September 18, 2012 - 22:05 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan are heading towards a deal this week that would allow the resumption of oil exports vital to the economies of both African countries, a Western official involved in the talks said on Tuesday, Sept 18, according to Reuters.
Much could still go wrong, given profound mutual mistrust and failure to fully implement previous agreements, diplomats said, but the mood at the African Union-brokered talks appeared to be much brighter than in previous rounds.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war but the two have yet to resolve a litany of issues related to partition. Border clashes almost boiled over into full-scale war in April, although tensions have abated since then.
Norway's Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan said he was confident both presidents would heed a call from the African Union (AU) to come to Addis Ababa to wrap up the two weeks of talks before a UN Security Council deadline of September 22.
"We appreciate the strong efforts the parties have made towards the outstanding issues and we are confident that they will reach an agreement before the end of the deadline," Endre Stiansen told Reuters on the sidelines of the talks.
"I think it will be a summit later on this week. The date I cannot say but I think there will be a summit. And the summit is necessary to close this deal," he said.
Norway is a mediator in the talks because it advises both nations on oil issues and is respected as a neutral party.
The two are "very close" to a final oil transport accord, another diplomat said, adding that the sides were discussing technical aspects of restarting production. "Discussions for a final oil deal are in the last stage. There is no big obstacle left," the diplomat said.