KHARTOUM - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir struck a conciliatory tone towards the country's south on Friday, about two weeks after the north occupied the disputed Abyei region.

"We were able to arrive at an agreement to end the war that started in 1955, and so there should be no issue too difficult to solve through negotiations," Bashir told members of the ruling northern National Congress Party.

"It is better that we sit and discuss and consult," he said. "We want brotherly ties between the north and the south."

South Sudan is scheduled to break off into a new country on July 9. The status of Abyei has remained one of the most contentious of the unresolved issues between the two sides.

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