Sudan says it is optimistic over oil deal with South Sudan

Reuters Africa

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan is “very optimistic” it can reach a border security agreement with South Sudan that would allow a resumption of oil exports from the South, a senior official of the Khartoum government said.

Sudan's Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef looks on after his oath-taking ceremony in Khartoum September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

Sudan’s Second Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef said both sides did not need to solve all outstanding conflicts to reach such an agreement.

“We are very optimistic about the (border) security issue,” he told reporters on Saturday.

His comments were the strongest indication yet that the border security issue between the two hostile African neighbors can be solved.

Oil is essential to both countries and they have reached an agreement about how much landlocked South Sudan will have to pay to export its oil through northern pipelines, ending a dispute that saw the South shut down its entire output in January.

But before exports can resume Sudan wants a security agreement for the 1,800 kilometer (1,200 mile) long border, much of which is disputed.

Border fighting brought the two countries close to another war in April. It was worst violence since South Sudan became independent a year ago under a peace agreement to end a long-running civil war with the North.

Youssef said the neighbours could finalise some of the most difficult issues left over from southern secession – such as the fate of the disputed border region of Abyei – after agreeing on a border security deal. Read more…

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