On Heglig, Question of Who's Winning Dodged in DC, Like Oil Fees &
By Matthew Russell Lee
WASHINGTON DC, April 20. 2012 -- Early Friday morning the Mission of Sudan
to the UN called Inner City Press to say, come to the Security Council
stakeout to hear our Ambassador announce our "recapture of Heglig
There were several problems: was the pullout voluntary, thus returning to
South Sudan the moral high ground they have long been possessed? Also, Inner
City Press was covering the International Monetary Fund and World Bank
Spring Meetings in Washington.
A couple hours later and a few blocks away from the fenced-off IMF, Inner
City Press asked US State Department spokespersons Victoria Nuland if the US
thought that this was a military victory or recovery by Khartoum, or if
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir was leaving Heglig voluntarily in
response to the calls of, among others, the US.
Nuland had a prepared statement, but began amiably, "Let me start with
pronunciation, my guys are saying Heglig, with the first part said like
"leg." Then she read out, "We welcome the announcement by South Sudan they
will withdraw from Heglig" - now said "hedge-leej" -- "we are calling on
government of Sudan to halt aerial bombardments."
She said that US envoy "Princeton Lyman he briefed some of you by
telephone yesterday." Earlier, Inner City Press asked the State Department
about the transcript and invitation list for that briefing, in which the
idea, raised by the Thabo Mbeki panel, that South Sudan might be aiming at
regime change, now by stopping Sudan's remaining oil production, was not
raised. Nor was that part of Nuland's answer.
Back at the IMF, Inner City Press asked the Fund's Middle East and North
Africa guru Masood Ahmed about the Sudans' oil transfer fee dispute; he
asked that the question be emailed and it was:
"Sudan diplomats say they want $34 a barrel transfer fee, South Sudan offers
some 40 cents, citing example of Chad to Cameroon, and Azerbaijan to Turkey.
What is the IMF's view of this oil transfer fee issue? And on the impact of
stopping oil pumping and destroying the Heglig field?"
We will publish the IMF's answer, and any thing more provided by the State
Department, upon receipt. Watch this site.
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Received on Fri Apr 20 2012 - 18:19:56 EDT