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Darfur

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the decision of the UN to suspend operations in part of Darfur; and what assessment she has made of the extent to which that decision was a consequence of the Government of Sudan’s reluctance to agree to the handover of security from the African Union to the UN. (81337)

On 25 June, the Government of Sudan suspended all UN activity in Darfur apart from humanitarian assistance provided by the World Food Programme and the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF. They lifted the suspension the following day. There has been some impact on the UN’s humanitarian work in West Darfur, but minimal disruption elsewhere.

This was a provocative act by the Sudanese Government in response to the UN helping a prominent Darfur rebel. The Government of Sudan should allow all UN humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations unimpeded access in Darfur.

The Sudanese Government currently oppose an international force for Darfur. However the UN Secretary-General has said he hopes to see a UN force in Darfur, the Security Council has taken a strong line in favour and the African Union wants to see the UN take over in Darfur, as do many prominent African countries. We will continue to press the Government of Sudan to accept it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the UK plans to take through the UN Security Council to put pressure on the Government of Sudan to agree to the introduction of UN troops as part of the Darfur Peace Agreement. (81338)

The UK led the recent UN Security Council mission to Sudan. That visit was important in securing Sudanese Government agreement for a joint UN/African Union Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) to deploy to Darfur. The TAM has now made its visit. It will make detailed technical recommendations shortly to the UN Secretary-General on establishing a UN force for Darfur, who will then report to the Security Council. Once he has done so, the Security Council will debate the mandate of a future UN force. We are continuing to press the Government of Sudan to accept such a force.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Government of Sudan on how to disarm the Janjaweed in Darfur. (81339)

We continue to press the Government of Sudan to neutralise and disarm the Janjaweed and expel foreign fighters from Darfur as soon as possible. On Friday 23 June, the Government of Sudan publicly began disarming a small group of Janjaweed in South Darfur. We welcome this step, and call on the Government to continue this work and to present a plan for neutralising and disarming the Janjaweed/armed militias, which they are required to do under the Darfur Peace Agreement.