S. Sudan invites Sudanese President Bashir for summit

March 21, 2012 19:58

JUBA - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has invited Sudanese counterpart Omar Bashir to meet in Juba on April 3 to try to resolve a conflict over oil payments, a southern official said on Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from Khartoum. The visit would be Bashir's first to South Sudan's capital since the African nation became independent in July under a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum.

The two have been locked in a row over how much the landlocked South should pay to export oil through the north. Juba shut down its oil fields in January in protest after Khartoum started taking some crude to make up for what it said were unpaid fees.

Bashir and Kiir are expected to sign final agreements on two deals brokered by the African Union that ensure the free movement of citizens in one another's territory. Sudan had threatened to treat southerners as foreigners from April.

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