At the end of September, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of agreements allowing for the resumption of oil exports (WSJ) that have been stalled for eight months, and the establishment of a demilitarized zone along their disputed shared border. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011, annexing three-quarters of its oil reserves, but still relies on the north's refineries and pipelines to export the oil. The accords, negotiated in conjunction with the African Union, failed to address violent clashes over five contested border areas--including the oil-rich Abyei region--and the role of various rebel groups in the north-south conflict. Still, "the immediate effect is that oil production and export is going to resume as soon as technically feasible, and the level of confidence in the economies of both Sudan and South Sudan will increase," says Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. He also notes that one of the agreements allows for the protection of the rights of Sudanese citizens in South Sudan and South Sudanese citizens in Sudan, which are "practical measures and should hopefully make the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Sudanese and South Sudanese somewhat better."
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