Sudan: January 6, 2004

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The Sudanese government and southern SPLA rebels agreed on how to share the country's wealth, solving a key issue and taking a major step toward ending their 20-year conflict. This included sharing the oil revenues 50-50 during a six-year transition period. Remaining topics of discussion include the status of the contested areas of the Nuba mountains, Abyei and southern Blue Nile, which will be followed by power-sharing arrangements. 

As a barometer of how important oil is to Sudan, the black gold accounted for $1.958 billion of the estimated $2.43 billion worth of exports in 2003.

The government, like many others in Africa, has long siphoned off oil revenues to line the pockets of the influential politicians and then spent the remainder on improving their arsenals. This ensures that they stay in a position to continuing looting national resources. The Sudanese people haven't had a single dollar trickle down to them.

Now, whether the power-wielders in the Arab north are going to let go of their source of wealth is debatable and if they can't retain some control (such as running the Oil ministry) then they will probably do their best to sabotage the peace process. - Adam Geibel

 

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