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Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent assessment she has made of (a) reports by UNMIS of clashes between rebel groups and Government forces and allied militias and (b) the activities of the Janjaweed militia and other armed movements in Sudan; (108047)

(2) what reports she has received of recent conflictin and around El Fasher in Sudan; what recent representations she has received from the UK embassy in Khartoum on the recent conflict; and what assessment she has made of the level of involvement of Government forces in attacks on civilians in Sudan.

An influx of Arab militia in El Fasher has led to increased tension there. Clashes occurred on 4 December between Arab militia and the Mini Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement rebel group that have resulted in fatalities on both sides. The UN has evacuated a number of its non-essential staff. We are in regular contact with our embassy in Khartoum about these developments and more broadly on the security situation in Darfur.

These clashes are a violation of the ceasefire. We urge all parties to stop fighting immediately and re-engage in the political process. Sudanese Government support of Arab militias and involvement in attacks that have resulted in civilian deaths are a serious impediment to the peace process. We are calling upon the Government to effect an immediate ceasefire and to honour their commitments to disarm the Janjaweed.