Press Notice 10, Session 2004-05

Committee to visit South Africa and Sudan

A delegation of six MPs from the International Development Committee will be visiting South Africa and Sudan from 22 January to 4 February.

Hot on the heels of Gordon Brown, in South Africa the Committee will meet with a range of organisations - governmental, civil society, private sector, parliamentary - to learn more about the challenges facing South Africa and about the UK's programme of development assistance. The Committee will also be examining South Africa's role in the region and in the continent as a whole. Particular issues to be covered include: trade, growth and job creation; HIV/AIDS; peace and security; the Commission for Africa; and, the role of the African Union.

In Sudan, the Committee will meet  with representatives of the Government of Sudan, NGOs, faith-based groups, and UN agencies to examine both the north-south peace process, and the ongoing crisis in Darfur. The signing of a Comprehensive Agreement on 9 January signalled the end of the long-running north-south conflict, but in the west of Sudan the conflict in Darfur and the associated humanitarian crisis continues. If the north-south agreement is to be implemented successfully, and if the crisis  in Darfur is to be resolved, the international community must stay engaged - the world must not look the other way.

By visiting Sudan, the International Development Committee will get a clearer picture of the challenges the country faces, and a better understanding of what needs to be done to bring peace and security to Darfur. The north-south peace agreement offers hope for a political solution for Darfur, but as long as the crisis in Darfur continues it may undermine the hard-won north-south peace deal.

Tony Baldry MP, Chairman of the International Development Committee, said: "The Committee's visit to South Africa and Sudan comes at an important time. The international community has shown its generosity to those affected by the tsunami; we welcome this whole-heartedly but hope that such generosity will not be at the expense of Africa. In Sudan, the path to development has been blocked by conflict. The north-south peace agreement is good news, but the crisis in Darfur continues. The international community needs to work hard, along with the Government of Sudan, both to implement the north-south peace agreement, and to bring peace and security to Darfur."

****

Detailed enquiries to Alan Hudson, Committee Specialist: [email protected]

****

Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Baldry (Chairman) (Conservative), John Barrett (Liberal Democrat), Mr John Battle (Labour), Hugh Bayley (Labour), Mr John Bercow (Conservative), Ann Clwyd (Labour), Mr Tony Colman (Labour), Mr Quentin Davies (Conservative); Mr Piara S. Khabra (Labour), Chris McCafferty (Labour), and Tony Worthington (Labour).

Media Enquiries: Adele Brown, 020 7219 0724 or [email protected]

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/indcom.cfm

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845  7023474)