World Bulletin/News Desk
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Friday Khartoum will not seek international arbitration in a dispute with South Sudan over Juba's takeover of oil assets when it won independence in 2011.
Sudan was previously seeking $1.8 billion as compensation after South Sudan's state oil company Nilepet took over assets once owned by Sudan's state firm, Sudapet. South Sudan had said it would not pay that amount.
"As a show of good faith, and in response to their request, I announce that Sudan has dropped its arbitration suit," Bashir told the African Union's Peace and Security Council.
South Sudan had asked its northern neighbour to drop the case altogether as a condition for supporting Khartoum's bid to have its roughly $40 billion worth of external debt cancelled.
"Sudan is willing to continue the negotiations with the government of South Sudan aiming at reaching an amicable solution of the issue," Bashir told the gathering of heads of state, including his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir.
Sudan told the U.N. General Assembly last year that its debts must be cancelled and its economy supported as it struggled to recover from losing three-quarters of its critical oil revenue to South Sudan when the latter seceded a year ago.
The International Monetary Fund has urged Khartoum to meet donors to discuss debt relief. Some IMF board members called for "exceptional efforts" from the IMF and the global community to help Sudan reduce its debt.
Sudan and South Sudan are at loggerheads over a litany of disputes following the secession of the south.
The spillover from unresolved tensions brought the two neighbours close to war in April in the worst border clashes since the south seceded under a 2005 deal ending decades of civil war.
Both countries agreed in September to set up a demilitarised buffer zone and resume oil exports from landlocked South Sudan through Sudan. Oil is vital to both economies.
The two foes will resume talks on Feb. 15 in the Ethiopian capital.Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2013, 14:51