Oil war: Sudan president to visit South Sudan

29 October 2012, Sweetcrude, KHARTOUM – PRESIDENT Omar Hassan Bashir of Sudan is expected to visit South Sudan soon, his first trip since the south gained independence in July last year.

The visit is aimed at forging a healthier relationship between the two neighbours, who have remained at loggerheads over oil resources.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti disclosed the plan by Sudan president to travel down-south to the state news agency,SUNA over the weekend.

Last month, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to end hostilities, restart southern oil exports through the north and revive cross-border trade, after both came close to war in April.

The foreign minister gave no date but officials said the visit could be in early November.

The two countries have yet to sort out ownership of several disputed areas along the unmarked border but tensions have ebbed in the past few months.

The state news agency quoted Karti as saying that Bashir’s visit would be a “new start in relations between Sudan and South Sudan.”

Bashir was last in Juba at South Sudan’s independence ceremony on 9 July 2011. Both leaders had planned to hold a summit in Juba in April but Sudan cancelled it after fighting broke out at the border and South Sudan briefly seized an oil field key to Sudan’s economy.

The foreign minister said a joint political and security committee would meet in Juba at the beginning of November. Bashir and his southern counterpart Salva Kiir are expected to attend the meeting.

South Sudan became independent after a referendum agreed under a 2005 deal that ended decades of civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the south where most follow Christian and African beliefs.

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