HC Deb 13 March 2002 vol 381 c1170W
Richard Burden

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the explosions at a UN World Food Programme compound in Bieh, Sudan on 21 February. [39552]

Mr. MacShane

We were deeply concerned about the attack by a Sudanese Government helicopter on an area next to a World Food Programme feeding station last month. It is our understanding that 18 people were killed and several others injured. This attack is particularly distressing at a time when hopes for peace in Sudan have been growing. Following the incident we made representations at a high level of the Sudanese Government, both in Khartoum and London, and asked the Sudanese Government for a full explanation.

We were pleased to hear that following pressure from the US and UK, the Government of Sudan have signed an agreement with the US on monitoring of reports of attacks on civilians. We hope that this agreement will help to prevent such incidents happening in the future.

We shall intensify our efforts to press all parties to the conflict on the need for a swift negotiated settlement in order to end the suffering caused by so many years of civil war.