HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc310-1W
22. David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of Sudan's prospects for peace and long-term development. [29145]

Clare Short

I visited Sudan recently to assess the prospects for peace and development. In my discussions with Sudanese leaders and others in the north and south of the country, I found that both sides in the conflict were yearning for peace. I concluded that there is now a real window of opportunity for the UK and the rest of the international community to engage in dialogue to help Sudan bring this long running conflict to an end.

I believe the UK can play a significant role in helping resolve the conflict and that our involvement would be welcomed by both sides. My Department is now considering ways in which the UK can exert influence in the peace process. We will aim to raise and maintain the conflict's profile in the international arena, and to build the pressure for a just peace. This will involve discussing Sudan with the World bank, IMF and the EU as well as with African countries with the potential to help. It will also be important to maintain the continued interest and involvement from the US and we will work with them at official and ministerial level to ensure this.

Long-term development of Sudan cannot be achieved without an end to the war. Such a partnership would depend on an end to the conflict, sustainable peace and political stability, as well as a commitment on the part of the Sudanese Government to poverty eradication.

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