Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has condemned air raids by Sudan on South Sudan, and called on the countries’ leaders to return to dialogue.

“The secretary-general condemns the aerial bombardment on South Sudan by Sudanese armed forces and calls on the government of Sudan to cease all hostilities immediately,” Eduardo del Buey, deputy UN spokesman, said on Monday.

Ban “reiterates that there can be no military solution to the disputes between Sudan and South Sudan”, the spokesman said.

“No negotiation with those people, our talks with them were with guns and bullets. ”

-Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president

“He [Ban] calls on President [Omar] al-Bashir and President [Salwa] Kiir to stop the slide toward further confrontation and urges both sides to return to dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

The UN chief’s call for calm came after Bashir ruled out any future talks with his southern counterpart, who is in Beijing to drum up support from China.

Kiir was expected to plead his case to Chinese authorities, but analysts said China was unlikely to take sides and would keep pushing for talks.

China has been a key ally and the largest economic partner of diplomatically isolated Sudan, but it is keen not to alienate the South, the world’s newest nation and source of most of Sudan’s oil.  Read more…