News24

Sudan ratifies S Sudan border deal

2012-10-17 16:56

Khartoum - Sudan's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to ratify an agreement to end hostilities with South Sudan and restart southern oil exports, a day after Juba's assembly approved the deal.

The settlement defused some of the disputes that brought the countries close to all-out war earlier this year - and set up a demilitarised buffer zone along their contested border.

But it stopped short of settling some of the most divisive issues left unresolved when South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in July last year, including the ownership of Abyei and other flashpoint territories.

Sudanese parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher said all but two deputies had voted for the agreement, which was initially signed by the two countries' leaders in Addis Ababa last month.

"We need to continue talking to the South and forget the tensions of the past," he said before the vote.

South Sudan split away from Sudan under the terms of a peace deal that ended decades of civil war between the two sides fuelled by oil, ethnicity and religion.

Distrust remains deep and the two countries' armies have clashed over the border several times since the split.

South Sudan shut down its daily 350 000-barrel oil output - which passed entirely through Sudanese pipelines - in January following a row over transit fees. The move devastated both countries' oil-dependent economies.

The Addis Ababa agreement calls for the resumption of southern oil exports. The African Union and other mediators hope the countries' mutual dependence on crude exports will keep the peace and encourage them to push on for a fuller agreement.

Southern officials say it will take three to 12 months to get oil exports flowing again.