While South Sudan celebrated its second anniversary of independence on July 11, 2013 growing pains still afflict the world’s newest nation.
On July 23, President Salva Kiir dismissed the vice president, Riek Machar, and his entire cabinet. Kiir appointed a new, smaller cabinet on July 31, but did not fill the position of vice president. Several appointees were named to other posts, and some ministries were combined. Some see the recent reorganization as a sign of upcoming power struggles within the ruling SPLM party leading up to the 2015 presidential election.
In oil news, South Sudan and Sudan have yet to fully implement an oil implementation deal signed in March. The accord broke down with Sudan accusing South Sudan of supporting anti-Sudanese government insurgents. Juba has repeatedly denied the accusations and also accuses Khartoum of backing rebels in Jonglei State.
Sudan President Bashir vowed to close the oil pathways but after an appeal by the African Union and China the deadline has been extended several times, with a new deadline of September 6, to allow the AU to mediate on the dispute between the former civil war foes.
The South’s oil export revenues, and the fees it must pay Khartoum for use of the oil infrastructure, are potentially worth billions of dollars to both impoverished nations.
Other pending issues between the two neighboring countries include border demarcation, the status of South Sudanese in Sudan and the resolution of the oil-rich Abyei border region.
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