JUBA, Aug 15 (Reuters) - South Sudan said on Thursday it was optimistic it could reach an understanding with Sudan ahead of a new deadline for the shutdown of the oil pipelines that are the sole conduit for South Sudan's crude exports.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir announced in May that the pipeline would be closed unless the government in Juba stopped supporting rebels active in Sudan. Juba has repeatedly denied providing any support.
Sudan announced this week it had delayed the shutdown until Sept. 6 to allow an African Union team to continue investigating the complaints.
Mawien Makol Arik, spokesman for South Sudan's foreign ministry, said there had been a thaw in the relationship between the two nations. The South seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war.
"The current situation is not that bad now. Hopefully there will be another round of talks that will allow the oil to flow for good," he said, adding that would be for "the benefit of the two nations".
No official date has been set for a new round of talks between the two countries.
South Sudan's new Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin accepted an invitation this week from his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Karti, to visit Khartoum.
Arik said they were still working out the details of the trip, when Benjamin plans to discuss a future presidential summit between the leaders of the two countries. (Reporting by Andrew Green; Editing by Duncan Miriri)