Previous Section Index Home Page

30 Oct 2006 : Column 252W—continued

Sudan

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made by the UN and African Union technical assessment mission towards establishing a UN mandate in Darfur; and if she will make a statement. [80040]

Margaret Beckett: A UN peacekeeping force is critical to establishing and sustaining a peaceful outcome to the crisis in Darfur. The UN and African Union (AU) deployed a technical assessment mission to Darfur in July to begin planning for transition from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a UN force. On 31 August the Security Council passed resolution 1706 which mandates a UN force for Darfur, drawing on the planning done by that joint AU/UN technical assessment mission.

The Government of Sudan continue to resist a UN deployment in Darfur. I, and others in the Government, are involved in intense diplomatic activity in co-ordination with the UN, African and Arab leaders, the EU and other international partners to make clear to President Bashir that he faces a strategic choice: to act responsibly in support of peace or face increasing isolation. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) pressed President Bashir personally when they met on 16 October.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the next steps are towards gaining the agreement of the Sudanese Government on the future UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. [87553]

Margaret Beckett: A UN peacekeeping force is critical to a resolution of the appalling Darfur conflict. The UK co-sponsored UN Security Council resolution 1706, adopted on 31 August, which mandated a force. Since then we have been engaging Sudan directly to agree to its deployment: my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) raised this with President Bashir in Khartoum on 16 October.

We are also in close contact with international partners to maintain sustained and unified pressure on the Sudanese Government to co-operate fully with the UN. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe (Mr. Hoon) and I had discussions on Darfur with our counterparts from the African Union, UN Security Council and EU partners during the UN General Assembly week (18-22 September) in New York. We have been in intensive telephone contact since and our missions are lobbying key governments who have influence over Khartoum.

We, and others, are making crystal clear to the Sudanese Government that there are considerable benefits for the people of Sudan in accepting
30 Oct 2006 : Column 253W
international peacekeeping assistance, and negative consequences if the situation continues to deteriorate as a result of Khartoum’s rejection of such assistance.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the decision of the Sudanese Government to demand the removal of Special UN Representative Jan Pronk. [97704]

Mr. Hoon: The Government condemn the decision by the Sudanese Government to expel Jan Pronk, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Sudan. This step will contribute nothing to solving the problems of Sudan: Khartoum needs to co-operate with the UN to bring an end to the appalling conflict in Darfur. We are in close contact with the UN Secretariat on their response and have protested directly to President Bashir. We call upon the Sudanese Government to reconsider their decision.

Tanzania

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1285W, on Tanzania, what further action Ministers have taken to help to secure justice for Mr. Stewart Middleton. [97706]

Mr. Hoon: My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, raised this case with the Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Asha-Rose Migiro, on 18 September 2006. Our high commission in Dar es Salaam remains in close touch
30 Oct 2006 : Column 254W
with Stewart Middleton and continues to make representations on his behalf.

Tibet

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Chinese authorities about the killings at Nangpa La, near the Tibet-Nepal border, of Tibetan escapees by the Chinese army patrols; and if she will make a statement. [97347]

Dr. Howells: We are working both bilaterally and with the EU to seek an urgent and transparent investigation by the Chinese Government. The EU raised the incident with the Chinese Government at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Beijing on 19 October 2006.

Visas

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why visas have not yet been issued to the individuals involved in appeal cases OA/32813/2005 and OA/32707/2005 (embassy reference KGN/90197 and KGN/90199); when she expects them to be issued; and if she will make a statement. [97532]

Dr. Howells: Our visa section in Kingston has not yet received the appeal determination from the Home Office that would enable them to issue visas to the individuals to which the hon. Member refers. They have asked the Home Office to send them the determination that will confirm the outcome of the appeal hearing. UK Visas sent a letter to the hon. Member on 24 October indicating this.


    Index Home Page