Sudan and South Sudan have signed a deal to open direct trade along the border and increase production in the oil fields in South Sudan that are currently not functioning, in an agreement that will serve as an economic lifeline to both countries.
Both Sudan and South Sudan desperately need the oil and revenues, so the agreement would likely work, analysts told Al Jazeera.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but it has been a bloody road to establishing a stable government whose budget is dependent almost entirely on oil. In December 2013, civil war broke out when President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked the cabinet and accused Vice President Riek Machar of instigating a failed coup. The civil war ended in 2015—officially—but clashes persist.
The clashes have significantly reduced South Sudan’s main source of revenue—oil—and have halted operations at many of its oil fields.
Earlier this week, South Sudanese authorities reported that at least 25 people died following a clash between government forces and rebel groups in the oil-producing regions in the north of the world’s youngest country.
Last month, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping El-Ghassim Wane told the UN Security Council:
“The conflict in South Sudan is a man-made conflict for which the leaders of South Sudan bear a direct responsibility. But the same leaders can also bring the country back from the impending abyss.”
This month, the Security Council will consider the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the implementation of the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
According to the UN, conflict has worsened in the war-torn country, in which some 6 million people—around half the population—are severely food-insecure. Around 1.89 million people are internally displaced persons (IDPs), while another 1.97 million people have fled to neighboring countries.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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