October 2, 2011 / 3:47 AM / 8 years ago

Sudan's Bashir rejects mediation in talks with South

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan wants to end all conflict with newly-independent South Sudan through dialogue but without any foreign mediation, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Saturday ahead of a visit by his southern counterpart.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrives to welcome Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is making an official visit, at Khartoum Airport September 16, 2011. REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin

South Sudan became independent on July 9 after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum that ended decades of civil war that killed two million people.

Both countries have failed to sort out a long list of disputes such as sharing oil revenues, ending violence in the joint border area or finding a compromise for the Abyei region which both north and South claim.

Diplomats hope for progress when Southern president Salva Kiir visits Khartoum in the next few days in his first trip since Juba’s independence, according to local newspaper reports.

In a speech to members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Bashir said relations with Juba were very important and both sides should solve all problems without foreign mediation.

“We need to sort out all issues through dialogue but without any foreign mediation,” Bashir said.

The African Union and former South African President Thabo Mbeki have tried to mediate between north and South but little has been resolved.

The only noticeable progress between the two countries was the signing of a border security agreement last month to facilitate travel between the two countries.

Sudan has accused Juba of supporting armed opposition groups fighting the army in two northern border states, a charge the South denies.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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