HC Deb 28 February 1973 vol 851 cc1497-8
31. Mr. Luce

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Great Britain will provide further aid to the Sudan following the conclusion of its civil war in the South.

Mr. Wood

I have decided to make a further payment of £250,000 to the South Sudan relief appeal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I have also decided to provide £50,000 to be shared among British voluntary societies which have been working for the past 12 months in the south. Parliament will be asked to approve the necessary Supplementary Estimates. Meanwhile, an advance will be sought from the Contingency Fund. The total grants made by Her Majesty's Government for relief work in South Sudan will now be £750,000.

Mr. Luce

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that statement, but is he aware that this is the first anniversary of the peace settlement in the south and that we have strong historical ties with the Sudan? This announcement of further aid, albeit a relatively small sum, will he warmly welcomed by the Sudanese in the south and in the north. But the greatest need is for a sustained flow of cash aid and technical assistance over a long period in the south. Will the Minister ask our allies, particularly in the EEC, to respond to our lead in this?

Mr. Wood

All this will be taken into account. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will be in Khartoum, and later Juba, tomorrow, and will no doubt be considering the matter. As my hon. Friend knows, there is the likelihood of further discussions later this month.

Mr. James Johnson

I thank the Minister for his announcement about the aid. Is he aware that after 16 years of civil war this is the most magnanimous settlement of any civil war I have known anywhere in the world, and is perhaps an example to us nearer home. But is the Minister further aware that about half a million refugees are due soon, before the wet season, from Uganda and the Congo and what is now needed is cash to set in motion public works of all kinds for the unemployed and under-employed who are coming back? Will the Minister consider a further sum in the near future?

Mr. Wood

It was for that kind of reason that I decided to make this further contribution. I will certainly take into account what the hon. Member has said.