via South Sudan has called on Zimbabwe to help protect oilfields – Oil | Platts News Article & Story Juba (Platts)–26Mar2014
South Sudan has called on Zimbabwe to help protect its oilfields, which are increasingly under threat from rebel forces, state-owned South Sudan Television quoted the country’s foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, as saying on Wednesday.
“Zimbabwe should join IGAD countries to help protect South Sudan oilfields,” said Benjamin, referring to the East African regional group, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development.
Benjamin did not specify the type of support sought by South Sudan.
On March 13, IGAD announced plans to deploy troops from Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Djibouti to protect vital installations including oilfields in the troubled country.
A meeting has yet to take place to discuss the size and the mandate of the IGAD force.
Benjamin made the appeal in the capital Juba, when meeting with Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Sudan Kufa Chinoza.
Benjamin urged the government of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe to participate in the inclusive political dialogue due to take place in Pretoria, South Africa.
South Sudan and rebel forces will hold face-to-face talks, being mediated by IGAD, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday.
“We are following the Addis Ababa talks closely. We’ll support every efforts including that being mediated by IGAD to bring peace to South Sudan,” Chinoza told SSTV on Wednesday, after meeting with Benjamin.
Violence erupted in South Sudan after a section of the Presidential guards supporting former vice-president Riek Machar attempted to topple President Salva Kiir in Juba in mid-December 2013.
The fighting then spread quickly to the oil-rich states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.
Rebel forces halted production in Unity state. Prior to the coup attempt, Unity state produced 45,000 b/d of crude, or 15% of South Sudan’s total output of 245,000 b/d.
Upper Nile state, which used to produce 200,000 b/d of crude before the outbreak of the violence, also is affected.
Early this month, South Sudan presidential press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny told a news conference in the Sudanese capital Khartoum that South Sudan’s oil output has been cut by about 29%. “South Sudan is still getting more than 175,000 barrels a day,” Ateny was quoted as saying by AFP on March 1.
Zimbabwe had supported South Sudan during its 1983-2005 independence war with the Sudan. South Sudan split from the Sudan in 2011, taking with it the majority of the oil.