With peril looming on both countries’ economic horizons, Sudan and South Sudan brokered a milestone oil-transit agreement over the weekend to the effusive praise of the international community. The deal represents a breakthrough after months of heightened tensions.
South Sudan shut down oil production eight months ago over transit cost disagreements. Juba also accused the Khartoum government of siphoning southern oil and confiscating shipments in lieu of unpaid transit fees. In April, the two historical adversaries neared the brink of full-scale border war after South Sudan temporarily seized Sudan’s primary oil production site in Heglig.
"Now was the time to bring this impasse to a close, for the good of the people of South Sudan and their aspirations for a better future in the face of ongoing challenges," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement released Saturday, as she continued a tour of Africa that brought her to Juba on Friday. "South Sudan's leaders have risen to the occasion."