Sudans Sign Agreements Aimed at Preventing War

Posted September 27th, 2012 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Sudan and South Sudan have signed security and economic cooperation deals, though some disputes that nearly pushed them into war are still unresolved.

Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed the agreements at a ceremony in Addis Ababa, after four days of talks.

The deals call for a demilitarized zone along the two countries' border and the resumption of southern oil exports through the north. Another deal calls for creation of a so-called “soft border” that will allow people, goods, and animals to move across “unhindered.”

The countries remain divided over who controls the oil-producing Abyei region and other border areas.

Despite that, South Sudan's President Kiir hailed Thursday's agreement as a major breakthrough.

“…as we witness the signing of the cooperation agreement that brings to an end the long conflict between our countries on post-secession issues.”

The north and south fought a 21-year civil war that led to the South's independence in July 2011.

Lingering issues pushed the countries to the brink of war earlier this year. Sudan has accused the South of arming rebels in two of its states, while South Sudan accuses the north of launching air attacks.

South Sudan cut off oil exports through northern pipelines in January over a disagreement on transit fees. The lack of oil revenues has hurt the fragile economies of both nations.

The United Nations has threatened both countries with sanctions if they do not settle their issues.