I've just been to a meeting with Mark Malloch Brown, to discuss the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting which will take place in Kampala this week. The Prime Minister is attending, along with David Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Shriti Vadera and Lord Malloch Brown himself in his role as Minister for Africa.
I asked him questions about progress on the peace talks in Uganda, and about Somaliland. (I hadn't realised that Vincent Otti, deputy leader of the Lord's Resistance Army is rumoured to have been killed by Joseph Kony, the LRA leader. Otti was renowned for calling local radio phone-ins from his hideout in the bush, which I thought quite bizarre, but it's the main form of communication in a country like Uganda, where literacy rates outside the capital are very low and few people read newspapers or own televisions).
Other asked Lord Malloch Brown questions about Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. I have to say, I thought he was very impressive; he's had a bit of a hard time in the press recently, as have some of the other Ministers brought in from outside to serve in the Brown government (the so-called GOATs, as in Government of all the Talents). But he clearly has a huge breadth of knowledge, gained from years of working at the UN. I think he's a real asset.