Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 29th June 2005.

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Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Government of Sudan concerning reports of fighting along its border with Eritrea; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Trade), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry

holding answer 28 June 2005

We are concerned by recent reports of fighting around the town of Tokar in Eastern Sudan between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front, supported by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Our ambassador in Khartoum raised this issue with the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front on 23 June.

The UK special representative for Darfur raised this matter with the JEM in Abuja on 21 June. We have re-iterated to the Eastern Front that co-operation with the JEM in military operations unnecessarily complicates the issues in the East and undermines their claims of commitment to a peaceful resolution.

We have made clear to all parties that any attacks are totally unacceptable, and there is no military solution to the problems in the East, nor to those elsewhere in Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement provides the framework for a political solution throughout the country, including Darfur and the East. The Government of Sudan have stated its readiness to engage in consultations with the Eastern Front. We are pressing the Eastern Front to do the same.

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