KHARTOUM: South Sudan's President Salva Kiir was due in Sudan on Tuesday for a summit aimed at averting a shutdown of oil pipelines worth billions of dollars to both stricken economies.
Sudan has threatened to close from Friday the lines carrying landlocked South Sudan's oil exports -- virtually its only source of foreign revenue.
Analysts expect President Omar al-Bashir will use the oil issue to earn concessions from the South on issues including its alleged support for rebels in the north.
While Sudanese officials and media spoke positively about the visit, similar optimism has prevailed before, only to see the two countries -- whose border clashes early last year sparked fears of wider conflict -- fail to implement what they agreed.
"As (the) oil transport deadline looms it is expected that the extension of oil transport will be on top of the agendas to be discussed considering that its revenues benefit both countries and represent a good approach to strike deals on other issues," the pro-Khartoum government Sudan Vision daily wrote in a Tuesday editorial.
In June, Khartoum said it was freezing nine security and economic pacts with the South, and it threatened to shut the oil pipelines.
The decision came after Bashir warned the South's government in Juba over its alleged support for insurgents, who analysts said had humiliated the authorities with their attacks.
Khartoum has twice extended its deadline to stop the oil flow.
El Shafie Mohammed El Makki, a specialist in international relations at the University of Khartoum, said he thinks Kiir's trip is timed to the Friday oil deadline.
"If he didn't come, maybe they are going to shut down," he told AFP.
Kiir last visited Khartoum in October 2011, a few months after his country became independent from Sudan under a peace deal which ended a 23-year civil war.