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representatives of the Kurdish people as members of wider delegations. The last occasion was on 21 September when I met a delegation of various interested groups including hon. Members to discuss allegations of use by Iraq of chemical weapons.
Some Kurdish organisations have publicly declared their commitment to overthrow the legitimate Government of Iraq by violent means. It would not be proper for Ministers to receive the representatives of such groups.
93. Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Iraqi and Turkish Governments about the treatment of Kurdish refugees.
Mrs. Chalker : We remain in contact with the Turkish Government about the Kurdish refugees. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State informed the hon. Member on 10 November, we have donated £250,000 to the Turkish Red Crescent via the British Red Cross for its Kurdish refugee relief programme.
We have repeatedly called on the Iraqi authorities to respect the human rights of the Kurdish community. We supported the demarche of the Twelve to the Iraqi Government in September, urging the extension of the amnesty granted to Kurdish refugees. We regret that this was rejected.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what protests Her Majesty's Government has made to the Iraqi authorities over the gaoling of 30,000 Kurds after they attempted to flee the country as a consequence of that Government's campaign against the Kurdish minority.
Column 300Iraq, and have called on the Government of Iraq to respect their human rights. With other members of the Twelve we called on the Government of Iraq to extend the recent amnesty to members of the Kurdish opposition. We have condemned recent Iraqi military operations against the civilian Kurdish population, and called for an independent international investigation into allegations of use of chemical weapons.
51. Mr. Archer : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received asking Her Majesty's Government to mark the 40th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.
Mr. Eggar : Various non-governmental organisations have made representations about commemorating the 40th anniversary of the universal declaration. There is a great deal of public interest in the occasion. To mark the event the Government intend, amongst other things, to ratify the United Nations torture convention, and to produce a brochure for distribution to schools throughout the country.
In addition, I shall address the special commemoration session at the United Nations on 8 December.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend agreed with the Iranian Foreign Minister on 30 September in New York that full diplomatic representation would be restored in Tehran and London. Talks between Iranian and British officials on implementing this agreement were concluded on 10 November. Relations between the two countries will be conducted in accordance with the Vienna convention on diplomatic and consular relations, to which both countries are signatories. We hope that this agreement will form the basis for developing a more constructive and businesslike relationship with Iran in the future. A charge will soon be in place and other staff will follow. We will consider the raising of representational levels from charge to ambassador in due course.
Mr. Waldegrave : We continue to follow up all possible leads within our policy of refusal to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers. We also continue to make it clear to those states which may have influence over such groups that we consider it their humanitarian responsibility to encourage the release of the hostages.
77. Mr. McCartney : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of Amnesty International's recent report on alleged human rights violations in Turkey, Her Majesty's Government will urge the Turkish Government to take positive steps to prevent torture.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. and learned Friend raised the subject of human rights with the Turkish Foreign Minister during his talks with him in July. More recently, my officials have discussed the issue with the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara and the Turkish embassy here in London. We are assured that allegations contained in the recent Amnesty International report are being investigated by the Turkish Government. We continue to urge the Turkish Government to maintain the improvement in human rights there has been in recent years and to respect and abide by the terms of the United Nations and European conventions against torture, signed and ratified by Turkey earlier this year.
67. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet the United States Secretary of State-designate to discuss acceptance by the Palestine Liberation Organisation of United Nations resolution 242.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will be taking an early opportunity to meet Mr. Baker, and he looks forward to discussing with him the prospects for progress in the middle east peace process.
82. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any new proposals to establish a middle east peace conference ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We shall continue our efforts to remove the barriers to an international conference on the Arab/Israel dispute. We are encouraged that the Palestine National Council has accepted Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, as the basis for such a conference.
69. Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to procure the compliance of the Government of Iraq with United Nations resolutions in the use of chemical weapons.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have called for an independent investigation under United Nations Security Council resolution 620 into allegations of recent use of chemical weapons by Iraq. We deplore Iraq's refusal to co- operate. We are working for effective multilateral action to prevent future use and proliferation of chemical weapons.
Mr. Waldegrave : The human rights situation in the countries of eastern Europe is generally unsatisfactory. The position varies considerably from one country to another. Hungary's record, though not faultless, gives the least cause for concern. In Poland, much progress has been made. In Romania, on the other hand, the authorities' flagrant disregard for human rights shows little sign of improvement, and in Czechoslovakia there have been several serious instances recently of the breaking up of peaceful demonstrations or meetings. Her Majesty's Government will continue to raise serious violations with the countries concerned. There has been little improvement in East Germany or Bulgaria.
Mr. Eggar : In common with other Government Departments, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for its own recruitment at certain levels, mostly in the clerical and secretarial grades. Other recruitment to both the diplomatic and aid wings is carried out on the FCO's behalf by the Civil Service Commission. Entry to the administrative grades of the diplomatic service is through a common scheme of recruitment with the Home Civil Service, in which the same selection procedures apply. We have no plans to change these arrangements.
73. Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received in relation to the provision of health services in the dependent territories of the Caribbean.
Mr. Eggar : We have received representations from two hon. Members and from the honorary secretary of the International Collaborative Committee on Child Health. We have not received representations from any of the Dependent Territory Governments, which are responsible for health services in the individual territories.
Mr. Waldegrave : Our relations with Poland have improved over the last few years. The Prime Minister's visit, which was very successful, should put these relations on a firmer and more positive basis ; and should lead to increased contacts of all kinds in future.
75. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to have the issue of preservation of the world's remaining areas of tropical rain forest raised at the United Nations.
Mr. Chris Patten : This important issue is already high on the agenda of the Food and Agriculture Organisation within the United Nations system. We also strongly support the activities of the tropical forestry action plan and the International Tropical Timber Organisation.
78. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many employees or former employees at Government Communications Headquarters have been dismissed, or face disciplinary action, as a result of their trade union membership.
Mr. Waldegrave : On 18 November, the employment of four GCHQ staff who refused to give up their national trade union membership was terminated with compensation on full redundancy terms. On 5 December, the employment of a fifth will be terminated on the same terms. Six GCHQ employees who originally agreed to the new conditions of service, but then rejoined their national unions, are currently undergoing disciplinary proceedings.
79. Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will report on the progress which has been made with the case of George Samoilovich of Moscow, who urgently seeks an exit visa for medical treatment in the West.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have raised this repeatedly with the Soviet authorities. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State asked Mr. Shevardnadze to take action on this particularly distressing case when we met in New York in September. He undertook to look into it, but there has been no progress so far. We will continue to press the Russians until there is.
80. Mr. McKelvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has made any recent representations to the Israeli Government concerning the abuse of Palestinian human rights by Israeli troops in the occupied territories.
Mr. Waldegrave : We and our partners in the Twelve have repeatedly urged the Israelis to administer the occupied territories in accordance with international law and human rights standards. We shall continue to do so.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State expect to meet M. Delors during the European Council meeting in Rhodes on 2-3 December, when a wide range of EC issues will be discussed.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend has met the ambassador of Pakistan on a number of occasions. Their discussions have ranged over a variety of issues, including bilateral relations between our two countries, and the problem of Afghanistan.
85. Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the current levels of his Department's staff at the British high commission in Bombay ; and what were the levels in 1987.
Mr. Eggar : The current number of staff at the British deputy high commission in Bombay is 22 United Kingdom-based and 80 locally engaged. Numbers at the beginning of 1987 were, respectively, 21 and 74.
100. Mr. Jacques Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on negotiations leading to the accession of Spain and Portugal to the Western European Union.
Mr. Waldegrave : Since the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in 1987, there has been a considerable increase in the number of bilateral exchanges, both official and unofficial, in the educational, cultural and information fields. A number of protocols have also been signed, for example, on school exchanges and broadcasting, specifically implementing provisions in the MOU. The first two in the series of annual Anglo-Soviet lectures by distinguished figures have taken place. A Soviet week was held in Birmingham in October this year and a British week is planned in Kiev in 1990.
96. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will continue to refuse to support a social dimension for the internal market of the European Community.
Mrs. Chalker : We will continue to support EC social measures designed to stimulate job creation and reduce unemployment. We shall resist those which would impose excessive regulatory burdens on business and thus run counter to job creation. As EC Heads of Government agreed at Hanover, completion of the single market will help counter the Community's main social problem, unemployment.
103. Mrs. Wise : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of the United States of America in connection with the progress of the Esquipulas II agreement.
109. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of the United States of America in connection with the progress of the Esquipulas II agreement.
105. Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date the leader of the Contras, Mr. Adolpho Calero, was received at his Department ; and which Ministers and officials he met.
106. Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further meetings he intends to hold with European Economic Community Ministers with regard to the establishment of the single market in 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : We have frequent meetings on EC affairs, including the single market, with our opposite numbers in other member states. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State regularly takes the opportunity of stressing the importance we attach to opening up the European market in 1992.
Mrs. Chalker : EC/EFTA relations are excellent. Collectively the EC and EFTA are each other's most important trading partners. We fully support the efforts being made to build on the solid base of the EC's free trade agreements with individual EFTA states to develop and extend EC/EFTA relations further, in parallel with the completion of the single market.
I had a most useful meeting on the issues with EFTA ambassadors yesterday.
113. Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what policy initiatives his Department intends to pursue to meet the arms control objectives set out in the Gracious Speech.
Mr. Waldegrave : Together with other members of the Western Alliance we shall continue to work for the full range of arms control objectives set out in the Gracious Speech. I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to one recent policy initiative--the presentation by the NATO Allies last week of facts and figures on the balance of conventional forces in Europe. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Eggar : There are no "direct talks" with Argentina on the future of the Falklands. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State explained to the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), the Argentine Foreign Minister, who is currently Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly, has asked to see our permanent representative to the United Nations, Sir Crispin Tickell.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend has at present no plans to do so. Waters around South Georgia are subject to the provisions of the convention for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources, in which we play an active role. The renewable resources assessment group at Imperial college is studying the fishery resources of the area on behalf of the South Georgia Government.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise with Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Shevardnadze the cases of Uri Chernyak and Boris Livshitz, both waiting 10 years for an exist visa.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of the deliberate extermination of black Sudanese Christians and the enslavement of their children in the Muslim North, Her Majesty's Government has taken steps to ensure that the Sudanese Government desists from such policies.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government has made to the Algerian authorities in the aftermath of their crushing of civilian riots in October.