Sudan to Pull Troops From Disputed Abyei Region

Posted May 28th, 2012 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Sudan says it will remove its troops from the oil-producing Abyei region, one day before critical talks with South Sudan, which also claims the region.

A spokesman for the Sudanese defense ministry, Alsawarmi Khalid Saad, made the announcement Monday.

“… (T)he Sudanese armed forces has decided to redeploy its troops outside Abyei, as a good-will gesture and to give a good environment for the negotiations.”

The troop withdrawal is due to begin Tuesday.

Earlier, South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing and shelling areas in Northern Bahr el Gazal state, and sending warplanes over the southern capital, Juba. The Sudanese defense ministry denied the claims.

South Sudan split from Sudan last July, but the countries are locked in disputes over border demarcation, oil revenue, and the status of nationals in each other's territory.

Talks are due to resume Tuesday in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, under the mediation of the African Union. The last round of talks broke down in April because of fighting on the border separating the two Sudans.

The clashes have raised fears of a full-fledged war between the Sudans. Before independence, the south fought a 21-year civil war against the government in Khartoum.