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UN Hopes for Talks Between Northern, Southern Sudanese Generals


The United Nations says it hopes to chair a meeting between northern and southern generals in Sudan to help end recent violence in the country's disputed Abyei region.

Plans for Wednesday's meeting follow heavy fighting in the region Tuesday. Sudanese army officials said 22 government troops died in battles with former southern rebels in the region.

U.N. spokesman Khaled Mansour said he hopes to host a meeting of the joint military committee - composed of generals from the north and south - late Wednesday.

Military spokesmen said Wednesday that at least 45 other soldiers were wounded Tuesday when the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army attacked the town of Abyei.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the town has been destroyed. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

The fighting erupted over a local dispute a week ago.

But claims to the oil-rich region are part of a much larger conflict between the northern Sudanese government and South Sudan.

The dispute is a key issue jeopardizing the 2005 peace deal that ended the civil war between the north and the south

The two sides also disagree on how to distribute power and wealth, and whether Khartoum government troops should remain in the south.

Southern Sudan gained partial autonomy under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The accord gives southern Sudan the right to vote on secession in 2011.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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