South Sudan braces for oil showdown

July 22, 2013 at 7:15 AM

JUBA, South Sudan, July 22 (UPI) -- The South Sudanese government said it was cutting back on oil production in preparation for a showdown with the government in Khartoum.

South Sudan and Sudan approached the brink of war in 2012 over oil disputes. Those disputes, along with general fighting, have threatened to derail the peace agreement that secured South Sudan's independence in 2011.

South Sudan's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said the government received notification from Khartoum it was considering halting South Sudan's oil exports.

"This is a decision made by Khartoum. They are still accusing us of supporting their rebels," he said in a statement Saturday.

Each sides has blamed the other for a series of issues threatening the fragile peace in the region. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has repeatedly threatened to shut down oil pipelines from South Sudan, accusing rebel forces across the border of getting financial support from oil revenues.

The South Sudanese government in early July said it was soliciting foreign assistance for a pipeline that would avoid Sudanese territory.

The Juba government relies on oil exports for the bulk of its federal revenue.

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