Bashir to make first visit to South Sudan since split

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will visit South Sudan for the first time since its independence next week, an official said on Friday, cementing new deals on oil and border security between the two countries. The African neighbors agreed this month to resume cross-border oil flows and defuse tensions.

Bashir has now accepted an invitation from his southern counterpart Salva Kiir to go to South Sudan's capital Juba next week, Bashir's spokesman Imad Said told Reuters. He gave no date.

The two countries went their separate ways without resolving a long list of disputes over the ownership of disputed territory, the legal status of each others' citizens and how much the landlocked south should pay to transport its oil through Sudan.

Juba shut down its entire oil output of 350,000 barrels a day in January last year at the height of the dispute over pipeline fees - a closure that had a devastating effect on both struggling economies.

Under the new deals, both sides agreed to restart the oil flow, grant their citizens free residency in the other country, boost border trade and encourage close cooperation between their central banks.

They also withdrew their troops from their shared border as agreed in a deal brokered by the African Union in September.