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Sudan, S Sudan set to resume talks

07 August 2012, 12:26

 Khartoum - Sudan will resume talks with South Sudan on 26 August to resolve remaining conflicts after reaching an interim oil agreement, the Sudanese state news agency SUNA said on Monday.

On Friday, the arch-adversaries reached an interim deal on how much South Sudan should pay to export its crude via Sudan, ending a row that led to the shutdown of southern oil production in January. Oil is the lifeline for both economies.

The accord marked a step forward towards ending hostilities between the nations that came close to outright war after border fighting flared in April.

But north and south have yet to mark their disputed border and improve frontier security, one of several complicated issues left over when South Sudan became independent in July 2011 under a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum.

African Union-sponsored bilateral talks on remaining issues will resume on 26 August, El-Obeid Morawah, a spokesperson for the Sudanese foreign ministry, told SUNA.

He said the oil pact would be signed in the coming days but be implemented only after a border security agreement had been reached. "Security ... is the priority for the government," he added.

There was no immediate comment from the South Sudanese in Juba.

Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels in two of its southern border states, an assertion Western diplomats find credible despite Juba's denial. South Sudan itself accuses Khartoum of often bombing its side of the border.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the oil deal but regretted that both nations had failed to resolve all conflicts until 2 August as demanded by the UN Security Council.

"He urges the Sudanese and South Sudanese leaders to muster the necessary political will to resolve all outstanding issues," a UN statement said.

Sudan and South Sudan also need to find a solution for the border region of Abyei, which both want to add to their territory.

- Reuters


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