North and South Sudan sign deal over disputed region

By REUTERS
June 20, 2011 18:26

 
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ADDIS ABABA - North and south Sudan have signed an agreement to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and allow in Ethiopian peacekeeping forces, former South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday.

South Sudan is due to break off into an independent country in less than three weeks and the question of who should control the fertile, oil-producing region has been one of the most contentious unresolved issues ahead of the split.

Representatives of the south's dominant party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the Sudanese government have been meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for more than a week in an attempt to hammer out a deal.

Southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north in a January referendum that was the culmination of a 2005 peace deal ending decades of civil war.

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