[QODLink]
Africa
Sudan and South Sudan poised to sign deal
Deal to allow South Sudan to resume oil exports through Sudan months after dispute over transit fees.
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2012 11:58
The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed on a demilitarised buffer zone on the border [Reuters]

Sudan and South Sudan are due to sign an agreement paving the way for the South to resume sale of its oil using the North's pipelines.

The deal, to be inked in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, comes after four days of marathon negotiations between the former civil war foes, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and his Southern counterpart Salva Kiir.

South Sudan delegation spokesman Atif Kiir said on Wednesday that there is "agreement on some areas" while his Sudanese counterpart Badr el-din Abdullah Badr spoke of "progress on many issues".

HIGHLIGHTS
  Border security deal will restart badly needed oil exports for both countries
  South Sudan relies on oil for 98 per cent of its income and uses the North's pipelines to export
  Oil exports were halted in January over high transit fees demanded by Sudan
  No agreement yet on the disputed Abyei border region 
  A demilitarised buffer zone at the will be set up 

While few details were released, spokesmen from both sides said a demilitarised border buffer zone, where troops must withdraw 10km from the de facto line of control along the un-demarcated frontier, had been agreed.

Economic agreements were also reportedly reached, building on an oil deal last month to ensure South Sudan's stalled production would restart, after a stoppage that had damaged the economies of both nations.

Al Jazeera's Harriet Martin, reporting from Sudan's capital, Khartoum, called the agreements a "comprehensive deal" and that they followed a UN Security Council demand in May that the two sides resolve the dispute.

"The issues are wide ranging: They cover economics, they cover trade and they cover, most importantly, oil - turning oil back on," she said.

"Both sides desperately need the cash, particularly South Sudan. But they [agreements] also apparently cover some of the border issues. Security at the border was one of the key issues that the Sudanese government was very keen to get sorted." 

South Sudan relies on oil for 98 per cent of its income and stopped exports in January after a dispute with Sudan because there was no agreement over transit fees, said our correspondent.

She said South Sudan relies on Sudan to get its oil out to markets using the North's pipelines.

"So much of these negotiations - or the most important part in many respects - was this issue of transit fees and that now seems to have been resumed," our correspondent said.

No agreement on Abyei

Though both sides said a deal on the resumption of oil exports would be inked on Thursday, they failed to agree on the contested flashpoint Abyei region or on a series of border zones claimed by both sides.

In Depth
  Country Profile: Sudan
  Country Profile: South Sudan
  Q&A: The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan
  Reviving the 'New Sudan' vision
  Inside Story: Good neighbours?
  In Depth: Sudan conflict

"The two countries failed to reach an agreement on two issues: Abyei... [and] the second issue is that of the border," spokesman Kiir told reporters after the talks ended late on Wednesday.

"The two countries have agreed to have another round of talks... mainly on the issue of the border, on the disputed and unclaimed areas."

His counterpart Abdullah said that the issues would be addressed in the future.

"We have overcome many differences... but here are some differences on Abyei," he said, adding that resolving border areas claimed by both sides "is going to take time".

No dates were given for a potential further round of talks.

Amid international pressure on both sides to reach a deal, after missing a UN Security Council deadline to settle by last Saturday, their teams spent days trying to narrow positions as mediators shuttled between them.

The protracted talks under African Union mediation began in the Ethiopian capital several months before South Sudan split in July 2011 from what was Africa's biggest nation, following a referendum after decades of war.

Meanwhile, a Sudanese warplane droppped six bombs on a market in southern Kordofan on Thursday, killing one person and injuring six others, Ryan Boyette, CEO of Nuba Reports, a community online news service, told Al Jazeera.

Boyette said the person killed was a woman and that she had seven children, the youngest four months old.

The bombs were dropped by a Russian-built Antanov, he said.

"What makes this bombing unique is that it occurred during the market day - it is market day on Thursdays - and people from surrounding villages come [here] to trade," he said.

853

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list