HL Deb 05 June 1998 vol 590 c55WA
Lord Evans of Parkside

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will detail the outcome of the European Union Development Council meeting on 18 May. [HL2127]

Lord Whitty

The Council discussed the development co-operation aspects of the EU's draft negotiating mandate for the renegotiation of the Lomé Convention, which covers EC aid, trade and development relations with 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and expires in the year 2000. The Council held a useful discussion, resolving most of the outstanding issues on the development aspects of the mandate. Trade aspects are still to be agreed, but we are aiming to have the mandate adopted at the General Affairs Council in June.

The Council agreed conclusions on follow-up to the 1993 Poverty Resolution and on follow-up to the 1995 Gender Resolution. The conclusions refer to experience in implementing the resolutions and set out what more needs to be done to improve effectiveness in these key areas. Procedural conclusions were also agreed on microfinance, indigenous peoples, evaluation and humanitarian aid.

Ministers also discussed Rwanda, Nigeria, the nuclear tests in India, Cuba's request to become an observer in the negotiations on the future of ACP-EU relations, aid untying, the DAC chairmanship, the successor to the current administrator of UNDP and a proposal to set up an expert group on migration. They also agreed conclusions on the situation in southern Sudan, noting with extreme concern the grave situation there and the plight of more than 350,000 people in Bahr el Ghazal.

The conclusions reflect the fact that the Council feels that the root of the problem there is the long-term conflict and commits the EU to continuing to provide flexible assistance, urging other donors to do the same.