some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page


Spain (Tourism)

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the estimated value of British tourism to mainland Spain in the last year for which figures are available. [71699]

Ms Quin: The latest official figures available from the Office for National Statistics Tourism Trends show that in 1997 the total number of British visitors to Spain (both tourist and business), was 8.25 million. British visitors spent a total of £2.825 billion during the year. The figure for 1998 will be higher as the number of British tourists to Spain last year rose significantly over preceding years.

16 Feb 1999 : Column: 753

Prime Minister (Articles)

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those articles, written by the Prime Minister, which his Department has placed through overseas posts in foreign newspapers and journals; and if he will deposit the English version in the Library. [71145]

Mr. Fatchett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to his question by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 3 February 1999, Official Report, column 642.

Biosafety

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what input his Department has made in determining the Government's objectives in the forthcoming negotiations on the Biosafety Protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. [70936]

Mr. Fatchett [holding answer 15 February 1999]: The UK has reached a common position with EU partners on the objectives for the Biosafety Protocol: to secure an instrument that provides necessary environmental safeguards without hampering trade. FCO Posts have recently conducted a major lobbying exercise in non-EU countries to present the EU and UK position on the Protocol. The results of this exercise have helped to inform the preparations for the final negotiations of the Protocol.

Al-Shifa Factory, Khartoum

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was engaged in commercial production of medicines and drugs. [71761]

Mr. Fatchett: We understand that the Al-Shifa plant was involved in commercial pharmaceutical production.

Sierra Leone

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who was the first person in his Department to have sight of a copy of the Foreign Affairs Committee report on Sierra Leone (HC 116 of Session 1998-99); and at what time and on what day it was seen. [71829]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: Copies of the report were collected from the Foreign Affairs Committee office at 0800 on 9 February by the Head of Parliamentary Relations Department and the Parliamentary Clerk.

EU Membership

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by what percentages the entry of the six current applicant countries for EU membership into the EU will increase (a) the EU's population and (b) the EU's GDP. [71085]

Ms Quin: We cannot of course predict the population or GDP of the candidates or the 15 current EU member states at the time of the first accessions. However recent figures indicate that enlargement to include the six candidates currently in accession negotiations would

16 Feb 1999 : Column: 754

increase the EU's population by some 17 per cent. (based on figures in Agenda 2000 published by the European Commission in July 1997) and GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) by about 8 per cent. (based on figures released by Eurostat on 11 September 1998).

Weapons Seizure (Antwerp)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the seizure at Antwerp on 7 February of consignments of weapons destined for Eritrea, being transported by a British company. [71384]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We received no representations from the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs about seizures at Antwerp on 7 February.

We did, however, receive a letter from the Belgian Embassy in London on 6 November 1998 informing us that Belgian Customs had stopped, in August, a shipment of goods originating in Germany destined for Eritrea. They informed us that a British company was involved in organising the shipment. The matter is before the Belgian courts. We will continue to monitor developments.

Former Yugoslavia

Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the numbers of Serbs displaced from their homes in Krajina; how many have since been permitted to return; what representations he has made to the Croatian authorities about the problem; and if he will make a statement. [71321]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We receive regular reports on the refugee situation in the former Yugoslavia from organisations such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM).

According to UNHCR figures, there remain 220,000 Croatian Serb refugees outside Croatia. There are also some 8,000 Serb refugees in the Creation region of Eastern Slavonia who were displaced from their homes. Up until 4 February 1999, 28,000 Croatian Serb refugees are reported to have returned to Croatia.

We take every opportunity to impress on the states of the former Yugoslavia the importance we place on refugee return. I most recently raised this issue with the Croatian Assistant Foreign Minister when he called on me in London on 8 February.

Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received in respect of the massacre at Bosanski Brod in 1992; if any persons have been indicted and brought before The Hague International War Crimes Tribunal for their involvement; and if he will make a statement. [71322]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We have received no recent reports in respect of a massacre at Bosanski Brod in 1992 and are not aware of any indictments released by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia relating to such a massacre. However, the destruction of property in Bosanski Brod in 1992 is mentioned briefly in an

16 Feb 1999 : Column: 755

indictment against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. It is open to ICTY to issue further indictments if it has sufficient evidence to prosecute individuals suspected of war crimes anywhere in the territory of the Former Yugoslavia.

EU Institutional Charges

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the institutional changes within the EU, with particular reference to relations between national parliaments, following the coming into effect of the Amsterdam Treaty. [69432]

Ms Quin: The Protocol on national parliaments attached to the Treaty of Amsterdam provides for a consultative role for COSAC--the representatives of European Affairs Committees from national parliaments in the European Union. We welcome this development. The Protocol also provides for greater involvement of national parliaments in EU business through the six-week minimum scrutiny period. This will reinforce the changes to our national scrutiny system introduced last November.

Sudan

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what attempts have been made to improve Anglo-Sudanese diplomatic relations in the last year; and if he will list the formal contacts to this end between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Sudan, and the results of these contacts. [71758]

16 Feb 1999 : Column: 756

Mr. Fatchett: We have had regular contact with the Sudanese authorities since the withdrawal of British staff from Khartoum in August last year. Through these contacts we continue to work towards the normalisation of Anglo-Sudanese relations. Contacts are ongoing.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer on 30 November 1998, Official Report, column 96, if Her Majesty's Government have supported resolutions or draft resolutions calling for an independent United Nations investigation of the Al-Shifa factory site in Khartoum. [71759]

Mr. Fatchett: A draft resolution on this issue is still on the table at the UN Security Council but has not been put to the vote.

Bilateral US/Sudan dialogue on the issue continues. Meanwhile we encourage Sudan to become a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the acquisition, development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. It is supported by a verification regime consisting of data declarations and on-site inspections.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received from Her Majesty's Ambassador to Sudan on whether the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was a heavily guarded military installation. [71760]

Mr. Fatchett: Her Majesty's Ambassador to Khartoum visited the Al-Shifa factory only once; for the official opening ceremony in July 1997. He did not report that it was a heavily guarded military installation.