ADDIS ABABA - Former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan appear to have made progress this week toward a deal that would allow the resumption of oil exports vital to the economies of both African countries, diplomats and sources familiar with the talks said.

Much could still go wrong given profound mutual mistrust and failure to fully implement previous deals, they said, but the mood at the African Union (AU)-brokered talks appeared to be brighter than in previous rounds.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year under a 2005 peace deal but the two have yet to resolve a litany of issues related to partition. Border clashes almost boiled over into full-scale war in April, although tensions have abated since then.

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