The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): I will today lay before Parliament the Annual Report of the Foreign Compensation Commission for 200405. This is the 50th such report.
The report provides an account of the Commission's activities during the financial year 200405 and includes a statement of account for that period. It also includes summaries of expenditure for the preceding years when, owing to extended vacancies for a large part of that time, no annual reports were produced. The Commission was not engaged in any active distribution programmes during the periods in question and operates on a care and maintenance basis.
The Minister for Trade (Ian Pearson): I commend the tireless efforts of the African Union (AU) mediation in Abuja to reach a peace deal for Darfur, and welcome their tabling, on 25 April, of compromise proposals for a Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development has been at the Abuja talks since 2 May. He is supporting the AU in its efforts to get the parties to agree a deal.
I welcome the fact that the Government of Sudan are willing to sign the DPA. But I was extremely disappointed to hear that the rebel movements have rejected the first draft. They must realise that no deal will meet their full requirements; but this agreement is a fair and just one. It offers them participation in government and a political platform from which they can influence Darfur's future. I agree with the AU chief mediator's assessment that any future negotiations are likely to be less favourable to the movements.
The pressure is now on the rebel movements to agree the deal. The international community will not understand if they fail to take this opportunity to bring peace to Darfur and security to its people. We have already made clear that those who impede the peace process will face sanctions under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1591. The rebel movements need to understand that this is their opportunity for a just settlement and such an opportunity is unlikely to recur.