Sudan's Bashir to visit South Sudan Friday: presidency

Sudan's Bashir to visit South Sudan Friday: presidency

KHARTOUM - Agence France-Presse
Sudans Bashir to visit South Sudan Friday: presidency

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) speaks during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi ahead of a departure ceremony at Khartoum airport on April 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ASHRAF SHAZLY

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir will travel to South Sudan on Friday, his office said, in a further sign of easing tensions between the two neighbours which fought along their common border last year.

"It's confirmed that President Bashir will visit Juba this Friday," Emad Sayed Ahmed, the presidential press secretary, told AFP on Tuesday.

He had no further details about the trip, which will be Bashir's first since he attended South Sudan's declaration of independence on July 9, 2011, following a near-unanimous referendum vote for separation after a 22-year civil war.

Independence left key issues unresolved, including how much the South should pay for shipping its oil through Sudanese pipelines for export.

South Sudan stopped all of its crude production early last year, cutting off most of its revenue after accusing Khartoum of theft.

The two nations battled on their undemarcated border one year ago, raising fears of wider war, and intermittent clashes continued in subsequent months.

But at talks in Addis Ababa last month, Sudan and South Sudan finally settled on detailed timetables to improve relations by resuming the oil flows and implementing eight other key pacts.

The deals had remained dormant after signing in September as Khartoum pushed for guarantees that South Sudan would no longer back rebels fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

But since timetables were agreed, official delegations from the two countries have held a series of meetings to begin implementing the pacts.