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Sudan: Darfur

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What timetable has been established for the recruitment of the 3,000 soldiers to be deployed as part of the heavy support package of the United Nations soldiers to be deployed in Darfur as part of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS); and whether this deployment is conditional on the call made by UNMIS of 25 April for a cessation of hostilities before the heavy support package is implemented. [HL3494]

We would like the heavy support package (HSP) to be deployed as soon as possible, and are pressing the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations, which is responsible for setting the timetable, to ensure that this happens.

The military element of the HSP of 3,000 personnel will provide engineering, medical, logistics and aviation capacity to pave the way for the African Union (AU)-UN hybrid force. We understand that, once pre-deployment preparations are complete, deployment should take three to four months. The timing will depend on how rapidly the UN can generate forces from contributing nations for the HSP and build the infrastructure for the deploying force. Deployment will not be easy given Darfur's environment and the oncoming rainy season.

The UN and AU expect all parties to the conflict in Darfur to stand by the commitments made in Ndjamena and Abuja, which include abiding by a ceasefire. A fully functioning ceasefire is not, however, a precondition of the deployment of UN support for the AU in Darfur.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the claims of the Sudan Liberation Movement on 24 April that the Government of Sudan have been actively recruiting Arab tribes from Niger to constitute a new militia in Darfur and Chad. [HL3495]

We are not currently aware of militia recruitment from Niger to fight in Darfur. We are investigating the claims of the Sudan Liberation Movement.

We are continuing to press the Government of Sudan to comply with their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1706 to disarm all militia operating in Darfur. If they do not comply, we will move towards further sanctions and an extension of the existing UN arms embargo in the UN Security Council.