Sudan and South Sudan signed deals on Thursday to secure their border and boost trade, a move which will restart crucial oil exports but fails to solve other conflicts left over from when the South seceded last year.
The defense ministers of both countries signed a deal to set up a demilitarized buffer zone at the joint border after a five-day presidential summit in Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union which has been brokering the talks.
The security arrangement will allow South Sudan to restart oil exports through a Sudanese Red Sea port, giving both ailing economies a shot in the arm, according to Reuters.
They shook hands after signing the deal with delegates in the crowded room cheering and clapping in support, according to AFP.
Sudanese Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Mohammed Hussein and his counterpart John Kong Nyuon also signed a security agreement, which paves the way for a demilitarized border zone for their volatile and contested frontier.
Economic deals including agreements to restart stalled oil production were also reached at the ceremony, held in a hotel in the Ethiopian capital.
However the deal does not tackle issues including contested border areas or the flashpoint Abyei region.
Those issues would be addressed during another round of talks, officials said.
Kiir said the deal on the contested flashpoint border region of Abyei was not reached, saying that Bashir rejected an African Union proposal.
“Unfortunately, my brother Bashir and his government totally rejected the proposal on Abyei in its totality,” Kiir said at signing ceremony for a raft of other agreements between the two former civil war foes.
Abyei is contested between the regions Ngok Dinka people, who are settled in the area and consider themselves southerners, and Misseriya nomads who herd their cattle south in the dry season and are supported by the Bashir’s government in Khartoum.
“We will continue to work together to resolve the outstanding issues, including Abyei,” Bashir said in his address after the signing ceremony.
Output of Dar Blend crude will resume in December at the earliest, South Sudan’s government said on Aug. 21. Dar Blend makes up the majority of South Sudan’s output and is lower in quality than Nile Blend.