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Sudan's Bashir to meet South Sudan's Kiir

Jan. 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government announced it accepted an offer from the Ethiopian prime minister to meet the South Sudanese president Friday in Addis Ababa.

The state-run news agency SUNA reports Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accepted an invitation to visit the Ethiopian capital Friday for meetings with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

Bashir's spokesman Imad Sid Ahmed said the leaders will discuss peace issues left over from an accord that paved the way to South Sudan's independence in July 2011.

In an brief address marking the start of the new year, Bashir called on rebel forces to abandon their weapons and return to a state "which accommodates everybody," the independent Sudan Tribune reports.

He added that Khartoum was willing to cooperate on outstanding border issues with the South Sudanese government.

Last year, South Sudan and Sudan nearly went to war over disputed oil territory along their shared border. Despite peace negotiations, hosted in part by the Ethiopian government, border tensions, ethnic conflicts and disputes over oil have remained sources of contention for both sides.

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