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Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

There has been little movement in the Darfur political process because of fragmentation among rebel groups and continued violence. The Prime Minister has offered further UK support for international efforts, including a meeting in the UK, if it would help revitalise the process. We are exploring the scope for this with the United Nations, the African Union, Sudan’s neighbours and international partners, the Government of Sudan and movements in Darfur.

The Secretary-General’s most recent report states that in, one month alone, the air raids of the Government of Sudan have killed 200 civilians and displaced 10,000. Their impounding of vital equipment, blocking of the deployment of contingents and withholding permissions for 15 helicopters have resulted in less than a quarter of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur forces being deployed. Is it not time that we had a serious review of the sanctions regime?

We rightly discuss Darfur and Sudan every month at parliamentary questions and it is, of course, extremely disappointing and frustrating when the situation does not improve. Indeed, it is a matter not just of the aerial bombings by the Government of Sudan but of recent incursions by rebel groups that have made the problem even more difficult. The fighting must stop and the talking start. Sanctions might have a role to play, but the serious issue is the need for the fighting to stop so that proper talks can begin.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in respect of events in Darfur should still be pursued—and pursued urgently?

Yes, I agree that they should be pursued. We need to do everything we can to bring about peace in Darfur, and securing proper justice and the end of impunity is part of that process.