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Mr. Goodlad: A country's human rights record is one of the criteria we take into account when considering licence applications for the export of military equipment. There is no ILO convention of 1956 concerning the right to associate in free trade unions.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals his Department intends to submit to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty extension conference regarding the strengthening of the United Kingdom's negative security assurance; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: The United Kingdom, in common with other nuclear weapons states, has given a general assurance to all non-nuclear weapons states parties to the non-proliferation treaty that we will not use or threaten to use our nuclear weapons against them except in the case of an attack on the United Kingdom, its dependent territories, armed forces or allies by such a state acting in alliance with a nuclear weapons state. The same assurance applies to states not party to the non-proliferation treaty but which have made similar internationally binding commitments not to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons.
In the context of the non-proliferation treaty extension conference in 1995, a number of states parties have asked that the nuclear weapon states give new and enhanced assurances. We are discussing this with the other nuclear weapons states in the hope of agreeing a common approach.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding (a) the imprisonment and trial of eight Kurdish Members of Parliament by the Turkish Government and (b) the six Kurdish Members of Parliament currently in exile in Brussels.
Mr. Goodlad: We have made clear to the Turkish Government our strong concern about the action taken against the Members of Parliament of the banned Democracy party. We continue to take every opportunity to remind the Turkish Government of the need for improvement in Turkey's human rights record in general. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the issue with Mrs. Ciller in Istanbul on 14 October.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he expects will be the outcome of Turkey's application to enter the European customs union; and to what extent it will depend on Turkey's human rights practices regarding the Kurds.
Mr. Goodlad: The United Kingdom is contributing positively to the negotiations between Turkey and the EU to achieve customs union. The Turkish Government are aware of the United Kingdom concerns, shared by European partners, about human rights abuses in Turkey, but there is no direct link between the process of moving towards customs union with Turkey and Turkey's human rights record.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether future sales of miliary equipment to Turkey by NATO will be made contingent upon Turkey improving its human rights record with particular reference to Kurdish minorities.
Mr. Goodlad: Turkey is a NATO member with genuine external defence requirements. United Kingdom defence sales to Turkey are considered on a case-by-case basis. Arms which are likely to be used for internal repression are not granted licences. Postage
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on postage, and how many items have been posted by his Department, in each of the last five years.
Year FCO ODA |Cost £ |Number of Items|Cost £ |Number of Items ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1989-90 |153,767 |n/a |91,867 |202,638 1990-91 |133,281 |n/a |116,514 |236,185 1991-92 |154,785 |n/a |161,304 |303,886 1992-93 |169,321 |n/a |153,374 |282,269 1993-94 |174,104 |n/a |124,904 |205,300
The number of items sent by the FCO has not been recorded during the period ending 31 March 1994. Records maintained since that date show that the number of items sent to the end of September was 268, 460.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. (1) if he will publish the rules governing expenditure which may legitimately be incurred by British embassies on visits made abroad in a private capacity by British citizens; (2) what expenditure has been incurred by British embassies in the last five full financial years, and in the current financial year, to date in connection with private visits by British citizens.
Mr. Baldry: British embassies incur expenditure in connection with a large range of British private visitors including commercial visitors. It is not possible to identify that proportion of an embassy's overall expenditure which is used for these purposes.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise allegations of torture in prisons in China, in (a) the European Union and (b) the United Nations; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad: At this year's United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the European Union expressed its concern at reports of torture in China and called on China to co-operate with the special rapporteur on torture. It looks to China to fulfil its obligations under the convention against torture. We will continue to raise human rights in China with the Chinese authorities and in international forums at every suitable opportunity.
Mr. Goolad: We have not received a request from the Russian Government to assist their efforts to save the Siberian tiger. We have, however, given TRAFFIC International--Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce--£97,500 to carry out a study of the Asian medicinal trade and its implications for the conservation of tigers. The project aims to:
--reduce poaching and smuggling of tigers and other endangered species;
--identify illegal trade routes to consumer nations and help governments halt illegal shipments; and
--identify ways to alter consumer behaviour and reduce the demand for tiger parts.
We believe that this contribution will substantially assist international efforts to stamp out the illegal trade in tigers, rhinos and other endangered species and thereby to promote their conservation.
Column 766costs to the British embassy in the USA arising from the visit of HRH The Princess of Wales in October 1994;
(2) what was the cost to his Department with particular reference to United Kingdom posts of the recent visit of the Princess of Wales to the USA.
Mr. Baldry: The recent private visit of the Princess of Wales to the USA involved costs to the embassy in Washington on entertainment, transport and staff time. The costs were part of the normal functioning of the embassy. The full costs cannot be readily identified.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he was (a) informed of or (b) authorised the expenditure incurred by the British embassy in respect of the recent visit by the Princess of Wales to the USA.
Mr. Baldry: This private visit by the Princess of Wales involved costs to the embassy, on entertainment, transport and staff time. These are part of the normal running of an embassy, within the head of mission's discretion.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many public appointments (a) he is responsible for making and (b) require his approval, including those not listed in "Public Bodies"; and if he will give this figure in terms of (i) appointments to executive bodies, (ii) appointments to advisory bodies and (iii) other appointments.
The breakdown requested by the hon. Member is:
Appointments to Executive Bodies
58 appointments made, 22 appointments approved
Appointments to Advisory Bodies
25 Appointments made, 25 appointments approved
Appointments to other Bodies
20 appointments made, none approved.
Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support has been given by Her Majesty's Government to the United States Administration's decision in March to sanction Taiwan under the terms of the Pelly amendment because of that country's failure to enforce a ban on the trade in tiger products; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad: The United States action followed the March meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which tasked a number of countries, including Taiwan, to take further measures to stamp out illegal trade in endangered species. We expect progress reports to be presented at the ninth conference of the parties to CITES to be held from 7 to 18 November. Once we have studied them, we will consider what, if any, action is necessary, in consultation with our European Union partners.
In June, at the instigation of the United Kingdom, European Union Environment Ministers expressed concern about pressure on tiger populations, condemned
Column 767the illegal trade in tiger products and undertook to be particularly vigilant in enforcing CITES for that species. We are keeping the situation under close review.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Government will be reporting to the United Nations Committee on progress towards implementation of the UN convention on the rights of children.
Mr. Goodlad: We submitted our initial report detailing progress made towards the implementation of the UN convention on the rights of the child in March this year. Copies were laid in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Hurd: I attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 to 4 October. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis), also attended. The Council discussed Commission and presidency proposals for the development of relations with the associated countries of central and eastern Europe. Ministers endorsed the principle of regular ministerial meetings with the CEEs and invited the Commission to prepare a White Paper on the approximation of laws.
Lord Owen briefed Ministers on the deployment of the international conference on the former Yugoslavia monitoring mission. Ministers welcomed this development and discussed how to take forward the peace process, reaffirming the importance of the contact group. Over lunch, Italy announced its intention to continue negotiations with Slovenia following the Slovene declaration of its decision to harmonise property purchasing legislation with that of the EU. The Committee of Permanent Representatives was invited to finalise the negotiating mandate.
Over lunch, Ministers also discussed the EU's aid package for Albania, but were not able to reach agreement on its release. The Council asked the Commission to examine a proposal for a further aid package to help the middle east peace process, and invited the Commission to make further funds available for the Palestinian police force. The Council agreed on the importance of concluding negotiations with Morocco, Tunisia and Israel for new agreements by the end of the year.
Ministers approved a presidency strategy paper on Ukraine and instructed COREPER and the political committee to prepare a draft common position within the common foreign and security policy procedure.
The Council agreed to resume negotiations with Belarus on a partnership and co-operation agreement and to institute exploratory contacts with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ministers requested a report on human rights in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan before any opening of exploratory talks.
The Presidency gave an oral report of the EU/Association of South-East Asian Nations ministerial meeting in Karlsruhe.
Column 768The Council agreed the text of a draft interim agreement between the European Community and South Africa.
My Irish colleague and I briefed the Council on developments in Northern Ireland. There was a general welcome for the progress achieved and for the idea of an EU support package for the peace process.
Ministers agreed the guidelines and annex for the conference on security and co-operation in Europe review conference in Budapest -- 10 October to 3 December.
Ministers agreed arrangements for the production of a report on plutonium smuggling for the Foreign Affairs Council 28 and 29 November.
The presidency reported to the Council on its discussions with the European Parliament and the Commission to resolve outstanding inter-institutional issues resulting from the implementation of a number of Maastricht provisions. These include temporary committees of inquiries, comitology, keeping the EP informed of business in the second and third pillars and the appointment of the new Commission. In the light of the failure to agree a new global regime for outward processing trade, OPT, the Council discussed the idea--which the United Kingdom supported--of separating from the Commission's proposal those provisions allowing for the immediate exemption from the duty of OPT conducted with the CEEs. This idea did not, however, command majority support. The Council therefore invited COREPER to prepare a global regime in time for the November Foreign Affairs Council.
The Commission reported to the Council on the conclusion of multilateral negotiations on an agreement to curb subsidies to the shipbuilding sector. The Commission will bring forward a proposal for the Community to approve the agreement. A number of member states, including the United Kingdom, welcome the outcome of the negotiations, but France made clear that it had serious difficulties with the agreement as negotiated.
The Council approved the text of a draft decision to ratify the Uruguay round agreements, and agreed to seek the assent of the European Parliament on the basis of this draft. The Economic and Social Committee will also be consulted. The European Court of Justice hopes to give its opinion on the Community's competence to conclude the Uruguay round agreements by 15 November, and the aim remains to complete their national ratification procedures by the same deadline. The proposal for a code of conduct governing Community participation in the World Trade Organisation will meanwhile be considered further in COREPER: a final decision on the proposal will be taken once the European Court of Justice has ruled.
The Council also asked the Commission to prepare a report on the compatibility of the US Uruguay round implementing legislation with the World Trade Organisation agreement.
The Council endorsed the recommendations emerging from the visit of the Development Ministers troika to Rwanda and neighbouring states. These recommendations will form the basis of a common position on policy towards Rwanda.
The own-resources decision was discussed over lunch. No agreement was reached.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department will be taking to support the UN year tolerance in 1995; and what specific sums has the Government earmarked for this purpose.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 20 October 1994]: My Department has no plans at present to engage in specific activity to mark the UN year of tolerance in 1995: specific sums have not therefore been earmarked for such a purpose. While we are content that non-governmental organisations should play an active role in the activities of the year, it is not our policy, given heavy demands on public expenditure, to commit scarce resources to the marking of UN years dedicated to specific themes.
The Prime Minister: This morning, I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
The Prime Minister: The panel of advisers on the citizens charter is made up of people who have been appointed for their expertise in their own particular fields in the private sector. The composition of the panel is currently as follows:
Sir James Blyth--Chairman.
Mrs Angela Heylin.
Neil Johnson Esq.
Dr. Madsen Pirie.
Nick Rawlings Esq.
The right Hon. Baroness Perry.
Lady Judith Wilcox.
A number of retired public servants were appointed to assess applications for the charter mark award. Some of these, together with members of the panel of advisers and staff from the citizens charter unit, were involved in visiting some of the short-listed organisations:
Charter Mark |Panel Members |CCU staff assessors ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alan Grocott |Sir James Blyth |Genie Turton David Bower |Nick Rawlings |David Paul John Offord |Lady Judith Wilcox|Charles Ramsden Jim Brown |Dr. Madsen Pirie |Judith Lempriere Tom Corrigan |The right Hon. |Chris Matthews George Georgiades |Baroness Perry |Elizabeth Hunter Harry Nicol | Johnston David Dewick |Simon Lawton Smith Peter Canovan |Aleck Thomson Vivian Emerson David Bromley Dave Keating Peter Cockram Peter Summerscale Ernie Dinn Peter Selby Tony Poole Brian Smith John MacDonald Sybil Brown Margaret Chiverton
|£ ------------------------------ 1989-90 |1,959,459 1990-91 |2,047,841 1991-92 |2,651,686 1992-93 |2,519,033 1993-94 |2,993,258
The figures for 1989 90 and 1990 91 do not include the forensic science service as that information is not available.
Information on postal expenditure by regional offices, outstations and individual establishments, and on the numbers of items posted could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many public appointments (a) he is responsible for making and (b) require his approval, including those not listed in "Public Bodies"; and if he will give this figure in terms of (i) appointments to executive bodies, (ii) appointments to advisory bodies and (iii) other appointments.
Column 771I would also refer the hon. Member to my answer of 4 March, Official Report column 963 , when I gave details of appointments for which I am responsible in addition to those identified in "Public Bodies" including non executive agency and other departmental management boards.
Mr. David Porter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to regulate the use of unused material in police files being given to the defence; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Home Office endeavours to deal with byelaw applications as quickly as possible. I am aware that in a particular case about which my right hon. Friend made representations recently, there had been some delay; the application is now being given priority.
Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action has been taken by the Metropolitan police in respect of information passed to them in August by the World Wide Fund for Nature about the sale of tiger bone products in London.