WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department said it welcomed a cease-fire in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan but stressed access to the region was needed.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called for a two-week cease-fire in South Kordofan near the border with South Sudan. Bashir, state-run Sudan News Agency said, received a letter from 11 different groups thanking him for his "courageous" decision to find a way toward peace in the restive border state.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said it was vital that the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North respond to Bashir in kind.
The Satellite Sentinel Project in several announcements highlighting the discovery of mass graves in South Kordofan said it had evidence to suggest the Sudanese Red Crescent Society was linked to the atrocities.
Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations Dafalla al-Haj said reports of crimes in South Kordofan were based on hearsay.
"The government of Sudan must allow immediate and full access to humanitarian organizations so that they can provide much needed relief to the people of South Kordofan," Nuland said. "We strongly urge both sides to refrain from using a cease-fire to strengthen any military positions."