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U.N. calls for Sudan, South Sudan to resume Abyei talks

Published: Updated:

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday urged Sudan and South Sudan to swiftly resume negotiations on the disputed oil-producing region of Abyei after talks earlier this week ended without an agreement.

Council members reiterated “their grave concern about the highly volatile situation in Abyei area” according to a statement read by the President of the Council, Azerbaijan's Agshin Mehdiyev.

The council members “urgently called on all concerned to refrain from any unilateral action that could heighten tension or impede a solution.”

The 15 countries welcomed the October 22 summit between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former civil war foe, Sudan' President Omar al-Bashir.

Mehdiyev said the U.N. Security Council hoped that the planned visit of an African Union delegation to Abyei on Saturday and Sunday would represent an “opportunity to ease tension” in the region.

The wrangle over Abyei is one of the main unresolved disputes following the 2005 peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan which ended a civil war and led to the independence of South Sudan.

Abyei was meant to vote on whether to be part of Sudan or South Sudan in January 2011 -- the same day Juba voted overwhelmingly to split from the north -- as part of the 2005 peace accord.

But that referendum has been repeatedly stalled, with residents now threatening to press ahead and organize their own vote.