Sudan-South Sudan Dispute Dominates African Summit

Posted January 29th, 2012 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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South Sudan has followed through on its threat and shut down all oil production as its dispute with Sudan shows no sign of resolution.

The leaders of both countries held talks in Addis Ababa late last week on the sidelines of the annual gathering of African leaders to work on a deal to share oil revenues. But the negotiations fell through when South Sudan's president, Salva Kir, said he could not accept the terms for transit fees

South Sudan controls more than 70 percent of the two countries' oil output but needs pipelines running through Sudan to get the oil to port.

The south claims the Khartoum government has illegally seized hundreds of millions of dollars worth of oil.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Sunday the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan has reached a “critical point” and has become a threat to the region's peace and security. And the special U.S. envoy to Sudan told the Associated Press that the situation is “declining very rapidly.”

Both men also expressed concern over what is widely considered as a growing humanitarian crisis along the disputed border that separates the two countries.

The Sudan-South Sudan dispute, along with the crisis in war-torn Somalia, is high on the agenda for the two-day summit of African Union leaders that opened Sunday in Addis Ababa.

The leaders began the summit by electing Benin's president Thomas Yayi Boni as the new AU chairman.

China is the honored guest at the summit with speaker after speaker expressing gratitude for Beijing's gift of a new $200 million AU headquarters. There were also expressions of growing resentment for perceived Western interference in African affairs.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi praised what he called the African Renaissance, which he said was modeled on China's state-led economic model. He also took the opportunity to criticize the Western economic model of the late 20th century as “medicine that turned out to be worse than the disease.”