* U.N. resolution had threatened both sides with sanctions
* Diplomats do not expect quick breakthrough (South Sudan agrees to talks on
KHARTOUM/JUBA, May 24 (Reuters) - Sudan and South Sudan agreed to restart
talks next week with the aim of ending hostilities and settling disputes
after border clashes scuppered an earlier round of negotiations, both sides
said on Thursday.
The two armies clashed last month in a disputed oil region near the poorly
drawn border, coming closer to all-out war than at any time since South
Sudan's independence last July.
The fighting prompted Sudan to say it was pulling out of the African
Union-brokered talks, which were due to tackle issues including oil export
payments, delineation of the border, debt and the respective status of each
African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki met the presidents of both countries this
week in an attempt to revive negotiations.
El-Obeid Morawah, spokesman for Sudan's Foreign Ministry, said the meeting
would be on May 29 and South Sudan confirmed the date.
"The government of South Sudan requested for a meeting to convene as soon as
possible...We agreed to recommence negotiations on May 29," the office of
top negotiator Pagan Amum told Reuters in a statement.
The U.N. Security Council had endorsed an African Union resolution on May 2
that threatened both sides with sanctions unless they stopped fighting and
Western diplomats do not expect a quick breakthrough as the positions of the
nations still seem wide apart.
Sudan has said it wants to make security issues a priority and accuses the
South of supporting rebels in Sudan's border states of South Kordofan and
South Sudan denies this and has accused Sudan of bombing its territory
several times since the U.N. Security Council resolution was approved.
The sides have also failed to agree how much the landlocked South should pay
to export its oil through Sudan.
South Sudan took three-quarters of the oil output of the formerly united
country when it became independent, but the export pipelines run through
Juba shut off its entire output of 350,000 barrels a day in January to stop
Khartoum seizing oil in lieu of what it called unpaid fees. (Reporting by
Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Hereward Holland in Juba; Writing by Ulf
Laessing; Editing by Pravin Char)
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Received on Thu May 24 2012 - 19:03:52 EDT