September 27, 2012 - 10:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Sudan and South Sudan have reached a deal on border security and oil production that will allow oil exports from South Sudan through Sudan to resume, say spokesmen for both sides, according to BBC News.
The leaders of the two neighboring countries made the partial breakthrough after four days of talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. But a number of key issues remain unresolved, including disputed regions.
The two countries were pushed to the brink of war earlier this year. After fighting over oil facilities and disputed land broke out, the United Nations threatened both sides with sanctions if they did not reach a comprehensive agreement.
African Union mediators have yet to confirm that an agreement has been made, but President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan are expected to sign a deal on Thursday, Sept 27 morning.
Few details were released, but negotiators for both sides said that a demilitarized border buffer zone between the two countries had been agreed.
They also said that an economic agreement had been reached to allow South Sudan's stalled oil production to be restarted.
But a solution was not found to the disputed flashpoint region of Abyei, or on a series of border zones claimed by both countries.
The prospective deal therefore falls short of the comprehensive agreement called for by the UN. When South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, it obtained two-thirds of the former country's oil while Sudan retained the processing and export facilities.
In January, the South shut down oil production, accusing Sudan of stealing its oil, and the two countries' economies have been seriously damaged as a result.
South Sudan, where people chiefly follow the Christian faith or traditional indigenous religions, fought for decades with mainly Muslim Sudan.
Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbors to return to war.