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New York: Security Council welcomes resumed Sudan's peace talks

UN Security Council has called on the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to reach an accord on ending nearly three years of conflict in strife-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as peace talks resumed in Ethiopia late last week.

In a statement obtained by PANA in New York on Sunday, the Council welcomed the resumption of negotiations on 13 Feb. between the Sudanese government  and the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and the parties' reported commitment to the talks.

It underscored its calls on both parties to cease hostilities, engage in direct and constructive talks without conditions and make the necessary concessions to reach agreement on ending the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, in accordance with provisions of its resolution 2046 (2012).

By resolution 2046, the Council decided that the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N must cooperate with the AUHIP and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to reach a negotiated settlement on security arrangements in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

It also urged them to accept the tripartite proposal of the African Union, the UN and the Arab League to permit humanitarian access to the population in those two areas.

In the latest statement, the Council members reiterated their grave concern about the dire humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

They also called on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, particularly indiscriminate actions in civilian areas.

They urged the parties to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid, including comprehensive health vaccinations, to all civilians in urgent need of assistance in line with international humanitarian law and UN guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.

The Council conveyed its gratitude to former South African President Thabo Mbeki and the staff of the AUHIP, as well as UN Special Envoy Haile Menkerios and his support team for their creative and tireless work in mediating the discussions and agreements between the parties.

On the wider region, the Council members welcomed the 'increasingly positive' bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, as evidenced most recently by the 6 Jan. visit to Juba by President Omar Al-Bashir for talks with President Salva Kiir.

They also recognised the bilateral support offered by the Sudanese Government to the Government of South Sudan from the outset of the current crisis in South Sudan, as well as the contribution of Sudan 'to the search for a lasting solution to this crisis as part of regional efforts led by IGAD'.

The Council applauded Sudan's commitment to support the ceasefire signed by the parties and offer to participate in the monitoring and verification mechanism.

It conveyed appreciation for the commitment of both Presidents to implementation of 27 Sept. 2012 Cooperation Agreements, particularly on oil and security matters.

It, however, noted with concern that there has been no further progress on these agreements since November 2013.

Pana 17/02/2014