Sudan

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 1:48 pm on 3rd June 1998.

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Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development 1:48 pm, 3rd June 1998

I assure my hon. Friend that there is no problem of money or food. The trouble is that, in the humanitarian aid business, there is competition over who is in the headlines and who is raising the money, and that gets in the way of the true message. Operation Lifeline Sudan—which, as my hon. Friend knows, is headed by the United Nations—tells us that the Sudan Government have improved access, and that there is enough food. As I have said, an official from my Department has come back and told us that that view is too optimistic, but, as I have also said, we will continue to provide the necessary funds. The EU is about to disburse a considerable amount.

I insist on this point first because it is true, but also because we must not muddle the message to the public. I ask the public to use all their influence to put pressure for a ceasefire on both sides. We will deliver the money: there is no shortage of money, and anyone who suggests that there is misleads the public.