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Sudan: Peace Negotiations

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the UK Government have provided to bring together the Darfur rebel groups and the Government of Sudan. (124753)

The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to bring peace to Darfur. We assisted the African Union (AU) mediation between the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements at the Abuja peace talks, which concluded in May 2006, with funding of £1 million and expertise. We maintained a permanent observer presence throughout the talks, including by our UK Special Representative. Since then we have been funding work to help the AU explain the benefits of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to the people of Darfur. And we are funding an expert to support the AU on the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development attended the UN high-level meeting in Addis Ababa on 16 November 2006, which agreed that the AU and UN would bring the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements together in a renewed political process. We have been pressing the AU and UN for urgent progress. UN and AU Envoys (Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim) visited Sudan on 11-17 February to take this process forward with the parties.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has pressed the UN Secretary-General for rapid action and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, visited the UN on 21 February to press for further progress. Officials from our embassy in Khartoum met the UN and AU envoys during their visit. The UK’s Special Representative for Sudan, Christopher Prentice, will remain in close contact with them and our other international partners, as well as with the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements, to press for results.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan. (124756)

Some progress is being made on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). A Government of National Unity have been established in Khartoum. The Sudanese armed forces are redeploying from the south ahead of schedule and integrated northern/southern military units have been created. The administration in the south is starting to develop and roads are starting to be built there. A new currency has been launched in southern Sudan.

But progress remains too slow. The establishment of key peace-building bodies and the passage of legislation required by the agreement are behind schedule. Of particular concern is the lack of preparation for national elections, which are due to take place by 2009. An urgent resolution is also needed of the Abyei and north/south border disputes. And oil revenues need to be allocated transparently between the central and southern Governments.

The UK continues to press for more progress through its membership of the CPA implementation oversight body. We are also supporting CPA implementation directly through development and humanitarian assistance (£110 million in 2006-07). We have drawn the attention of all parts of the Sudanese Government and the international community to the risks posed to the CPA by continued violence in Darfur.