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Sudan agrees to AU mediation

KHARTOUM, Sudan, June 17 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government said it has no objections to meeting with African Union leaders to find a solution to outstanding issues with South Sudan.

African Union negotiator Thabo Mbeki called for negotiations to help settle disputes between South Sudan and Sudan. Mbeki, a former South African president, helped broker agreements on a demilitarized zone along the shared Sudanese border last year.

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A joint statement from the British, Norwegian and U.S. governments published last week said both sides should honor their long-term commitments to peace.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said he would cut off oil export routes for South Sudan. He said rebel forces in the border regions were getting some of their funding from oil revenue.

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Abu Bakr al-Sideeq Mohamed al-Amin said Sudan agreed to take up the issue again with Mbeki at an unannounced date, the independent Sudan Tribune reported Sunday.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 under the terms of a peace deal with Sudan in 2005. Ethnic conflict, border clashes and oil disputes have threatened the peace deal.

British Foreign Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds said he was "shocked" by the weekend shelling of the U.N. compound in South Kordofan near Sudan's border. The United Nations said at least one peacekeeper was killed in the attack.

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