UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday welcomed the resumption of negotiations between the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), calling on the two parties to cease hostilities.
The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N on Thursday resumed talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the parties' reported commitment to the talks.
"The members of the Security Council underscored their calls upon the government of Sudan and SPLM-N to cease hostilities" toward ending the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States of Sudan in accordance with provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (2012)," said a press statement issued by the 15-nation UN body Friday night.
Last April, the first round of talks since 2011 between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N in the Ethiopian capital ended without bridging the wide gap between the two sides.
The government, at that time, said it would only discuss the resolution of the conflict on the basis of the 2005 peace agreement. The SPLM-N, on the other hand, said can only negotiate a cessation of hostility to allow humanitarian access for the civilians in the rebel held areas.
Meanwhile, the Security Council also welcomed "the increasingly positive bilateral relations" between Sudan and South Sudan as evidenced most recently by the Jan. 6 visit to Juba, capital of South Sudan, by Sudanese President Omar Bashir for talks with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir.
"The members of the Security Council recognized the bilateral support offered by the government of Sudan to the government of South Sudan from the outset of the current crisis in South Sudan," it said.
It also recognized "the contribution of the government of Sudan to the search for a lasting solution to this crisis as part of regional efforts" led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is an eight-country trading bloc based in Eastern Africa.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern about the dire humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, where fighting has been going on since 2011, the statement said.
The United Nations has said the sporadic clashes in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have caused a grave humanitarian crisis that has affected more than one million people.
In the statement, the Security Council "also called on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians -- particularly indiscriminate actions in civilian areas -- and to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid."