Press Release / June 12, 2013

Sudan and South Sudan must act now to avoid further conflict over oil

Global Witness is calling on Sudan and South Sudan to re-examine and re-invigorate their commitments under the September 27, 2012 Cooperation Agreement, and work with international partners to ensure that oil does not lead to conflict. The call comes in response to the order by the Government of Sudan on June 11 to shut down South Sudanese oil transiting through Sudanese export facilities.

The formal order to close the pipelines follows a statement by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on June 9, which accused South Sudan of arming insurgents in Sudan’s territory. South Sudan made similar claims of territorial incursion as recently as last week. 

“This is a major step backwards on the path to peace between Sudan and South Sudan,” said Global Witness campaigner Emma Vickers. “The order to shut down from Khartoum not only contradicts the Cooperation Agreement signed last year between the two governments, but also raises the very real prospect of further economic instability for both countries.”

Following lengthy negotiations during 2012, the Cooperation Agreement marked a significant milestone in the peace process and affirmed a ‘commitment to promoting the future stability and economic viability of both States.’[i] Any move by Sudan to interrupt the flow of oil therefore undermines the basis of this agreement and has the potential to erode the fragile peace in the region.

This is not the first time oil has been used in mounting brinkmanship between the two countries. South Sudan halted production in January 2012 as a result of long-standing disputes over transit fees and the confiscation of South Sudanese crude oil by Sudan.

Any shutdown will also incur significant financial costs to Sudan, South Sudan and companies operating in the sector. The restart of oil production only two months ago was welcomed in both countries, but particularly in heavily oil-dependent South Sudan. South Sudanese oil minister Stephen Dhieu Dau reports that seven million barrels of crude have been produced since the restart, estimated to be worth more than US$665 million.

“The threat to close the pipelines heralds a decline in relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and following through with it would be very damaging for the economies of both countries,” added Vickers. “Ultimately, this action will hurt ordinary citizens. After more than 20 years of war, Sudanese and South Sudanese alike need oil to be a driver for peace and development, not rising tensions and instability.”

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Contact: For more information contact:

Emma Vickers on +44 (0)7715 076 548, [email protected] or

Dana Wilkins on +44 (0)7808 761 570, [email protected]

[i] The September 27 Cooperation Agreements can be accessed in full here: