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Armed Conflict

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions officials in his Office have held with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding supporting of conflict resolution programmes overseas. (155829)

The Government are always ready to share their experience of the Northern Ireland peace process where this might be of assistance to others. My officials have from time to time discussed with the FCO where such assistance might be offered, although no central record is kept of this.

I can, however, confirm a number of recent instances of engagement by former NIO Ministers and officials in supporting conflict resolution. One of my predecessors as Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy), accompanied by a senior official in the Northern Ireland Office, visited Sri Lanka from 14-16 November 2006. One of my officials visited Tanzania from 5-8 July 2007 to share lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process which might help efforts to address political polarisation in Zanzibar. An NIO official also met with representatives of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo at a private conference in New York in April 2007 organised by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In each case these engagements were discussed in advance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.