Defence written question – answered on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role is envisaged for NATO in the Darfur region; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Shadow Secretary of State for Defence & Deputy Leader, Defence, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) whether it is the Government's policy that coordination of the EU and NATO efforts in Darfur should be done through NATO's military headquarters in Mons, Belgium;

(2) what resources his Department plans to make available to (a) the EU and (b) NATO for operations in Darfur;

(3) which European countries have declared resources available to (a) the EU and (b) NATO for operations in Darfur;

(4) what form of assistance and support (a) NATO and (b) the EU plan to offer in order to support the African Union in its mission in Darfur.

Photo of John Reid John Reid Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence

The Government continue to support the international community's efforts to support the African Union mission in Darfur, notably through the UN, NATO and the EU. All these organisations have an important and complementary role to play in providing support to the work of the AU. What matters is that this support is provided through the most effective means, is in line with African Union requirements, and respects African ownership, through close co-operation between the supporting bodies.

NATO will support the AU mission through provision of airlift and the training of AU personnel. Individual contributions of airlift under the auspices of NATO will be clarified following a joint NATO/EU Donor Airlift Nation Movement Planning Conference on 15 June. The provision of training will be from within NATO's command structure.

The EU has supported the AU mission since its inception: the European Commission has allocated €92 million and provided logistical and planning support. The EU is now in the process of bringing together a further consolidated offer of assistance to support both the military and police aspects of the AU mission, including provision of equipment and assets, planning and technical assistance, and training. It is supporting the development of a police unit within the AU. Some member states also want to provide their airlift support under EU auspices.

The African Union is leading the operation and managing offers of assistance. There is no operational command and control role for either the EU or NATO. As the EU's support is a co-ordinated civil-military effort, the Government do not believe that it can be co-ordinated using NATO's military headquarters at Mons. However, both organisations are working closely together to co-ordinate their military offers, including through joint support to a single AU co-ordination cell for airlift at Addis Ababa.

On 13 June the Secretary of State for International Development announced that the UK will increase its contribution to the expansion of the AU mission to £19 million. This brings the UK Government's total contribution to the AU mission since its inception to almost £32 million. The Ministry of Defence has contributed to this support, which includes the purchase of vehicles, training for military observers, advice on logistics, and airlift. As part of the support to the expansion of the AU mission, the Ministry of Defence is offering two logistic planners within the EU's support to the AU's Joint Logistic Operation Centre at El Fashir, Sudan; and a mobile air movements team of up to 15 people to NATO if required.

European countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey have all pledged financial assistance and/or declared other resources available for operations in Darfur. Many of these offers are still being finalised and may be made through the EU or NATO depending on the nature of the offer.

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