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Column 75electricity board and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to submit their annual reports and accounts by 31 December.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made in respect of an invalid arrest warrant issued by the Hong Kong authorities on 30 November 1985, in relation to Lorrain Osman, currently held in the United Kingdom pending extradition proceedings ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, under the joint agreement, the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China after 30 June 1997 will maintain reserve rights to amend the basic law of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong and to review the constitutionality of the local laws of the Special Administrative Region ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : Article 158 of the current draft of the Basic Law vests the power of amendment of the Basic Law in the National People's Congress. It states that no amendment to the Basic Law shall contravene the established basic policies of the PRC regarding Hong Kong. These are set out in paragraph 3 and elaborated in annex 1 of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he now estimates that close co-operation can be restored between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China authorities ; to what extent such restored co-operation could lead to a full implementation of the Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : The thirteenth meeting of the Sino-British joint liaison group, which took place from 27 to 29 September, marked the restoration of formal consultation with the People's Republic of China over Hong Kong. The communique which issued from that meeting stated that both sides had reaffirmed their continued determination to abide by the Joint Declaration and to fulfil the various responsibilities it lays down.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom Government's right to pursue diplomatic claims on behalf of Hong Kong citizens of BNO status is covered by the agreement with the Government of China.
Mr. Maude : The British memorandum associated with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the question of Hong Kong makes clear that from 1 July 1997 those British Dependent Territories Citizens (BDTCs) from Hong Kong, who have by then elected to become BN(O)s and to travel on BN(O) passports, will be entitled to consular
Column 76services and protection in third countries. The Chinese memorandum indicates that such passports may continue to be used from 1 July 1997, although, in accordance with normal practice in cases of dual nationality, BN(O)s will not be entitled to consular protection by the United Kingdom Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or in other parts of China.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal opinions his Department has obtained on the nationality status of persons born in Hong Kong when sovereignty passes to China in 1997.
Mr. Maude : The Chinese memorandum to the Sino-British Joint Declaration states that under Chinese nationality law, all Hong Kong Chinese are Chinese nationals. The British memorandum makes clear that all Hong Kong British Dependent Territories citizens will, from 1 July 1997, be eligible to retain an appropriate status which will entitle them to continue to use passports issued by the Government of the United Kingdom. It also provides that that status will be acquired by BDTCs only if they hold, or are included in, a BN(O) passport issued before 1 July 1997, except that eligible persons born on or after 1 January 1997, but before 1 July 1997, may obtain or be included in such a passport up to 31 December 1997.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has taken legal opinion on whether under international law the citizens of Hong Kong will upon transfer of sovereignty to China become de jure Chinese nationals.
Mr. Maude : In accordance with the exchange of memoranda associated with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, all persons who on 30 June 1997 are, by virtue of a connection with Hong Kong, British Dependent Territories Citizens (BDTCs) under the law in the United Kingdom, will cease to be BDTCs with effect from 1 July 1997, but will be eligible to retain the status of British Nationals (Overseas). At the same time, under the nationality law of the People's Republic of China, all Hong Kong Chinese compatriots, whether they are BDTCs or not, are Chinese nationals.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Soviet Government regarding the threat to the environment from nuclear-powered Soviet submarines.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement setting out the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the future development of the EEC.
Mr. Maude : Britain will remain a full and active participant in the development of the European Community. Our top priority is the completion of the single market on time, bringing down the barriers inside Europe and staying open to the world outside. We are contributing fully to discussions in all areas of Community activity.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he intends to take in cases where the Commission of the EEC presents directives which appear to exceed the powers conferred under the Treaty of Rome and the Single Act ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : At the fifteenth Antarctic treaty consultative meeting currently being held in Paris, our delegation will be pressing for a decision in principle that an Antarctic treaty secretariat should be established.
Mr. Maude : My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Herr Genscher on 20 September when they discussed a broad range of issues. They are likely to meet again soon, although no specific date has been arranged.
Mr. Waldegrave : Elections to a constituent assembly in Namibia will take place from 7 to 11 November. We will continue to give full support to the United Nations' efforts to ensure that the elections are free and fair, and to assist in a peaceful transition to independence.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further meetings Her Majesty's Ambassador to Chile has had with opposition parties and human rights groups ; and what subjects were discussed.
Mr. Sainsbury : Her Majesty's ambassador in Chile and his staff have had, and continue to have, frequent meetings and wide-ranging discussions with human rights groups and opposition parties. A full list is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further representations he has made to the Government of Turkey concerning abuses of human rights and the treatment of Kurdish people.
Mr. Maude : I shall be meeting the Under-Secretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry later today. I shall make it clear that, while we welcome the improvement in Turkey's human rights record described by Mr. Ozal in his address to the Council of Europe on 27 September, it remains important that the Turkish Government should respect and abide by the terms of the international conventions to which they are a party.
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer the hon. Member to the written answers given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 28 April and by my right hon. Friend the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 2 May, to the questions from the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn).
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department met with President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates during his recent visit to London, to discuss (a) nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East Gulf Region and (b) initiatives that may be taken at the fourth review conference of the non-proliferation treaty.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what correspondence his Department has received in the last six months on the issue of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place since July with other governments on progress on preparations for the fourth review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Column 79the issue of non-proliferation treaty membership with each of the governments of the non-proliferation treaty states ; and what initiatives he plans to increase the total membership of the non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. Waldegrave : We regularly raise the question of accession to the treaty with non-parties at various levels. As a depositary power, the United Kingdom attaches importance to the widest possible adherence to the treaty.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ministerial representation there was at the Commonwealth meeting of Foreign Ministers, held in Canberra in early August, to discuss sanctions on South Africa ; and if he will make a statement.
The hon. Member is presumably referring to the meeting of the Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on South Africa. Britain is not a member of the Committee.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many offers of settlement have been made under the Foreign Compensation (People's Republic of China) Order 1987 ; under what categories they have been ; and how many of these offers have so far been accepted.
Mr. Sainsbury : A final offer cannot be made until the Foreign Compensation Commission has completed determination of all claims, including property claims, against the China Fund. This is not expected until autumn 1990. However, in January an interim payment of 5 per cent. of the value assigned by the commission to a bond was announced to bond claimants. Out of 1,717 bond claimants to whom offer of interim payment has been made, 1,592 had accepted the offer as of 29 September 1989.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings in the past 12 months have been held at (a) ministerial level and (b) senior Civil Service levels with Gibraltarian authorities about matters concerned with the European Community.
Mr. Maude : European Community matters affecting Gibraltar have been discussed at ministerial level with the Gibraltar Government four times in the last 12 months. There have been frequent contacts at official level.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will cite the occasions where the United Kingdom has engaged in treaty making or other international agreement which complies with article 10 of the United Nations convention on reduction of statelessness.
Mr. Sainsbury : When the United Kingdom has transferred territory by treaty in the circumstances envisaged in the United Nations convention since 1966, the date when the convention became binding on the United Kingdom, appropriate arrangements for nationality have been made in compliance with that article.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list United Kingdom and United Kingdom dependencies flag vessels seized by the United States under the 13 November 1981 exchanges of notes concerning co-operation in the suppression of the unlawful importation of narcotic drugs into the United States, showing the date seized, the drugs found, the number of persons arrested and indicate any judicial penalties imposed.
Mr. Sainsbury : I am arranging for copies of a list showing the British vessels seized under the 1981 Exchange of Notes, the date seized, the drugs found and the number of persons arrested to be deposited in the Library of the House.
We are seeking information on the penalties imposed in each case. I shall write to the hon. Member in due course.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the United States authorities to clarify the geographic scope of the 13 November 1981 exchange of notes concerning co-operation in the suppression of the unlawful importation of narcotic drugs into the United States and to strengthen both reporting requirements and dispute resolution procedures ; and if he will make a statement on the efficacy of the agreement.
Mr. Sainsbury : Since the Exchange of Notes was concluded in 1981 we have been in contact with the Americans about various aspects of the agreement. In our view, the agreement works satisfactorily ; it is helping the fight against the clandestine import of drugs in the area to which the agreement relates. It is not our practice to disclose details relating to the operation of such agreements.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff there are in the United Kingdom High Commission in Nicosia, Cyprus ; how many of the staff are (a) Greek Cypriots and (b) Turkish Cypriots ; and what steps are taken to monitor these proportions relative to the size of each of the communities on the island.
Column 81Recruitment of locally engaged staff takes place on the basis of ability, not ethnic origin. There are, however, practical difficulties in recruiting members of one community to work in territory controlled by the other.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by Her Majesty's Government to the United Nations about the treatment of Ethiopian Jews in United Nations camps in the Sudan.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Ethiopian Government about allowing Falashas to join their relatives in Israel.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will give the reasons why the United Kingdom has not yet ratified the protocols of the Geneva convention signed on 8 June 1977.
Mr. Waldegrave : My hon. Friend is probably referring to the issue of ratification of the 1977 additional protocols to the Geneva conventions. We have been considering carefully the legal, political and military implications of ratification. This has involved a detailed and continuing process of consultations with our allies in NATO. Progress has been made. Final decisions on ratification will be made when that process of consultation is complete.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his response to the representations from the Foreign Minister of Colombia regarding British participation in the training of mercenary personnel for employment by drug barons.
Mr. Sainsbury : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made clear when he met Sr London o in New York on 26 September, we condemn unequivocally and unreservedly the activities of those who work for drugs traffickers in Colombia. It is primarily for the Colombian authorities to take action in respect of offences committed in Colombia. We remain in close touch with the Colombian authorities on this issue.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many sessions of the Geneva conference on disarmament for a global chemical weapons convention have been held to date ; and if he will list the participating states.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Conference on Disarmament, originally called the Committee on Disarmament, was established by the first United Nations special session on disarmament in 1978. It first met in 1979 and since then there have been two three-month sessions per year, thus totalling 22 sessions to date. The subject of chemical weapons has been on the conference's agenda from the outset. In 1983 additional shorter "inter- sessional" consultations specifically on chemical weapons were also established. There have been 11 such "inter-sessional" meetings to date.
The 40 members states of the Conference on Disarmament are Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Federal Republic of Germany, France, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Italy, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Zaire. In addition, there are about 25 states holding observer status at the conference.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the latest Soviet responses to NATO requests for details and timescales of Soviet undertakings to destroy chemical warfare stocks.
Mr. Waldegrave : Mr. Shevardnadze announced in January that the Soviet Union would begin the destruction of its chemical weapons, CW, stockpiles in 1989 at a new facility in Chapayevsk which was being constructed for this purpose. No further information was given on the details and timescale of the destruction programme, but on 6 September it was announced that the Chapayevsk facility would not now be completed. Due to local environmentalist pressure it is to be converted to a "training centre for devising industrial methods for destroying toxic substances". No revised destruction programme has been announced but it appears unlikely that the Soviet Union will begin destruction this year. In contrast, the United States commenced its CW destruction programme in 1970 and has to date destroyed 15 million pounds of chemical weapon agent.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how often the United Kingdom Government have participated directly in negotiations with the Soviet Union with the objective of securing a treaty for the reduction or elimination of strategic nuclear weapons.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have not participated in such negotiations. We have, however, made it clear that if United States and Soviet strategic arsenals were to be very substantially reduced, and if no significant change had occurred in Soviet defensive capabilities, Britain would
Column 83want to review her position and to consider how best she could contribute to arms control in the light of the reduced threat.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what facilities were extended by the British Mission to the Vatican to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the course of his recent visit to Rome : and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : This was an official ecclesiastical visit. The arrangements were made by the Vatican in conjunction with Lambeth palace. Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See, as a courtesy, offered a dinner for the Archbishop.
Mr. MacGregor : I am pleased to be able to announce that all local education authorities have submitted their LMS schemes. This is an impressive achievement. About 10 schemes were submitted at least a month early and we have already begun announcing our approval for the first of these to come into force next April.
13. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he proposes to make additional resources available to local education authorities to increase the provision of nursery school education.
Column 84some areas, particularly in inner London. Recruitment to primary initial teacher training continues to be buoyant, and there should be sufficient teachers overall to meet demand in the future.
Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend's predecessor met the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), together with representatives of the Inner London education authority, on 13 June. I met the leaders of the inner London councils on 19 June, and again on 12 September, and on both occasions discussed teacher shortages. We agreed that there should be further discussions at official level.