There have been border disputes, economic blockades and military skirmishes in the 13 months since South Sudan became independent from the north. But for the first time since Juba was named the world's newest capital last year, long-term peace between the two nations could finally be possible.
On Saturday, South Sudan and Sudan announced that a deal over the South's exportation of oil through Sudan's pipelines has been agreed. Meanwhile an agreement on the distribution of oil revenues, one of the major conflict points between the two nations for the past year, has also been struck. While the three and half year deal is far from perfect - South Sudan will pay $9.48 a barrel rather that Sudan's initial figure of $36 to use one pipeline - it is still a positive step that both sides were willing to negotiate peacefully, without the threat of violence. As Mutrif Sidiq, the spokesman for Sudan's delegation in the talks in Addis Ababa told the Associated Press from Khartoum: "The deal is accepted by both sides ... it constitutes a middle ground."
Compromise has not been a characteristic of Sudanese political manoeuvring. In January, a dispute over oil sharing led South Sudan to shut down its oil production, and when in April the country captured the disputed town of Heglig - home to more than half of Sudan's oil production - a military confrontation looked inevitable. Tribal and religious rifts will continue to fester, but at least political leaders have shown a renewed willingness to negotiate.
It is always possible that even with this current economic and political thaw old rivalries will re-emerge, crippling progress towards reconciliation. Just last month, following a bombing in a border village, southern leaders called off face-to-face talks in protest. But for now, common sense and self-preservation seem to have prevailed.
The reality is that these two independent African nations are stronger partners than rivals. Most of the region's oil reserves are under South Sudan's control, but Khartoum maintains a hold on refining and shipping capacity. Recognition that cooperation is unavoidable will hopefully mark the beginning of a new era of mutual understanding, less bloody than the last.
In the past few days we have seen evidence that both countries have learnt an important lesson: only cooperation, not perpetual conflict, can bring prosperity. But both sides must also recognise that much hard work remains. A single successful oil deal will not erase a legacy of ethnic and tribal conflict.