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Thu Dec 18 16:24:47 SAST 2014

Mbeki: Sudanese oil impasse resolved

Sapa-AP | 07 January, 2013 00:15
Former president,Thabo Mbeki waiting to deliver his address commemorating the life of ANC leader OR Tambo at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. File photo.
Image by: Gary Horlor

The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agreed on Saturday to the unconditional and speedy implementation of deals made in September to demilitarise their shared borders and allow oil exports to flow from South Sudan's oil fields north through Sudan's pipelines, an African Union official said.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir met on Friday and Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to revive a stalled oil exportation deal that has lagged for months over disputes on the setup of security arrangements in the border regions.

African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki said late on Saturday that the two presidents had agreed to the "speedy, unconditional and coordinated" implementation of the agreements.

Mediators will present officials of the two sides with timetables for the resumption of oil exports and the withdrawal of military forces from border areas.

The timetables would be ready by Sunday, Mbeki said.

"The presidents agreed that steps should be taken without any further delay to demarcate those parts of the border that have been agreed," said Mbeki.

The two sides fought a decades-long war and still do not trust each other. South Sudan alleged that Sudan attacked it even when Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to try to improve relations between the governments.

South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Friday said that, in the event of disagreements about the recommendations of the mediators, his country proposed binding international arbitration.

There was no agreement on this proposal during the summit and African Union officials said it was not known how the two sides would proceed if recommendations of the mediators were rejected.

South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan in 2011. South Sudan was pumping its oil through Sudan's pipelines until early last year, when it accused Sudan of stealing its oil. The dispute crippled government budgets in both countries.

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