Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 20:22 UK

Government 'concerned' by fighting in Blue Nile state

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The government has said it is "extremely concerned" by ongoing violence in Sudan's Blue Nile border state.

Fighting broke out in the region between government troops and forces loyal to the opposition SPLM-North party last month, displacing tens of thousands of people.

At question time in the Lords on 5 October 2011 Lord Wallace of Tankerness told peers the UK was working closely with international partners to push for an immediate end to the violence.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury said the United Nations should take steps to prevent the conflict escalating into cross-border war and to protect people in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan from "incipient genocide".

Lord Wallace cautioned it was too early to "make such a strong statement" but he added: "We recognise it has taken a very long time to negotiate an end to the conflict between southern Sudan and Sudan and that has left a number of unresolved conflicts in the border region…

"We are extremely concerned that conflict has broken out in a violent form since Sudanese troops deposed the governor of the Blue Nile province on 2 September."

He said it was difficult for humanitarian access into the region and for outsiders to discover exactly what is going on there but he insisted "we are doing our best".

Labour's Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead called for a monitoring mission charged with securing a ceasefire and essential humanitarian access for the "suffering people" in the region.

Peers also put questions to the government on the future of Remply, the S4C channel and Sri Lanka's bid to host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

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