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Sudan: Peace Keeping Operations

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has held with counterparts on the United Nations Security Council on a peacekeeping force for (a) the Central African Republic and (b) Chad to prevent incursions from Darfur. (124628)

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, travelled to New York on 21 February to discuss the deteriorating situation in the region with the UN. In addition, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have regular consultations with colleagues from other Security Council member states on the current situation in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).

We remain very concerned about the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and CAR and the over spill of violence from Darfur. We take every opportunity to call on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to implement their commitments to respect each other’s borders and honour their obligations to protect their citizens.

On 27 February, Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi briefed the Security Council in closed consultations on the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Chad and CAR following a second Technical Assessment Mission to the two countries.

The UK will continue to work with the UN and other member states to determine if and how the deployment of a peacekeeping force could best improve security in the region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government’s policy is on the Government of Sudan’s position on an African Union/United Nations force in Darfur. (124754)

The Government of Sudan agreed in Addis Ababa in November 2006 to a phased increase of UN support to the African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan, subject to clarification on the size of the final stage, which is a hybrid UN/AU force. The details of the hybrid are currently being worked out between the AU and UN. We call upon the Government of Sudan to facilitate the implementation of these once they have been finalised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the United Nations mission in Sudan. (124755)

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) plays a crucial role in supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005. It has supported the political process and reported on ceasefire violations. It has also provided much-needed security for the CPA to progress. We, along with partners in the international community, work closely with UNMIS and the Government of Sudan to that end. UN agencies provide substantial humanitarian assistance in the south.

The UN Secretary-General stated in his report on Sudan of 25 January that the Ceasefire Joint Military Committee, chaired by UNMIS, was facilitating dialogue between the military forces of the north and south and resolving military violations of the CPA.

The UN also plays an important role in Darfur. It provides much of the humanitarian assistance there and co-ordinates the work of other agencies. It performs well in difficult circumstances. It is also implementing its phased support package to the African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan and is working with the AU to secure the agreement of the rebels to the Darfur Peace Agreement. We are encouraging it to undertake both these tasks as rapidly as possible.