Sudan: Darfur

Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty’s Government:

    What is their assessment of progress towards a peace settlement in Darfur?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My Lords, due to fragmentation among rebel movements and intensified fighting between the Government of Sudan and rebel groups, there has been no recent progress in the political process. At a meeting convened in Geneva on 18 March by the UN and AU envoys, the UK set out proposals for a cessation of hostilities and actions to revitalise the political process, including the urgent appointment of a single chief mediator and deeper engagement with civil society.

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. In January our Prime Minister met the Chinese Premier. Subsequently, in February, our Foreign Minister made a statement in China. It is said that China can perhaps do more to achieve peace. What is the Minister’s assessment of Chinese involvement? Can we influence the situation in any way?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, China continues to be constructive on the immediate issues ahead of us in Darfur. The Chinese envoy for Africa and Darfur, having visited London, went on to Sudan and put constructive pressure on the Government to accelerate the deployment of UNAMID and to prioritise political negotiation. Obviously, at a broader level, we are all concerned that not enough has been done to insist to the Government of Sudan that they must make and keep the peace in Darfur.

Updated: 27/08/2009 — 3:49 PM