Sudan president visits South for first time since split
Sudan’s president pledges peace with South Sudan, Pentagon report suggests North Korea can fire nuclear missile, and Putin warns U.S. ahead of damning report. Today is Friday, April 12, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (R) welcomes his Sudan counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir outside his presidential office in Juba, April 12, 2013. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu
Bashir’s visit to South Sudan raises hopes of improved relations. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited neighboring South Sudan for the first time since the new country seceded from Sudan in 2011 following a civil war:
The neighbors agreed in March to resume pumping oil through pipelines from south to north and ease the tensions which had threatened to reignite the war between them that had killed more than 2 million people. Diplomats hope Bashir’s visit will help the two sides overcome deep mistrust and solve their remaining disputes over the ownership of Abyei and other contested border regions.
Bashir reinforced that sentiment in a speech in Juba. After meeting with South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, Bashir said the countries “won’t go back to war.” In January 2012, South Sudan ceased its 350,000-barrel-a-day oil output amid disagreement over pipeline fees, crippling both countries’ economies. The two have since agreed to work to increase economic ties, and South Sudan restarted oil production last week.
Nuclear North Korea? Portions of a speculative Pentagon report suggest North Korea may have a nuclear weapon:
A little-known U.S. lawmaker, Representative Doug Lamborn, set off alarm bells when he read a small section of a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report on North Korea at a hearing in the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Thursday. The passage said the DIA had “moderate confidence” that North Korea has nuclear weapons that are capable of delivery by ballistic missiles. But the report, entitled “Dynamic Threat Assessment 8099: North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program (March 2013),” seems not to be a high-level document.
A U.S. official said that the portion read aloud was mistakenly marked “unclassified.” U.S. officials have largely dismissed the report, with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saying that “the statement read by the Member is not an Intelligence Community assessment.”
Rocky relations with Russia. The United States is set to release a list of human rights abusers in Russia, a move Putin’s spokesperson said will “have a very negative effect on bilateral Russian-American relations.” The Sergei Magnitsky Act will deny Russians on the list entrance to the United States:
President Barack Obama must submit to U.S. lawmakers by Saturday a list of Russians to be barred entry to the United States under a law penalizing Moscow for alleged human rights abuses. Their assets in the United States will also be frozen. The Magnitsky Act is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in a Moscow jail in 2009 while awaiting trial on tax evasion charges.
Russia said it will respond in kind by listing Americans who cannot enter Russia. Putin’s spokesman added that relations between the two countries are “multifaceted,” signaling that the relationship between the two countries could withstand enactment of the law.
Nota Bene: A Reuters gallery shows street vendors selling posters of Hindu gods, handling colorful balloons, napping in a boat filled with vegetables, and more.
Puppy power – In what might be its cleverest PR campaign, the Kremlin released images of Russian President Putin playing with his dogs in the snow. (NBC)
Disrespectful ditty? – As “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead” tops British charts following Margaret Thatcher’s death, the UK’s official chart show must decide whether to play the tune. (BBC)
Bird shots – China defends its decision to vaccinate poultry as avian flu spreads. (The New York Times)
What time machine? – An Iranian paper quietly removes a story about a scientist claiming to have developed a time machine. (The Washington Post)
Defense dollars – Reuters columnist Nicholas Wapshott warns that Hagel must think carefully about Pentagon budget cuts in light of North Korea’s threats. (Reuters)
From the File: