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Sudan, South Sudan Sign Oil Deal

The agreements centre on nine key areas, including a demilitarised buffer zone and oil production. The two sides, however, made no progress on the disputed Abyei region, which is claimed by both countries, as well as oil-rich Heglig over which they clashed in April this year.
Sudan and South Sudan have signed a raft of agreements in a deal that paves the way for the new nation to resume sale of its oil using Khartoum’s pipelines.

The agreements, coming days after marathon negotiations between President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir, were signed on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The pacts centre on nine key areas, including a demilitarised buffer zone and oil production. The two sides, however, made no progress on the disputed Abyei region, which is claimed by both countries, as well as oil-rich Heglig over which they clashed in April this year.

The agreement on the demilitarised border buffer zone will see troops withdrawing 10km from the de facto line of control along the un-demarcated frontier.

South Sudan gained independence last year after more than two decades of civil war.

President Kiir said the agreements signed brought to an end the long conflict and described the signing as a great day in the history of the region. He said his country will pursue the peace agreement at all costs with regional partners and various organisations.

South Sudan relies on oil for 98 per cent of its income and stopped exports in January after a dispute with Sudan because there was no agreement over transit fees.

President Bashir described his Southern counterpart as a "partner in peace" and hinted that there would be talks to open the border.

Amid international pressure on both sides to reach a deal, after missing a UN Security Council deadline to settle last week, their teams spent days trying to narrow positions as mediators shuttled between them.

 The protracted talks under African Union mediation began in the Ethiopian capital several months before South Sudan split in July 2011 from what was Africa's biggest nation, following a referendum after decades of war.

Meanwhile, a Sudanese warplane dropped six bombs on a market in southern Kordofan on Thursday, killing one person and injuring six others, according to Nuba Reports, a community online news service.

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