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There are two things that the UK should do immediately. First, the British Government should seriously consider implementing targeted sanctions to try to halt Khartoum's continuing policies, which are inflicting widespread death and destruction. These could include a UK trade embargo and diplomatic sanctions imposed on senior politicians in Khartoum's ruling party responsible for the humanitarian crisis and human rights offences. On 10 November, the Minister told me:
"We judge that further targeted travel sanctions would not help at this stage in achieving our objectives, but will keep this under review in consultation with European Union and United Nations partners".-[Official Report, 10/11/11; col. WA 95.]
If north and South Sudan are to have any kind of future, the north will have to learn to coexist with the south, and there will have to be justice as well as peace. Britain and China, I re-emphasise, should work with one another to try to facilitate this. Following Rwanda, we said that we would never countenance another genocide-"Never again", we said. But it is "Never again" all over again in south Kordofan and this part of Sudan, unless we act.
Lord Elton: I did not come here with the intention of speaking. I came here with the intention of learning, and I have learnt some very uncomfortable facts and am left with some uncomfortable questions. I suspect that the very illuminating speeches, the last two in this debate, will cause some untidiness in the language in which we describe what is going on in that part of Africa.
The question that we all ask is what we can do to bring this tragic story to a happy conclusion. The question that I am left with is a much smaller one which I would like the Minister to answer after she has answered all the questions that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, asked so eloquently a moment ago. I look forward to those answers with great interest. How many of the members of the Government of Khartoum are welcomed into our capital city and elsewhere? Do they have property here? Do they enjoy the rights of civilians here? If a British citizen kills one person the least he gets is a mandatory life sentence. What do generals who have arranged the murder of thousands get in return if they come to this city of ours?
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and the committee for taking the initiative in writing and preparing this excellent report. Indeed, we welcome the opportunity to take stock this evening of where we are now in the wake of the excellent assessment made by the committee on the challenges faced by Sudan and the role of the European Union in efforts to build peace, security, governance and developments. These objectives, as many noble Lords have said, apply to both Sudan and South Sudan, which both face uncertainty and potentially increasing tension and conflict created by a raft of unresolved contentious issues.
While the focus this evening has been mostly on South Sudan, we should urge the European Union and all donors to be vigilant and be careful not to neglect the need to respond to the destabilising effect of South Sudan's independence on the north, where the economy is in serious trouble after two decades of mismanagement in Khartoum by the NIF-with huge military expenditure, corruption and cronyism. Add to this a potential 37 per cent decline in oil revenues and inflation at 15 per cent and rising. Foreign exchange reserves are at an extremely low level and very painful cuts are hurting the people of Sudan. Behind all this is a gigantic $38 billion of external debt.
There are clear reasons for remaining engaged with the Republic of Sudan and for the EU to persevere with what is described as a "comprehensive approach" approved by Foreign Ministers at the Council in Brussels in June.
The EU has had and does have a central and important role to play. EU funding has for many years been crucial in Sudan, especially in South Sudan, in terms of the support given to grassroots human rights organisations-the programme in Khartoum has been and is excellent-and work on food security issues in the south and east. ECHO, the humanitarian office of the EU, continues to provide a critical lifeline to Darfur and to the south. The EU provides a balanced set of incentives to both Sudan and South Sudan to settle their differences peacefully and focus on development. So far, as noble Lords have intimated, those incentives have not persuaded either country to settle their differences. However, it is important that they know and understand that these incentives are there, and there should be intensified efforts to support the urgent need to encourage dialogue and co-operation.
The place to do this is clearly through African Union's Thabo Mbeki panel. I know that a number of noble Lords have referred to this and made disparaging comments about it. It is a difficult situation, but it is the only show in town. There is no prospect of dialogue and discussion other than through the African Union. It is the only place where the two sides are likely to go for that dialogue. Thabo Mbeki, in my judgment, has been doing a very good job of ensuring that discussions take place. He has done that in very difficult circumstances. It is not ideal, but it is the best hope that we have of brokering agreements between the north and the south on, for instance, oil revenue, citizenship, borders and Abyei. Another option is the joint Africa-EU strategy, which has the potential to provide the space for some political dialogue.
In just a few weeks, the people of South Sudan will mark the anniversary of their vote last year to secede from the north. As two members of the APG who are here today have said, when we went to South Sudan, we met with enormous hope and expectation. We have memories of people who could not even say "referendum" without breaking out into a huge grin of happiness and satisfaction. They believed; the expectations were high. They told us that there would be new roads, clinics, jobs, food and schools for their kids. Most of all, they looked forward to peace and security at last.
It is therefore unthinkable that donors, including the EU, cannot now effectively respond to support a Government who need to tackle chronic poverty and make some progress to reaching the millennium development goals, which are currently way out of reach. The scale of the challenge is daunting and the statistics truly shocking. Save the Children has highlighted that South Sudan, as other noble Lords have said, has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
Access to services is rare. The women die of haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour and, indeed, of unsafe abortion. There is widespread malnutrition among children, which leads to stunting and lifelong underdevelopment. South Sudan has one of the lowest routine immunisation coverage rates on earth; only about 10 per cent of children are fully vaccinated. The women of South Sudan are among the poorest and most marginalised of the world; 92 per cent of them are illiterate. This is deplorable. In human development terms, it is as bad as you can get and it demands a focus on human, social and economic capacity to develop infrastructure, social services and public services.
Last month, the EU held a workshop in Juba where the discussion was about how to streamline effective measures designed to ensure that EU assistance can be effective. The workshop was organised by the EU special representative, Dame Rosalind Marsden, who, as I understand it, was somewhat criticised by the committee for not actually living in Sudan.
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: No? Good. This was not in the report but I was told that in an exchange she was made to feel that there was some criticism of her on that score. Clearly, if that was not the case-
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: Thank you very much for clarifying that, because it would be extremely unusual for any country representative or envoy to live in the country which they follow. I would say that Dame Rosalind Marsden is doing a very good job as a special representative and has enormous respect among the Sudanese and, indeed, others in the European Union.
All the EU member states' missions in Juba attended that workshop, as did representatives from the Government of South Sudan, the UN and the World Bank. This is part of a concerted effort by the EU and by other players to encourage joint programming by member states of the European Union and by other donors who need to co-ordinate, certainly better than has been the case. One thing we know, for instance, is that the education ministry is currently dealing with 17 different bilateral donors, as well as countless NGOs. This takes time and is extremely difficult when you do not have the computers, the staff or the capacity to manage being inundated in this way by requests and pressure from so many donors. That workshop was the first time that partners had come together in this way-in this Room, we would say "And about time too".
The strategic plan is now to join EU donor teams together, which will assist with efforts to tackle humanitarian needs. Several areas will of course need to be prioritised; as noble Lords have said, there is justice, the rule of law, education and urban development. One area which I think was not mentioned is the rural economy, which has become a major priority for the European Union. The EU will participate in the pledging conference due to be held in Washington DC later this month and play a lead role on the agricultural sector in that meeting.
The noble Lord, Lord Jay, mentioned the NGO report; I, too, certainly recommend Getting it Right from the Start as very interesting reading. It recommends substantial support for small-scale agriculture and pastoral production, which is extremely important in Sudan, and called for targeted support for access to areas of the country where large numbers of returnees are settling, making huge demands on the population living there. The report also calls on the EU and others to provide long-term, predictable funding, as noble Lords have said, for the Government and for NGOs as well, which are of course heavily involved in the current provision of basic services in South Sudan. Another key issue is the need for all systems to promote equitable social and economic development.
Currently, Jonglei gets roughly a third as much per capita as Western Bahr El Gazal, while grappling with a food-insecure population nearly six times as large. These discrepancies need to be tackled. Adjustments to redress inequalities should be encouraged in order to respond to references in the comprehensive peace agreement and the transitional constitution to,
A very important EU contribution will be to develop trade opportunities with South Sudan and to continue free access to EU markets under the "Everything But
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Another critical issue that deserves more than lip service is the need to support South Sudan civil society in its efforts to participate in the decisions. I also strongly emphasise the need for much more investment in the South Sudan Parliament. Last week, MPs were here as guests of the CPA. I met two MPs from South Sudan, who told me that they do not have offices, a library or any computers. They have no access at all to information, yet they are supposed to manage these complex and challenging issues. It is critical that this newly elected Parliament is given the means to work efficiently so that it can hold the Government to account, particularly when the Parliament scrutinises budgets, for example.
Currently, the increased flow of funds into the economy in South Sudan, as a result of taking all the oil revenue from the southern oil fields, is not being properly accounted for, as others have remarked on. This could be put down to corruption; we are very quick to do that. However, surely the sheer lack of functioning institutions is a major factor. Anyone who has been to a developing country without such institutions understands that there is corruption but there is also an inability to manage very complex fiscal and budgetary issues.
I believe very strongly that the collective importance of the EU will be critical at this time. As it says in the report, the issue of the ICC arrest warrant resulted in Sudan refusing to ratify the Cotonou partnership agreement in 2010. The legal framework for co-operation with the EU was therefore denied to South Sudan. The agreement is the only legally binding instrument that includes an ICC clause. The EU Council and the ACP council should be commended for their efforts to ensure that South Sudan can access that funding. In July the EU Council agreed to give €190 million of uncommitted funds from the ninth and previous European development funds to meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations in both the north and the south. Additional funds amounting to €200 million have already been allocated in the context of the 2011-13 development plan drawn up by the Government in Juba. A decision has been taken with the ACP. It is very good to see the combined efforts of the council-of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific-and the EU to adopt what they are calling a flexible approach, which will allow South Sudan to become a party to the Cotonou agreement and the 10th EDF funds. I know that this was an issue that particularly exercised the committee during the discussions that took place.
South Sudan has lost a lot of time because of the donor-pooled funds by the World Bank. They have lost a lot of time when strategic planning was difficult for them. Of the £800 million allocated at the time of the CPA agreement, only one-third had been spent by July this year. It is terrible that the money has been there and has not been spent. It was mainly because of the over-rigorous and ridiculously stringent conditions imposed on the disbursements of the funding.
I visited Sudan a number of times over many years, and I cannot but help feel and share the joy and anticipation felt by the people who have known decades of such terrible war and suffering. What we know now is that countless thousands have been displaced and the conflicts for decades have caused such misery. The two countries now face seemingly intractable problems, but the opportunities for supporting positive progress towards peace, development and accountable governance are also significant and we should not be so pessimistic as to rule that out. The call now has to be for the two Governments to change their approach and for civil society and Parliaments to hold their Governments to account. I know that the EU is seen as central to those efforts, and to support it, UNMIS and the AU High-Level Implementation Panel. We should support the EU premise that the provision of basic services can help reduce the risk of conflicts driven by competition over resources. Similarly, the EU believes that providing services in areas under pressure from large numbers of returnees will reduce further potential for conflict.
Baroness Verma: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Teverson for tabling today's debate, and all noble Lords for their valuable contribution to this very important topic. I hope that I will reassure noble Lords through my remarks and responses to questions raised that the Government very much take on board noble Lords' concerns that progress in Sudan and South Sudan is slow. If I cannot answer questions today, I will write to noble Lords, but I would like to start by paying tribute to the Associate Parliamentary Group for Sudan, some of whose members have participated today. Its continued interest and commitment to the people of both Sudans is crucial and vital, and is rightly welcomed by all those who care about the welfare of the peoples of these two countries. As with the noble Lord, Lord Sewel, if it is repetition on a good point, repetition it will be.
We very much welcomed the report produced in June this year by EU Sub-Committee C, which accurately predicted many of the challenges that would be faced by the two countries after South Sudan's secession. It made some very sensible recommendations, and made clear what can be achieved by working with our EU partners in Sudan and South Sudan. We very much value the role of the EU in Sudan, and particularly, as the noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, just said, of EU special representative, Rosalind Marsden. We look forward to continuing to work with them and her.
At this stage, it would be most useful if perhaps I set out the current UK policy towards Sudan and South Sudan. Since the committee's report was issued in June, we have seen the birth of the world's newest nation, South Sudan. The independence of South Sudan on 9 July was a great success, passing peacefully and with the consent of both nations. Our own Foreign Secretary was there to represent the UK and made clear our ongoing commitment to both countries.
We continue to make clear that we would like to see two prosperous states peacefully coexisting with each other. We want to see a swift resolution to the many conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan, which are affecting stability in both countries, and we want to see full humanitarian access granted to all conflict areas. We can work closely with our international partners, particularly the EU, in pursuit of these goals.
The UK continues with its extensive development programme, co-ordinated through DfID, in both countries. Humanitarian needs play a big part of our programming, but we also provide significant development assistance to both countries. We should also be clear that no money goes directly to the Governments in Sudan or South Sudan.
In South Sudan, the UK is providing over £90 million a year for the next four years to help the people of South Sudan. This funding will support international efforts to promote peace and stability in South Sudan. Specifically, our assistance will help to build more accountable, inclusive and transparent government; deliver basic services, such as education, clean water and healthcare; support economic growth; provide humanitarian relief; and improve security and access to justice.
In Sudan, we are providing £50 million per year for the next four years. Sudan has undergone massive upheaval this year. As such, we are looking at our programme to make sure it meets the needs of the Sudanese people in these changing times. Whatever happens, our programmes will contribute to the provision of humanitarian aid to those most in need. They will help deliver clean water, sanitation and better education. Our programmes will also aim to deliver better access to justice, particularly for women, and improved governance in Sudan.
On a recent visit in November, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Stephen O'Brien announced additional support for the World Food Programme that will enable it to meet the humanitarian food needs of approximately 315,000 people who have been particularly affected by conflict in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei. This will cost around £4.8 million.
The British Council is increasingly engaged in Sudan. While there in July, Henry Bellingham, Foreign Office Minister for Africa, witnessed the signing of a statement of intent between the British Council and the Sudanese Ministry of Education confirming the commitment of both parties to an English-teacher training programme. It will lead to the development of a cadre of 40 ministry teacher trainers and result in 900 more teachers at basic and secondary school level in Khartoum state receiving professional development training.
However, it is unfortunate that, despite the efforts of the UK and the international community, progress
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More recently, there have been worrying developments, with the Sudanese Air Force bombing Yida in South Sudan and Quffa in the border area on 10 November, and further violent altercations on 3 December. The Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, made a statement in November condemning any action that puts civilian lives at risk and called on both parties to exercise restraint. These latest events make it all the more important that both sides allow a border monitoring mission to deploy quickly.
We also continue to urge both Sudan and South Sudan to find a way to resolve their remaining areas of difference. It is particularly concerning that the parties could not come to an agreement on oil revenue sharing during the talks in Addis Ababa last week. We encourage both parties to make every effort to come to an agreement in the next rounds of talks that will take place throughout December.
We also urge both parties to come to an agreement on citizenship, border demarcation and the status of the disputed region of Abyei. As the Foreign Secretary said in a joint statement yesterday with his Norwegian and US colleagues, it is vital that the two parties return to the table as soon as possible to find equitable solutions. The situation on both security and humanitarian difficulties in Darfur remains an area of grave concern. The UK is actively supporting the development of the UN-AU road map for the peace process in Darfur, which is due to be presented to the UN Security Council in January 2012.
We hope that this will push for the early implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur; continue with negotiations with those movements not yet signed up to the agreement; include consultations with the people of Darfur; and set out a clear process by which the international community can support the process.
I will now respond to some of the points raised by noble Lords. I know that a number of noble Lords have raised the failure of the two countries to reach an agreement on equitable sharing of oil revenues between the two countries. We welcome the constructive role being played by the AU high-level implementation panel which is mediating between the parties on this question. The troika of the UK, US and Norway is playing an important role by supporting mediation politically and with technical advice. And, of course, we welcome the recent actions by China, raised by noble Lords to support a negotiated solution between the two countries on the question of oil. The EU also has a valuable part to play alongside the troika in supporting the AU's mediation.
Talks facilitated by the AU, the African Union, in Addis Ababa on 25 to 30 November unfortunately came to no agreement, but constructive proposals were placed on the table. The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, has noted that this included an offer by South Sudan on the level of compensation it could pay to Sudan for its loss of oil revenue with a headline figure of $4.5 billion. That proposal needs to be looked at in a broader context, including the outstanding debts that are to be offset, but it is a proposal that we hope the Sudanese Government will consider seriously and to which it will respond constructively.
Noble Lords have raised the unwelcome statements by the Sudanese Government that they are intending to withhold payments for South Sudanese oil. Such threats are clearly not helpful in reaching an agreement which is needed for the economic welfare of both countries. My noble friend Lord Selkirk has mentioned the proposal that a new pipeline should be built to take South Sudan's oil to the sea without crossing Sudan as a longer-term solution. We believe that if such a proposal were viable or affordable for Sudan, it would not take away the need to urgently seek a solution for the near term.
As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said in a joint statement yesterday with his Norwegian and US colleagues it is vital that the two parties should return to the table as soon as possible to find equitable solutions for the economic benefit of both countries.
Noble Lords have rightly mentioned the importance of tackling corruption in South Sudan and of ensuring that the new Government have the right measures in place to deal with this. We welcome the renewed emphasis that President Kiir has placed on stamping out corruption in recent public statements. It will be important that this is followed up by implementing the various actions that have been agreed with expert international assistance. Dealing with corruption and improving the management of public finances will be considered at the international engagement conference for South Sudan that is to be held in Washington on 14 and 15 December. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary at DfID, Stephen O'Brien, will be chairing the session on improving transparency and accountability in government. We hope that this will be an opportunity for the Government of South Sudan to announce further specific measures in this area.
Noble Lords have asked about the progress in establishing EU representation in Juba. An EU delegation is in place sharing a compound with a number of other EU member states, as has been mentioned in the course of this debate. The UK too has been increasing its presence with more than 30 staff from the Foreign Office and DfID now in place. We are currently sharing the same compound although we are exploring the option of more permanent accommodation. We recognise that the EU delegation has been understaffed in Sudan
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My noble friend Lord Chidgey and other noble Lords asked whether South Sudan could benefit from Sudan's original allocation under the European Development Fund, which has not been used due to Sudan's failure to ratify the Cotonou agreement. I can assure him that the EU is drawing on a number of sources, including unspent EDF money, to fund significant development and humanitarian programmes in the medium term. South Sudan will itself need to join the agreement in order to benefit from the EDF in future rounds.
My noble friend was also right to stress the importance of ensuring that aid money is not misappropriated given the difficult environment for delivering aid in South Sudan and the wider problems of corruption that I have already mentioned. The EU has long experience of providing assistance in difficult circumstances and has the procedures and safeguards available to ensure that best practice is followed. But that is not a reason to be complacent. This will be an area in which we will pay close attention in considering how effectively the EU is spending its resources in South Sudan.
I am being handed a paper to say that I must wind up, so I will go through some quick points. The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and other noble Lords are concerned that the Sudanese armed forces and the Sudanese People's Liberation Army have not yet withdrawn from Abyei despite the presence of the UN interim security force. We are urging of both sides immediate redeployment and the granting of full humanitarian access to the area.
The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, also commented on support to South Sudan. I will undertake to write to the noble Lord about that support. There is a comprehensive plan and that would be helpful rather than skipping over some points now. However, I will say that one of the first actions South Sudan on becoming an independent state was to apply for membership of the Commonwealth, which is a positive sign. To join the Commonwealth you have to undertake all the criteria and it is welcome to all of us to see that it is willing to undertake the core values of democracy, human rights and law. It is a welcome move.
The noble Lord, Lord Jay, asked about DfID. It is piloting a new approach to aid partnerships with fragile countries such as South Sudan which was the focus of discussion at the summit last week it will continue to play a leading role in ensuring that the aid community in South Sudan follows best practice.
It is clear that there is still a long way to go before the people of South Sudan and Sudan can live their lives in a peaceful and prosperous environment. For our part, we will not be afraid to deliver tough messages to both Governments when we need to. We will have to continue to make it clear that both countries must refrain from military action in each other's territories either directly or through support to other armed groups. We will keep urging both countries to negotiate
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The UK remains fully committed to helping the people of both countries through humanitarian and development projects. We will continue to provide assistance to respond to the humanitarian needs of conflict-affected populations, to support security and access to justice, to build basic services and encourage more transparent and accountable government in both countries. Through all of this, we will work as closely as closely as possible with our key international partners including the EU. Through a united international effort, perhaps we can begin to make strong progress in Sudan and South Sudan and it is important that we note that since the secession, we have seen some positive developments in both countries. Sudan has also shown some welcome signs of becoming a more constructive voice in regional issues. For example, it is playing a leading role in the Arab League's recent action against the Syrian regime and its support for the new Government in Libya.
I know that noble Lords will not be satisfied with the responses today because all noble Lords who have taken part today know that we have a very long journey of challenges ahead. I hope that noble Lords will take on board that the Government take this issue incredibly seriously. Where I have failed to respond directly to noble Lords' questions, I will undertake to write to noble Lords.
However, I hope that when we next have a debate on Sudan we will be able to talk about more progress and better governance in both countries. I thank all noble Lords, particularly my noble friend, for raising this very important topic today.
Lord Teverson: My Lords, my noble friend the Minister should not be quite so downbeat about her contribution. There can be very few debates where she is asked so many questions about so many issues, some
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I conclude by thanking all noble Lords for their contributions. A broad range of issues have been brought up that were not necessarily covered by the report. I thank particularly the noble Lords, Lord Chidgey and Lord Alton, for their insights and their practical experience. I thank also the noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, for her giving us much of her experience and an in-depth view of the European Union side of this issue-we are a European Union Committee at the end of the day. I am slightly less pessimistic about Europe's role than some of my noble friends.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for sitting through the debate. His brief contribution did not get an answer, but I was pleased to read that the Kenyan Government have made it quite clear recently that if President al-Bashir landed on Kenyan soil, he would be whisked away to the International Criminal Court. The Kenyan ambassador was banished from Khartoum as a result, but that is the right way forward.
I thank lastly the clerk of the Committee, Kathryn Colvin, and our secretary, Bina Sudra. If the Grand Committee would indulge me, I would like to thank also our policy analyst, Oliver Fox, who has provided excellent service to this sub-committee during the number of years that he has worked in that role for us. He has now left to join the External Action Service. Although he is dealing only with Switzerland at the moment, he will hopefully have an opportunity to fix South Sudan in the future as well.
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