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US slams Sudan's delay on resuming oil production

South Sudanese soldiers stand at an oil refinery in Melut, Upper Nile State, South Sudan on November 20, 2012
South Sudanese soldiers stand at an oil refinery in Melut, Upper Nile State, South Sudan on November 20, 2012. The United States Tuesday criticized Sudan for delaying a resumption of oil production, saying it would undermine the economy and security of bo

The United States Tuesday criticized Sudan for delaying a resumption of oil production, saying it would undermine the economy and security of both Khartoum and its neighbor South Sudan.

The US government was "disappointed" that the two countries had failed to make significant progress on implementing a September 27 deal, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

"Specifically, the Government of Sudan's intent to postpone the restart of oil production until the implementation of security arrangements is complete runs counter to the fundamental principles of the cooperation accord" she said.

The move "continues to undermine the economic and security situation in both states," Nuland added, stressing further delay in resolving outstanding issues between the countries, including the final status of the flashpoint region Abyei, would hurt the peace process.

"Security will only come if Sudan cooperates with South Sudan and begins direct talks with the (Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North) SPLM-N to address" two other conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, she said.

South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war and a landslide referendum for independence.

But the two sides have been at loggerheads over the demarcation of an oil-rich border and how to divide revenue from crude that the South exports via the north -- leading to South Sudan halting oil production last January and weeks of border conflict.

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