India seeks security of oil investments in Sudans

May 22nd, 2012 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) With the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan escalating, India has conveyed to the leaderships of both countries the urgent need to resolve all issues through dialogue and asked them to ensure the security of its $2.5 billion investments in the oil sector.

In a diplomatic mission that underlined India’s anxieties about the spiralling conflict between the two Sudans, New Delhi’s special envoy Amarendra Khatua met key ministers and senior officials in Khartoum and Juba last week. Khatua also met United Nations special envoy Haile Menkerios.

The Indian envoy, official sources said Tuesday, batted for “an African Union (AU) roadmap” to resolve the current standoff between Sudan and South Sudan, Africa’s newest nation that was formally born July 9, 2011.

Conveying India’s concerns over the impact of the conflict on its $2.5 billion investments, Khatua offered India’s help in resolving the crisis that threatens to escalate into a full-blown war and pressed for the resumption of discussions between the top leaders of both countries.

In his discussions, India reiterated its commitment to the AU-led initiative by Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, and asked both countries to comply with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to amicably sort out all issues that are bleeding their economies dry.

The seven-point AU roadmap asks the two feuding countries to restart stalled negotiations and give them three months to reach an agreement to resolve issues related to the contested border, citizenship matters and oil revenue sharing.

This was the second visit undertaken by Khatua, additional secretary in India’s External Affairs Ministry, to Khartoum and Juba in the last two months.

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the overseas arm of India’s state-owned oil major, has $2.5 billion investments in petroleum exploration and production in undivided Sudan as part of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., in which it owns a 25 percent stake.

The conflict between the two Sudans has affected OVL’s commitment to supply 12,000 barrels of oil per day to Sudan, causing losses running into millions of dollars.

Both Khartoum and Juba Sudan have assured a worried New Delhi that its oil investments spanning the borders are safe and will not be affected by the dispute over oil revenues between the two countries.

The two countries missed a UNSC deadline to resume the talks last week.

Mbeki, the AU mediator, Monday however struck an optimistic note saying Sudan and South Sudan will this week set a date to restart peace talks.

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