Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is ready to pull troops from the disputed, Abyei, border area with South Sudan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Sunday at a press briefing. “President Bashir told us he had notified the negotiators that [he was] willing to withdraw his troops from Abyei. We believe this is a major step forward,’ Carter said. The day before he met with Bashir, as part of an international non-governmental group of eminent public figures, to promote the resumption of talks between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. Clashes between the two countries began in late March, culminating in a 10-day occupation of Sudan\'s oil-producing border region of Heglig by South Sudan’s army, which sparked fears of a wider war. The occupation ended in late April, but both sides have accused each other of continued cross-border incursions. South Sudan won independence in 2011 in a referendum that came as part of a peace deal to end decades of civil war. The Heglig oil field, which a 2009 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague included in Sudan’s South Kordofan state, accounts for 60,000 out of 115,000 barrels of oil produced in Sudan daily.