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Sudan, S. Sudan border dispute hinges on AU role

  |   Oct. 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A visit to a disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan may help mend long-standing wounds between both sides, a U.N. envoy said.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir hosted his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, this week to discuss lingering issues left over from a peace deal that ended Sudan's civil war in 2005.

The deal paved the way to South Sudan's independence in 2011. Both parties agreed to broad principles on finding a way to end border conflicts but left the status of the disputed border region of Abyei unresolved.

Agshin Mehdiyev, Azerbaijan's ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement Thursday that a weekend visit to the region by members of the African Union may be an "opportunity to ease tensions" in the region.

Mehdiyev stated members of the U.N. Security Council had expressed "grave concern" over the shadow cast by the Abyei disputes.

Azerbaijan holds the monthly rotating president of the Security Council.

AU leaders have worked with Sudanese leaders to help resolve national security challenges.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday bilateral talks in South Sudan were a step in the right direction but more work was needed to resolve lingering issues.

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