U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) said today that the ongoing conflict between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan is contributing to upward pressure on gasoline prices and that the United States should help marshal international efforts to resolve the conflict, both for humanitarian and economic reasons.
Speaking at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Lugar called on China, which has been a major source of funds for the brutal regime in Khartoum, Sudan, through purchases of oil, to "live up to its responsibilities .and use its influence to help bring about a reconciliation."
Oil from South Sudan, which flows in pipelines north through the Republic of Sudan, has been cut off since January after a series of commercial disputes and armed conflicts between the two countries, which separated in July under terms of a peace agreement. "Even though the United States imported no oil from Sudan, oil is traded on a world market, so in today's tight oil market, any major loss of supply affects all prices, from the crude that Americans import, to the gasoline that they put in their cars," Lugar said.
At the hearing, Lugar underscored the humanitarian tragedy occurring in the region. He said, "The most egregious violence and violations of international law again emanate from Khartoum, Sudan, as the Al Bashir government engages in its familiar pattern of crimes against humanity, including starvation as a method of war."