Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Congressmen urge America’s UN Ambassador to act for sanctions on Sudan

Sudan Tribune | September 22, 2012

KHARTOUM — A bipartisan group of 38 Congressmen urged United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to work for imposing sanctions against the Sudanese government because of its failure to allow humanitarian access to the Two Areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

On 4 August the mediation announced that Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) have reached an agreement to provide civilians in the rebel held areas with humanitarian assistance.

However until now the operation has not begun as the Sudanese government and tripartite committee, of UN agencies, Arab League and African Union, continue to hold meetings over its implementation.

The rebel SPLM-N called for an international operation from South Sudan or Ethiopia but the demand is rejected by Khartoum. Senior members of the SPLM-N rebels were recently in Washington and urged Congressmen to act on Sudan’s humanitarian crisis.

In their letter of 21 September, the lawmakers said they were concerned by the humanitarian crisis in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan reminding them that some 650,000 people have already been displaced or severely affected by the conflict in these border states.

After praising Resolution 2046 and the threat to impose sanctions if its dispositions are not met, the Congressmen state that “the Security Council’s principled position must be enforced in order to be credible. Accountability is key when lives hang in the balance.”

The UN Security Council is to meet next week to assess the whole process including the talks between Khartoum government and rebels.

In a statement issued on 21 September, the 15 member council said it was gravely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in the states.

“The members of the Council once again stressed the urgency of immediately delivering humanitarian relief supplies to the affected civilian populations, so as to avoid any further suffering or loss of life,” the statement said.

They further urged the two parties to “begin direct talks, urgently agree to and implement a cessation of hostilities, and create a conducive environment for further progress on political and security issues.”

In Khartoum the Sudanese humanitarian commissioner Suleiman Abdel-Rahman told the official SUNA that they had reports that an aircraft belonging to a foreign aid group landed in the rebel-held town of Kauda without permission from the Sudanese government.

He also said that humanitarian assistance was recently delivered to the rebel-held areas through an unspecified neighbouring state or air drop operations.

September 23, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sudan says Juba owes over $1 billion, says Heglig oil production to be boosted

Sudan Tribune | May 8, 2012

KHARTOUM – The Sudanese oil Minister Awad Ahmed al-Jaz today reiterated accusations that South Sudan deliberately planned to sabotage his country’s oil infrastructure to hurt its economy.

In a briefing to Sudanese national assembly, al-Jaz said that technical teams are still in the oil-rich town of Heglig assessing damage to oil facilities created by the brief occupation of South Sudan army (SPLA) last month.

He refused to give an estimate of the damages saying that his ministry is keen on providing “accurate and factual” information to lawmakers and prevent confusion among investors.

Nonetheless the oil minister gave some details of the physical damage which he said included fully blowing up the main electricity station, which produced 17 megawatts, by placing explosive devices between each machine and detonating it from a distance.

Al-Jaz also claimed that South Sudan ignited a fire in the main pipeline, destroyed tanks of crude which led to the flow of oil from the main processing center and bombed the main warehouse containing spare parts for machinery and installations.

The work was all done by foreign experts, al-Jaz said, brought by South Sudan government. He said that all the looting and sabotaging has been well documented and will be used in international legal proceedings against Juba.

A South Sudanese official had claimed that Sudan aerial bombardment created a large part of the damage in Heglig oil facilities.

Al-Jaz also informed the parliament that the capacity of Heglig oil field will increase to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its optimal current levels of 55,000.

“We assure you the oil ministry is moving along in its programme for this year, to upgrade production and increase it from blocks 2 and 4, which represent the Heglig area, to a ceiling of 80,000 bpd of crude,” he said.

The government said last week it had begun pumping oil again after partial repairs to the Heglig facility, but it did not say how much oil was flowing or when full production could resume.

In a related issue, the oil minister alleged that South Sudan owes $1 billion for usage of the oil pipelines last year but did not elaborate.

Effective earlier this year, South Sudan shut down its entire oil production to stop Khartoum from seizing part of it to make up for what it calls unpaid fees for transit and use of its facilities. The two sides could not agree on what a fair charge should be for the service.

Khartoum wanted the South to pay $36 per barrel but Juba dismissed the figure and offered around $1.

The landlocked south can only export its crude through Sudan to a Red Sea terminal at port Sudan.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

S. Sudan Withdraws from Heglig, Damages Revealed

Al-Manar | April 22, 2012

South Sudan’s army has completed its withdrawal from Sudan’s main Heglig oil field, the military said Sunday, but condemned the north for bombing the area.

Juba seized the flashpoint oil hub on April 10, claiming that Khartoum was using Heglig as a base to attack the South’s oil-producing Unity State.

Although South Sudan disputes it, Heglig is internationally regarded as part of Sudan.

The South’s Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) “completed its withdrawal from Heglig yesterday,” the South’s military spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP.

However, Sudan’s presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie, has accused South Sudan’s government of deceiving its people by saying that its army withdrew from Heglig, Sudan Tribune reported.

Addressing a mobilization rally of Sufi groups in the capital Khartoum on Saturday, Nafie claimed that Juba had in fact pleaded with international mediators to stop Khartoum from shelling SPLA troops inside Heglig.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon branded Juba’s 10-day occupation of the region illegal and US President Barack Obama has said the long-time rivals must negotiate to avoid further military escalation along their contested and volatile border.

For his part, The Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Taha ruled out quick return to negotiations with S. Sudan, suggesting that negotiations with the South are pointless.

In an interview with Blue Nile TV, Taha also accused Juba of launching economic war on Sudan when SPLA damaged the operating system software of Heglig oil facilities and set the main controls of the plants on fire. The details and scope of the destruction will be revealed in the coming hours, he added.

Sudan state TV aired footage from inside Heglig showing major destruction in the town while oil facilities were still burning and efforts were made to put out the fires.

The Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) said in a statement today that new satellite imagery revealed that a key part of the pipeline infrastructure was destroyed.

“The damage appears to be so severe, and in such a critical part of the oil infrastructure, that it would likely stop oil flow in the area,” SSP’s statement read.

The Heglig violence was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which about two million people died.

Tensions have gradually mounted over the disputed border and other unresolved issues.

April 22, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘West waging economic war against Sudan’

Sudan Tribune | April 17, 2012

KHARTOUM – A senior Sudanese official has accused Western countries of waging an economic war against his country and aiding neighbouring South Sudan in its alleged support of Sudanese rebels.

Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese presidential assistant, said while addressing a rally in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the West is aware that “the rebels and mercenaries” had destroyed oil facilities in the Heglig area which was captured by South Sudan’s army last week.

“They [Western countries] believe this could weaken the Sudanese economy” he said before adding that the government knows how to run the battle and organise its priorities.

Heglig, which produces half of Sudan’s daily oil production of 115,000 barrels a day, was occupied by South Sudan’s army last week in the most dangerous escalation of military confrontations between the two neighbours since the south gained independence last year.

In his speech, Nafie said that Sudan must talk to its friends in the international arena in order to prevent Western countries from supporting Sudanese rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) via the UN.

His statement appears to be related to international efforts spearheaded by the US to allow aid groups to the country’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where Sudan’s army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels since last year.

Nafie went on to dismiss concerns that his government would use the war over Heglig as a pretext to increase repression of dissent but he put a caveat saying that Khartoum will not tolerate “traitors”

“There will be no curtailment of public liberties but traitors are entitled to no freedom” he declared.

Nafie further accused the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF), a rebel coalition including the SPLM-N, of occupying Heglig and then handing it over to the “enemy”, meaning South Sudan.

He described SRF’s supporters as “agents and traitors” and reiterated Khartoum’s commitment not to negotiate with South Sudan’s government.

He further sought to allay concerns that the government would terminate fuel subsidies against the background of losing Heglig’s oil, saying that such actions would only occur within calculated measures.

Sudan admitted this week that the loss of Heglig’s oil will affect government income but government officials said that plans have already been initiated to assimilate the deficit.

~

Sudan’s projected economic contraction in 2012 worse than expected

Sudan Tribune | April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday revised down its forecast to Sudan’s economy to show a significant shrinkage in 2012.

According to the latest release of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), the East African nation achieved a -3.9% growth in 2011. The figure includes South Sudan only up until July 2011 when the country officially broke into two.

In 2012, Sudan’s economy will contract by -7.3% before improving in 2013 to -1.5% and to 1.7% in 2017.

The loss of oil-rich South Sudan last year meant that Sudan no longer has access to billions of dollars worth of crude reserves. Oil was the main source of foreign currency and revenues for Sudan prior to the country’s partition.

To make matters worse, South Sudan managed last week to take over one of Sudan’s major oilfields of Heglig in South Kordofan through a military occupation that took everyone by surprise. Analysts say that damages to the facilities in the area, which produces half Sudan’s oil, as a result of military operations means that production will not resume anytime soon.

Furthermore, landlocked South Sudan shut down its own roughly 350,000 barrels per day in January in a row over how much it should pay to export crude via Sudan. The latter has built in oil transit fees as part of its budget at the rate of $36 per barrel.

Khartoum has undertaken measures since last year in anticipation of the sharp curtailment in revenues. This includes cutting government spending, partially lifting subsidies and banning a wide range of imports to stop depletion of foreign currency reserves.

But nonetheless, food prices soared to unbearable levels for many citizens prompting limited demonstrations in the Sudanese capital last year. The exchange rate of the Sudanese pound also deteriorated to unprecedented levels amid sharp shortage in hard currency which further fueled price hikes.

The IMF projected consumer prices in Sudan to increase by 23.2% in 2012 and 26.0% in 2013, which is the highest in the Middle East region.

Sudan has turned to a number of friendly nations seeking help to shore up its budget deficits and boost its foreign currency reserves directly or through investments. So far only the Arab Gulf state of Qatar made a $2 billion pledge to assist in the form of buying Sudan government bonds and investments in several economic sectors.

Sudanese officials assert that their country will overcome the loss of oil revenue by exporting more gold and revamping the agricultural sector.

However, this week the Sudanese finance and national economy minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool said that the 2012 budget as it stands is unsustainable and needs to be amended.

The pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper reported that the Sudanese parliament is poised to approve a second round of lifting subsidies on fuel amid strong objections from the labour union.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment