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Sudan’s Bashir Turns Down Summit With Kiir Before UN Deadline

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir declined to meet his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, to push talks to end hostilities between the two countries, the state-run Suna news agency reported.

Al-Bashir turned down an invitation by the African Union’s mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, to meet Kiir today in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, because of “prior commitments,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman al-Obeid Murawih said in a statement published by Suna. Al-Bashir had a previously scheduled visit to Qatar, Murawih said.

Disputes over oil transit fees, borders and security brought the two countries to the brink of war in April and prompted the United Nations Security Council to threaten to impose sanctions on both nations if they didn’t settle their differences by Aug. 2.

South Sudan, which seceded in July last year, shut down its oil production of 350,000 barrels a day in January after it accused al-Bashir’s government of stealing $815 million worth of crude. Sudan said it was confiscated to meet unpaid transportation fees.

China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. operate most of the oil wells in the two countries.

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