HC Deb 02 March 1994 vol 238 cc937-8
14. Rev. Martin Smyth

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to meet the Foreign Minister of the Sudan Republic to discuss the conflict in southern Sudan.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

At the moment, we have no plans for such a meeting.

Rev. Martin Smyth

I am disappointed that there are no such plans, bearing in mind that many people in the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere are concerned about the conflict in southern Sudan, which has been going on for far too long. The fact that they happen to be black upon black does not relieve us of any responsibility.

Mr. Hogg

The hon. Gentleman is entirely right. We share that concern and we endorse the peace initiative being promoted by the Kenyans, the Ugandans and others.

Mr. Cash

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that 40,000 Muslim fundamentalists have been airlifted from Khartoum to southern Sudan; that 200,000 people from southern Sudan have been driven into Uganda over the past few months; and that there is a prospect that that figure could rise to a million, which Uganda simply could not cope with? Will he ensure that every effort is made to ensure that the people moving into Uganda are given every support by the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development and by the American and British initiatives that are currently under way?

Mr. Hogg

What my hon. Friend says reinforces the importance of the present peace initiative. I echo what I have already said—that we think that the Government of Sudan should respond positively to that initiative.

Mr. Gunnell

What steps has the Minister taken through the United Nations to seek a solution to this problem? Will he ensure that the negotiations that are under way are discussed with the United Nations so that it, too, may play its maximum role in sorting out this mess?

Mr. Hogg

It is important not to undercut the present initiative. Therefore, for the moment I should prefer to see weight placed on the initiative to which I have referred —that promoted by the Kenyans, Ugandans and others. If it becomes plain that that will not succeed, one can consider other mechanisms.