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Human Rights (China)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on human rights in China, with particular reference to the student leaders of 1989. [25973]

Mr. Fatchett: We constantly monitor the human rights situation in China. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the cases of individuals during his recent visit to China, including Wang Dan, the imprisoned student leader. The EU has sought information on Wang in its human rights dialogue with China.

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to use the presidency of the EU to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the eviction of the students. [25972]

Mr. Fatchett: The UK expressed its condemnation of the treatment of pro-democracy demonstrators in China in 1989, both bilaterally and with the EU. We have no plans to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the demonstrations.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on human rights in China.[25979]

Mr. Fatchett: This Department receives many letters from members of the public expressing concern about the human rights situation in China. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised these concerns with Chinese leaders during his recent visit to China.

Lebanon

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the continued presence in Lebanon of Syrian and Israeli armed forces. [25971]

Mr. Fatchett: Our Embassy in Beirut provides regular reporting on the Israeli and Syrian presence in Lebanon. Our assessment is that Lebanon will only be able to assume full control over its own affairs after a comprehensive peace settlement in the region. We are playing a full part in efforts to bring about such a settlement.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to use the presidency of the EU to encourage the withdrawal of Syrian and Israeli armed forces from Lebanese territory; and if he will make a statement.[25970]

Mr. Fatchett: The European Union has consistently expressed full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, and has consistently called for full implementation of UNSCR 425, which requires the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.

This Government are playing a full part in efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region that would enable Lebanon to assume full control over its own affairs.

Great Lakes Region

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives he proposes in respect of the Great Lakes Region during the United Kingdom's presidency of the EU. [25996]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: During our six months EU Presidency, we aim to launch a new EU common position on Rwanda; to strengthen and deepen the EU's relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including encouraging progress towards democratisation, the rule of

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law and respect for human rights; and to continue EU support for efforts to promote all-party political dialogue in Burundi.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he requested legal advice on whether the massacre in Rwanda in 1994 constituted genocide under the terms of the Genocide Convention.[25477]

Mr. Tony Lloyd [holding answer 28 Janaury 1998]: Since 1 May 1997, we have not had cause to seek legal advice on whether the massacre in Rwanda in 1994 constituted genocide under the terms of the Genocide Convention.

The UN Security Council resolution establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), makes the strong presumption that genocide, as defined in the relevant UN Convention, took place in Rwanda. The UK fully supports action through the ICTR and by the Government of Rwanda, to bring to justice those responsible for acts of genocide.

Whaling

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to discuss issues relating to whaling with the Norwegian authorities; and what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on (a) trends in Norwegian whale catches and (b) Norway's proposals to restore international trade in whale meat. [25961]

Mr. Fatchett: The UK is opposed to commercial whaling and has supported the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) resolutions on numerous occasions calling on Norway to halt all such operations. We are, therefore, disappointed that Norway has announced a further increase in its 1998 catch quota of Minke whales. The UK will continue to work with like-minded countries to try to ensure that there is no resumption of international trade in whale products.

Turkey

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Turkish Government following the arrest of the British Vice-Consul in Istanbul on 2 September 1997; what response he has received; and if he will make a statement. [26041]

Mr. Doug Henderson: Our Embassy in Ankara complained to the Turkish authorities about the arrest in Istanbul on 2 September 1997 of Mr. Neil Frape, the British Vice Consul (Information). My hon. Friend the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett), also complained to the Turkish Ambassador in London. The Turkish Ambassador expressed his Government's regret over the wrongful arrest of Mr. Frape.

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Diplomatic Relations

Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the (a) rules and (b) guidance governing diplomats or consular officials giving evidence in court cases in foreign countries. [26043]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: Under Article 31(2), of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961),


Article 44(1) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963) states that


Article 44(3) goes on to state that


Internal guidance to FCO staff, however, is that Her Majesty's Government would normally expect all staff to assist local police and judicial authorities if called upon to do.

Private Office

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what part he played in the consideration of appointing Ms Gaynor Regan as his diary secretary. [26184]

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he took to appoint Ms Gaynor Regan as his diary secretary. [26192]

Mr. Robin Cook: After I decided to replace Miss Bullen, Gaynor Regan was, for a short time, considered for the post. She was an obvious candidate, having worked as my Diary Secretary for four years in opposition. I quickly decided not to pursue this possibility, and instructed the Permanent Under Secretary to arrange for the appointment of a Diplomatic Service candidate through the standard internal procedures.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what briefing his Department issued to the press on the nature of the appointment of Ms Anne Bullen. [26214]

Mr. Robin Cook: This Department issued the following statement on 26 January:

"Anne Bullen was employed as the Diary Secretary in the Foreign Secretary's Private Office from November 1993 to June 1997. She was a personal appointment by Douglas Hurd. She was not a career public servant, but was appointed on a fixed term contract which was subsequently extended until November 1997. Anne Bullen was not given a compensation package but was paid her salary until the end of her contract as required under its terms.


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Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restrictions have been placed on Miss Anne Bullen in respect of making public statements on the termination of her employment as his diary secretary. [26190]

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the termination contract of Miss Bullen contained a requirement not to discuss the circumstances of her dismissal in addition to Official Secrets Act requirements. [26314]

Mr. Robin Cook: I took no part in the negotiations over the termination of Miss Bullen's employment. As a result of those negotiations, between her and FCO officials, she agreed that the terms of her departure and the circumstances giving rise to it should not be disclosed to third parties.

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what compensation was paid to Miss Anne Bullen on the termination of her employment as his diary secretary; and for what reasons.[26189]

Mr. Robin Cook: Miss Anne Bullen ceased to work as my Diary Secretary on 27 June. She was not paid compensation, but continued to draw her salary for the unexpired period of her contract which ran out on 7 November. I played no part in the negotiations which took place between Foreign Office officials and Miss Bullen over the terms of her departure.

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the employment of Miss Anne Bullen as his diary secretary was terminated; and for what reasons. [26186]

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what factors led to the dismissal of his Diary Secretary. [26315]

Mr. Robin Cook: Miss. Anne Bullen was a political appointment by a previous Foreign Secretary.

I reluctantly came to the conclusion that Miss Bullen's fixed-term contract should not be renewed when it became evident that I could have no confidence in her, and that she was unwilling to develop a relationship of trust with me. The performance of my present Diary Secretary is exemplary and she has my full confidence.

Miss Anne Bullen ceased to work as my Diary Secretary on 27 June. She was not paid compensation, but continued to draw her salary for the unexpired period of her contract which ran out on 7 November.

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what part was played by the Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the appointment of a successor to Miss Anne Bullen as his diary secretary; [26188]

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Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when and by whom the Permanent Secretary of his Department was informed of the intention to replace Miss Bullen as Diary Secretary with Ms Regan. [26313]

Mr. Robin Cook: I discussed with the Permanent Under Secretary on May 21 my concern that Anne Bullen and I had not developed a relationship of trust and he put in hand arrangements for the termination of her employment. I informed him on the same day that I was considering the appointment of Gaynor Regan, who had been my Diary Secretary for four years. Shortly thereafter I advised him that I had decided that she should not take up the position and asked him to put in hand arrangements for the internal appointment of a career civil servant.

I do not discuss my private life with officials, nor do they seek to discuss it with me.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what occasions since 1 May 1997 he planned for his Diary Secretary to accompany him on official business. [26310]

Mr. Robin Cook: None.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many private office staff in (a) his and (b) other Ministers' private offices changed after the election; and in how many cases this was at the instigation of the Minister. [26309]

Mr. Robin Cook: In the three months after the election:

(a) My Principal Private Secretary left at the end of July having completed his normal tour of duty in my office. Miss Anne Bullen, who was appointed on a fixed-term contract, ceased to work for me at the end of June in the circumstances described in the answer I gave today to the right hon. and learned Member for Folkstone and Hythe (Mr. Howard).

(b) Three officials left other FCO Ministers' offices, all having completed their normal tour of duty. One official had resigned before the election, and completed her period of notice on 9 May.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the public service employment status of Miss Bullen.[26312]

Mr. Robin Cook: Miss Anne Bullen was personally appointed by the then Foreign Secretary in 1993, on a fixed term contract under Schedule 2 (paragraph i) of the Diplomatic Service Order In Council 1991. Her contract was renewed on two occasions, both times for one year.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Permanent Secretary sanctioned the dismissal of Miss Bullen. [26318]

Mr. Robin Cook: I discussed with the Permanent Under Secretary my concern that Anne Bullen and I had not developed a relationship of trust and he put in hand the arrangements for the termination of her employment.

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