Khartoum: Sudan's Federal State Minister for Energy and Mining Angelina Teny has called for the appointment of representatives from the Government of Southern Sudan in the team assigned to market and sell Sudan's oil on international markets.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, the Sud-anese official said: "[The Government of Southern Sudan] GoSS was not allowed any representation at the strategic stages of oil production and overseas marketing. GoSS is only represented through the so-called [oil accounts committee] which divides the quotas based upon figures."

Excerpts of the interview:

Q. What are SPLM's plans for developing Southern Sudan? And what are your priorities at this stage?

ANGELINA TENY: As I'll speak in my capacity as [Sudan People's Liberation Movement] SPLM member and not as a Federal State Minister, I would like to say that SPLM has a conviction that it will meet its objectives in building a new Sudan through sustainable and balanced development and fair distribution of wealth not only in Southern Sudan but in the whole of Sudan.

This will be done through 'Peace through Development', a slogan adopted by SPLM. As for the South, SPLM is currently working for the reconstruction of health, education, and power sectors and all infrastructure destroyed by the war.

What are the efforts being exerted by GoSS and SPLM to make unity attractive or to maintain unity between southern and northern Sudan? What are your plans for that?

SPLM's philosophy is based upon building a united Sudan and solving all its problems. The movement is working for unity and not separation as some alleged.

SPLM believes that Nivasha agreement is valid for solving Sudan's political, economic and developmental problems. As a result, we often enter into a heated discussion with our ruling partner, the National Congress Party [NCP], about the completion of the implementation of all articles of the agreement on the forefront of which is the dispute over Abyei, the demarcation of borders between the North and the South, and the oil dossier. ...

SPLM is also working for ... a democratic transfer as this would have a significant role in making unity attractive for all Sudanese.

If the ruling partners, SPLM and [NCP], succeed in implementing the articles stipulated in the peace agreement regarding a democratic transfer according to the timetable [before] the elections in 2009, it will pave the way to make Sudan's unity an attractive option.

Who is then responsible for making Sudan's unity an attractive option when the scheduled referendum on unity and separation will be carried out, the National Congress Party or SPLM?

The responsibility of making unity attractive falls mainly on the Sudanese people themselves who should monitor the performance of the government. The responsibility in making unity attractive falls on the southern government who should enlighten its citizens about the importance of unity and the dangers of separation.

The biggest role in making unity an attractive option for southerners lies on the shoulders of the federal government in Khartoum. The government has to change many of its negative behaviours. We believe that [NCP], is procrastinating in the implementation of the Nivasha peace agreement, a matter that makes unity not an attractive option for the citizens of southern Sudan.

The most important reasons here is the non-withdrawal of the army from oil production facilities in southern Sudan though the withdrawal date was set for July 9. ... According to the [Nivasha] agreement, most of the responsibility for protection [of oil facilities] falls on SPLM and army.

What about the fate of northerners who are members of SPLM and investment companies that belong to the northern Sudanese operating in the South, in case the South became an independent state, and what will be the fate of investments of northern Sudanese in the South?

SPLM is a national party and aims at transforming Sudan into a democratic state. ... Even if two states are formed in the North and the South, SPLM would maintain presence in the two states.

What are the differences between SPLM and NCP on issues of oil, estimated production and fair distribution?

GoSS is suspicious about the figures announced by the federal government in Khartoum regarding the volume of oil production, which is gradually increasing. GoSS is uncertain about the oil production figures released by the federal government and also feels that its quota is not fair. ...GoSS was not given any representation at the strategic stages of oil production and overseas marketing.

Is it true that you are 'kept away' regarding oil, as Deng Alore, the Cabinet Affairs Minister said, though you are the State Minister for Energy?

If GoSS is not represented in the oil production and marketing strategic phases and I'm a minister based in Khartoum and all facts and information are with personnel working on the ground, and if we have no genuine partnership at all oil process stages as I have mentioned, this means I was kept absent.

Some see that that GoSS and SPLM are working on attracting investment from African countries like Kenya, Uganda and South Africa at the expense of investments from Arab countries, an indication of your rejection of Arabs?

There is absolutely no rejection of ... Arab investment. Before the formation of the National Unity Government based upon Nivasha accord and before the formation of GoSS, the former southern Sudan's government maintained good relations with some GCC states. People believe that the South is having more investment relations with African states than the Arabs because the South is adjacent to these African states and its ports are nearer.

Do you welcome GCC companies to operate and invest in oil and petrochemicals in southern Sudan?

We do welcome these companies and grant them legal guarantees. Southern Sudan has huge investment opportunities at the oil and petrochemical sectors as all refineries are based in the North.

What are the investment opportunities available to businessmen and investors from the UAE in particular?

Southern Sudan is rich in untapped mineral resources. Kaboita in Southern Bahar Al Gazzal state and Al Booma in Upper Nile state are rich in gold ... GoSS urged investors from the UAE in particular, to benefit from the investment opportunities in southern Sudan.