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Sudan, South Sudan mull reopening oil wells

Monday, 13 January 2014 - 9:27am IST Updated: Monday, 13 January 2014 - 9:33am IST | Place: Khartoum | Agency: IANS

Leaders of Sudan and South Sudan reviewed proposals to reopen South Sudan's Unity state oil wells on Sunday, weeks after Juba seized back control of them from rebels, Xinhua reported.

Sudan's Oil Minister Makawi Mohamed Awad and his South Sudanese counterpart Stephen Dhieu Dau met for talks here Sunday, emphasising the importance of the oil wells for bilateral relations.

According to a media report, South Sudan's Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau arrived in Khartoum Sunday to discuss reoperation of Unity state's oil wells, which Juba managed to recapture from rebel groups loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

"The talks focused on how to help the oil companies which are facing challenges operating in South Sudan, namely in the Unity state," Dau said.

"We want to put the oil wells in Unity state put back into production again," he said, stressing that it was necessary for both oil ministries to urge the Greater Nile Petroleum Company in Sudan and oil companies in South Sudan to resume production.

The two reviewed issues of supplies, equipment, technical assistance and the necessities associated with operating companies with manpower from Sudan in addition to the possibility of making use of the Sudanese oil engineers at the wells of Unity and Upper Nile States, he added.

The South Sudanese minister further noted that "committees from both sides will review this matter".

During the past few weeks, South Sudan has witnessed violent clashes between two armed factions. The fighting has divided South Sudanese society between supporters of President Salva Kiir Mayardit along with members of his tribe, the Dinka, and supporters of Vice-President Riek Machar and members of his tribe, the Nuer.

The violence has left more than 1,000 people dead and over 121,600 civilians displaced, and has led some 63,000 others to take refuge at various UN compounds around the country, according to UN reports.

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