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Sudan: Armed Conflict

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK is advocating to improve the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Darfur; and if she will make a statement. (132776)

We are committed to the effective implementation of the UN arms embargo and take allegations of non-implementation seriously. Our ambassador to the UN in New York, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, supported recommendations, made by the Panel of Experts to the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee on the Sudan, to improve implementation of the UN arms embargo, when it was discussed at the Sanctions Committee meetings of 10 and 20 April and 9 May. The report has not yet been transmitted to the UN Security Council, nor been made public.

We review our sanctions policy on Sudan on a regular basis and are presently pressing the case for further sanctions in the Security Council if the Government of Sudan and rebel movements fail to co-operate fully. These would include expanding the existing arms embargo to cover the whole of Sudan, in line with the current EU arms embargo, which should improve its implementation and enforcement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to ensure the safety and protection of British humanitarian workers working in the Darfur region; and what recent meetings she has had with non-governmental organisations to discuss the humanitarian situation in Sudan. (138569)

We take seriously the security of British humanitarian workers. Our representatives in Sudan keep in close contact with UK humanitarian workers to share information about the level of security. The UK is funding training programmes to enhance non-governmental organisation's (NGOs) security management and we are currently reviewing what additional support they require.

We are pushing both parties of the Darfur peace agreement to abide by their ceasefire commitments. We continue to support the African Union's (AU) peace-keeping mission, while pressing for a more effective peacekeeping operation in Darfur through the proposed hybrid AU-UN force. This will be critical to improving the security situation for ordinary Darfuris and the humanitarian agencies helping to meet their basic needs. The UK played a prominent role with the UN and other partners in securing a joint communiqué on 28 March between the UN and the Government of Sudan to address the bureaucratic impediments facing humanitarian agencies in Darfur. We are pressing for and closely monitoring its implementation.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development met NGO representatives on 28 March. UK officials regularly meet NGOs both in London and Sudan to discuss the humanitarian situation in Darfur.