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  • » 04/24/2012, 00.00


    Salva Kiir in Beijing to relaunch dialogue with Khartoum

    The President of South Sudan arrived in the Chinese capital, where he hopes to get support from Hu Jintao for a resumption of relations with the regime of Omar al-Bashir. Also on the agenda the request for independent funds for the construction of a new pipeline. China's interest to halt internal clashes, which threaten to blow up the import of crude oil.

    Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir yesterday began a state visit to Beijing, a major supporter of the Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir. While in the African country continues to struggle to define the boundaries after the declaration of independence of South Sudan, Kiir hopes to get China's help to improve relations with Khartoum and especially to obtain funds to build an alternative pipeline to the one currently in the hands of Sudan.

    The African country is rich in oil and natural gas. Its geography, however, condemns it to a constant battle to manage this wealth: the oil wells are in the Christian majority South, while the refineries and infrastructure necessary for the extraction and transportation of crude oil are in the Muslim majority north. On 9 July last year Kiir declared independence: on 10 April, his troops occupied Heglig oil-rich, but were repelled by the army of al-Bashir.

    The dictator, subjected to a regime of sanctions by the international community, said: "There will be no negotiations with these people. They are insects that need to be eliminated. Our talks with them are with guns and bullets." The issue is not only internal: the clashes could lead to suspension of oil deliveries to China, which last year bought about 12.99 million barrels (equal to 5% of its total imports).

    Beijing has a huge appetite for energy, which it needs to maintain the industrial production at current rates. It purchases oil from all over the world and unlike the rest of the international community to does business with regimes subject to sanctions. According to Professor Yin Gang, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, "the dispute between Juba and Khartoum will be the focus of this visit."

    The academic, who studies African issues, "Beijing has a responsibility to resolve this dispute. But it will not go much further than an invitation to dialogue, because the division of the country in two was not part of Chinese plans and has created many problems" . Last January, South Sudan halted production of crude oil after accusing Khartoum of "stealing" this move has caused a loss to China that amounted to 260 thousand barrels per day of imports.


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    See also

    11/01/2011 SUDAN – CHINA
    Referendum in Sudan raises questions about Beijing’s role as a superpower
    Southern Sudan is voting on independence. There are fears concerning how northern leaders might react and what their Chinese allies will do. As a world power, China cannot limit itself to a policy of “non-interference”, experts say.

    13/10/2010 ISLAM – SUDAN
    Attempt against the life of Card Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum
    A man with a Muslim name tried to stab the prelate during Mass. The archibshop has been an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism and the oppression of southern Sudan.

    30/03/2009 QATAR
    Doha: an Arab League summit with many questions
    Iran’s growing regional power, the Arab position vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians as well as the international arrest warrant against Sudan president will be on the discussion table. Arab countries are trying to reach common positions on various issues but few experts expect them to reach actual decisions.

    05/03/2009 CHINA - SUDAN
    China asks UN to suspend arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir
    Beijing is expressing fears that this could worsen the situation in Darfur. But for years, it has done nothing to prevent the genocide taking place, preferring to focus on its lucrative economic deals with Khartoum.

    08/02/2012 CHINA – SUDAN
    Sudanese rebels free 29 Chinese workers
    The militias have handed over the hostages to the International Red Cross, after days of mediation with officials of the governments of Beijing and Khartoum. Workers are now in Nairobi and will be repatriated in the coming days. They were kidnapped last January 28 along with 18 others, who managed to escape. One of them has been found dead by the Sudanese army.

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