primitive Arabs. This projection has been expounded upon by the West, whose caricatures, especially within the corporate media, have become a kind of warped justification for ignoring the fundamental problem Palestinians have faced for many decades. Palestinian violence is thus isolated from the narrative of occupation and necessity of resistance. Israeli war crimes, meanwhile, are justified within Zionist discourse as a means of “security” which its citizens and Western governments and international organisations, including the UN, hail as legitimate intervention against a people deemed invisible by Zionism prior to the onset of Israel’s neo-colonialism.

Nurit Peled Elhanan, Professor of Language and Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem insists that “the orientalising imagery of the Arab citizen of Israel” fails to correspond to any immediate reality, “except in the imagination of the 19th century painter”. Israeli children fail to associate “the Arab” with Arab citizens of Israel, let alone a collective identity of Palestinians under occupation. In their formative years, children are bequeathed with an imaginary Jewish homeland in order to uphold the Palestinians’ dispossession. The notion of a suffering people is gleaned through Biblical references allowing for an interpretation of nationhood beyond the existence of the Palestinian state. The impediment to full recognition of Palestinians is restricted further by the imagery of Jews enduring trials and tribulations across many centuries, the recent history of the Holocaust and the “Jewish state” defending itself against Palestinian “terrorism”. Palestinians become ephemeral in Zionist narrative; they are either obliterated to suit Israel’s public sphere, or else are a tangible threat to security. The concept of Palestinians dispersed by the occupation and rendered as refugees in their own land are “issues” serving the permanent division of society. Furthermore, it reinforces a false projection of misery pertaining to Jewish identity with regard to its hold upon the fictitious homeland.

Elhanan declares the visual dramatisation of history without a concrete foundation as vital to sustaining the Zionist ideological stereotype. Since the education system is based upon the imparting of superiority, racism “functions as part of the ideological and the repressive apparatus of the state”. Failure to recognise that racism is actually far more deeply embedded than its manifestation in human rights violations suggests can only strengthen the racist indoctrination of the younger generations of Israelis.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments

Zionists attempt to intimidate International Solidarity Movement

International Solidarity Movement | April 7, 2013

image-400x300Hebron, Occupied Palestine – The ISM team based in Hebron woke up last week to find that their Zionist settler neighbours had left a present for them on their doorstop. A tyre, a large piece of cloth and a stone were organised onto a pile just outside the apartment door, which according to our Palestinian neighbours, symbolises that they plan to set fire to the apartment.

Settler intimidation and violence towards ISM activists is not unusual, especially in central Hebron where roughly 500 settlers are “protected” by thousands of Israeli soldiers. The situation is particularly tense on and around Tel Rumeida where harassment of Palestinians is frequent as settlers, often armed with machine guns, share the same street.

Only two weeks ago an international was attacked by a settler, most likely because she was wearing a head scarf and several years ago an ISM activist had a bottle smashed on her face whilst settlers chanted “We killed Jesus and we will kill you”.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran Nuclear Talks: No Breakthrough, But Step Forward

RIA Novosti |  April 6, 2013

ALMATY  – The latest round of talks between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear program has been “definitely a step forward,” although it has ended with no clear breakthrough, Russia’s top negotiator on Iran said on Saturday.

“Definitely, it is a step forward. There is no doubt in this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the end of the two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which he said were “detailed” although adding that the sides have failed to “reach common ground.”

“At this time again we have failed to embark on a true search for a compromise,” Russia’s top negotiator said. “But a basis for this exists,” he said adding that Iran has introduced its approach which takes into account some “proposals and considerations” of the group of six international negotiators comprising five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany (P5+1).

Ryabkov also said Russia is against the West’s unilateral sanctions on Iran, calling this stance “unjust and inconsistent with the norms of international law.” He said Iran must be freed from all the international sanctions in case it agrees that its nuclear program will be under full control of the UN nuclear watchdog. “If such a deal takes place, then Iran must be fully freed from all the sanctions,” Ryabkov said.

Iran’s new plan is meant to bring about “the beginning of new cooperation” with its negotiating partners, Ali Bagheri, the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Friday.

The plan expands on the initiatives presented during last year’s round of talks in Moscow, Bagheri said giving no details of the plan.

At a briefing after the talks Tehran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, confirmed that the Iranian side has introduced its action plan but the group of six powers was not ready to react and asked for some time to study Iran’s ideas.

Jalili stressed that Iran has a right to enrich uranium and Tehran will use this for peaceful civilian energy needs. He added however, that the issues related to Iran’s cooperation with the international community may be discussed at further talks.

“We have offered this initiative and today we also announced our readiness to speak of these ideas and further study them. And these ideas may become the beginning of a new round,” Jalili said.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Saturday the negotiations between Iran and six world powers showed that their positions “remain far apart on the substance.”

Iran insists on its right to a peaceful nuclear program, but the P5+1 group says the country may be in fact on track to develop its own nuclear arms.

The international group, active since 2003, initially pushed for Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

But it softened its stance at the previous round of talks in Almaty in February, where it proposed to accede to Iran’s right to nuclear research if Tehran manages to prove it would not enrich uranium to above 20 percent, which is sufficient for medical, but [not] military purposes.

Another demand was to close a nuclear plant known since 2009 to operate in the village of Fordo in northern Iran.

Tehran’s nuclear program resulted in international sanctions against the country, which left its oil-dependent economy flagging.

However, the public opinion in Iran is generally considered to be supportive of the nuclear program – which is a major factor for the official Tehran position, given that the country goes to the polls in June to elect a new president.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Canadian police arrest 279 protesters in Montreal

Press TV – April 7, 2013

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested during a demonstration against Canada’s police tactics in the country’s second-largest city of Montreal.

The Friday demonstration was held in protest against the controversial municipal bylaw called P-6, which allows the police to declare a protest event illegal in case no itinerary is given to authorities prior to the protest.

At least 279 protesters were arrested and fined 637 Canadian dollars for participating in an ‘illegal’ protest.

The P-6 also forbids participants to cover their faces during a protest.

Critics say that the P-6 is a form of police repression.

The event on Friday was organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, also known as CLAC, who said the protest was a family-friendly event that aimed to “take back the streets.”

CLAC argues that holding a peaceful gathering is a right within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Since February, several protests against the P-6 have been held in Montreal, with a total of nearly 600 people arrested and fined.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment