* Oil minister says S.Sudan wants comprehensive settlement
* S.Sudan reliant on Khartoum for oil pipeline and port
* Khartoum confiscating oil in lieu of transit fees
* Talks in Addis Ababa broke down (Adds details on deal conditions,
background on conflict)
By Hereward Holland
JUBA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - South Sudan has fully shut down oil output in a row
with Sudan over export transit fees and will only restart after a broader
deal on issues including border security and the disputed region of Abyei,
its oil minister said on Sunday.
South Sudan took about three-quarters of Sudan's oil output when it seceded
in July, but still needs pipelines running through its northern neighbour to
export its crude. The two have not agreed on a transit fee.
The new nation said on Jan. 20 it would shut down production after Khartoum
started confiscating some oil in lieu of what it said were unpaid fees.
South Sudan's oil output -- which officials last put at about 350,000
barrels per day in November -- was completely shut down on Sunday, Minister
of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters in Juba.
Oil is the lifeline of both countries' economies, accounting for about 98
percent of South Sudan, one of the world's poorest nations. China is the
biggest buyer, getting about 5 percent of all its crude imports last year
from Sudan, north and south.
The two countries' presidents met on the sidelines of a meeting of East
African officials in Ethiopia on Friday, but failed to resolve their
COMPREHENSIVE DEAL NEEDED
"Oil production will restart when we have a comprehensive agreement and all
the deals are signed. Sudan must recognise the 1956 border, which means they
must give back all the areas under occupation," he said, referring to an
internal boundary used around the time of Sudan's independence.
Sudan has already sold at least one tankerload of seized South Sudanese
crude, but said on Saturday it would free other tankers to help defuse the
Dau said the four cargoes in question had not left the port yet, but that
South Sudan's agent said it had been told to prepare documentation so it was
possible that they would leave later on Sunday or on Monday.
South Sudan was "committed to negotiations" but first Khartoum "must take
some steps", he said.
"First they must release the cargoes, and the stolen crude that was lifted
by force must be returned to us, and any deal must be tied to the issues of
the border and Abyei, and they must stop sponsoring militias in South
Sudan," he said.
"This deal must be overseen by the international community. We will restart
operations when we agree all these issues. These issues must be resolved
South Sudan's population voted overwhelmingly to secede in a January
referendum, held under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of
devastating civil war between Sudan's north and south.
Apart from oil, the two have yet to agree on issues including debt, the
position of the shared boundary and control of the disputed territory of
Abyei. Both sides accuse each other of backing rebels on the other side of
the border. (Reporting by Hereward Holland; Writing by Ulf Laessing and
Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
KHARTOUM Jan 29 (Reuters) - Rebels in Sudan's oil-producing border state of
South Kordofan said on Sunday they were holding Chinese workers for their
own safety after a battle with the Sudanese army.
The army has been fighting rebels of the SPLM-N in South Kordofan bordering
newly independent South Sudan since June. Fighting spread to the northern
Blue Nile state in September.
"We are holding 29 Chinese workers after a battle with the army yesterday,"
a spokesman for the SPLM-N said. "They are in good health. We are holding
them for their own safety because the army was trying to strike again."
The army said rebels had attacked the compound of a Chinese construction
company operating in the area between the towns of Abbasiya and Rashad in
the north of the state and captured 70 civilians.
"Most of them are Chinese. They (the rebels) are targeting civilians," said
army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad.
He said there had been no battle in the area and the army was now trying to
rescue the civilians.
China's foreign ministry urged Sudan to guarantee the safety of Chinese
personnel during the search and rescue process, according to a statement
released in Beijing.
South Kordofan is the main oil-producing state in Sudan, while Blue Nile is
rich in minerals such as chrome.
The fighting in both states has forced about 417,000 people to flee their
homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, according to the United
Both states contain large groups who sided with the south in a decades-long
civil war, and who say they continue to face persecution inside Sudan since
South Sudan seceded in July.
The SPLM is now the ruling party in the independent south and denies
supporting SPLM-North rebels across the border.
Events in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are difficult to verify because aid
groups and diplomats are banned from areas where fighting takes place.
SPLM-North is one of a number of rebel movements in underdeveloped border
areas who say they are fighting to overthrow Sudanese President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir and end what they see as the dominance of the Khartoum political
Sudan and South Sudan, which still have to resolve a range of issues
including the sharing of oil revenues, regularly trade accusations of
supporting insurgencies on each other's territory. (Reporting by Ulf
Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz; additional reporting by David Stanway in
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Sun Jan 29 2012 - 08:33:21 EST