KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP) – The top UN official in Sudan said on Thursday that Khartoum and rebels in South Kordofan have shown a “positive spirit” in opening direct talks towards ending a two-year war which has affected more than one million people.
“We are encouraged by the commitment expressed by both parties to address urgent humanitarian needs,” Ali Al-Za’tari said in a statement.
The talks brokered by the African Union in Ethiopia focused on humanitarian, political and security issues, the statement said.
“I urge the parties to continue the positive spirit and to spare no efforts to put an end to the suffering of civilians that has gone on for far too long,” Za’tari said
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was “encouraged by the start of the direct talks today” between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a statement from his office said on Wednesday.
“This demonstrates the commitment of both sides to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states,” the statement said.
The SPLM-N and the government had not met directly in almost two years, although they held indirect talks in a failed attempt to secure humanitarian access throughout the war zone.