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Sudanese foreign minister to visit Juba on Friday

Published: Updated:

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti will visit South Sudan on Friday, state media said, the first high-level meeting between the neighbors since Khartoum accused Juba of supporting rebels who launched a major attack three weeks ago.

Both African countries agree in March to restart crucial cross-border oil flows and end tensions that has existed since the south seceded in 2011.

But despite this thaw, Sudan accused South Sudan on Saturday of supporting a rebel alliance which launched a surprise attack on the central Sudanese city of Um Rawaba.

In the first high-level contact since then, Karti will visit Juba with intelligence Chief Mohamed Atta to deliver a letter regarding bilateral relations from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to South Sudan's Salva Kiir, state news agency SUNA said.

Diplomats hope both sides, which fought one of Africa's longest civil wars that ended with a 2005 peace deal, will continue to improve ties and work to end remaining conflicts over disputed territory left after their messy split in 2011.

The attack in Um Rawaba, normally a placid commercial hub, was conducted by an alliance of three rebel groups from Darfur, scene of a decade-long rebellion of non-Arab tribes, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North).

The SPLM-North is made up of fighters who sided with the south during the civil war. Like the Darfur rebels, they complain of marginalization in Sudan a country controlled by an Arab elite in Khartoum.