Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his deep concern over continuing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan, including the impact of the conflict on civilians, and urged both sides to cease fighting and ensure the safety of the population.

Mr. Ban called on the Government of Sudan to immediately cease all aerial bombardment of South Sudanese territory, stressing that the Government of South Sudan must also withdraw its troops immediately from Heglig and use legal and diplomatic measures to address the status of the town.

?He calls on both parties to end the fighting immediately and to respect international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians,? said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

It added that the Secretary-General is ?alarmed? over reports received this weekend of the build-up of armed militia in the disputed area of Abyei, which is in violation of the 20 June Agreement in which the parties committed themselves to the immediate withdrawal of all armed elements from the area.

?The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Sudan to ensure the full and immediate withdrawal of these elements from the area,? said the statement.

Mr. Ban also urged Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan to fulfil their responsibilities to maintain peace and stability in both countries.

He urged them to recommit to resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful dialogue and to convene the presidential summit that had been planned earlier as soon as possible.

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