North and South Sudan agree demilitarized zone: AU

Reuters News
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Posted: May 31, 2011 2:59 PM
North and South Sudan agree demilitarized zone: AU

JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) - Representatives from north and south Sudan have agreed to set up a demilitarized zone along their shared border, the African Union said on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached at a meeting between the two sides in Addis Ababa.

South Sudan, following a referendum, is scheduled to become an independent country in less than six weeks, but issues such as the position of the common border and sharing the proceeds of oil fields with the north have yet to be settled.

Khartoum seized the disputed Abyei region on May 21, causing tens of thousands of people to flee and raising fears the two sides could return to full-blown conflict.

Northern and southern officials agreed to establish a joint body headed by the ministers of defense, chiefs of staff, heads of intelligence and police and other officials from both sides, the AU said.

"The agreement ... establishes a Common Border Zone between North and South Sudan, which is to be demilitarized and jointly monitored and patrolled," the statement said, without adding further details.

(Reporting by Jeremy Clarke; Writing by Alex Dziadosz in Khartoum; Editing by Michael Roddy)