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In a letter that I, the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker of Wallasey, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester, along with Mr Eric Joyce, MP, sent to the noble Baroness on 4 November, we argued:

"LRA attacks exacerbate underlying political and ethnic tensions and have the potential to destroy advances made in the development of democratic government-and it neutralises the considerable investment of UK aid".

In her reply of 8 December, the Minister admitted:

"The LRA continue to undermine efforts to provide humanitarian and other assistance in parts of South-Sudan ... The insecurity they create also risks hampering local level preparations and conduct of the 2010 elections and the Referendum in 2011".

The Minister told us that Ban Ki-Moon,

Perhaps the noble Baroness can today tell us where we have reached in this process. Are we raising within the Security Council the proxy role of the LRA, which has a clear and deadly intent to sabotage any stability or progress in southern Sudan? Will she also propose that the Security Council strengthen the civilian protection mandate of the UN mission in Sudan by increasing its operational presence, establishing a comprehensive civilian protection and conflict monitoring system, and creating rapid response capabilities for conflict-prone zones?

In her letter, the Minister cited the potentially positive impact of Senator Russ Feingold's Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament Bill. Perhaps she can tell us what progress this is making and what is being done to create a coherent regional strategy to deal with the

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LRA. Her Majesty's Government could do worse than to appoint a special envoy-perhaps someone of the calibre of the Minister's predecessor, the noble Lord, Lord Malloch-Brown-to spearhead our policy in a region which has seen the loss of more than 7 million lives in the past couple of decades: Africa's World War 1.

We should never forget that the indictments against Omar al-Bashir and Joseph Kony are against war criminals responsible for crimes against humanity. Louis-Moreno Ocampo and the International Criminal Court deserve much more robust support from the world's political leaders than they have received thus far. The intelligence community should spare no effort to apprehend the leaders of the LRA.

We also ought to be doing more to ensure not just that we bring about disarmament, but that we stop the flow of arms into this deadly region. The weapons of mass destruction in Sudan are the hundreds of thousands of foreign-made deadly small arms. In a report issued last month, it was claimed that "transport and brokering actors" come,

It points to European actors, including British companies and citizens, which have been involved in that. What are the Government doing about this? What are we doing to encourage China to stop supplying arms to Sudan? The acquisition of arms by Khartoum, which already has 470,000 weapons in its security forces and 2 million in the hands of civilians around the country, grievously adds to arms proliferation and insecurity. Millions have been killed in this part of Africa. If ever there is to be long-term peace and reconciliation, there must be a determination to secure justice and security.

In Darfur, 400,000 people have been killed, 2 million have been displaced and 90 per cent of the villages have been razed to the ground. There is no timetable or mechanism equivalent to the CPA. There is no durable peace agreement with Chad. The UN's proclaimed doctrine of a "duty to protect" has frequently been made a mockery of. We must concentrate our efforts on all these issues.

In our generation, conflict has led to 7 million deaths in Sudan, Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. We should be indebted to my noble friend for ensuring that we never lose sight of this appalling carnage. It is without parallel anywhere in the world.

12.53 pm

The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, we owe our thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Cox. I also pay tribute to her for all the work that she has put in over many years. She has helped to keep this important country, Sudan, in the public eye.

Sudan is generally seen by the media as a trouble spot, but we must also remember, as the noble Baroness said, that there are signs of hope. The threat of a return to civil war has undoubtedly served as a deterrent and has renewed the commitment of both sides to a comprehensive agreement, imperfect as it may be. The latest agreement on the Abyei ballot is an example of

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this determination to move forward. The south has gradually developed its autonomy, while the north has enjoyed prosperity-as yet, not shared equally with the south. In the east, Chad and Sudan have reached an agreement to monitor the border and expel rebel groups.

The framework of a peaceful transition to good governance is there, ready to be used as soon as the parties show enough willingness to use it. The international community, in my view, is doing its utmost to help to implement the CPA and, as the noble Lord, Lord Judd, said, it must be down to the Sudanese themselves to move as smoothly as possible towards the elections and the referendum.

As Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General's special representative and head of the UN mission, said a few days ago, this year will be critical. He continued:

"As far as possible, each and every Sudanese will need to make every effort, both individually and collectively, to contribute to the success of the CPA, which will be measured, above all, by the extent to which it brings about, consolidates and sustains peace".

Those are wise words. He would also recognise the key role of the churches in this success. It is a pleasure to look forward to the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford, although we are sorry not to have his colleague from Salisbury here.

There are problems right at the centre of the CPA and the most serious of these is wealth-sharing, which is absolutely fundamental to the success of the agreement and above all to the political trust that must be invested on either side. Sudan is potentially a rich nation-it is the third largest producer of oil after Nigeria and Angola with about 500,000 barrels per day. However, the north-south border, along which many of Sudan's oil fields lie, has still not been drawn and the status of Abyei and the other central states, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, is still not clear.

The whole question of the survival of the south as an autonomous state depends on a post-2011 wealth-sharing agreement. This must therefore be developed now. The terms of the CPA were agreed on the basis of a unified state, and will go rapidly out of date during the course of this year unless something is put in their place. With pipelines running as they are, the north will hardly give up its oil fields lightly.

There are, however, many technical difficulties, not least in determining how much oil there is. Most of the old oil companies have left. Out of the 15 oil companies remaining, only three-from China, Malaysia and India-control 88 per cent of oil production. The China National Petroleum Company takes 57 per cent of exports.

I have a number of questions for the Minister at this point, although I recognise that she may have to wait until she has returned from Sudan; I wish her well in that visit. Given the large and growing economic influence of China, what estimate can the Minister give us of its political influence and its contribution to peace in the north and south? To what extent have EU and US diplomats been able to engage and involve the Chinese in discussions about the implementation of the agreement? We must surely not wring our hands and assume that China, judging from its unwillingness to engage in human rights elsewhere, will not be a

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willing partner in discussions over Sudan. I do not believe, for example, that China has not noticed events in Sudan such as the recent beating up of opposition and southern politicians.

China's doctrine of non-interference was understandable when it began trading in Sudan many years ago; indeed, every empire begins that way-ours did. But it becomes less justifiable when it achieves a degree of considerable economic power. Its political influence on and, indeed, support for the Government of Sudan is undeniable; my noble friend Lord Alton has reminded us of the arms shipments. The question is what will happen to China when north and south-and, therefore, its own interests-are divided in two. The south has by far the largest share of oil in the ground-some say 88 per cent-but it is certainly not receiving its fair share of revenues as laid down by the CPA. Global Witness says that the south has only received $2 billion a year since 2005. The SPLM secretary-general, Pagan Amum, says that only $7 billion of $50 billion of total oil revenues has gone to the south.

There are also concerns about lack of transparency. Both the actual production figures and the prices on which transfers are based remain uncertain. The south has too little influence in Khartoum, and there are not enough southern appointees in oil consortia or senior positions in the industry, perhaps because of inexperience or because not enough names have been put forward. To add insult to injury, oil transfers to the Bank of Southern Sudan remain largely in Sudanese pounds. And of course there is corruption. Much of the revenue has gone astray or ended up in false grain contracts.

There are also doubts about the quality of oil. High-quality Nile crude from the Muglad basin in Unity state is now declining rapidly and major companies such as Lundin have pulled out altogether. The new Dar blend in Upper Nile is taking over from Unity and South Kordofan. But there is a lack of refinery capacity and the inexperience of new companies, insecurity and political mistrust have together created new uncertainties.

To return to my original theme, we must be positive about Sudan. I was sorry that even the 10 aid agencies are straying into alarmist language in some of their reports this morning. As the treasurer of the all-party group I strongly endorse their general conclusions, but they must be careful how they record what they have learnt. To judge from some of the media, the civil war has never ended. An article published in the New York Times in December described an attack by the Nuer on the Dinka as "no cattle raid". We have to resist descriptions of Sudan such as:

"The land here is unforgiving, and in places looks like a junkyard of war, with burned-out tanks and shot-down jet fighters sinking into the weeds".

I have seen one or two places like that in the south, but journalists tend to repeat the same stories based on the same places. This is a vast country, scarred by war perhaps, but full of promise. The Nuer, the Dinka and many others have reasons to fight each other, but they are not only warriors, but a wonderful pastoral people of considerable stature and integrity. They need and deserve our support as they move towards a self-reliant, autonomous and probably separate state.

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The Los Angeles Times saw it from another angle when it recently interviewed one of the "lost boys", who escaped from the civil war in the south and was resettled in the United States. He is called Mayuol and has returned to start projects in his home village. He says:

"There is no more shooting, but nothing else has changed. There is still a lot of suffering. People are dying of hunger. There is disease and no medication".

The drama of Sudan is therefore not war, but poverty, which is the original source of both conflict and corruption. I believe that we are addressing it, but it takes time and we need to persuade all the parties to the comprehensive peace agreement, including those on the sidelines, that that is the real priority in Sudan. As the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, and my noble friend Lord Alton said, too many suffer from hunger, malnutrition, ill-health and lack of education and the oil revenues are not coming through fast enough to help them.

1.03 pm

The Lord Bishop of Bradford: My Lords, I begin by offering apologies from the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury. I spoke to him at about 9 o'clock, when he was on Salisbury station. He is still somewhere between there and Waterloo. He asked me to cover some of what he would have said. It is on my computer, so I shall be covering what he might have said.

I add my thanks and my admiration to the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, for prompting this very timely debate. As others have said, it is a year until the referendum is due. It is also timely because next Monday, Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of Sudan will be visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury. Together, they will meet the Prime Minister to talk about the situation in Sudan.

The role of the church, as has already been mentioned, is key to the future of Sudan, especially the south. The Government of Southern Sudan have asked the Episcopal Church and the other churches to work for peace and to encourage people to register to vote. Indeed, in many parts of southern Sudan the churches are the only organisations on the ground that are there among the people and able to effect change. I was at Archbishop Deng's enthronement last April in Juba. He has committed himself to working for peace in Sudan and has committed the Episcopal Church to work right across Sudan in the peacekeeping and reconciliation process.

Peace can be achieved in Sudan only if there really is a concerted, co-ordinated international effort. First, the international community has to put together sufficient political and economic incentives to make it worth while for those warring or would-be warring parties-the NCP, the SPLM, the Darfuri rebels and others-to want peace rather than war. The current initiatives of the United States go part way towards what is needed, but they are not comprehensive enough and they are unilateral proposals.

So, secondly, the US, the UK and Norway, who helped to broker the CPA, together with China and other members of the Security Council, members of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the members of the IGAD need to agree to support an

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individual of international standing who can lead negotiations towards returning to the peace process. I think it almost goes without saying that this person should be an African. The sticking points are many and have been referred to by previous speakers.

Thirdly, there must be a really determined action to provide security for civilians in the south. Much has been said about the Lord's Resistance Army already, but there is also the threat of other local tribal conflict being deliberately ignited to destabilise the region, and there is a real suspicion that the Government are acting as agent provocateur. The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, referred to conflict between the Nuers and the Dinkas. I know that when Archbishop Daniel Deng, who has been travelling right across southern Sudan, visited that region, he was able to bring peace and reconciliation between those two factions.

Fourthly, we need to have hope and confidence and to look beyond the referendum itself. Negotiations need to begin now to map out the most peaceable way possible after the referendum, whether we have two countries or one, considering issues such as how the oil wealth is managed, movement of population, what the currency will be, and issues of security.

Sudan is often viewed as two countries artificially brought together by British administration. Superficially, separation might seem to be the easy solution and the one that appears most attractive at the moment, but there is no neat dividing line. My interest in Sudan arises out of the longstanding link between the diocese of Bradford and what was the diocese of Khartoum in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. That one diocese is now four, and at the end of March I am due to go to Sudan for the creation of a fifth northern diocese. The bishops in the north work hard with local and national government to keep the authorities honest about the plural nature of Sudanese society, including in the north.

On my first visit to Khartoum, I went round some of the camps of displaced people. I was told that there were 3 million displaced people, but I do not know how accurate that figure is. They are living in the deserts around the capital. Some of those settlements are still very primitive indeed; others are gradually becoming more developed. Many of those thousands of people are from the south, driven north by the civil war, but for economic and social reasons most of them would want to stay in Khartoum. Many of them are Christians.

Also in Khartoum, we have quite a number of members of the Sudanese army who are from the south. One can imagine that if civil war were reignited, those southern soldiers would not stand idly by while their brothers and sisters suffered in those settlements. The fault line between north and south also runs right through the Nuba mountains, through what I know as the diocese of Kadugli. As a slight aside, our diocesan office in the West Yorkshire village of Steeton is called Kadugli House. Nobody has a clue why it should be called that, but it was a statement that I wanted to make of the link that we have between a very troubled part of Sudan and a very different part of England.

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Before the civil war, Christians and Muslims in that region lived happily side by side. They were often related to each other. It is less easy to live like that today, but the religious demography of Sudan poses the question for the future of what should be the place of Sharia in a country or countries with such a high proportion of non-Muslims.

As we reflect on Sudan and as we make recommendations from the comparative comfort and ease of this country, we should realise the enormous logistical problems that there are. On my last visit I spoke to the director of Tear Fund in Khartoum. They had had to pull out of their office in Juba because of the violence there. I was there because my diocese works in partnership with Tear Fund in providing wells in Darfur. I could hardly believe what the director told me, that it takes seven or eight days for a lorryload of grain to travel from Khartoum to Darfur, and 30 per cent of those lorries are hijacked or disappear for some other nefarious reason. Quite a number of the drivers have lost their lives. When I travelled back from Juba to Khartoum, some people travelling back with me went by a special flight to Khartoum. They then had to travel half way back to Juba by road, because that was the only way to get back to where they were going. The logistics are enormous, and any thoughts of peacekeeping or providing aid need to take that into consideration.

The Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, refers to recent developments in Sudan. I hope that the House will allow me the indulgence of speaking about what is happening on the ground. Work for peace in that country needs to happen not only at national level and among the community of nations, but also locally within Sudan. The diocese of Bradford is helping in a very small way to provide education in the Nuba mountains and in the north. We have a project, Good Morning Teacher, which helps to build permanent classrooms and provides teachers' salaries. A little goes a long way: £15,000 will build a couple of classrooms. This then encourages local people to find extra resources for development of much-needed schooling. These schools that we are supporting are open to Muslims as well as Christians. I encourage Her Majesty's Government to do something similar. Education, education, education is true for Sudan as well as for this country. There are local as well as national initiatives that we need to support, and support altruistically, if there is to be any hope for the people of Sudan.

When I visited one of those settlements for displaced people, I discovered that its name was Jabarona, which meant, "We were forsaken". May it not be the comment of the nation of Sudan that they were forsaken. I give my wholehearted support to the Minister as she visits Sudan. I hope that, in the light of this rather depressing debate, she will perhaps take the advice of the general in one of the wars, who sent a signal of his situation, "We are surrounded on every side, my left wing is collapsing ... We shall advance". I urge Her Majesty's Government to help the community of nations to advance for peace for Sudan.

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1.15 pm

Lord Avebury: My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, speaks from long and continuous experience of humanitarian work in many parts of Sudan. As the noble Lord, Lord Judd, has said, we listen to her with the greatest respect and with gratitude for raising the formidable obstacles to implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement and the Darfur agreement. She quoted the opinion of an NGO that Sudan is sliding towards a violent breakup. That is the general fear of several others in a report issued just now, warning of a possible humanitarian disaster. That was also referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Alton. They are demanding urgent diplomatic effort to prop up the fragile five year-old deal that ended decades of internal conflict. I ask the Minister whether this can be left to the NCP, as the noble Baroness suggests, or whether it really needs interested action by the international community to reinforce those negotiations between the parties.

I am afraid that Sudan has had too little attention for a country that is ruled by a dictator accused before the International Criminal Court of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, with the backing of the subservient National Congress Party. It is incredible to think that Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for 20 years, is certain to win the elections when they take place, even though under his rule, as we have heard, 5 million to 6 million people have been internally displaced-the largest figure for any country in the world-with a quarter of a million refugees having fled over the borders to neighbouring countries and some 2 million people having been killed as a result of internal conflicts, including 300,000 in Darfur since 2003.

The NCP is the only recognised lawful political party, with 355 seats out of a total of 360 in the last parliamentary elections of December 2000. It is difficult to see how a reasonable and fair election can be held under these circumstances. The elections cannot possibly be free and fair when the Government have conspicuously failed to honour the conditions laid down in the CPA. According to the International Crisis Group, 16 provisions of the CPA remain to be implemented, including new laws reducing the powers of arbitrary arrest and detention, allowing the freedom of the media, an independent electoral commission and unrestricted access to international observer teams. The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, rightly asked what discussions had been held with China, which has been conspicuously silent on these issues. I look forward to the Minister's answer to that question.

The noble Baroness, Lady Cox, referred to the arrest last month of three senior leaders of the opposition SPLM. They were released hours later, but while they were in custody, one of the detainees, the deputy secretary-general of the SPLM, sustained injuries that required hospital treatment. If this is to be the pattern, the election campaign will be a disaster. Our ambassador in Khartoum said last June that we were committed to "establishing an environment conducive to free and fair elections" and that we had "been supporting preparations for the elections for some time". What

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assessment have the Government made of the chances that any of the 16 conditions that were named by the ICG as not having been met will be accomplished in the short interval that remains before April? At what time does she think we ought to cut our losses and withdraw support, which is costing us a lot of money?

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