Despite the cessation of hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan following the conflict in Heglig, diplomatic and economic tensions continue to develop between both countries after the Government of South Sudan expelled more than 140 Sudanese oil workers on Tuesday.
The Sudanese oil workers were employed by Petrodar, an oil pipeline company partly owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation and were set to return to Sudan within 72 hours.
The Sudanese spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Al-Obeid Murawah said in response to the expulsion that Sudan would not expel South Sudanese workers as a punishment for the decisions made by their country and described the move as “provocative.”
In addition, South Sudan released more than 100 prisoners detained during the Heglig conflict, a move spearheaded by Egypt which has vast interest in normalizing relations between Sudan and South Sudan.
Oil border disputes between both nations continue to deepen as South Sudan claims that certain oil-rich areas are within its borders.
On April 10 of this year, South Sudan attacked and occupied Heglig, an oil field in South Kordofan State in Sudan on the grounds that it was part of South Sudan. Southern Sudanese troops later withdrew but Sudan claims that they were forced out.