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World Leaders Hail Sudan-South Sudan Agreements

  • VOA News

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, right, shake hands on the completion of a signing ceremony after the two countries reached a deal on economic and security agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 27, 2012.
World leaders are welcoming the cooperation agreements signed by Sudan and South Sudan Thursday, and urging the sides to keep working to resolve other disputes.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the security and economic agreements mark "substantial progress" toward creating "two viable states at peace with each other."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the countries to begin implementing the agreements, among them a deal to create a demilitarized zone along their contested border.

The U.N. chief also urged them to settle the future of the oil-rich Abyei region, which both sides claim.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the deals will be of "enormous benefit to both countries."

Both the U.S. and Britain expressed hope for progress to end the conflict in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels in both areas, a charge the south denies.

Fighting in the two states began more than a year ago and has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Humanitarian groups have urged the Sudanese government to allow workers unrestricted access to the area to provide aid.