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Sudanese president seeks 'brotherly relations' with South Sudan

From Nima Elbagir, CNN
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Securing a split Sudan
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Omar al-Bashir will visit South Sudan when it marks its independence
  • South Sudan is to become the world's newest country on Saturday

Juba, Sudan (CNN) -- The president of Sudan will visit South Sudan when it marks its independence from the north on Saturday, a government official said Thursday.

President Omar al-Bashir will make the trip as an expression of hope for "brotherly relations" between his government based in the north and South Sudan, his spokesman said.

South Sudan is to become the world's newest country Saturday after South Sudan natives voted overwhelmingly in January for independence. The referendum to split was part of a 2005 peace deal to end decades of violence between the two sides.

The planned visit comes amid tense relations between north and South Sudan.

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Violence erupted two months ago along the contested border area of Abyei and subsequently in South Kordofan, a state that lies north of the border but where many people, especially in the Nuba Mountains, are allied with the south.

Thousands of people were displaced and many fear that after strict borders go into place with independence, they will not be able to return home.

Critical issues -- including oil and the final status of Abyei -- remain unresolved days before the separation.

 
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