October 6, 2012 / 8:38 AM / 5 years ago

South Sudan aims to end oil asset row with Sudan in 2 months

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) listens as his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir speaks during a joint news conference, October 9, 2011.Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan said on Friday it aims to resolve within two months a dispute with Sudan over the South's takeover of oil assets when it declared independence last year.

Sudan is asking for $1.8 billion as compensation after South Sudan's state oil company Nilepet took over assets in South Sudan once owned by Sudan's state firm Sudapet. South Sudan has said it will not pay that amount.

The issue was left unresolved by an oil deal reached last week that will allow the South to restart its oil industry and resume pumping crude through pipelines running across Sudan after an eight-month shutdown.

Stephen Dhieu Dau, South Sudan's oil minister, said in a statement the two sides were committed to reach an amicable solution to Sudapet's claim within two months.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July last year but many issues relating to the border and oil wealth were left unsettled.

Lingering distrust and animosity after decades of civil war cast a shadow over negotiations and lead to the South's oil shutdown in January and to violent clashes on their shared frontier in April.

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