By Mohammed Amin
Sudan and South Sudan agreed on Wednesday to work against the U.S. sanctions imposed on the two neighboring countries, South Sudan’s oil minister said.
“We have agreed as two countries to make sure that we work together in line with the cooperation agreement signed in 2012, […] to make sure that the sanctions are lifted on our countries,” Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth told a joint news conference in Khartoum with Sudan’s investment minister, Mubarak Al-Fadil.
“We will also campaign to make sure that the debts are relieved,” Gatkuoth said.
A high-level South Sudan delegation including the ministers of oil, finance, trade and investment ended talks on oil and bilateral trade between the two countries on Wednesday. The two sides signed oil and bilateral trade agreements to boost mutual investment.
Mubarak Al-Fadil said they agreed to increase oil production and to open the entire crossing points between the two countries in order to allow the goods flow through the common borders.
“We agreed to maintain the oil fields and to increase the oil production from the oil fields of the Unity State in South Sudan,” the minister said.
“We will open the crossing points on the border to allow the flow of 54 new kind of goods,” he added.
The U.S. will decide in October whether to lift the sanctions imposed on Sudan two decades ago. Washington has also imposed individual sanctions on top South Sudan officials over alleged responsibility of the continuation of the war and the corruption in the newborn state.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels led by former Vice President Riek Machar since December 2013.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands, displaced almost 4 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled to neighboring countries; Uganda alone hosts one million refugees.
In December 2016, Sudan and South Sudan extended an oil transit agreement for another three years. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had ordered in January 2016 to review the transit fees of the oil as South Sudan requested after a sharp decline of the international oil prices.
Sudan has lost 75% of its oil revenues after the separation of South Sudan in 2011.