Leaders of Sudan, S.Sudan start talks to defuse tension

ADDIS ABABA Sat Jan 5, 2013 3:40am IST

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (C) walks with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (3rd L) as he arrives for talks with leaders from Sudan in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa January 4, 2013. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (C) walks with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (3rd L) as he arrives for talks with leaders from Sudan in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa January 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

Related Topics

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan met late on Friday to try to defuse hostility that has simmered since the south broke away in 2011 and restart cross-border oil flows to rescue their crumbling economies.

No details emerged as Sudan's Omar Hassan al-Bashir and South Sudan's Salva Kiir met in the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who is trying to mediate between the neighbours who came close to war in April.

Both leaders will meet alone for the first time at a summit on Saturday, Sudan's state news agency SUNA said.

North and south already agreed in September to resume oil exports and secure the volatile border but they failed to follow through as mistrust lingered, a legacy of one of Africa's longest civil wars.

Analysts say the confrontation helps shore up the domestic popularity of both governments by diverting attention from their economic problems and widespread corruption.

But the neighbouring economies rely heavily on energy revenues and need the oil to flow again from the fields in South Sudan. The southern government in Juba shut down its entire output of 350,000 barrels a year ago after failing to agree on an export fee.

The north charges the south millions of dollars a month to pipe the crude through its territory and export it via a terminal on the Red Sea.

Under the September deals, they agreed to pull back their armies from the border stretching for almost 2,000 km (1,200 miles), much of which is disputed.

Both sides say such a buffer zone is necessary before oil from the landlocked south can flow through Sudanese territory.

On Friday, South Sudan's chief mediator Pagan Amum accused Sudan of dropping bombs across the border four times this week. Sudan's army was not immediately available for comment but routinely denies such claims.

"It is very, definitely, negative. These (air strikes) are having a negative impact on the summit and discussion," Amum told reporters in Addis Ababa.

In turn, Sudan regularly accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) in two border states. Juba denies the accusation and says Sudan is backing militias on its territory.

Diplomats say both sides tend to see such summits as an opportunity to pick away at the other's weaknesses rather than an opportunity to solve their conflicts.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

WORLD SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Russia criticises EU sanctions, raps US over Ukraine role.  Full Article 

Downed MH17

Downed MH17

Britain says highly likely MH17 shot down by Russian-supplied missile.  Full Article 

Keep 'Em Running

Keep 'Em Running

U.S. tells Pakistan: Do not let Haqqani fighters resettle.  Full Article 

Precarious Situation

Precarious Situation

United States pulls embassy staff from Libya after militia clashes in Tripoli.  Full Article 

Iraq Politics

Iraq Politics

Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside.  Full Article 

Crackdown In China

Crackdown In China

China's Guangdong province removes over 850 'naked officials' from their posts.  Full Article 

Bus Restrictions

Bus Restrictions

China imposes airline-like restrictions on bus passengers in Xinjiang capital  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage