(REUTERS – 22ND APRIL) South Sudan is ready to negotiate with its neighbor Sudan over the oil dispute that has nearly led to a full-blown war between the two countries, said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Friday in Juba.
In an interview with CCTV, President Mayardit explained his willingness to return to the negotiation table in order to solve the conflict in peaceful terms.
South Sudan has suspended crude oil productions due to the dispute, despite of possible impact on its already vulnerable economy.
As the oil industry was firstly built in northern Sudan, the South Sudanese were not benefiting from their own oil. South Sudan was supposed to take what it “deserved” after becoming independent according to the agreement made during the interim-period, added the president.
However, Sudan had illegally begun taking oil without authorization soon after its independence, because they were “jealous”, the President added.
“And so we tried to raise this issue in the AU (African Union), wherever we have raised in eager countries, but we did not succeed. This is why we shut down the oil operations. So yes, we know it is not good to last and our economy is completely down, but that is the price to pay,” said the President.
The president also said South Sudan will restart its oil production if Khartoum ceases its oil-taking operations.
“They should only take what they deserve. The transit fee, the terminal fees, whatever that they know, they deserve in the terms of the oil passing through their territory – these what we can pay,” President Mayardit pointed out, who is the first leader of South Sudan.
However, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed on Saturday not to hold any talks with South Sudanon the oil issue, and will not allow South Sudan to transport oil through the Sudanese territory.
On Wednesday, President al-Bashir declared war on South Sudan, and vowed to bring down the government of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba.