Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Friday Sudan did not want fees from South Sudanese oil and threatened to keep Sudan’s oil pipelines closed to the South’s crude exports following fighting in a disputed border region.
“We don’t want fees from the oil of South Sudan and we will not open the pipeline. There is no oil from South Sudan that will pass through our pure land, so that not one dollar goes to these criminals,” Bashir told a rally in Khartoum attended by thousands of people, according to Reuters.
The South said it had ordered an end to its 10-day occupation which had sparked fears of a wider war.
Sudan, meanwhile, set four conditions on Friday for “normal” relations with South Sudan, after the South ended its 10-day armed occupation of the north’s main oilfield.
“Sudan will have normal relations under four conditions,” a statement from the foreign ministry said. “South Sudan has to commit to these.”
It demanded that the Southern government in Juba “approve and recognize” existing agreements and memoranda on security, including a February non-aggression pact signed by their respective intelligence chiefs.
The foreign ministry also demanded that the South recognize the borders which existed at Sudan’s independence from Britain and Egypt on January 1, 1956.
It further called for an end to “all aggression” on Sudanese territory, a removal of Southern troops allegedly in Sudan, and an end to support for ethnic rebels fighting Khartoum in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, according to AFP.
Juba has denied such support.
Lastly, the ministry asked Juba to stop “supporting and hosting” rebel groups from the Darfur region who refused to sign a peace deal with the government.
The United States said Friday that South Sudan’s decision to withdraw its forces from the oil town of Heglig in southern Sudan was “good news,” and called on Khartoum to halt its cross-border attacks.
“We welcome the announcement from South Sudan that they will withdraw their forces from Heglig,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“In parallel, we’re also calling on the government of Sudan, as we have regularly, to halt their own cross-border attacks, particularly the provocative aerial bombardments,” she said.
She noted concerns that the fight over the town in the southern Sudanese province of South Kordofan could escalate into a much larger conflict, and urged the sides to get back to where they can work together again to resolve their outstanding issues.
“It is good news that we have an announcement from the South that they’re going to pull back. They now have to implement that, and ... Sudan has got to stop what it's doing as well,” she said.
South Sudan separated last July, taking with it about 75 percent of Sudan’s oil production and creating an economic crisis in the north.
Key among unresolved issues between north and South has been a dispute over oil fees, which led the Juba government in January to shut its crude production after Khartoum began seizing Southern oil in lieu of compensation.
Landlocked South Sudan was using a northern pipeline and port to export its crude, but the two sides could not agree on how much Juba should pay for the trans-shipment.
The Heglig field, shut down during the recent occupation, accounted for about half of Sudan’s post-separation output.