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Presidents of Sudan, South Sudan Tackle Key Disputes at Summit

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (R) and his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir (file photo).

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (R) and his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir (file photo).

ADDIS-ABABA, Ethiopia – Sudan and South Sudan are discussing outstanding issues on oil and their common border. A summit between the neighboring countries started in Ethiopia late Sunday. The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan meet again Monday after failing to reach a deal in talks Sunday on border disputes and oil sharing.

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan are meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The two presidents are expected to discuss and finalize agreements on border and security issues, such as the Abyei region.

Both presidents met with newly sworn-in Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn before meeting with their delegations.

Agreements on economic, oil and trade matters are mostly ready to be signed. But the presidents first have to agree on outstanding issues, says Ambassador Badredin Abdalla of the Sudanese delegation.

“There [are] some issues, that is, still some difficulties regarding the security issue, regarding the border issues, and maybe also the connection of South Sudan to some aspects of the two areas issue and of course also they are going to discuss [the] Abyei issue,” said Abdalla.

Negotiations between the delegations of the two countries on the border issue lasted until late Saturday. Sudan accepted an African Union map for a demilitarized zone under special conditions.

Spokesman of the South Sudanese delegation Atif Keir says final negotiations between the two presidents will not be easy.

“Of course we are facing some difficulties here and there, some remaining issues; the two delegations failed to reach an agreement on them,” said Keir.

South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, ending the long Sudanese civil war. The two countries have been in disputes since the split, with violent clashes erupting between them earlier this year.

The U.N. Security Council will sanction both Sudan and South Sudan if they fail to reach agreement on the issues dividing them.