ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Leaders of Sudan and South Sudan met Friday in Ethiopia, trying to reach an accord in a simmering dispute over oil transit fees.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, South Sudan President Salva Kiir, and leaders of Ethiopia and Kenya met in Addis Ababa to try to break the deadlock over the fees Sudan says South Sudan owes, the Sudan Tribune reported.
A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said he expected Bashir and Kiir to respond to an African High Level Implementation Panel proposal to break the stalemate with temporary and permanent actions, and reach an agreement during the weekend, possibly Saturday.
Legislative leaders said the lower chamber of the South Sudan Legislative Assembly Thursday unanimously approved a Cabinet decision to stop producing and exporting oil to international markets through Sudan, which said it confiscated South Sudanese oil as compensation for unpaid transit fees.
South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan last year, has oil reserves but lacks the infrastructure to get the oil out. Sudan lacks oil reserves, but has pipelines and refineries South Sudan uses to export its oil. The two countries disagree over user fees.
Sudanese officials in Khartoum insisted on charging at least $32 per barrel of oil, which South Sudan authorities in Juba said exceeded international norms.