ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Officials from South Sudan and Sudan met Tuesday in Ethiopia to discuss restarting oil production, a minister said.
South Sudan, independent since July 2011, halted oil production in January in response to alleged stealing by the Sudanese government. South Sudan controls most of the regional oil fields though Sudan has the export infrastructure.
South Sudan's Minister of Information Benjamin Banarba told the Platts news service the officials were to discuss oil exports during meetings in Addis Ababa.
"We have instructed oil companies to commence oil production and we know they are doing their best to achieve that in the soonest time possible, when they are ready we shall resume production," he was quoted as saying.
An August deal on oil payments calls on South Sudan to pay around $8 per barrel of oil exported through pipelines to Sudan. South Sudan had relied on oil for nearly of its revenue.
The countries nearly went to war this year following disputes over contested oil fields.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a recent visit to the region that oil talks paved the way toward a better future for the people of South Sudan.