Sudan

Developments in Sudan

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Baroness Kinnock and Gareth Thomas have issued a statement following recent developments in Sudan. They stress the UK's commitment to supporting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and lasting peace in Darfur.

In a joint statement by Baroness Kinnock, Minister for Africa at the FCO, and Gareth Thomas, Minister of State for International Development at DFID, they call on all parties in Sudan to "work actively and cooperatively" to create a lasting peace in Darfur.

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'We have followed with concern recent developments in Sudan, particularly disputes over implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in the run-up to its fifth anniversary on 9 January 2010, and the shootings and kidnappings of international peacekeeping personnel and humanitarian workers in Darfur and neighbouring regions. Gareth Thomas reiterated during his visit to Sudan in October the UK's commitment to support the CPA and greater security and lasting peace in Darfur.

We therefore welcome recent progress between partners in the Government of National Unity on crucial CPA legislation, including for the 2011 referendum on self-determination. We urge all parties in Sudan to seek to resolve disputes through political dialogue and without violence, both to build consensus on immediate challenges and to address longer-term issues for the future of the country. We urge all sides to avoid the disruption of peaceful protest, and to respect the rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and protection from arbitrary arrest and detention, in particular to allow credible national elections to be held in April 2010.

We also welcome the release of two civilian UNAMID staff after more than three months in captivity. We continue to urge the release of all kidnapped humanitarian workers, in Darfur and neighbouring regions, and for the criminals who held them to be bought to justice. The threat of violence or kidnapping makes humanitarian and peacekeeping work in Sudan more difficult. Those who seek to help the people of Darfur should be able to do so without fear of being attacked.

The United Kingdom will continue to support efforts for peace and stability across Sudan, including to improve security in Darfur and promote a lasting political settlement there, and to ensure implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to resolve wider issues that face Sudan irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. We call on all parties in Sudan to work actively and cooperatively towards these goals.'