Minister of State Lenihan to visit Darfur, Sudan
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Conor Lenihan TD, is to visit Darfur, Sudan leaving early on Sunday 3rd of April. His visit is in advance of a donor conference on Sudan in Oslo on the 11th and 12th of April.
The Minister is due to meet with the Deputy Sudanese Foreign Minister and the Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs. The Minister will also meet with the heads of the key Irish and international humanitarian relief agencies, the African Union and the United Nations.
Before departing Minister Lenihan said:
“ The purpose of this visit is to see first hand what is going on on the ground in the Darfur region of Sudan and to listen to the views of local people and Irish and international organisations that are trying to deliver humanitarian relief in what appear to be very difficult circumstances.”
“There is no doubt that the ultimate solution to this humanitarian crisis is through political negotiation and continued and deeper engagement from the international community. In the meantime however it is critical that those who are suffering get access to adequate protection, humanitarian relief and care.”
Minister Lenihan also expressed his disappointment that Irish journalists who were to accompany the visit have been denied visas by the Sudanese Government. Minister Lenihan intends to raise this issue with the Sudanese Ministers and with the international donor community on his return when they meet in Oslo on the 11th and 12th of April.