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Sudan: UN chief voices alarm over escalating violence in Southern Kordofan

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced alarm over escalating violence in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan, where thousands of people have been displaced, and urged all parties involved in the conflict to cease hostilities and work with the United Nations and humanitarian agencies to assist civilians affected by the fighting.

The Secretary-General also said he remained deeply concerned about the situation in the disputed area of Abyei and the plight of those affected by the conflict there.

He welcomed the forthcoming meetings of the Sudanese parties concerned in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to address the disputes in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as other outstanding security issues under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

�The Secretary-General stresses the importance of these meetings and urges the parties to demonstrate the political will and flexibility necessary to reach agreements that will bring peace to the area,� said a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Secretary-General on Saturday night.

The northern army known as the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) is reported to be engaged in fighting in Southern Kordofan with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of Southern Sudan, the semi-autonomous region that is due to become an independent State next month. Clashes have taken place in the Southern Kordofan capital of Kadugli and surrounding areas.

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