The SPLA has been fighting for greater autonomy for the predominantly Christian and animist south from the mainly Muslim north for 19 years. The current US administration has intensified pressure on the two sides to reach a settlement (MEED 2:8:02). Progress towards peace has aroused the interest of oil companies in the country. Clagary-based Talisman Energy recently sold its 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile oil project (MEED 9:8:02).