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Mrs. Chalker : The main item at the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 June was preparations for the Madrid European Council. A full statement on the Foreign Affairs Council is being deposited in the Library of the House today.
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson) on 19 May at column 329. The view then expressed that the London Information Forum was a success has been borne out by comments received subsequently.
37. Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to have discussions with his European Community partners concerning the development of common European foreign policies.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave today to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands). I next expect to discuss political co-operation matters with them during the European Council in Madrid on 26-27 June.
38. Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by Her Majesty's Government about human rights abuses in Romania ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : There has been no improvement in the Romanian Government's lamentable human rights practices. My right hon. and learned Friend raised this matter with the Romanian ambassador on 9 May.
The leader of our delegation to the Paris conference on the human dimension of the CSCE drew attention to Romania's deplorable human rights record in his opening statement on 31 May.
Mr. Eggar : It has long been our practice to stay in touch with a wide range of Afghan opinion and with other parties interested in Afghanistan. These contacts have confirmed our view that the resolution of the conflict requires the establishment of a truly representative Government in Kabul.
Mr. Eggar : On 18 May my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a number of initiatives to help combat the threat from cocaine. These included provision of additional resources to United Nations drugs bodies, establishment of a customs training facility, targeting of overseas assistance on cocaine and the United Kingdom's willingness to host an international conference on demand reduction in the context of the threat from cocaine.
Mrs. Chalker : The Ethiopian Government reasserted control after an attempted coup by military officers on 16-17 May. They announced on 5 June their readiness to enter into unconditional negotiations on the situation in Eritrea. We regard negotiations to resolve internal conflicts, together with respect for human rights and the adoption of sensible economic policies, as pre-requisites for positive developments in Ethiopia.
Mrs. Chalker : The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our posts abroad are fully involved in promoting the single European market. British embassies lobby and report on single market measures and also provide a range of services to help British exporters make the most of the growing opportunities.
Mr. Waldegrave : In the last four years there has been a major improvement in Anglo-Soviet relations. We have developed a worthwhile and substantive high-level political dialogue. Contacts of all sorts have expanded rapidly, helping to break down the barriers of misunderstanding and distrust. But the recent expulsions have shown that there is still a long way to go before our relations with the Soviet Union reach the level of stability and mutual trust to which we aspire.
50. Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what encouragement and assistance he has given to the round table talks in Poland and the process of Polish economic reconstruction.
Mr. Waldegrave : We welcome recent political events in Poland. Economic reform and adjustment are possible only with the full consent of the people. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told General Jaruzelski on 10 June of the help we are ready to provide : we will support an IMF programme which underpins effective economic reconstruction ; we will support rescheduling of 1989 debt payments in the Paris Club ; bilaterally we will contribute £5 million per year over five years to provide training and advice to support progress towards democracy and a market economy.
51. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, at the forthcoming European Council, the British Government will make any proposals for improving the quality of European decision-making.
54. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest position regarding the proposal to hold an international conference to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Palestinian problem in particular ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : An international conference remains the most suitable framework for negotiations between the parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute. We are working to help establish the necessary common ground and confidence between the parties to enable negotiations to begin.
58. Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the attempts by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to obtain a quasi- Governmental recognition by membership of various United Nations Organisations.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have not recognised the "state of Palestine" declared by last November's Palestine National Council. Accordingly, we do not believe that "Palestine" satisfies the criteria for membership of UN agencies. We have advised the PLO against pursuing these applications.
60. Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration has been given by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Communities to the activating of article 236 of the treaty of Rome.
44. Mr. Radice : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to attend a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council ; and what he hopes will be discussed. Mrs. Chalker My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will next meet his EC counterparts at the Madrid European Council on 26/27 June. The next Foreign Affairs Council will take place on 17/18 July. The agenda is unlikely to be set until nearer the time.
Mrs. Chalker My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and I had talks with Foreign Minister Nwachukwu, held during the state visit of President Babangida, that covered bilateral issues and international developments of mutual interest, focussing in particular on Southern Africa. Our discussions were extremely friendly, reflecting the close and cordial nature of our bilateral relations.
65. Mr. Mullin To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed Tibet with a representative of the Chinese Government.
Mr. Eggar I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 12 April at col 559.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have any plans to return the remains of General Wladislaw Sikorski to Poland in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Waldegrave My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told General Jaruzelski at the weekend that we had reconsidered this question. We felt the time was not yet right. We would continue to review the matter, in the light of the changing situation in Poland.
Mr David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of the Russian diplomatic mission have been expelled from the United Kingdom since 1970 for engaging in activities incompatible with their status.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent test launch by India of its Agni missile ; whether the missile is considered to have a nuclear capability ; and if he proposes to discuss the matter in his next discussions with the Indian Government.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have noted the successful test launch of the Indian Agni missile. As a founder member of the missile technology control region, we are obviously concerned about the proliferation of ballistic missiles. When the MTCR was established in April 1987, the partners urged all states to adopt the guidelines of the regime. There have been press reports that Agni is a nuclear--capable missile, although the Indian Prime Minister has stated that it is not a nuclear weapons system. We have no immediate plans for discussions on this matter with the Indian Government but we make our views on non-proliferation clear whenever a suitable opportunity arises.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is he average time from an appeal being submitted to (a) the date of it being set and (b) it being heard at the post in Bombay.
Mr. Eggar : The average waiting time from receipt of an appeal at the deputy British high commission in Bombay to the despatch of the explanatory statement to the independent appellate authority is 11 weeks. The subsequent wait for an appeal hearing to take place in the United Kingdom (not Bombay) is a matter for the Lord Chancellor's Department.
Column 473auspices of the United Nations on safety and compensation rights in the event of such tragedies as the Bhopal disaster ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : Issues of safety and compensation for victims of major industrial disasters fall primarily within the competence of national legislatures and, in Europe, of the European Community. However, the UN centre of transnational corporations does work to promote safety and to minimise pollution and environmental damage ; and the UN Disaster Relief Organisation has an overall co-ordinating role in respect of both natural and man-made disasters. The United Kingdom participates fully in the work of both these bodies and is currently consulting western partners with a view to putting forward proposals to enhance UNDRO's effectiveness. I see no justification for any further initiative in this field.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of Libya concerning the payment of compensation for the death of the late WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of recent events in the People's Republic of China, Her Majesty's Government will withdraw United Kingdom co -operation and export credit guarantees for the Daya bay nuclear plant being built in Guandong.
Mr. Eggar : We have no plans to do so. Contracts for the project were signed by the companies concerned some time ago and work is proceeding. In these circumstances we do not intend to suspend ECGD cover.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to clarify with the Soviet authorities whether those wishing to emigrate will in future require permission from relatives remaining in the Soviet Union.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have repeatedly underlined our concern at the so -called "poor relatives clause" in the existing Soviet rules covering emigration. We have pressed the Soviet authorities to ensure that no provision of this sort is included in the new emigration law, which we understand is in preparation.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to submit proposals on the full separation of civil and military nuclear facilities and attendant verifiable safeguards to the fourth review conference of the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to be held in 1990, following the initiatives made at the third non-proliferation treaty review conference in 1985.
"consideration of separation of the Civil and Military facilities in the Nuclear-Weapon States".
We have no plans to submit proposals on this subject to the fourth review conference in 1990. However, the United Kingdom has made significant progress in the direction envisaged. In 1986, we brought to an end the co- processing of civil and non-civil materials at Sellafield. Inspectors of the European Atomic Energy Community have access to all civil material at Sellafield on a continuing basis.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to visit Nigeria or Ghana before the end of the current year ; and if he will make a statement on his plans for bilateral assistance to each of the states.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State plans to visit Nigeria for the next round of United Kingdom/Nigeria bilateral talks, dates for which we hope will be agreed soon. He has no present plans to visit Ghana. I shall be visiting Nigeria from 25-27 June to lead a delegation from the Energy Industries Council for a DTI-sponsored seminar on the hydrocarbon sector in Nigeria ; and I shall be visiting Ghana from 27-30 June. In addition to our technical co-operation programme for Nigeria, we have pledged this year $100 million balance of payments assistance in support of Nigeria's structural adjustment programme. As part of our substantial programme of development assistance to Ghana, we have offered this year a further £20 million balance of payments finance, in support of Ghana's economic recovery programme.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he will make to secure compensation for those British citizens whose property was expropriated in northern Cyprus in 1974.
Mr. Eggar : We do not recognise the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and have no formal dealings with its authorities. The British high commissioner in Nicosia nevertheless has informal contacts with Mr. Denktash and we are thus able to protect the interests of British nationals.
Whilst we are not aware of any instances of the outright expropriation of property by those authorities, we are continuing to press for all outstanding claims for
Column 475compensation from our citizens to be dealt with expeditiously and for the remaining difficulties facing those attempting to establish their freehold title to property to be resolved.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those British embassies whose ambassadors or consuls do not drive British manufactured motor cars as their official vehicle.
Mr. Eggar : With one exception, the official vehicles provided for heads of mission at British embassies and high commissions overseas are British-manufactured. In Addis Ababa, the ambassador has an EC-manufactured Ford Granada, which was purchased in Britain. There are five consuls- general/consuls who drive non-British manufactured cars. These are the consulates-general at Montreal (Chrysler), Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (Chevrolet), and the consulates at Cape Town (Vauxhall Carlton) and Durban (Ford Sierra). It is FCO policy to purchase British manufactured cars where possible. However, for operational reasons, one head of mission and five heads of post around the world drive non-British-manufactured cars.
Mr. Eggar : Both we and our partners in the Twelve fully support the continuing transition process in Chile. We welcome the satisfactory progress made this year towards the restoration of a democratic system in Chile. We regularly invite to Britain leading representatives of Chilean political parties.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Government share the assessment made by NATO at its recent summit that for the foreseeable future there is no alternative to the Alliance strategy of deterrence and that this strategy requires a mix of nuclear forces, including Europe-based ground-launched missiles. The Government therefore welcome the summit's rejection of a third zero.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the dates when personal protection vests for use by armed forces in general war were issued to armed forces in each country belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what conveniently available figures over a recent convenient period of time he has (a) for excessive consumption of alcohol among service personnel and (b) for alcohol-related courts martial ; and if he will set up an internal departmental committee to consider excessive alcohol consumption in Her Majesty's Forces.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Figures are not maintained for excessive consumption of alcohol among service personnel. Figures for alcohol-related convictions at courts martial for the years 1986, 1987 and 1988 are given in the table. Figures for 1989 are not yet available.
|1986 |1987 |1988 ------------------------------------------------- Royal Navy/Royal Marines |<1>12|<1>10|<1>21 Army |<1>36|<1>56|<1>45 Royal Air Force |34 |52 |54 <1> Figures relate to convictions where the charge was directly concerned with drink and exclude cases where the charge was for another offence.
An existing tri-service committee on drug abuse prevention is the appropriate departmental committee for considering excessive alcohol consumption in the armed forces.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Many Royal Navy ships have been granted honorary freedom of their affiliated towns or cities. However, no comprehensive list of such ships is held centrally and one could only be obtained at dispro-portionate cost and effort.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what links each of the following Royal Navy ships have, or are expected to have with towns or cities in the United Kingdom : (1) HMS Cornwall, (2) HMS Cumberland, (3) HMS Campbeltown, (4) HMS Chatham, (5) HMS Norfolk, (6) HMS Marlborough, (7) HMS Argyll, (8) HMS Lancaster, (9) HMS Vanguard, (10) HMS Victorious, (11) HMS Vengeance, (12) HMS Venerable, (13) RFA Fort Grange, (14) RFA Fort Austin, (15) RFA Resource, (16) RFA Regent, (17) HMS Trafalgar, (18) HMS Turbulent, (19) HMS Tireless, (20) HMS Torbay, (21) HMS Trenchant, (22) HMS Talent, (23) HMS Triumph, (24) HMS Swiftsure, (25) HMS Sovereign, (26) HMS Superb, (27) HMS Sceptre, (28) HMS Spartan, (29) HMS Splendid, (30) HMS Churchill, (31) HMS Courageous, (32) HMS Conqueror, (33) HMS Valiant, and (34) HMS Warspite.
Ship |Town ---------------------------------------- HMS Cumberland |Cumbria HMS Campbeltown |Campbeltown HMS Chatham |Medway HMS Trafalgar |Lancaster HMS Turbulent |Warrington HMS Tireless |Rugby HMS Torbay |Torbay HMS Trenchant |Shrewsbury HMS Swiftsure |Southport HMS Sovereign |Derby HMS Superb |Stafford HMS Sceptre |Wigan HMS Spartan |Rothesay HMS Spendid |Plymouth HMS Churchill |Redbridge HMS Courageous |Preston HMS Conqueror |Congleton HMS Valiant |Scarborough HMS Warspite |Hereford
Royal Fleet Auxiliaries are not affiliated to towns or cities. Most of the remaining vessels are under construction and as yet have no affiliation.