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Mr. David Maclean (Penrith and The Border): As most greenhouse gases are produced by America, south America, China and the developing world, why is the Prime Minister determined to punish British people, particularly our rural constituents, by setting targets that

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go much further than those observed by the rest of the world and will be particularly damaging to Britain? Does he not agree that we should sign up unilaterally to targets for greenhouse gas emissions rather than trying to make a grand green gesture that will hurt our constituents?

The Prime Minister: It will not hurt our constituents at all. The agreement that was reached between European Union members for a 15 per cent. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 levels was negotiated by the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member. We believe that we can go further, but, even on existing policy, by 2000 we will have achieved a 10 per cent. reduction.

Of course, we want other countries to go further. That is why we have put pressure on them. The Kyoto conference will provide an opportunity to see what progress has been made with the United States and other countries, but I believe that the measures that have been taken with the support of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House have been to the advantage of our constituents. It will be to the advantage of our constituents if we reduce pollution and the damage that has been caused not merely to the world's climate, but to clean air in Britain.

Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax): In relation to land mines, have other countries stated their intention to follow Britain's lead in banning the production, sale and trade in those horrible weapons?

The Prime Minister: No specific country is about to follow precisely the lines that we have articulated, but the importance of the words in the communique is that there is agreement in principle that we need an internationally binding agreement banning the sale of anti-personnel mines. We are making progress, but we still have a long way to go. The fact that Britain has taken a lead will help to achieve that international agreement.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst): Did the meeting take any opportunity to compare the economic reforms in the United States with those in the European Union? If so, were any conclusions drawn about the rather different approach taken in north America from that in Europe? Did the Prime Minister draw any conclusions about the direction that the European Union seems to wish to take, particularly in respect of labour market flexibility, and the disadvantage that that would inflict on the European Union in a globally competitive economy?

The Prime Minister: As the right hon. Gentleman knows, it is important that we combine labour market flexibility with investment in people. The United States recognises that it has a significant problem in large numbers of young people in particular who are shut out from mainstream society without any hope or opportunity. That is something which our countries have to correct. It is not a one-way process: there is much to be learned on both sides. There are also measures that all countries agree make a difference to economic performance.

In contradistinction to the Opposition, I believe that there is a role for government, but that it is a different role today. It relates to infrastructure, education, technology and assisting small businesses and needs to be fulfilled here as well as in other countries.

Mr. Desmond Browne (Kilmarnock and Loudoun): I welcome the concentration by the G8 summit on

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international crime and drug trafficking. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister mentioned specific proposals that are being worked up for discussion next year. What specific measures does Britain wish to see taken, with especial reference to the threat of organised crime emanating from Russian and eastern Europe?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is right. As the host of the G8 summit next year in Birmingham, we are expected to bring forward specific measures to combat organised crime. Already, the G8 working group has agreed some 40 detailed recommendations to counter transnational organised crime. Those are now being implemented, and include extradition proceedings, co-operation between law enforcement agencies and, specifically, attempts to track down the proceeds of drug trafficking. We hope that we will be able to take a significant step forward next year. One of the advantages of Russia's involvement in the summit is being able to talk face to face with the Russians about the measures they need to take to defeat the organised crime that often comes from Russia and is spreading across Europe.

Mr. John D. Taylor (Strangford): The Ulster Unionists also welcome the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition to his new position and look forward to working with him on many issues, including the important one of Northern Ireland. The importance of that subject was underlined by the fact that the Prime Minister, following his journey back to the United Kingdom, is already devoting several hours to it today. We thank the Prime Minister for the statement that he has given on the Denver summit and, in particular, the apparent contribution he made to the summit on behalf of our nation.

I welcome the communique's reference to a lasting settlement in Cyprus. Does the Prime Minister agree that a lasting settlement in Cyprus would be preferable before the accession of Cyprus as a member of the European Union? Does he agree that it is important that the Government's attitude to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities is even handed and, therefore, does he agree that the Government should follow the example of the previous Government and that the Foreign Secretary should meet the leaders of both communities in their respective parts of Cyprus?

The Prime Minister: On the latter point, I will let the right hon. Gentleman know exactly what is proposed. I am sure that there will be no objection to that. On the question of Cyprus, the possibility of accession negotiations taking place makes it all the more important that a settlement is achieved. The United Kingdom fully supports the UN-led search for a settlement. The prospects of EU accession and the need to reduce tension make that settlement all the more necessary.

We support the EU commitment to open accession negotiations with Cyprus six months after the end of the intergovernmental conference, which will be during our presidency, so we will have a leading role to play. The conclusions of the Denver summit underline the importance that the international community attaches to the issue, and I hope that we can move forward on it. The right hon. Gentleman will know that Richard Holbrooke has been appointed as the US presidential envoy and Sir David Hannay is the UK's special representative.

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I hope that their appointment will assist the process and help to develop ever greater urgency in the search for a settlement.

Helen Jones (Warrington, North): While I am sure that the House welcomes my right hon. Friend's comments about tackling the problem of world poverty, will he indicate the time scale within which he thinks Britain will reach the UN target for development assistance?

The Prime Minister: No, I cannot put a specific time limit on it, because we will have to do it as we can. If my hon. Friend looks back at the record of the previous Labour Government, she will see that we made tremendous strides towards achieving it. We will do it as we can and we consider it important. It is essential to realise that the development of such countries, especially in Africa, is in the long-term interests of our country. We are not being asked to sacrifice our self-interest for others: there is a mutual self-interest in ensuring that the problems are dealt with.

Mr. Richard Ottaway (Croydon, South): Does the Prime Minister agree that population growth is the root cause of African poverty and indeed, of general environmental decline? Will he confirm that he will make that one of his reallocated priorities and will he continue the all-party consensus on the subject?

The Prime Minister: I shall certainly continue the all-party consensus. However, the issue of population growth must be seen in the context of how the countries are developing. The greater their prospects of serious economic development, with a proper enterprise sector in their economies and reduced corruption--because corruption is a blight both on inward investment and on any sensible allocation of aid--the better things will be. It is important to see measures related to population growth in the context of all the other things that we are doing to bring about a different way of life in those countries. However, as I said, I am happy for the cross-party consensus on the subject to continue.

Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East): I warmly welcome the Prime Minister's statement, but does he agree that more should be done by our G7 partners to ensure the full implementation of the HIPC--heavily indebted poor countries--initiative by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, because that is one of the ways in which we can help to reduce debt for the poorest countries in the world?

The Prime Minister: Yes, I agree. The HIPC agreement is important, and the new Secretary of State for International Development has laid emphasis upon it. As I discovered during some of the bilateral meetings that I had with those from African countries during the United Nations meeting, some of those countries spend a vast proportion of the public money they spend simply on debt repayment, so that, of their overall expenditure, only a small percentage is left for trying to develop their countries. In the end, that is a huge inhibition on their development.

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