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article imageSudan and South Sudan fail to reach agreement on security and oil

By Raluca Besliu     Jan 19, 2013 in Politics
After several days of negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan have not managed to reach an agreement on security arrangements and oil exports.
The two countries were negotiating the implementation of a demilitarized border zone, requiring both sides to withdraw their forces at least 10 kilometers from the border region.
One of the most disputed issues addressed during the bilateral meetings was the demilitarization of a contested 14-mile strip of land between Sudan's Darfur and South Sudan's Northern Bahr el Ghazal areas.
While, earlier this week, South Sudan's negotiating team claimed that the country had already withdrawn its forces from the disputed border, in an attempt to facilitate the bilateral discussions, South Sudan’s Military spokesman denied that such withdrawal had been ordered.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 under an agreement that ended decades of conflict. Nevertheless, the two countries continue to be in dispute over their common border and sharing oil revenues.
Demilitarizing the border is crucial for South Sudan’s resumption of oil production and export through pipelines crossing Sudan. In January 2012, South Sudan entirely shut down its oil output of 350,000 barrels per day, after accusing Sudan of stealing its oil before reaching export facilities in Port Sudan, situated on the Red Sea, and failing to agree on transit fees with Khartoum. As a result, Sudan and South Sudan engaged in border clashes and came close to war in April 2012, stirring the international community’s condemnation.
With the mediation of the African Union, the two countries signed an agreement on border security and oil exports through Sudan, which was expected to put an end to the problem. However, unfulfilled demands on both sides have prevented the full implementation of the agreement and led to subsequent negotiations. Sudan often blames South Sudan of supporting rebels in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, who during the independence war had fought alongside the southern insurgents, but were left with Sudan, after South Sudan's secession. In turn, South Sudan claims that its neighbor refuses to accept its oil exports until border security arrangements are fully implemented. Sudan lost most of its oil production, as a result of South Sudan's independence,
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