SP votes in favour of sending observers to Sudan

19 December 2005

SP votes in favour of sending observers to Sudan

The SP's political group in the 'Tweede Kamer', the lower (and legislatively more important) house of the Dutch Parliament, has decided that the desirable and responsible course of action in response to a United Nations request for limited participation in an observers' mission to Sudan is to vote in favour, as SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel stated during today's parliamentary debate with the government.

In Sudan earlier in the year a peace agreement was reached between North and South. The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution to send a peace-keeping force and observers' mission to southern Sudan. The UN special envoy, former government minister Jan Pronk, had earlier also argued for the importance of such a mission. In addition to the Netherlands, eight other European countries, as well as Australia and Canada will take part. The peace-keeping mission will be conducted by countries from Asia and Africa.

According to Harry van Bommel, the mission is a “typical UN mission, not without risk but with a realistic prospect of seeing the peace agreement through. What that involves we found out in the debacle in Srebrenica, from which NATO, which is on the point of starting new operations in Afghanistan, could also learn." Although we're only talking about fifteen soldiers and fifteen military police officers, the European contribution will be of great importance, he adds. "It demonstrates that we are not turning our backs on problems in Africa. We are already the biggest donor in Sudan, but without peace and security we'd just be throwing good money after bad.”

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