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Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement outlining his Department's policy concerning recruitment in the United Kingdom of mercenaries for a foreign army at war with another state friendly with the United Kingdom.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The recruitment of mercenaries in this country is always deplorable, and in some cases unlawful by reason of the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 which prohibits the recruitment of persons to serve with the forces of a foreign state at war with another foreign state which is at peace with the United Kingdom. Moreover, if any evidence came to light that British citizens recruited as mercenaries were engaged in illegal activities themselves, that evidence would be referred to the prosecuting authorities.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the Acts of Parliament and Consolidation Acts affecting local government that have been introduced by his Department since 1990.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 7 March, Official Report, columns 38-40, what was the total cost of the refurbishment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building at King Charles street, London SW1.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We regularly discuss our human rights concerns with the Sri Lankan authorities, most recently at the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in March.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts Her Majesty's Government have had with Tamil political organisations (a) in Sri Lanka and (b) elsewhere in the last year.
Palestinian-Israeli talks in Cairo about the establishing of an international observer corps in the occupied territories ; which nations will be represented ; how large it will be ; and how it will be armed.
Column 16and Italy. The observers will be lightly armed for self-defence, and will operate for an initial period of three months.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, after the Cairo talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Britain has been asked for, or has offered, any assistance to support the peace process in the occupied territories.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have not been asked to contribute observers for the temporary international presence in Hebron agreed upon in Cairo by Israel and the PLO. We remain ready, together with our EU partners, to contribute to an international presence in the rest of the occupied territories if requested to by the parties.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what specific pressue he is putting on (a) the Israeli Government and (b) the PLO in respect of the peace process in the occupied territories.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We and our EU partners have urged on both sides the necessity of a speedy conclusion of the negotiations on Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho, most recently in statements condemning the attacks in Afula and Ashdod on 6 and 7 April.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on co-ordinating the international contributions to the creation of a Palestinian police force.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what pledges were made by the EU and the United Kingdom in Cairo on 24 March about the creation of a Palestinian police force.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom stated that we were providing 200 sets of riot control equipment and training courses in the United Kingdom for senior police officers. The European Union pledged $250, 000 for training for municipal police, to form the basis for a larger project later.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether vital interests within the terms of the Luxembourg compromise were at stake in the issue of 23 or 27 vote at the Ioannina meeting.
"decisions which may be taken by majority vote".
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Luxembourg compromise enables Britain to prevent a decision being made in any case which is vital to Britain's interests and where qualified majority voting applies.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : If the United Kingdom believed that, on an issue of very important national interest, it was in danger of being outvoted because qualified majority voting applied, it could invoke the Luxembourg compromise. In accordance with this, the members of the Council would then continue discussion until agreement was reached on a solution which could be adopted by all member states.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Her Majesty's Government's policy was in 1990 on the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection of Iraq's nuclear installations ; and what it is currently.
Since the Gulf war and the adoption of Security Council Resolution 687 in April 1991, we have supported, and will continue to support, the United Nations Special Commission and the IAEA in their task of destroying or removing all of Iraq's nuclear weapons-usable material and ensuring that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme cannot be regenerated.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the sending of United Nations inspection and observer teams to the marshlands of Iraq and southern Iraq to monitor human rights violations there.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Iraq is continuing to refuse access to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iraq and United Nations human rights monitors, contrary to resolutions on the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Commission. The Commission recently requested the Secretary-General to send human rights monitors to neighbouring countries. We will continue to press Iraq to allow monitors to enter the country.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his latest information about the transfer of the Moroccan civilian population to the Western Sahara ; and what representations he is making at the United Nations on this matter.
We welcomed the Secretary-General's latest report. We fully support the proposal that the Identification Commission should complete the analysis of all
Column 18applications received and proceed with the identification and registration of all potential voters in the referendum on the Western Sahara, on the basis of the Secretary-General's compromise proposals.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries are military nuclear powers ; which other countries are thought to have mastered the necessary technology ; and which other countries are thought to be pursuing military nuclear power status.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which came into force in 1970, recognises the existence of five nuclear weapon states : the United Kingdom, United States, France, China and the Russian Federation. The remaining 159 parties to the NPT are non-nuclear weapon states. We expect all of these states to abide by their treaty obligation not to develop nuclear weapons. We urge those 27 states which have yet to accede to the NPT to do so at the earliest possible date.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : When applied to the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons, both terms refer to a capability of carrying out an action more limited than a strategic strike, as a means of inducing an aggressor to cease aggression without triggering strategic nuclear exchanges.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the nuclear device exploded by India in 1974 is considered by Her Majesty's Government to be a strategic or sub- strategic nuclear capability.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether North Korea is considered by Her Majesty's Government to be pursuing a strategic or sub-strategic nuclear capability.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no direct evidence that North Korea has developed a nuclear weapons capability. However, as a result of North Korea's consistent failure to co-operate fully with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the agency's director general has stated that he cannot conclude that nuclear material has not been diverted for military use in North Korea. We urge North Korea to respond positively to the statement issued by the President of the United Nations Security Council on 31 March and to comply fully with its safeguards agreement and affirm permanent commitment to the non-proliferation treaty.
Column 19posed by Israeli possession of nuclear weapons would be considered by Her Majesty's Government to be strategic or sub-strategic.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no direct evidence that Israel has developed a nuclear weapons programme, though we take seriously reports that Israel has such a programme. We believe that Israel should allay suspicions about her nuclear progamme by acceding to the non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state, and by concluding a full scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the visits by the United Kingdom personnel to sites in Russia under the United States-United Kingdom-Russian trilateral agreement on biological weapons of September 1992.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : United Kingdom and United States experts have visited five non-military biological sites in Russia since the trilateral agreement between the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia was concluded in September 1992. The first visit was made in November 1992, followed by visits in September 1993 and January 1994.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what computer systems his Department has brought in, for what function and at what cost for each of the last five years ; and in each case whether the computer system is still in use.
Mr. Goodlad : During the last five years the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has brought in computer systems to enable FCO staff at home and overseas to carry out their work more effectively. Typical uses are for political, management, aid, commercial, consular, accounts and information work. A large number of these systems are still in use but will be replaced in the normal computer replacement cycle of five to seven years as they become obsolete.
The total cost for each of the last five years starting in financial year 1989-90 was--£'000--2,778, 7,078, 15,072, 19,063, and 17,526.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether all agreements between member state Governments of the European Communities and the European Commission require formal extension on the appointment of a new European Commission.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers in his Department were approached to sign public interest immunity certificates in connection with the Matrix Churchill trial and declined to do so.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones), the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, signed a public interest immunity certificate and a supplemental certificate in relation to the case Commissioners of Customs and Excise v. Henderson, Abraham and Allen. He was the only Minister in this Department invited to sign a certificate in this case.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries are represented, with what numbers of troops, in Somalia at the present time ; what changes are planned for the rest of the current year ; and in what parts of Somalia each of these military forces are serving.
Country |Strength ------------------------------- Australia |54 Bangladesh |978 Belgium |4 Botswana |342 Canada |5 Egypt |1,680 Greece |2 India |4,969 Ireland |83 Italy |788 Korea |3 Kuwait |120 Malaysia |1,065 Morocco |1,359 Nepal |313 New Zealand |49 Nigeria |659 Norway |26 Pakistan |5,697 Romania |231 Saudi Arabia |150 Tunisia |1 UAE |317 USA |7 Zimbabwe |1,082 |--- Total |19,883
Most west European troop contributors, except Ireland, either withdrew their contingents or, in the case of Greece, scaled them down to a minimal presence before the end of March 1994. The Saudi Arabians have also withdrawn their contingents. In addition, Morocco and United Arab Republic are expected to withdraw their contingents by the end of April 1994.
Some 1,550 additional Pakistani troops and 250 Indonesian troops are expected to deploy to Somalia by the end of April 1994, which will bring the total to 19,225. Given the current flux in troop movements, the United Nations is not able to give up-to-date details on the location of each contingent.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received regarding the detention and trial of Abdul Hadi al Gahtari currently held in jail in Zenica, central Bosnia for the murder of Paul Goodall, a driver working for the United Nations.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are aware of newspaper reports that Mr. al Gahtari has escaped from police custody. We have asked the Bosnian authorities to look into these allegations as a matter of urgency. We have raised this case with the Bosnian authorities on a number of occasions, most recently when a Foreign Office official visited Sarajevo on 29 March. We have also been in touch via the Bosnian embassy in London and our missions in Geneva. We have reminded the Bosnian Government of our concern that their investigations into the murder of Mr. Goodall should be taken forward quickly and those responsible brought to justice. The Overseas Development Administration has been in contact with the judicial authorities in Zenica and has engaged the services of a local lawyer to represent the interests of Mr. Goodall's family.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information technology consultants his Department has employed, for what purpose and at what total cost for each of the last five years.
Mr. Goodlad : Information technology consultants have been employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide expertise not available within the Department on a range of subjects. They have been used to give specialist advice on IT strategy development, communications, cabling, software development and support, project management, systems analysis, contingency planning, procurement and management information systems.
The total cost for each of the past five years starting in financial year 1989-90 was--£'000--1,744, 2,964, 3,412, 4,688 and 5, 156.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will state, in respect of each of the undertakings announced by the Prime Minister in his oral statement of 29 March, Official Report, columns 797-99, concerning the assent of Her Majesty's Government to the draft treaty on enlargement of the European Community and Union (a) in which document they are recorded and on whose authority, (b) where they may be obtained or examined, (c) if they are to be incorporated in whole or part in the draft treaty and (d) the nature of the additional post-statement communication from the European Commission to which he referred in his oral answer to the hon. Member for Newham, South of 30 March, Official Report, column 921.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The undertakings in the social field announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his statement of 29 March were oral assurances and are not recorded in a document. They will not therefore be incorporated, in whole or in part, in the draft treaty. The additional confirmation from the Commission to which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary referred in his oral answer on 30 March took the form of contacts between his office and the office of Mr. Delors.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the response of the Arab League to the Libyan proposal that the two suspects in the Lockerbie incident be tried before the International Court of Justice in the Hague with Scottish judges sitting on the bench applying Scottish law ; and what is now his policy on the suggestion.
Our policy on the suggestion was set out in a written reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) on 8 February 1994, Official Report, column 135.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government will make to the Moroccan Government to urge them to continue the United Nations -sponsored dialogue begun on 17 July 1993.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made by Her Majesty's Government to the Moroccan Government concerning the disappearance of Saharawi people in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We were pleased to note the appointment of a Minister for Human Rights in Morocco last November. The Moroccan Government are aware of the importance we attach to human rights and we, together with our European Union partners, will urge them to continue the process of reform.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money Her Majesty's Government have spent financing the United Nations monitoring organisation MINURSO--the mission for the referendum in Western Sahara; and what benefits this has brought to United Kingdom taxpayers.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom has paid $8,265,226--£5.5 million--in United Nations-assessed contributions to MINURSO since the operation began in September 1991. In addition, the costs of the United Kingdom military contribution, withdrawn in October 1993, were : financial year 1991-92 : £71,600 ; financial year 1992-93 : £815, 000 ; financial year 1993-94 : £310,000.
A solution to the conflict in Western Sahara would enhance stability in the region, ease humanitarian suffering and offer potential international trade opportunities. All parties regard MINURSO's presence as instrumental to achieving an eventual settlement, hence the participation in the operation of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Venezuela and, until the United Kingdom withdrawal, all five permanent members of the Security Council.
Column 23United Nations peacekeeping is an international obligation of member states, and is resourced according to internationally recognised criteria based upon national income.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Moroccan Government are aware of our wish to see progress towards the implementation of the United Nations settlement plan. We will maintain our position of strict neutrality in the dispute and continue to support the United Nations Secretary-General in his efforts to resolve outstanding problems, particularly those concerning identification and registration of those eligible to vote in the referendum.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government will be making to the Moroccan Government during the forthcoming signing of the GATT agreement concerning the abuse of human rights.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost to Her Majesty's Government of the reception at the British embassy in Santiago attended by Lady Thatcher.
Mr. Duncan Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost of production and distribution of the pamphlet now being sent to the electorate entitled "The European Elections" ; and what contribution to the cost was made from European Community funds.