It was Lindsay's birthday today, and we went out to dinner with JW at Angels and Gypsies,a new Tapas place in Camberwell where we had Pan tumaca; Pulpo a feira; Albondiga Sephardic style with black apricots, chickpeas and shaved Manchego; Selection of Ibérico jamón, chorizo, salchichón & lomo; prawn croquettes; slow cooked aubergine & coriander stew, and home made empanadas. It sounds enormous, but the individual dishes were quite modest. We gave it full marks.
Yesterday was a great occasion, with President Obama's speech to both Houses of Parliament and their spouses in Westminster Hall. It was very well received, and he got a long ovation at the end of it, and again as he walked down the aisle towards the north door, talking to the people nearest the aisle on either side. Unfortunately we were in the middle of our row so we didn't get to meet him.
In the morning I had joined in a question about Sudan:
Lord Avebury: My Lords, will the Government take the opportunity of President Obama's visit to discuss with him how we can best reinforce the demand made by the Security Council that the troops of north and south Sudan withdraw immediately from the town of Abyei? What has been the response of the northern Sudan Government to the Secretary-General's call for an investigation into the attack on UN troops in Goli, the raid on a UN-escorted convoy a week ago today and the shelling of the UN compound in Abyei?
Baroness Verma: I am sure that my noble friend will urge both the President of the United States and our Prime Minister to ensure that Sudan is part of the talks that they will have. I am aware that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is also concerned. He made a strong statement yesterday urging leaders from both sides to demonstrate the political will not just to resolve the situation in Abyei but also to talk about the communities that feel marginalised and out of the discussions at the moment.
I was pleased that coincidentally, President Obama referred to the crisis in Abyei:
In Sudan, after years of war and thousands of deaths, we call on both North and South to pull back from the brink of violence and choose the path of peace.
It would be good, however, it the UN Security Council and individual states would acknowledge that it was the north that invaded Abyei with overwhelming force, bombarding the UN peacekeepers. The aggressors don't want the people of Abyei to vote in the planned referendum on whether they want to be part of the north or south, when the south becomes an independent state in July.
Last Sunday we went to Lyulph and Sue's for lunch in my old constituency of Orpington. See Lyulph, above, and one of their cats covering me with her hair..