UN Council to consider next steps on Sudan, S. Sudan
* UN says 16 killed in Sudan airstrikes on S. Sudan
* UN Council to base further action on AU communiqué
* AU wants Chapter 7 council endorsement of plan-envoy
UNITED NATIONS, April 24 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council demanded on Tuesday that Sudan immediately stop airstrikes on South Sudan and will consider in the coming days what further steps to take to stop clashes between the east African neighbors spiraling into war.
Senior U.N. officials told the 15-nation body that aerial bombing of South Sudan's Unity State on Monday night had killed 16 civilians, injured several dozen and caused significant damage to infrastructure.
The Sudanese army has denied carrying out air strikes.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said the latest hostilities amounted to a declaration of a war by his northern neighbor.
Clashes along the ill-defined border between the former civil-war foes has led to a standoff over the Heglig oil field after it was seized earlier this month by troops from South Sudan, which declared independence last year.
"Council members welcomed the withdrawal from Heglig by the SPLA (South Sudan's army), demanded an immediate halt to aerial bombardments by the Sudanese forces and urged an immediate ceasefire and return to the negotiating table," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said, characterizing the Security Council consultations on Tuesday.
British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters that the African Union Peace and Security Council "set out a very detailed and clear roadmap and asked for Security Council Chapter 7 endorsement of that plan."
A Chapter 7 resolution by the council would be legally binding on both Sudan and South Sudan. www.trust.org