KHARTOUM - Sudan's army has withdrawn from the disputed region of Abyei bordering South Sudan, the United Nations confirmed on Wednesday, removing an obstacle to talks between the neighbors to end hostilities.
Sudan said on Tuesday its forces had left the border region, one of the main bones of contention between Khartoum and South Sudan. Sudan seized Abyei a year ago after an attack on a military convoy blamed by the United Nations on southern forces.
The neighbors countries came close to an all-out war last month when border fighting escalated, the worst violence since South Sudan became independent in July under a 2005 agreement that ended decades of civil war.
"The mission confirmed that the pullout was complete late Tuesday evening Abyei time," UN spokesman Kieran Dwyer said in an emailed statement.
South Sudan had already withdrawn its forces from Abyei, which is rich in fertile grazing lands and also has some small oil reserves. Ethiopian UN peacekeepers are based in Abyei.