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17 June 2005

Barrett given key role in cross party Sudan group

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, has been elected Vice-Chairman of the influential all-party parliamentary group on Sudan.

The group is made up of Members of Parliament from all the major political parties and is the key campaigning group at Westminster on the issue of Sudan.

TheSudanregion of Darfurhas witnessed one of the worst African humanitarian disasters of recent times. Almost 2 million Sudanese people have been forced to flee their homes and over 50,000 people have been killed so far.

John Barrett visited the region as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the crisis last year. He saw first hand some of the suffering caused by the violence.

Commenting, John Barrett said:

“Despite the signing of a peace agreement in January, violence by Government rebels has continued. The threat of attack continues to hamper the efforts of aid workers in getting aid to people on the ground. With the rainy season approaching, relief operations will be made even more difficult.

“As Kofi Annan has warned, millions of people in Darfur will have to be sustained by food aid if they are prevented, either by fear or violence, from planting and growing their crops. It is clear that stopping this violence is vital and getting more peace keeping African Union troops into the region has to be a top priority.

“The all party group is able to act as a strong and independent voice because it is made up of MPs, not just from one party, but from all three main parties. I now look forward to working as part of the group and using my role as Vice-Chairman to put pressure on the UK Government to take a lead in resolving the crisis.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.