Sudan: talks with South Sudan underway

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir has begun oil field protection discussions with Salva Kiir.

FILE: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Sudan and South Sudan have begun talks to deploy a joint force to protect oil fields in the south threatened by rebels.

This comes after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir flew to Juba to discuss the unrest there with his counterpart Salva Kiir.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti says the two presidents are consulting about the deployment of a mixed force to protect the oil fields in the south.

Neither of the men referred to the proposal during their joint news conference in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

South Sudan ended up with most of the oil fields when it seceded from Sudan in 2011 but it has to export the oil using pipelines through ports in Sudan's territory.

The Khartoum government now fears its revenue will be disrupted by the fighting in the south.