HC Deb 13 February 1991 vol 185 cc835-6
1. Mr. Day

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy in respect of the situation in the Sudan.

18. Mr. Stanbrook

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is making representations to the Sudanese Government about the situation in the Sudan.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Douglas Hogg)

We have serious differences with the Sudanese Government over their policies on the Gulf conflict, human rights, and terrorism. We are also most concerned about their failure to co-ordinate effectively with foreign relief agencies in order to deal with the major famine that is in prospect. We have made our position on these issues clear to the Sudanese authorities.

Mr. Day

What representations have Her Majesty's Government made to the Government of Sudan about the latter's rather unhelpful approach to the Gulf crisis?

Mr. Hogg

The Government of Sudan are one of the few Governments in the world who have given support to the Government of Iraq. That is wrong in principle and it is contrary to the interests of the Sudan. We have made both those things clear to the Sudanese Government.

Mr. Stanbrook

That huge country, with its immense resources and its wonderful people, has not enjoyed political stability since it was under British administration. Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that Britain has a vast reservoir of experience and expertise with regard to the problems of the Sudan which is not sufficiently tapped? Will he please ensure that that resource, which is available to Her Majesty's Government and to the authorities in the Sudan, is used for the mutual benefit of both countries?

Mr. Hogg

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. I am aware that the Sudanese civil service attracted some of the ablest administrators in the colonial service and there is thus a pool of informed opinion. I shall give careful thought to my hon. Friend's ingenious suggestion.

Mr. Anderson

I fully support the Government's robust response to the release on 7 January by the Sudanese Government of the terrorists who murdered five British citizens. Will the Minister say a little more about the extent of the co-operation between Sudan and Iraq in the Gulf war? For example, Christian Sudanese from the south say that chemical weapons have been supplied by Iraq to the Sudanese Government and ABC News recently carried a report that before the conflict Iraq had positioned combat aircraft and missiles via Port Sudan in Sudan itself for possible use against strategic targets either in Saudi Arabia or against targets such as the Aswan dam in Egypt.

Mr. Hogg

As regards the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question, yes there have been rumours to the effect that Iraq has been basing equipment of various kinds in the Sudan, but we have no evidence to substantiate them. Our view would be that that would be wrong in principle and contrary to the interests of the Sudan. As to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question, I am grateful to him for the support that he has given to the Government for the way we responded to the disgraceful decision to release the terrorists who murdered five British citizens and two others.

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