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Sudans Hoping to Finalize Border Talks Sunday

Sudan's Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein (R) sits next to the Sudan's Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmud Ahmad at the opening of border security talks between Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa on June 4, 2012.
The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan will meet for a summit in Ethiopia Sunday to finalize the negotiations between the two countries. President Omar al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir are expected to reach an agreement on the border issues and the Abyei region.

Delegations from Sudan and South Sudan resumed negotiations at the beginning of September in Ethiopia. They focused mostly on issues of oil, economy and trade, security and the border issue.

South Sudanese Minister for Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor thinks the agreements can be finalized soon.

"There are still some few issues that are still hanging and I think they could be resolved in the coming two days," he says. "There are some minor issues with regards to oil and border, I think will be resolved."

The issue of the oil-producing Abyei region has not been discussed during the negotiations. A proposal by African Union mediators has been sent to both delegations.

Ambassador Badreldin Abdalla is part of the Sudanese delegation. He says the proposal is currently under discussion.

"The proposal was initiated from here, from the parties, to the negotiation," Badreldin said. "And, every side took it to their presidents to have their opinions on that. Now, they came back and now both sides with the facilitators are discussing that. Still it's on the table, and both sides are discussing that. [There are] no results yet."

Ethiopia's Hailemariam Desalegn, who is due to be sworn in as prime minister Friday, was shuttling between the two delegations last week in an effort to advance the negotiations. Late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month, was often praised for his involvement in the Sudan negotiations.

South Sudan separated from Sudan last year in a 2005 peace agreement. But, disputes over oil, borders, and the status of each country's citizens in the other's territory remain unsettled and have sparked fighting along the border.

The United Nations Security Council set a September 22 deadline for the two countries to settle their issues. Sanctions will not be imposed yet because the two countries are close to finalizing the agreements.