* Sudan VP says frontier conflict with South Sudan not over
* Border deal needed to restart S. Sudan crude exports
* VP dismisses Bashir health rumours, says he's at work
* Arrested coup-plotters will get fair trial, VP says
By Ulf Laessing and Alexander Dziadosz
KHARTOUM, Dec 5 Sudan will not allow South
Sudan's oil exports to flow through its territory until Juba
cuts ties with anti-Khartoum rebels and expels their leaders, a
Sudanese vice president said on Wednesday, dampening hopes that
bilateral tensions were over.
In a rare interview with foreign media, Sudan's Second Vice
President al-Haj Adam Youssef also dismissed rumours that
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was in poor health, and said
senior officers arrested for planning a coup against the veteran
leader last month would get a fair trial.
Sudan and South Sudan agreed in September to secure their
disputed border and resume oil exports after clashes brought
them close to an all-out war in April. It was the worst violence
since the South seceded last year under a 2005 deal that ended
decades of civil war.
The African neighbours have yet to withdraw their armies
from the border, a step both said was necessary to resume oil
flows from the south, a lifeline for both of their economies.
South Sudan shut down its entire output of 350,000 barrels a
day in January after failing to agree on an export fee with
Sudan for the crude to pass through pipelines in the north.
On Sunday, South Sudan's negotiator Pagan Amum said exports
could restart in two or three weeks, raising hopes that
lingering issues would be resolved at talks in Khartoum this
But Youssef rejected Amum's assertion that security
questions had been settled, and accused Juba of continuing to
support and host rebels fighting the Khartoum government.
"We see that nothing has been done positively in this
respect. We want action, of course, rather than talking,"
Youssef told Reuters, sitting in his office in the Republican
Palace on the banks of the Nile.
"We hope the next few days will reveal some positive steps,
he said, but added: "Unless the security is sorted out nothing
is going to be implemented (regarding oil) ... We are waiting
for concrete and positive steps."
Juba denies Khartoum's charges that it supports insurgents
in Darfur and rebels of the SPLM-North fighting in the border
states of South Kordafan and Blue Nile. But analysts say the
allegations by Sudan are credible.
Journalists photographed Darfur rebels fighting alongside
the South Sudanese army during the border clashes in April and
have met some SPLM-North leaders in the South's capital Juba.
"They shouldn't be supported, of course, by any means of
support, military support or political support. They have to be
chased out," Youssef said.
Sudan would not budge on security, he said, adding that the
government had not included oil exports fees from the South in
its budget for next year.
Youssef ruled out talks with the SPLM-North, made up mainly
of fighters who sided with the South during the civil war, until
it cut ties with Juba.
"They have to come to us as Sudanese but not representing
the South Sudan army," he said. "For example, if a Sudanese is
working in the American marines and then he comes here to talk
with us as a Sudanese, we are not going to accept it at all."
A FOILED COUP
Youssef, who comes from an Arab tribe in Darfur, dismissed
health rumours about Bashir. The president has undergone surgery
twice since August in Qatar and in Saudi Arabia.
"He is in his office upstairs and working, you can see him,"
he said, pointing in the direction of Bashir's office in the
historic palace, once the seat of British colonial rule in the
Bashir has appeared in public less often in recent months
and did not attend a major Arab mining conference in Khartoum
last week, fuelling speculation that he was in poor health.
The president, who seized power in a 1989 coup, has faced
street protests over galloping inflation since Sudan lost
three-quarters of its original oil output to South Sudan when
the latter gained independence last year.
Youssef said Bashir could still seek re-election in the next
election, expected in 2015, although officials in his ruling
National Congress Party (NCP) said last year he would not run
"At the right time, the institution will resume its meeting
and decide who is the nominee for the NCP for the presidency for
the next round," he said. "There is nothing that will hinder
President Bashir to be nominated."
Weak opposition parties have failed to mobilise mass
anti-government protests but signs of a new threat emerged when
authorities arrested ex-spy chief Salah Gosh and a group of
officers last month for planning a plot to undermine security.
Confirming for the first time it was a coup attempt against
Bashir, Youssef said those arrested would get a fair trial. He
dismissed the plot as "normal in Sudan", a country that has seen
several governments overthrown since independence in 1956.
"They had prepared their weapons but not shouldered them
yet," he said. "It is normal, isn't it? It's normal in a country
like Sudan. Haven't you heard it in other countries?"
"The ambition of human beings cannot be suppressed. Everyone
has ambitions to be president, even you probably think of that."
(Additional reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf
Laessing; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and david Stamp)