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U.S. welcomes Sudan, South Sudan deal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday welcomed the agreement reached by Sudan and South Sudan on a number of outstanding issues that have roiled ties between the neighbors.

"I welcome the historic agreement that was reached today between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan on a number of critical issues," Obama said in a statement, noting " This agreement breaks new ground in support of the international vision of two viable states at peace with each other, and represents substantial progress in resolving the outstanding security and economic issues between Sudan and South Sudan."

The agreement was inked by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir following their four- day intensive talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, and covered resumed oil exports by the South through Sudan and the establishment of a demilitarized border buffer zone.

Despite a Sept. 22 deadline set by the UN Security Council for a comprehensive deal, the two sides failed to settle disagreements on at least five disputed oil-producing regions along their border.

The issues are all leftovers from the South's secession from Sudan in July 2011 under a 2005 peace deal that ended two decades of civil war between the two sides, which almost slipped back to war in April due to worsening border conflicts.

"The Sudanese and South Sudanese people who have suffered greatly through decades of conflict deserve the benefits of a lasting peace — a peace that can only be achieved through continued dialogue and negotiation, sustained implementation of the agreements reached to date, and steadfast work to resolve remaining issues," Obama remarked.

In a separate statement, Clinton called the agreement "a critical step toward the peaceful resolution of the outstanding issues," urging the two neighbors to agree on a "sustainable process" to resolve the final status of the disputed border area of Abyei.

Both Obama and Clinton pledged U.S. support in implementing the agreement, and called for the resolution of the conflicts and humanitarian needs in Sudan 's states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile as well its Darfur region. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/RSM

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