KHARTOUM, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - South Sudan has started to withdraw its troops from the border with Sudan in accordance with agreements signed over the weekend, a high-ranking Sudanese military official said on Wednesday.
Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan agreed to set up a demilitarized buffer zone on the border between the two states during Saturday’s talks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis-Ababa.
“We expect South Sudan to end the withdrawal of its troops from border regions by January 16. The troops will be deployed outside the 10-km buffer demilitarized zone created on the border,” said Imad Ad Diin Mustafa Adawi, who heads the technical committee for creating the demilitarized border zone.
Tensions on the border between the two states intensified shortly after South Sudan gained independence in a referendum in 2011.
Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agreed last September to end violence in border districts and withdraw troops from disputed regions in order to resume oil extraction in South Sudan and its transit via the Sudanese territory. The agreement has never been put into practice, however.
Oil extraction from South Sudanese deposits was halted a year ago following a transit fee dispute with Sudan, which lost lost 75 percent of its known oil reserves but retained crucial oil transit infrastructure after South Sudan became an independent state.
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