S.Sudan: Contested Abyei Region Belongs In South

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - Southern Sudan's leader says he hopes Sudan's contested area of Abyei soon holds an independence referendum or is transferred to Sudan's south by presidential decree.

Southern Sudan announced Sunday that 99 percent of voters in the south voted for independence during a referendum earlier in January.

But Kiir said Monday that the contested region of Abyei needs to also hold a referendum or be given to the south. The status of region is being decided by north-south negotiations.

Kiir spoke during an African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital.

Southern Sudan is slated to become the world's newest country in July. The independence referendum was guaranteed in a 2005 peace accord that ended a more than two decade north-south civil war.