Sudanese, South Sudanese presidents meet on oil, border deal

2013-01-05 05:50:52 GMT2013-01-05 13:50:52(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit met late Friday to push for progress on their stalled agreement.

The two rivals, becoming increasingly hostile to each other since the south broke away in 2011, met in the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Addis Ababa.

There are no further details on the meeting.

The leaders, however, are expected to meet alone on Saturday to explore the best ways of overcoming the difficulties in implementing a deal on oil exports and border disputes signed on Sept. 27 under the auspices of the African Union High Implementation Panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The neighbors, dependent heavily on oil revenues, have failed to honor the deal to resume oil exports and withdraw troops from their mushy disputed border areas.

South Sudan suspended its entire oil output due to differences with Khartoum on exporting fees and other issues, adding chill to their already suffering economies. Sudan had asked South Sudan to pay millions of dollars a month for exporting oil via its territories.

The two leaders are also expected to talk on Saturday about the status of Abyei, an oil-rich area straddling their border and claimed by both.

However, it is widely speculated that the talks are unlikely to succeed, given the deep mistrust between the two nations.

South Sudan has accused the north of a series of attacks and the north accused the south of supporting the rebelling Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North.

South Sudan's chief negotiator told reporters on Friday that the two would seek international arbitration if they fail to resolve their problems at this summit.

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