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Sudan has agreed to delay closing an economically vital pipeline carrying South Sudanese oil, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said on Friday.
"The Government of Sudan has agreed to postpone for at least two weeks the deadline by which it will shut down the pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan for export through Port Sudan," the foreign ministry in Addis Ababa said on its website.
The announcement follows a visit to Khartoum on Thursday by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose country chairs the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional bloc.
Tedros was accompanied by Thabo Mbeki, the African Union's top mediator between Sudan and South Sudan.
After talks with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum, Mbeki said he asked for more time so the AU can investigate allegations made by Sudan and South Sudan that they are supporting rebels operating in each other's territory.
In June, Khartoum told oil companies they had 60 days to stop transporting crude from South Sudan through a Sudanese export pipeline after Bashir accused the Juba government of backing rebels in the north.
A source close to the oil industry said this week that full preparations to close the pipeline had not begun and crude was still flowing despite the previous 60-day deadline which was to expire around August 7.