Sudan’s President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, says he will accept the vote of the south to secede.
His announcement comes just hours before the release of final results of an independence referendum that is overwhelmingly expected to confirm the split.
The January 9 poll capped a four year peace deal between the north and south, with the goal of ending a vicious cycle of civil war that has destabilised the region for decades.
Bashir’s comments will allay any fears of north Sudanese reluctance to let the oil-producing south go peacefully. But disputes remain over the drawing of the border along which much of the oil wealth lies, as well as a region claimed by both sides.