§ Mr. Dawson
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the UN Special Rapporteur for Sudan's recent comments to the UN General Assembly on the links between oil exploitation and conflict in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
The civil war in Sudan started decades before the oil project came on stream in 1999. The main fields are in or close to an area of longstanding conflict between pro and anti government Nuer militias. It is not clear that oil has significantly affected this situation. We are engaged, with our EU partners, in an effort to encourage the Government to be more transparent about the use to which it puts its oil revenues. The Government's assurances that the majority are devoted to development expenditure would be all the more convincing if they were backed up by clear data.
European Union Heads of Mission held a meeting with the Sudanese Minister of Finance on this subject on 6 November. But the overall objective remains to achieve a lasting peace, which alone will bring an end to suffering in Sudan. In that respect we warmly welcome Senator Danforth's mission to Sudan and intend to work closely with our US and EU colleagues, and interested regional parties, to try to achieve renewed progress.