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Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the recent visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Sudan; whether she has made representations to the governments of those countries on introducing UN-UK hybrid force units into Darfur; and if she will make a statement. (125678)

[holding answer 7 March 2007]: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Sudan from 28 February to 1 March following an invitation from President Bashir. President Bashir had previously visited Iran on 24-27 April 2006.

Press reports suggest that the Presidents discussed bilateral and regional issues. There is no suggestion that President Ahmadinejad pressed President Bashir on the need to accept the hybrid force.

We regularly press the Government of Sudan to make good on its pledge to accept a UN/African Union (AU) hybrid force, made at last year’s AU Abuja summit. We have lobbied a wide range of third countries which we believe would be prepared to use their influence with the Government of Sudan, urging them also to make the case for this.