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North, south Sudan agree on buffer zone

07-01-2011 17:23 BJT

KHARTOUM, Sudan - North and south Sudan on Wednesday agreed in principle to establish a buffer zone on their joint borders, with an Ethiopian military force tasked to monitor the buffer zone.

"We have agreed, in principle, on the establishment of a buffer zone around the 1956 border line and at a distance of 10 km north and 10 km south," Nafie Ali Nafie, assistant to the Sudanese president, told reporters upon his return from Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

"This buffer zone will be under limited civil supervision with guards at a number of points in north and south Sudan. We have agreed that the guards would be Ethiopian troops," he added.

The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa hosted a new round of negotiations between representatives of the National Congress Party from north Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) from south Sudan to discuss the outstanding issues between the two sides before south Sudan's declaration of independence on July 9.

The two sides discussed issues including the security situation between north and south Sudan, the status of southerners living in the north and northerners living in the south, border demarcation and the conflict in the South Kordofan region.

The Sudanese presidential assistant, meanwhile, denied that the two sides had agreed on the cessation of hostilities in South Kordofan on the north-south Sudan border, which has witnessed armed clashes between the Sudanese army and military groups belonging to the SPLM (northern sector).

South Kordofan includes the country's oil-rich area of Abyei, which is disputed between north and south Sudan.

In the meantime, Nafie disclosed an agreement between north and south Sudan on a nine-month period to adjust the status of the southerners living in the north and northerners living in the south.

On July 9, south Sudan will officially declare independence in accordance with the result of the referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan, conducted on Jan 9.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: China Daily

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