South Sudan Accuses Sudan of Blocking Oil Shipments

Posted January 10th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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South Sudan says its northern neighbor, Sudan, has blocked it from exporting 3.4-million barrels of oil during the past month.

Sudan controls the pipelines that landlocked South Sudan needs to ship its oil to market, and the sides have been locked in a dispute about oil revenue and transport fees since the south became independent in July.

Speaking to reporters in the South Sudan capital, Juba, Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said Sudan has blocked several ships from leaving its Red Sea terminal with southern oil. Sudan has rejected similar previous charges as false.

Dau also accused Khartoum of building a new pipeline that would divert the flow of southern crude to Sudanese facilities. He said the pipeline, which is near completion, would affect about 13 percent of southern exports.

Last month, China publicly urged the two Sudans to resolve their disputes, after the south accused Khartoum of blocking oil shipments meant for Chinese companies.

A Chinese delegation is expected to take part in a new round of talks later this month.

South Sudan took over most of Sudanese oil production when it split from the north July 9, leaving a hole in the Khartoum's government budget.

The two Sudans are also at odds over borders and have traded accusations of supporting rebels on each other's territory.

The tension has raised fears of war between Sudan and South Sudan. The north and south fought a 21-year civil war when Sudan was a single country.