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September 26, 2012

Sudanese Presidents Reach Deal on Oil, Demilitarized Zone

by VOA News

The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to set up a demilitarized border zone and resume oil exports, but left several major security questions unresolved.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir plan to sign the deal Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They held four days of talks aimed at preventing the possible outbreak of another war.

South Sudan cut off oil exports through Sudanese pipelines in January over a disagreement in transit fees. The lack of oil revenues has threatened the fragile economie of both nations.

Soldiers from both sides will also pull 10 kilometers back from the border.

Officials say the still unsettled issues of who controls the fertile Abyei region and other border crossings will be discussed in future talks.

South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in July, 2011, part of of a deal that ended a long civil war between the north and south.

Lingering anger between the two countries pushed them to the brink of war earlier this year. Sudan has accused the South of arming rebels in two southern regions while South Sudan accuses the Sudanese army of launching bombing raids.

The United Nations has threatened both countries with sanctions