NEW: Sudan's president say South Sudan oil funds help arm "mercenaries, traitors"
NEW: He urges "all people" to join the military, pro-government militias
President al-Bashir orders the shutdown of an oil pipeline from South Sudan
South Sudan became independent of Sudan in 2011, but some issues have remained
The president of Sudan ordered the shutdown of an oil pipeline running from South Sudan, explaining that he didn’t want his country’s neighbor to use oil funds to arm “mercenaries, traitors and agents.”
The closure ordered by President Omar al-Bashir goes into effect Sunday, according to a story from his country’s state-run Sudan News Agency.
Al-Bashir announced the directive to a large crowd attending the opening of a power station outside Kharthoum, saying his decision “came after thoughtful considerations of all the consequences and expected impacts.”
“If (South Sudan) decides to send their oil through Kenya or Djibouti, that’s fine. Good for them,” the impassioned leader said in a speech broadcast by state-run Sudan TV. “But we will never allow their oil to go through Sudan so they could buy arms and ammunition and give them to mercenaries, traitors and agents.”
It was not immediately clear to what or whom he was referring.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July 2011, following a popular referendum and a war that left nearly 2 million people dead. But the two nations have remained at odds on some issues, including defining their borders and oil exports.
When they separated, South Sudan acquired three quarters of Sudan’s oil reserves. The two countries have been at odds about how much the landlocked South Sudan should pay to use a pipeline and processing facilities in the north.
Al-Bashir directed his nation’s military and pro-government militias to open up camps by Sunday, urging “all people” to join their ranks.
In April 2012, Sudan and South Sudan slipped close to all-out war in a series of air and ground exchanges.
The two African countries’ leaders had agreed in September 2012 to resume oil exports, but failed to address other issues such as the fate of the disputed region of Abyei.
Yet they appeared to reach a significant breakthrough in March, with the signing of a deal to withdraw their respective military forces from a 14-mile-wide demilitarized zone between them.
The withdrawals were to be monitored by the commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei.
That agreement followed international pressure from the African Union and U.N. Security Council to resolve that and other disputes peacefully.