Having commented adversely previously about how little attention has been given to the spiralling humanitarian disaster in Ivory Coast by Parliament, it’s only fair to mention that it was the subject of an urgent question in Parliament this week.
The previous lack of Parliamentary interest in the Ivory Coast from Liberal Democrats was broken by Simon Hughes:
Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): As well as encouraging Ministers to persist in their efforts to resolve the conflict, may I have an assurance that they are keeping in touch with the small but not insignificant community here in order to enable their insights and information to be used to assist such a resolution?
Mr O’Brien: We must indeed maintain those links. As I have said, I am making every effort to meet all the relevant trusted NGOs and representatives of UN agencies here before I leave for Liberia, which is the closest that I shall be able to get to the scene of what is taking place. The right hon. Gentleman is right: any influence that can be brought to bear, not least by diasporic communities, will be of great importance to the future.
You can read the full brief debate on the Ivory Coast here.
Meanwhile, the situation in Ivory Coast has continued to deteriorate, with a Swedish UN worker killed and an escalation of the direct military conflict between supporters of the winner of November’s Presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, and the incumbent who has refused to leave, Laurent Gbagbo.