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Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the new peacekeeping force to be deployed in full in Darfur. (158762)

The full deployment of the mission will depend on how quickly the force can be generated and the necessary infrastructure and support put in place. This is being carried out by the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The Government are pressing for the full mission to deploy as quickly as possible, as my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, stated when he met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and African Union (AU) Chairperson Alpha Konaré at high level meetings in New York on 21 September.

UN Security Council Resolution 1769 mandates the new AU-UN Mission in Darfur to assume authority from the current AU Mission in Sudan no later than 31 December, with a view to achieving full operational capability and force strength as soon as possible thereafter. We will continue to press all sides to meet this timetable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made towards finding a settlement in relation to the situation in Darfur. (158763)

The meeting led by the African Union (AU) and UN in Arusha on 3-6 August, attended by most rebel leaders, was an important step forward in the political process. Rebels expressed their commitment to participate fully in negotiations under AU-UN leadership, presented a common platform on key issues and urged the AU-UN to continue consultations with Darfurian civil society.

The Darfur peace talks are due to begin in Libya on 27 October. We support the AU-UN Joint Mediation Support Team who will lead negotiations. They have developed a mediation and communication plan which should help to ensure effective civil society participation. We urge all parties, rebels and the Government of Sudan to engage fully in these talks and to be prepared to negotiate. Only a political process can provide a sustainable solution to the crisis in Darfur.