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Sudan and S.Sudan resume oil talks

Sudan and its neighbour will resume talks in Ethiopia to produce a joint border to resume oil exports.

Sudanese repair crew work at the Heglig oil facility, after Sudan started pumping oil again from the war-damaged oil field on May 2, 2012. Picture: AFP.

KHARTOUM - Former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan are to resume talks on Tuesday in Ethiopia that mediators hope will produce a deal to secure the volatile joint border and clear the way for the two countries to resume oil exports.

The countries have been locked in a series of disputes since South Sudan split from its northern neighbour over a year ago under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war.

Fighting along the 1, 800 kilometre border threatened to boil over into a full-scale war in April when South Sudan seized an oil-producing region long held by Sudan.

Tensions have eased since then but the disputes have taken a heavy economic toll on both countries.

Landlocked South Sudan shut down its vital oil output in January after failing to agree with Khartoum how much it should pay to export through Sudan.

Western diplomats and African Union mediators now hope to build on progress after the two struck an interim deal on oil fees last month. Sudan says it wants a border security deal before oil flows resume.

Officials from both sides have been much brighter in their predictions than in previous rounds.

"Sudan's delegation is ready to reach an agreement by the end of this round," El-Obeid Morawah, spokesman for Sudan's Foreign Ministry, said. "I think they (South Sudan) are also open-minded and open-hearted."

Michael Makuei Lueth, chairman of the border committee for South Sudan, said he was optimistic about resolving issues such as cross-border trade, the status of citizens in one another's countries, and the disputed Abyei border region.