Joint Ministerial Statement on Darfur - UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign Secretary and International Development Secretary today expressed their concern at reports of recent attacks in Darfur, and the possible effect of these on the peace process.
Jack Straw said: "I am appalled to hear of reports of the apparent use of helicopter gunships against a village in Darfur. I am also very concerned about reports of fighting between different rebel factions recently. We are seeking confirmation of these reports. In any event actions such as these are particularly unacceptable as they come during intensive activity by the African Union to secure a peace settlement in Darfur. I call on all sides to stop fighting and to work in good faith for a settlement within the AU's deadline of the end of April."
Hilary Benn said: "The reports indicate that both sets of attacks forced yet more Darfuris from their homes. The UN estimates that over 200,000 Darfuris have had to flee their homes since December, bringing the total since the conflict began to well over two million. Nearly three and a half million people need food aid. This massive human disaster can only begin to be put right once there is a peace deal. Time is running out for all sides in Darfur to live up to their responsibilities and work for a rapid settlement."
Photo: UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw holds talks with Sudanese officials over Darfur during a two-day visit to Sudan. (Islam Online August 24, 2004) Mr Straw attended visited Darfur and attended the peace talks - see BBC photos of the visit.