South Sudan halts oil production as talks falter

Talks between Sudan the two Sudans concerning an oil dispute have broken down, with South Sudan today ready to complete an entire shutdown of its oil production, the BBC reported.

South Sudan said the negotiations – on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa – were in deadlock, after its leader Salva Kir met with the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

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Also discussing the crisis were East African heads of state – from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Agence France Presse reported.

Juba ordered that its oil production be shut down amid the crisis, accusing Khartoum of stealing oil that was transported through northern pipelines, on its way to ports, where it was to be exported.

However Khartoum says it merely took the oil as compensation for fees it was owed, with the BBC reporting that oil transit fees make up a big part of Sudan's budget.

Sudan lost most of its oil producing areas when South Sudan became the world’s newest nation last July.

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The South Sudanese lead negotiator, Pagan Amum, said the shutdown was near complete, the BBC reported:

"The day after would be finishing the cleaning and the flushing of the facilities so that they are preserved."

The halt to oil production will also deprive South Sudan of its main source of income.

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