Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Southern Sudan's ex rebel group SPLM needs representatives with in-depth oil industry knowledge

An agreement to end more than 20 years of civil war in south Sudan has been violated and its implementation especially in the oil-rich Abyei region is behind schedule, a commission monitoring the deal said on Wednesday, Reuters reported 12 July 2006 (via Sudan Tribune). Excerpt:
"There is a growing sense of frustration and disappointment among the people about what they perceive as a lack of progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," Assessment and Evaluation Commission Chairman Tom Vraalsen told reporters in Khartoum.

"I don't think any of the two parties when they signed the CPA ... (in) January last year, fully recognised the challenges ahead of them," said Vraalsen, who refused to appoint blame for the CPA's slow implementation and violation.

He highlighted the deadlock over the status of the Abyei region, which contains one of Sudan's two largest oil fields. Sudan pumps around 500,000 barrels per day of crude.

The region has a special autonomous status with the right to vote in a referendum on joining the north or a possible separate south in 2011.

The dispute over whether it will go to the north or the south has created instability in the area and hampered aid efforts.
Note, the report points out that analysts have said another obstacle to the petroleum commission's work is the lack of SPLM representatives with in-depth oil industry knowledge. The commission's mandate includes examining oil output and oil contracts.

A Sudanese man

Photo: A Sudanese man cries as he holds a SPLM flag, Wednesday, May 26, 2004 as he waits for the signing of the last three protocols between the Sudan govt and SPLM in Naivasha, Kenya (AP).

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