Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has reportedly ordered the flow of oil from South Sudan to be halted. Khartoum alleges that its landlocked neighbor, which recently seceded from it, has been supporting rebels.
The message that the supply had been blocked came via an SMS message on Saturday from state broadcaster Radio Omdurman.
"(President) Bashir ordered the minister of oil to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil from tomorrow, Sunday," the message read.
Sudan's official Suna news agency issued a similar report, saying the president had ordered that the oil pipeline be "shut down" from Sunday.
A ceremony was held in South Sudan in April to celebrate the resumption of oil production after more than a year. A joint cooperation deal between the two countries had followed a dispute with Khartoum over export fees.
Suna said the government would hold a news conference on Sunday "regarding the cooperation deal with South Sudan in the face of the government's accusations against Juba for supporting the terrorism of the so-called Sudanese Revolutionary Front."
Bashir had warned on May 27 that he would "completely close the pipeline" if the South Sudan government in Juba provided help to rebels fighting inside Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as the Darfur region. "Let them drink their oil," Bashir had said.
South Sudan, which exports its oil through Sudan to the Red Sea, has denied that it is supporting the rebels.
South Sudan became a separate nation from Sudan in July 2011, after a referendum vote for independence which followed a 22-year civil war. However, a number of issues, such as the amount South Sudan should pay for shipping the oil through its larger neighbour’s territory, remain unresolved.
rc/jlw (AFP, Reuters)