Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th July 2005.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made on the introduction of no-fly zones in Darfur.

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

The Government of Sudan (GoS) signed the Abuja Security Protocol on 9 November 2004, which commits them to refrain from all hostile military overflights over Darfur. Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1591, the African Union (AU) is requested to monitor compliance by GoS with this commitment. We continue to make clear to both the GoS and the rebels that they must abide fully by the commitments they have made, and the UN Security-Council Resolution.

In early February the GoS announced that they would remove their Antonov aircraft from Darfur and refrain from hostile use of aircraft there. The Antonovs appear to have been withdrawn. Although helicopter gunships remain in Darfur, the AU and the UN Secretary-General report that the Government have not conducted any air attacks since January. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) raised this issue during his visit to Sudan on 12–14 June, where all sides agreed with this assessment.

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