Lifeline, relief as two Sudans seal deals
The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan signed a number of deals yesterday to secure their shared border and boost trade, including a restart of crucial oil exports.
But they failed to resolve other conflicts that remained when the South seceded last year.
The deals, reached after more than three weeks of talks, will throw both ailing economies a lifeline and prevent, for now, a resumption of the fighting that broke out along the border in April.
Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir, signed cooperation and trade deals at a packed room in Ethiopia's Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, which has been brokering the talks.
"We are convinced that what has happened, which culminated in the agreements, constitutes a giant step forward for both countries," AU mediator Thabo Mbeki said.
The defence ministers of both Sudans signed a deal to set up a demilitarised buffer zone along the joint border.
Bashir said it was a "historic moment for building peace" between the former civil war foes.
The deal will allow landlocked South Sudan to resume oil exports through Sudan, which will inject dollars into the ailing economies of both countries.