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Gibraltar

24. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the future of Gibraltar. [13977]

Mr. David Davis: Her Majesty's Government stands by its commitment to the people of Gibraltar, enshrined in the 1969 constitution. The Government will not enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes. That commitment remains steadfast.

Malta

25. Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of Malta's application to join the European Union. [13978]

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Mr. David Davis: Malta has suspended its application to join the European Union. But the new Maltese Government have made clear that they want to continue to develop close links with the EU and they are discussing with the European Commission how to take this forward. We welcome this.

Anglo-Russian Relations

26. Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to meet the President of the Russian republic to discuss Anglo-Russian relations; and if he will make a statement. [13979]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has no present plans to meet President Yeltsin. He will meet the Russian Foreign Minister when Mr. Primakov visits London from 27 February to 1 March.

Kashmir

27. Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the opportunities for political reconciliation in Kashmir following the recent state elections. [13980]

Dr. Liam Fox: We hope that dialogue between the new Government in Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Government in New Delhi will lead to an improvement in the situation in Kashmir. I hope to discuss Kashmir during a visit to India and Pakistan later this month.

Bahrain

28. Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Bahrain about the workings of the state security law there; and if he will make a statement. [13981]

Mr. Hanley: We have friendly relations with Bahrain and our frequent discussions cover a wide range of issues. The Government of Bahrain are aware of our view that legal proceedings, including under the security law, should be in accordance with international standards.

National Parliaments

29. Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress there has been in the intergovernmental conference as regards the role of national parliaments. [13982]

Mr. David Davis: The draft revision of the treaties submitted by the Irish presidency includes a useful section on national parliaments. Among its proposals are a binding minimum scrutiny period, as proposed by the United Kingdom, as well as an advisory role for the Conference of European Affairs Committees--COSAC.

India and Pakistan

30. Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to meet non-governmental organisations to discuss the political situation in India and Pakistan; and if he will make a statement. [13983]

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Dr. Liam Fox: I have occasional meetings with non-governmental organisations and other interested groups and individuals on the political situation in India and Pakistan. I hope to visit both countries again later in the month.

Hong Kong

31. Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to visit China to discuss Hong Kong. [13984]

40. Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to meet Chinese Government Ministers to discuss Hong Kong. [13993]

Mr. Hanley: I refer the hon. Members to the oral answer I gave to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) earlier today.

European Union Institutions

32. Mr. Riddick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what powers he is seeking to have returned to the United Kingdom from European Union institutions during the current intergovernmental conference negotiations. [13985]

Mr. David Davis: The Government have tabled proposals to disapply the working time directive in the UK, and reduce the risk of misuse of existing treaty articles by introducing unanimous voting to article 118a, and parts of article 54 and 57. In addition through their proposals on subsidiarity the Government are seeking to ensure that action is taken at European level only where necessary.

34. Ms Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in achieving the Government's objectives in respect of the European institutions in the intergovernmental conference. [13987]

Mr. Davis: Although there have been several discussions of institutional issues in the IGC, the final position of many member states will only be decided in the negotiating endgame. The UK has considerable support for its position on many of these issues.

Zaire

33. Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has recently received regarding the situation in Zaire; and if he will make a statement. [13986]

Dr. Liam Fox: We remain gravely concerned by the situation in eastern Zaire, and remain in close contact with partners in the Security Council, the EU and in the region. We urge all parties to the conflict to call an immediate ceasefire and to enter into negotiations on a peaceful resolution. We welcome the appointment of Mohamed Sahnoun as UNSG's special representative for the Great Lakes. We will give full support to efforts by him and regional leaders, who most recently met in Pretoria on 28 and 29 January, to broker a settlement.

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Caribbean Countries

35. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political stability of Caribbean countries. [13988]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: We continuously assess the political stability of all Caribbean countries. We see drugs and drugs-related crime as the main regional threat to stability in the Caribbean and are playing a major role in helping them fight drugs. My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister and President Chirac launched the EU Caribbean drugs initiative in 1995.

Anglo-Korean Relations

36. Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations between the United Kingdom and Korea. [13989]

Mr. Hanley: We have an important political and economic partnership with the Republic of Korea. They work closely with us on the UN Security Council. We have recently welcomed them as a new member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and we are delighted that the UK has attracted over 50 per cent. of Korean investment in Europe.

Western European Union-EU Relations

37. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed the relationship between the European Union and the Western European Union with the French and German Foreign Ministers. [13990]

Mr. David Davis: My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary last discussed these issues with the French Foreign Minister on 8 November 1996 and with the German Foreign Minister on 20 November 1996.

Argentina

38. Mr. Jacques Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Argentina. [13991]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: The United Kingdom enjoys excellent relations with Argentina.

World Service

39. Mr. Canavan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received about the future of the BBC World Service. [13992]

Mr. Hanley: None since the beginning of the year.

European Court of Justice

Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the United Kingdom has (a) won and (b) lost cases before the European Court of Justice in the past 10 years. [13967]

Mr. David Davis: Consolidated figures for the last 10 years are not held in the form requested. However, a recent internal survey of the 125 cases in which the UK

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was directly involved or intervened between 1993 and 1995 showed that the court accepted the principle UK submissions in 82 cases or 66 per cent. and wholly rejected them in 24 cases or 19 per cent. The UK has a very creditable record before the ECJ.


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