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Sudan, South Sudan broker fragile truce

Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- South African negotiator Thabo Mbeki said Sudanese leaders have agreed to take immediate steps on border security, though implementation is unclear.

Sudanese and South Sudanese leaders met in Ethiopia this week to discuss hostilities between both sides. South Sudan last year became an independent country under the terms of a peace deal that ended the Sudanese civil war. Oil disputes, ethnic fighting and border insecurity have remained problematic, however.

Mbeki, former South African president and peace negotiator for the African Union, said both sides have agreed on a demilitarized zone along their shared border.

"Now in the agreement, it says within seven days, but in reality it's going to take longer," he was quoted by Voice of America as saying.

The independent Sudan Tribune, meanwhile, reports that it's unclear whether both sides were able to negotiate the disarming of South Sudan's rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North.

SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman was quoted by the Sudanese newspaper as saying, however, the group has "expressed its readiness and unwavering commitment for an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities."

Conflicts over the disputed border region of oil-rich Heglig this year nearly pushed both sides to war.

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