Carter: Sudan to Pull Forces Out of Abyei

Posted May 27th, 2012 at 6:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir told him he is ready to pull troops out of Abyei — a region also contested by South Sudan.

Mr. Carter held talks with the Sudanese president in Khartoum Sunday, calling the announcement a major step forward. He said there are very few troops left in Abyei after the south withdrew all its forces under a United Nations resolution.

Mr. Carter said President Bashir did not express any reservations or conditions during their talks. Sudan seized Abyei last year after an attack on a Sudanese troops that it blamed on the south.

Sudan and South Sudan plan to return to African Union brokered peace talks Tuesday.

South Sudan declared independence last July, but left a number of contentious issues with Sudan unresolved — including citizenship, sharing oil wealth and whether Abyei's rich farmland would join the north or south.

Hostilities and military incursions by both sides have threatened to erupt into an all-out war.

President Carter was in Sudan Sunday as a member of The Elders — a group of world leaders founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela.