» Monday, August 23, 2004

Foreign Secretary in Sudan

The Prime Minister’s Spokesman said that the Foreign Secretary would visit Khartoum today where he would meet with the President and the Foreign Minister. He would also visit Darfur. He wanted to see the situation on the ground and obviously planned to meet the key players and underline our support for the international process to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. He would also deliver a clear message to the Government of Sudan that they must do more to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution and the commitments that they gave to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The PMS said that our policy was to work with the Government of Sudan and the African Union to resolve this crisis. There had to be a political solution to the crisis and the Government of Sudan had to be part of that. We were also encouraged that there were talks taking place in Abuja today between the Government and the militias.

Asked whether there were other options under review if a political solution did not to happen the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary was there as part of a process. He would be looking at what had been happening on the ground and the UN would be discussing it again on 30 August and we would not prejudge that discussion. The Foreign Secretary had spoken to Kofi Annan before he went to Sudan and he would talk to him again on his return to give him a full read out. Asked about use of troops the PMS reiterated that we would not prejudge or predict what might happen.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. In my own simple way I tend to confuse myself.

    When we were going to invade a country because we didn’t like the way it was run – and far fewer people were dying daily – the Foreign Secretary chose to believe the reports and didn’t go on any ‘fact finding missions’ to "look at what was happening on the ground".

    Belatedly he has chosen to go and have a look – but not so that he can actually do anything like ramp up government aid. Rather it seems that the idea is to be able to speak in the UN debate with the authority of one who has seen with their own eyes.

    But then I’ve never had much time for a man who as Home Secretary let a convicted rapist into the country for a ‘sporting event’ in direct contravention of our immigration policy – and only because he was pressurised by = economic arguments? =

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 24 Aug 2004 on 9:27 am | Link
  2. This isn’t about "finding facts on the ground". This is about spelling out the consequences of what’s going to take place in the UN in a week’s time if Sudan continues at their current rate of progress.

    The people who are doing the seeing with their own eyes are the UN representatives and the NGOs who continue to report that Sudan isn’t cooperating; the results of the compliance report will be made available to the security council, and steps will be taken. Nobody’s expecting Jack Straw to be the UN’s man on the ground, least of all the UN – he’s entirely uninvolved in the process that’s led up to this point, and isn’t really involved in the reporting.

    He’s just delivering a message: Sort it out, or face the music.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 24 Aug 2004 on 2:29 pm | Link
  3. I thought he was just letting us know that we still have a Foreign Secretary – but in a way which he hopes he won’t regret at the next General Election. This must be the first time his head has raised above the parapet since long before Hutton et al.

    Comment by D Smith — 29 Aug 2004 on 5:15 pm | Link
  4. Well let’s face it – we don’t really NEED a Foreign Secretary; after all, most of the time we just do what the Yanks tell us…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 29 Aug 2004 on 7:19 pm | Link

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