To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about the political situation in Sudan following the announcement by Omal al-Bashir that he will not seek another term in office; and what is their assessment of that situation.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): President Bashir’s announcement that he would not seek re-election is in line with Sudan’s constitution, which imposes a two-term limit on any President. As the next presidential elections are not due to take place until 2015, the full impact of his announcement is yet to be seen. Other factors will influence the political situation over the coming months, including the likely amendments to Sudan’s constitution following the completion of the comprehensive peace agreement and the secession of south Sudan in July.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about the recent violence in Abyei, Sudan.
Lord Howell of Guildford: We are very concerned at the recent clashes in the Abyei region, including those on 27 and 28 February 2011 and 1 and 2 March 2011 between northern and southern groups in the area. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary issued a joint statement with his US and Norwegian Troika colleagues on 15 March 2011 urging both parties to resume their dialogue on post-referendum issues including Abyei. We urge all parties to work to secure full implementation of the agreements made in Kadguli in January this year in order to reduce instability and tension.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Sudan to end discrimination against citizens who are HIV positive.
Lord Howell of Guildford: While we have not raised this issue specifically, we regularly raise issue of human rights and specifically protection of minorities with the Government of Sudan, in line with both the Sudanese constitution and with their international human rights obligations.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to south Sudan ahead of the preparations for independence on 9 July.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is providing developmental assistance of £140 million to Sudan this financial year, approximately half of which is spent in the south, focused on conflict resolution, security, anti-corruption measures, basic service delivery and governance. We continue to play an active role in supporting the implementation of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement.