Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir meets his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir today in a bid to resolve a border dispute that threatens to halt oil exports from South Sudan, officials from the two countries said.
Al-Bashir greeted Kiir at the airport of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the state-run Sudan News Agency reported.
“There is an agreement to overcome all disagreements between Khartoum and Juba,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Rahmatullah Osman said after a meeting yesterday with South Sudanese officials to prepare the summit. “We’re hopeful that positive results will come out of the summit,” South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said separately in Juba yesterday.
Landlocked South Sudan exports all of its crude via a pipeline through Sudan to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Al-Bashir’s government has threatened to halt shipments on Sept. 6 unless the south withdraws support for rebels opposed to his rule. South Sudan denies backing the fighters and accuses Sudan of deploying troops in its oil-producing Upper Nile region.
A dispute last year between the two countries over exports shut down oil production, which cut the size of South Sudan’s economy by half to $9.34 billion, according to World Bank data. The country has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves, after Nigeria and Angola, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil output of 490,000 barrels a day. Its low-sulfur crude, which is prized by Japanese buyers for use as clean-burning power-generation fuel, is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC)
Production is currently 100,000 to 180,000 barrels per day, according to the South Sudanese Petroleum Ministry.