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Leaders of Sudan and South Sudan Agree to End Disputes

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) listens as his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir speaks during a joint news conference, before Kiir's departure at Khartoum Airport October 9, 2011.

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has ended a two day visit to Khartoum where he and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir discussed issues that continue to produce tensions between the two countries.

Unresolved since South Sudan became independent in early July are the future of the disputed oil-rich border region of Abyei and how to share oil revenue which is the life-line of both nations.

During a session with reporters on Sunday, the two leaders said committees are being formed in an attempt to end the disputes which have led to fears of a return to civil war. Kiir said his government is ready to discuss solutions "to all outstanding issues." Bashir said deadlines have been established. But he did not provide further details.

South Sudan has most of the oil production but needs Sudan's Red Sea export facilities.

Diplomats say the fact that the two leaders agreed to meet is a positive sign.

Also causing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan is fighting in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, both regions located within Sudan's borders. Since South Sudan has withdrawn its troops from Abyei the fighting there has ended. But Sudan has refused to pull out its forces until all the 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers designated for the region arrive. Only half of them are currently stationed there.