UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the announcement by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan tO resume stalled peace talks in Addis Ababa, next week.
The talks are to be held under the auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel.
A UN statement, made available to PANA in New York on Friday, stated: ``The Secretary-General encourages the parties to reconvene in an atmosphere of goodwill and called on them to demonstrate the flexibility necessary to reach agreement on outstanding issues.
``This is in accordance with the guidance and deadlines set by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council.''
It said that Ban reiterated the readiness of the UN to assist the parties implement their agreements and support the mechanisms established by them.
``The Secretary-General stresses the need to commence the work of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism for peace and security along the border and confirms the readiness of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to immediately support its operations,''it noted.
The UN Security Council established UNISFA in June last year following an outbreak of violence after Sudanese troops took control of Abyei, a border area disputed between South Sudan and Sudan.
The dispute led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people in the weeks before South Sudan became an independent State.
Last week, the Council extended UNISFA's mandate by another six months, and demanded that the two countries finalise the establishment of an administration for the area in line with an agreement signed last year.
In a unanimously adopted resolution in early May, the 15-member Council said that the prevailing situation along the border between the two countrries constituted ``a serious threat to international peace and security''.
It also called on the two countries ``to immediately end hostilities and resume negotiations, and voiced its intention to take appropriate measures if the parties did not comply''.
Earlier this week, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, said that only 5,000 people had returned to Abyei while more than 100,000 others remain displaced.
He noted that it was time to gice access to the humanitarian workers in Abyei from Sudan, saying that, ``currently, international humanitarian workers were only able to get to Abyei if they travel via South Sudan.''
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of a peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and south.
However, the peace between the two countries has been threatened recently by clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that have yet to be resolved.
Tensions increased in recent weeks after South Sudanese forces moved into the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan’s South Kordofan state before eventually departing, and Sudanese forces engaged in the bombardment of South Sudanese