A top Ugandan official says the government is doing all it can to resume peace talks with northern rebels.

Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda says the government still supports the peace process and will do, "anything rational" to ensure its success. Rugunda spoke Thursday, one day after a deadline for the two sides to renew a six-month-old ceasefire expired.

The rebels' deputy commander, Vincent Otti, has said the rebels will not renew the truce from last August. He said they have no plans to resume hostilities, but will retaliate if attacked.

Peace talks between the two sides collapsed in December, with both sides blaming the other for the failure. Rugunda said the government hopes that rebels will come back to the negotiating table.

The rebels pulled out of the talks citing security fears and demanding a change of venue from southern Sudan. The government insists that the talks remain in Sudan.

The talks were aimed at ending the rebels' 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda. Fighting in the region has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than one million from their homes.