HL Deb 04 November 2002 vol 640 c76WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the sale of the Alenia Marconi Systems radar system to the Government of Sudan and its use by that Government in pursuing their bombing campaign in Southern Sudan; and whether they have discussed with the aid agencies their concern that the radar system used in conjunction with recently acquired Mig-29s will prevent humanitarian aid flights from flying into Southern Sudan. [HL6201]

Baroness Amos:

A modern air traffic control system is needed for the large number of commercial and humanitarian flights that fly over and within Sudan and is crucial for the safety of United Nations and nongovernmental organisations staff involved in the delivery of vital humanitarian aid in Sudan, the majority of which is currently transported by air. Officials have discussed with aid agencies their concerns about the system. In response to the ongoing civil war, the EU instituted an arms embargo in 1994. We implement this rigorously and expect the arms embargo to remain in place while the civil war and human rights abuses continue.

The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army agreed unrestricted humanitarian access for the duration of the IGAD peace talks in the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cessation of Hostilities on 17 October. The UN and the Humanitarian Affairs Commission and the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Authority met in Nairobi on 25 October to discuss the implementation of unrestricted humanitarian access. We warmly welcome these developments. We continue to urge all parties to give all possible help to the UN and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance. Our Ambassador in Khartoum raised the general issue of humanitarian access with the Sudanese Minister of International Cooperation on 24 October.