Letter: Debate offers hope to Sudan

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The Independent Online
Sir: The news that our ambassador in Khartoum has been expelled, while being a disappointment to him, could be of great significance to the suffering people of southern Sudan. In February 1993, I was part of a delegation of four people from England invited by the church leaders in southern Sudan to see at first hand the appalling situation there. We went to all the places visited by Dr Carey last week, and it was then that the idea of an invitation to the Archbishop of Canterbury was born.

Everywhere we went in southern Sudan the message was the same: could Britain, because of its historic links with the country, use its position on the UN Security Council to propose a debate about the situation in the south?

On our return to Britain, it was disappointing to find little interest by the media as all eyes were on Somalia and Bosnia. The British government showed polite, but restrained, interest. It was explained that we have a good record of humanitarian relief, but that it was the wrong time to risk controversy with another Arab state.

Since Dr Carey has ensured that the media understands the tragedy of Sudan, and now that our ambassador has been given notice to quit by the brutal regime in Khartoum, is it reasonable to ask our Government whether it is now the right time to raise that debate in the UN Security Council?

Yours faithfully,

IAN R. SMITH

York

3 January

The writer is Church Missionary Society area secretary for the dioceses of Ripon and York.

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