Khartoum: Sudan's army will begin pulling out of the contested region of Abyei from Wednesday, as demanded by the United Nations, the army spokesman said.
   
"We will start tomorrow and we will invite journalists to see this redeployment," Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in a statement to reporters.
   
The pullout, ending a year-long occupation, will begin on the same day negotiators from Sudan and South Sudan are to meet in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to resume talks led by African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki.
   
Saad said Mbeki asked Khartoum to withdraw its forces from the area.
   
"Sudan decided to redeploy the troops out of Abyei area to offer a good environment for the talks," he said, adding that Khartoum requested a "guarantee" that the area is part of its territory.
   
Norway, which helped to oversee implementation of a 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's 22-year civil war, welcomed the pullout.
   
"It's a very important gesture for the forthcoming negotiations," ambassador Jens-Petter Kjemprud told. After Sudan and South Sudan came to the brink of all-out war in April, the UN Security Council called on them to cease hostilities along their disputed border and to resume talks on a number of issues including the status of Abyei, the most sensitive matter left unresolved before South Sudan's independence last July.
   
Saad did not say how many troops are in Abyei, but all of them will leave.
   
The army's announcement came after former US president Jimmy Carter said on Monday, after meeting President Omar al-Bashir, that Sudan was ready to pull its soldiers from
Abyei.

(Agencies)

Latest News from World News Desk