World Bulletin/News Desk
Sudan and South Sudan have reached a deal on oil payments and will soon discuss when to resume southern oil exports through the north, a mediator from the African Union said on Saturday.
Landlocked South Sudan shut down its entire oil production in January after failing to agree with Sudan on how much it should pay to export oil through northern pipelines. Oil is the lifeline of both economies.
The rivals came to the brink of a full-scale war in April after border fighting escalated, the worst violence since South Sudan became independent in July last year under a 2005 agreement that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum.
The duo's messy divorce failed to mark the border and how much landlocked South Sudan should pay to export its oil through the north.
"It's an (oil) agreement about all of the matters. The issues that were outstanding were charges for transportation, for processing, transit," former South African President and AU mediator Thabo Mbeki told reporters.
Sudan confirmed it had reached an oil agreement with South Sudan but said it would be implemented only after a new round of talks on security issues, state news agency SUNA said on Saturday.
"The agreement does not fulfil the ambitions of both sides," spokesman for the Sudanese delegation Mutrif Siddig told SUNA. "Its implementation will start after understandings on security issues."
The news came as a surprise after the South's top negotiator Pagan Amum had accused Sudan of demanding too high a transit fee. Both delegations had hours earlier broken off talks without a comprehensive deal after a U.N. Security Council deadline expired.
It was not clear how an oil deal would work as Sudan has said it would not agree on oil payments before settling border security issues, the biggest obstacle between the neighbours.
Both sides had improved their oil payment offers in the past few days.
South Sudan said last week it was willing to pay $9.10 and $7.26 per barrel to export oil through two pipelines crossing Sudan, alongside a $3.2 billion package to compensate for the loss of most oil reserves to the South. It had previously offered $2.6 billion.
Sudan itself lowered its demand to $15 a barrel per pipeline, down from $32, according to officials. It had until last week insisted on $36 a barrel.
"What will remain (now)...is to then discuss the steps as to when the oil companies should be asked to prepare for the resumption of production and export," Mbeki said of the deal.
African Union-mediated talks, led by Mbeki, have long been hampered by differences on where to draw up a demilitarised buffer zone - seen as a first step to ending hostilities.
Amum also reiterated calls on Saturday for an arbitration body to resolve a dispute over the position of their shared border.
Mbeki said talks on their porous frontier were yet to be finalised, while Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his southern counterpart Salva Kiir were scheduled to discuss Abyei next month.
"We have informed them (AU) that there has been an agreement between the parties that the matter of the final status of Abyei will be addressed at the next summit meeting of the presidents (Bashir and Kiir)," he said.
The AU has requested both sides to resolve the remaining disputes by Sept. 22, Mbeki added
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged both sides to reach first a deal on oil to end hostilities.
The meeting is the first of the two absolute monarchs since a major rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia earlier this year and follows attempts by Doha to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
To keep the migrants below the deck, the five men indiscriminately stabbed and assaulted an estimated 60 of their fellow migrants before throwing them overboard, according to police
The cabinet agreed to impose the measures on Ahmed al-Jabr and Abdullah Barghash, his two brothers and his sister, on the recommendations of the interior minister.
Deputies from the State Duma lower house of parliament have drawn up a draft law that would increase income tax for people earning more than more than 1 million roubles ($28,700) a month.
Refugees streaming from Shejaia in the eastern part of Gaza City to the church in the southwestern area of al-Zaytun said they did not know where else they could go now
The suspension of the main opposition group threatens to further polarise the country which holds general elections later this year, which the opposition has threatened to boycott
Residents of Falluja and the nearby town of Garma said helicopters fired artillery and dropped three barrel bombs on Falluja and two on Garma.
With the attacks entering its third week, the Palestinian death toll rose to 616, including nearly 100 children and many other civilians
Jordan has drafted a text similar to a 2009 resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, council diplomats said
The White House said the United States welcomed news that victims' remains and the airplane's black boxes were being transferred to the Netherlands.
Bulgaria will raise its defence spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2015 and then gradually raise it further to 2 percent of GDP.
New constitution sweeping endorsement of military who siezed power in May 22 coup.
The Elections Commission said the Jakarta governor had won by just over six percentage points, with 53.15 percent of the nearly 130 million votes cast on July 9.
At least 47 people have died in the week-long Tripoli airport clashes, which involved artillery, Grad rockets and anti-aircraft guns, in some of the heaviest street fighting since the 2011 civil war.
Saddam-era fighters reject "changing the country's political and demographic structure" as Christians flee from ISIL threats.
Despite Western sanctions, he said Moscow would stand by separatists in eastern Ukraine whom, he described as part of a popular rising against an illegal coup.