U.S. frustrated with Sudanese oil spat

June 11, 2013 at 7:41 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government is called on to respect its international obligations and those include commitments to oil deliveries, the U.S. State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. government was deeply disappointed with Sudanese oil threats issued against South Sudan.

South Sudan gained control over most of the regional oil reserves when it gained independence from Sudan with the U.S. government's help in 2011. Sudan, however, controls the export infrastructure.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said he would shut down oil pipelines from South Sudan, accusing rebel forces across the border of getting financial support from oil revenues.

Psaki said Bashir's comments were frustrating given recent agreements in Ethiopia to resume oil shipments from South Sudan.

"If carried out, this threat is in violation of Sudan's obligations under the Sept. 27 agreements, which only allow for a shutdown with 60 days of notice for economic or technical reasons," she told reporters during her regular press briefing Monday. "This is neither. We deplore this action and urge Sudan to reverse this decision and respect its internationally recognized obligations."

Border issues, ethnic conflicts and disputes over oil have threatened to derail the peace agreement that secured South Sudan's independence. Both sides approached the brink of war last year following disputes regarding oil in the border territory of Heglig.

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