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Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the contribution made by her Department (a) bilaterally and (b) multilaterally with the UN, World Bank and EU on (i) post-war reconstruction in the Sudan,(ii)dealing with Sudan's debt and (iii) developing a poverty reduction strategy paper for Sudan. [113626]

(i) With others in the international community, we are now planning for the hard work of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sudan when there is peace. In preparing for peace, we are coordinating closely with other donor countries, the UN, World Bank, IMF and INGOs. When there is a peace agreement, we intend to double our assistance to Sudan to a level of about £20 million. Key priorities for our bilateral programme will be:

to respond to expanding humanitarian needs;
to support for "quick start" projects that will demonstrate early benefits of the peace to the Sudanese—largely be through improved services at the community level;
to broaden the consensus for peace through work with civil society; and
to support ceasefire monitoring operations and demobilisation of the armed forces.
(ii) The UK has agreed to chair a Support Group of donors to Sudan, to be launched when there is peace, in order to assist the new Government of Sudan through the difficult process of arrears clearance and debt relief. As a first step, the UK will host a workshop for donors this month, to raise awareness of the debt problem.(iii) The current Government of Sudan is working on a first draft of an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. However, such a strategy will not be credible in the absence of a peace agreement. In addition, the strategy should be produced jointly with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and prepared in consultation with the wider Sudanese political spectrum and Sudanese civil society. We are encouraging the Government of Sudan to broaden its work on the strategy in this way.