Business, Finance & Economics

Sudan and South Sudan are on the brink, again


A view of the new African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 24, 2012. The AU headquarters was built and fully funded by the Chinese government at a cost of $200 million. The building will host this year’s AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital, which brings together heads of state from across the continent. The towering building – Addis Ababa’s tallest – symbolizes China’s strengthening ties with Africa, a major source of foreign investment from China.


Jenny Vaughan

NAIROBI, Kenya — The leaders of the two Sudans are meeting at a regional summit in Addis Ababa today amid growing tensions between the neighbors over oil.

Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, and Omar al-Bashir, the leader of Sudan, were bitter civil-war enemies. Although the outright fighting is over, the suspicion and enmity are very much alive.

This week, South Sudan began shutting down its oil installations in protest over Khartoum confiscating southern oil, a move it says was to reclaim funds owed by Juba.

More from GlobalPost: South Sudan charges that Sudan steals oil

In the run up to the South's official independence last July, most analysts guessed that Sudan's shared oil would bind them together. Most of the oil lies in the south, but all the pipelines and refineries are in the north.

The two need each other, so the argument went. Instead it has proved increasingly divisive.

Earlier this week South Sudan struck a deal with Kenya to build a new pipeline to export the oil southwards, a move that might offer the south a way around the north. That has angered Khartoum. It's not quite make-or-break at the Addis talks, but fears of a return to conflict are growing.

More from GlobalPost: South Sudan, Kenya agree to oil pipeline