North and south Sudan have agreed to establish a patrolled demilitarized border zone to strengthen security along the borders, the African Union said on Tuesday.

The agreement between the two sides was signed on Monday evening in Addis Ababa. About 10 days after the northern army occupied Abyei, the agreement came as a relief to the conflict-ridden area.

As South Sudan prepares to declare independence in six weeks, following a referendum, issues such as the position of the common border and sharing the proceeds of oil fields with the north still remain unsettled, reports Reuters.

Khartoum captured the disputed Abyei region on May 21, causing tens of thousands of people to flee from Abyei.

Sudan's vice president Riek Machar and his northern counterpart Ali Osman Taha, agreed to form a joint committee on Monday, aimed at resolving the Abyei crisis.

But Taha rejected the demand saying the North would only do so when a political solution is reached.

The issue of border separation and the future status of Abyei are the two major issues still pending.