Sudan agrees to resume talks with South Sudan next week


Sudan said it had agreed to resume talks next week with South Sudan to end hostilities between the arch-foes, said state news agency SUNA.

The African neighbours came close to war when a border dispute in April saw the worst violence since South Sudan split from Sudan in July under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

Both countries returned to African Union-mediated negotiations at the end of May, but broke off talks last week after failing to agree where to draw a demilitarised buffer zone along the disputed border as a first step to end hostilities, Reuters reports.

Talks over border security will resume in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman El-Obeid Morawah told SUNA late on Thursday. South Sudan had already said it was ready to resume talks next week.

Western diplomats see no quick breakthrough as positions over a long list of disputes seem far apart. Both sides accuse each other of supporting rebels in the other’s territory.

South Sudan said on Wednesday it was seeking international arbitration over several disputed border areas, some of which are oil-producing.

They also have to agree on how much the landlocked South should pay to export its oil through the north. Juba halted oil production in January to stop Khartoum from seizing southern oil for what the latter calls unpaid export fees.

Some 2 million people died in the civil conflict between north and south, waged for all but a few years between 1955 and 2005 over ideology, ethnicity, religion and oil.