The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have reached a consensus on South Sudan's oil and how much the country will have to pay to pipe it through Sudan. The U.N. released a statement today saying that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "welcomed" the deal, and that it is "an important milestone for building good neighborly relations between the two states."
South Sudan shut down all oil output earlier this year because of a dispute over how much South Sudan was to pay to use Sudan's pipelines. The dispute heightened the already-strained relations between the two countries, resulting in an escalation in violence that threatened to throw the two countries back into a war.
The agreement was reached only days after Secretary Hillary Clinton visited the country and engaged both South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir in talks to try to spur the two countries toward a compromise. The U.N. had already extended the deadline by which the Sudans were supposed to have reached an accord or face sanctions.
Approximately 98 percent of South Sudan's GDP comes from oil revenue. The suspension of oil production in January of 2012 caused food prices to rise by 120 percent, in a country where most people live on less than one dollar a day.
Now that a deal has been reached, Secretary Ban in his statement urged Sudan to "expeditiously enable the delivery of aid to the populations concerned." UN estimates say about 170,000 Sudanese have sought refuge in South Sudan due to violence along the border and food shortages.