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South Sudan says agreement reached with Khartoum on oil fees

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Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator (AFP)
South Sudan’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Tuesday said that his country reached an agreement with its northern neighbor on the oil transit fees after months of intense negotiations.
The landlocked south seceded from the north last July but is dependent on the Sudan’s oil infrastructure to transport its crude worldwide.
Khartoum asked for no less than $32 per barrel in fees which Juba swiftly rejected.
Amum told the Al-Jazeera TV website that Sudan will now charge fees in accordance with international norms but did not give a figure.
The South Sudanese official further said that his government will give $2.6 billion in assistance to Khartoum to help its economy recover from losing the oil that now belongs to the new nation.
He also revealed that China through its special envoy Liu Guijin pressed Khartoum to accept these terms.
But the Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obeid Marawih dismissed Amum’s assertions and said that there are only proposals on the table so far that could be accepted or rejected.
"The new proposals should be discussed on the negotiating table and not through media outlets," Marawih said.
He added that what Amum announced has been rejected well before the last round of talks between the two countries adding that this shows that Juba isn’t serious.
Amid a severe economic crisis, Khartoum is pushing for a quick resolution of the issue and a few weeks ago said it will close down the oil pipelines until $727 million in arrears are paid.
But the decision was quickly reversed following criticism by China which imports 5% of its oil from South Sudan.
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