JUBA - Sudan and South Sudan must break the deadlock over oil supplies or neither country will prosper, Hillary Clinton said during the highest profile visit of a Western leader to the world's newest country (South Sudan).
In the latest leg of her two-week summer tour of Africa, the US Secretary of State told government officials in Juba, South Sudan's capital, that their year-old nation still faced "significant challenges".
They included "continued violence along the border with Sudan, unresolved ethnic tensions, gaps in infrastructure and the rule of law", she said.
"Continued progress hinges on South Sudan's ability to overcome these challenges. While South Sudan and Sudan have become separate states, their fortunes remain inextricably linked.
"The promise of prosperity rests on the prospects for peace." South Sudan cut all oil production in January because its supplies must be pumped through Sudan, which had begun to demand what Juba termed excessive fees to transport the oil to sea ports.
Since then, both countries have seen significant reductions in state revenues, leading to increasing popular anger that spilled into riots on the streets of Khartoum, Sudan's capital.
"This is a delicate moment ... Now we need to get those (oil) resources flowing again," Mrs Clinton said after an hour-long private meeting with Salva Kiir, South Sudan's president.
"A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing," she said, referring to the importance of an oil deal.
"Both countries will need to compromise to close the remaining gaps between them." After three hours on the ground in Juba, she left for neighbouring Uganda, where US troops are training the national army as it continues to hunt for Joseph Kony, the rebel leader wanted for war crimes.
She later continues to Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Ghana.
The Upper Nile Times