US ‘disappointed’ by Sudan order to shut pipeline

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The United States said Monday an order by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to shut down an oil pipeline carrying South Sudanese crude was “deeply disappointing.”

“If carried out, this threat is in violation of Sudan’s obligations under the September 27th agreements, which only allow for a shutdown with 60 days of notice for economic or technical reasons. This is neither,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

“We deplore this action and urge Sudan to reverse this decision and respect its internationally recognized obligations,” she added.

Bashir ordered a halt to the flow of oil from South Sudan on Saturday, Sudanese official media reported, after he warned Juba over backing rebels.

“Bashir ordered the minister of oil to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil from tomorrow, Sunday,” Radio Omdurman reported in an SMS message.

The state SUNA news agency issued a similar report, saying oil companies are to be informed about “shutting down the pipeline” from Sunday.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said he would refer oil arguments with arch-rival Sudan to African Union mediators, vowing not to return to war.

“The people of South Sudan should remain calm and patient as we work with the African Union to resolve this impasse with Sudan,” Kiir told reporters.

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