Sudan Threatens to Block Southern Oil Pipeline

June 22, 2011 - 10:29 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan's president threatened Wednesday to block pipelines in the south if the government there doesn't pay to transit oil or share it with Khartoum.

Even so, Sudan's official news agency quoted President Omar al-Bashir as saying his country still wants good relations with the south.

Southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly in January to secede from Sudan and become an independent country in July. That vote was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of war.

The two governments are now negotiating how oil wealth will be shared between the north and the south.

While the south is rich in oil, all pipelines run through the north, and the south does not have refineries of its own.

In a related development, President Barack Obama urged north and south Sudan to agree to an immediate cease-fire in the state of South Kordofan. In a statement, he praised an agreement to allow Ethiopian peacekeepers into the contested Abyei area,

The U.S. says Sudanese forces have shelled and bombed the area and that there are reports that forces aligned with the government are arresting and allegedly executing southern Sudanese forces and sympathizers.

Obama said reports of attacks based on ethnicity were "deeply disturbing."