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UN chief calls on Sudan to cease hostilities immediately against South Sudan

(Xinhua)

08:23, April 24, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, April 23 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday strongly condemned the recent aerial bombardments in South Sudan by the Sudanese Armed Forces, calling on the Sudanese government to "cease hostilities immediately" and urging Khartoum and Juba to return to dialogue at an early date.

"The secretary-general reiterates that there can be no military solution to the disputes between Sudan and South Sudan," said a statement released here by Ban's spokesman.

The secretary-general "calls on President (Omar) Bashir and President (Slava) Kiir (Mayardit) to stop the slide toward further confrontation and urges both sides to return to dialogue as a matter of urgency."

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported continued aerial bombardments in the town of Bentiu. Early reports on Monday are that in the most recent attacks occurring in the Rubkona market, at least one was reported dead and four others injured.

The UNMISS on Monday deplored the continued aerial bombardments in Bentiu town in South Sudan's Unity state, and called on the world's youngest country and its neighbor, Sudan, to take all measures to ensure the safety of civilians, UN officials said here.

"These indiscriminate bombings resulting in the loss of civilian lives must stop," said the special representative of the UN secretary-general for South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also reiterated his deep concern over continuing hostilities between the two countries, and urged their governments to halt the escalating violence along their border areas.

The tug-of-war over the oil-rich Heglig region between Sudan and South Sudan paused momentarily after Sudan announced on Friday that it is reclaiming the region, which is on the north side of the 1956 border between Sudan and South Sudan.

The South Sudanese government said on Friday that it had ordered its army to immediately withdraw from Heglig, two days after Khartoum declared war on Juba.

South Sudan and Sudan have been locked in disputes with the alarming situation being manifested most recently by the seizure and occupation of the town of Heglig and its oil fields in Sudan by South Sudan's army, the SPLA.

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