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General Pinochet

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if reports submitted by the British Embassy in Madrid, to his Department, made reference to potential difficulties for Her Majesty's Government with respect to the presence of General Pinochet in British territory in connection with the work undertaken by Judge Garzon; how many reports submitted by the embassy referred to Judge Garzon's investigations; and if he will make a statement. [66347]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: The Embassy in Madrid sent four reports in 1997 and 1998 relating to Judge Garzon's investigations into human rights violations in Chile during the Pinochet years. None of these reports anticipated that Judge Garzon's investigations would cause HMG any difficulty.

20 Jan 1999 : Column: 507

St. Malo Summit

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Joint Declarations of the St. Malo summit for (a) future co-location of embassies and (b) sharing of restricted information pertaining to local politics in African countries. [66342]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: The St. Malo Declaration on Africa agreed that both governments would explore the scope for co-location of Embassies. This would involve sharing premises in one or more sites, if there were benefits to be gained from doing so. We have done this successfully with other countries elsewhere in the world. The Declaration also included provisions for information sharing on the situation in Africa, in particular on countries where either the UK or France is not represented. We see this as a useful area for cooperation, which will be of mutual benefit and will extend our knowledge of these countries.

Burma

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal factors he has to take account of with regard to the imposition of financial sanctions on Burma. [66155]

Mr. Fatchett: Financial sanctions need to be compatible with the UK's international obligations. They are a matter for action by the European Community as a whole in accordance with the Treaty of Rome (Articles 73 (g) (1) and 228 (a)). They must also be compatible with membership of the World Trade Organisation. A mandatory United Nations Security Council Resolution would override these obligations but there is at present no consensus for such action.

Iraq

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what communications Her Majesty's Government have had with (a) the United States administration and (b) the Secretary General of the United Nations over the past year in respect of the use to which information obtained by (i) UNSCOM and (b) IAEA inspectors in Iraq has been put. [66429]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We have been in regular touch with both the US Administration and the UN Secretary General on many aspects of the work of UNSCOM and the IAEA over the past year.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the allegations by former UNSCOM inspector, Scott Ritter, published in The Sunday Telegraph on 10 January 1999. [66476]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: The 10 January The Sunday Telegraph article referred to allegations that the UK withdrew cooperation from UNSCOM last year in protest at US spying activities. This allegation is false. The UK has never withdrawn cooperation from UNSCOM.

UNSCOM is entitled to seek information and advice from all possible sources in pursuit of its mandate to destroy Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction capability.

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UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler has made clear that he has always insisted on all UNSCOM activity being carried out strictly in pursuit of its disarmament mandate, not to benefit any individual member state. The US has also denied any impropriety in its contacts with UNSCOM.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the observations by the Foreign Minister of France concerning the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. [65397]

Mr. Fatchett: We have welcomed the proposals put forward recently by France as a useful basis for discussion on the way forward on Iraq. However, our position remains that the oil embargo cannot be lifted until Iraq has fulfilled its obligations in relation to its weapons of mass destruction programmes as set out in UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 687, and that other sanctions cannot be lifted until Iraq has complied with all its obligations under the relevant UNSCRs.

British Diplomats (Freetown Officials)

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which officials in (a) his Department and (b) the Ministry of Defence were informed of the facility extended by the German Government to British diplomats, to communicate with officials in the United Kingdom from Freetown, Sierra Leone, in the years 1997 and 1998; and on which occasions this facility was used. [66628]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: Mr. Penfold had access to normal communication whilst at the High Commission in Freetown and whilst in the United Kingdom. Whilst he was in Conakry, Mr. Penfold was able to receive classified telegrams via the German Embassy but used commercial fax facilities for sending messages to London.

The following British Diplomatic Missions were informed in August 1997 that telegrams could be passed to Conakry for Mr. Penfold via Bonn:



Telegrams that were sent to Bonn for forwarding were marked to this effect and circulated to officials in Government Departments in London including the FCO and MOD.

Bananas

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) European Union ministers about the import duties being placed by the EU on bananas and (b) the United States Government about the retaliatory duties being placed on EU goods; and if he will make a statement. [66259]

Ms Quin: The EU's new banana regime was agreed during the UK Presidency. The Government support the new regime which is designed to help banana dependent Caribbean economies while meeting WTO obligations.

The current EU/US dispute over the WTO compatibility of the new regime was discussed at the December General Affairs Council which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary attended. EU Foreign

20 Jan 1999 : Column: 509

Ministers gave their backing to the Commission approach of robustly defending the banana regime while constructively addressing US concerns over the WTO process.

The Government have been working to prevent the imposition of US retaliatory duties. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other senior Government Ministers have, on several recent occasions, raised the issue with their US counterparts.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Ministers (Business Affairs Investigations)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to disclose all the papers relating to investigations undertaken by his Department into the business affairs of serving Government Ministers. [66450]

Mr. Byers: My Department has no direct role in the investigation of the business affairs of ministers or any other individuals. Its role is confined to the conduct of limited companies. The extent to which papers may be disclosed depends on the nature of the case itself and other considerations such as the applicable law and commercial confidentiality. Subject to these constraints I would wish to be as open as possible on these matters.

British Airways

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if his predecessor received advice from the Permanent Secretary at the DTI that there was no conflict of interest which prevented him dealing with competition issues arising from the proposed British Airways alliance with American Airlines. [66644]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 19 January 1999]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), on 8 December 1998, Official Report, column 65.

Indonesia

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what amount of export credit guarantees are outstanding for Indonesia (a) for defence-related equipment and (b) for other goods. [64533]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 11 January 1999]: From data readily available, ECGD's exposure on Indonesia currently stands at £1,575 million and breaks down as follows:

£ million
(a) Defence related equipment760
(b) Other goods815

Defence-related equipment includes all ECGD covered business with defence buyers, including sales of non-lethal equipment.



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