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7 May 1998 : Column WA79

Written Answers

Thursday, 7th May 1998.

Sierra Leone Coup

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any information on the alleged involvement of Sandline International in the coup in Sierra Leone.[HL1775]

Lord Whitty: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in another place by the Foreign Secretary on 6 May in response to a Private Notice Question tabled by Mr. Michael Howard MP (Official Report, cols. 721-731).

Sudan: Humanitarian Aid

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider providing resources to organisations willing to take humanitarian aid to people in need in Sudan in areas not served by United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan.[HL1740]

Lord Whitty: The needs of the most vulnerable groups are paramount wherever they are in Sudan. Proposals from non-governmental organisations are considered for areas not covered by United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan provided those organisations are experienced at working in complex humanitarian emergencies and are able to work in Sudan without favouring any of the factions involved.

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will prevail upon the Government of Sudan to allow access by humanitarian aid organisations to all those parts of Sudan where people are suffering from lack of food and medical supplies.[HL1741]

Lord Whitty: We take every opportunity to press all parties to the conflict on the need for non-governmental organisations and other humanitarian agencies to have full and unimpeded humanitarian access. This was reinforced by the United Nations Secretary General at the peace talks between the Sudanese Government and the main southern faction which took place in Nairobi on 2-5 May. We welcome the Government of Sudan's recent agreement to allow more relief flights to southern Sudan.

Sudan: Aid Programme

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What support they give to Operation Lifeline Sudan; and whether they have increased that support during the current emergency in southern Sudan.[HL1702]

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Lord Whitty: We support Operation Lifeline Sudan through the annual United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal process. We were the first country to respond to the 1998 Sudan appeal when we pledged £4 million in February. Nearly £3 million of this has already been given to the Save the Children Fund, Medecins sans Frontieres, World Vision and the World Food Programme. In addition, nearly £500,000 million of food aid has been allocated through the EC as well as £1.25 million through the EC's 1998 Sudan programme. We remain ready to provide more and are maintaining close contact with United Nations bodies and international NGOs about future needs.

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What food aid commitments they have made for the current year for southern Sudan; and through which international agencies they have made such commitments.[HL1703]

Lord Whitty: We have already given the World Food Programme (WFP) £1.9 million this year for their programme in Sudan and have also given nearly £500,000 through the EC. We are in contact with the WFP about additional needs which will arise if access to those at risk in Bahr El Ghazal improves.

Sudan: Food Needs

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the number of displaced people in southern Sudan who are unable to meet their food needs now; and what they estimate that figure will be in six months' time.[HL1704]

Lord Whitty: The total number of displaced people is difficult to establish as there is constant movement of people. The UN estimate that some 350,000 are affected by the current crisis, with a significant proportion of this group--mostly those displaced by fighting--in need of urgent assistance. The total group being targeted for assistance this year is 720,000. It is impossible to predict how many will be unable to meet their food needs in six months' time.

Bosnia: Arms Industry

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider the development, as alleged by Bosnian radio (Sarajevo) on 3 April, by the Turkish government in co-operation with the Bosniaks of a "special purpose [military] industry" in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be in keeping with the purposes of the Dayton Agreement.[HL1623]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We have no information on the "special purpose [military] industry" to which the

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noble Lord refers. The Dayton Peace Agreement does not prevent Bosnia and Herzegovina from having an arms industry but we are determined to ensure that all parties meet their arms control obligations. There has been great progress in this area.

Ascension Island: Civilian Flights

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 19 February (WA 51), what was the outcome of the "round of negotiations . . . scheduled to take place before Easter" on the subject of opening up Wideawake airfield on Ascension Island to civilian aircraft.[HL1678]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A further round of talks on opening up Wideawake Airfield to civil aircraft took place on 27 March when British and American officials met in Washington. The discussions were productive and both sides agreed on how to carry forward work on an agreement to permit civil use of Wideawake Airfield.

Sierra Leone: Detainees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have received from the British High Commission in Freetown about the number of people detained, or charged with offences, arising out of their alleged complicity with the paramilitary regime in Sierra Leone.[HL1655]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In view of the difficulties within Sierra Leone it is impossible for our High Commission staff to compile a full list of detainees. We understand that some 2,000 are being detained, of whom 59 (listed below) have been charged with treason, murder or arson.

We have taken every opportunity to raise human rights issues with the Government of Sierra Leone since President Kabbah's return to Freetown on 10 March. Our High Commissioner has emphasised to him the need to restore full respect for human rights, and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Lloyd, raised this very subject with President Kabbah when he took part in a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group mission to Freetown on 31 March. 59 People Accused of Treason, Murder and Arson

First Set--Adjourned to 6 May 1998

Victor Foh MP and 21 others
Steven Cathy BioBrother to ex-Head of State, businessman, arms dealer
Gipu Felix GeorgeEx-Director General SLBS
John Ajina SesayFormer Footballer
Denneis Ayodele SmithEx-Producer SLBS
Oliver MensahEx-Presenter SLBS
Mohamed Alikali BanguraUnder SOS Trade
Darlinda Lebbie
Hassan BarrieUnder SOS Energy & Power
Victor BrandonSOS Dev. & Econ. Planning
Dennis K. KamaraUnder SOS Mines
Sheik Abu Bakarr NabieMuslim Priest
Ahmad Charid DumbuyaAppointed General Manager N.P.A. by AFRC
Winston Crowther
Sorie Alieu Fofana
Claude V. M. CampbellBarrister
Samuel Sampha Sesay
Umaru Deen SesaySOS Youths & Sports
Bai Hinga Kuraray Bangura
Gibril MassaquoiEx RUF Colonel
Tommy Anthony Patrick
Sheku A. T. BayoSec. to President Kabbah

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Second Set--Adjourned to 7 May 1998

Ajibola Manley SpaineAFRC Attorney-General
Dr. Bailar LeighSOS Health
David BanguraUnder SOS Foreign Affairs
Dr. Maltida KingUnder SOS Health
Alhaji Ibrahim KargboEx-Imam, Temne Mosque, Oldfield Street
Saidu Daniel Bangura
Hamid Abdul KamaraEx-Secretary to the Chairman AFRC
Hilton FyleEx-BBC Presenter, FM WBIG + AFRC Propagandist
Alieu Badara KamaraAFRC Spokesman
Joseph Saidu MomohEx-President of Sierra Leone
Ibrahim Ben KargboJournalist, Appointed Chairman NCDHR by AFRC
Pastor Victor AjisafieNigerian so-called Clergyman
John Tommy
Eric Kwaku Dixon

Third Set--Adjourned to 8 May 1998

Brigadier (RTD) LymonS O S Internal Affairs
Abdul Salaam WilliamsUnder Secretary for Labour
Dr. Christian KargboBank Governor (AFRC)
Kaifen KallayBank Secretary, Bank of Sierra Leone
Harry Benjamin Alpha
William BanguraEx-Foreign Affairs Officer
Ms Winnifred Cummings
Ms Nancy SteelCity Councillor (AFRC)
Dr. Willie TaylorDir. of Bank of SL
Mr. Edward Akar(Barrister) and Bank Dir., Bank of SL
Ms Mabinti Scott
Abdul K. Sankoh
Ms Mayilla YansanehAFRC Propagandist and State House Official
Alim Jalloh JamboriaChairman, Roads Authority (AFRC)
Samuel Sannie SesayManaging Director Lotto (AFRC)
Lawrence Lamin
Major (Rtd.) Eben Victor Coker
Bishop Alpha Omega Bundu
Mohamed Basiru Savage
Mohamed Daramy
Ibrahim Foday Sesay
Philipson Sankoh
Ms Kainde Bangura

7 May 1998 : Column WA83

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