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Human Rights

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding was made available to his Department's Human Rights Fund in 1998; and what it will be in 1999. [75714]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: £5 million was allocated to the Human Rights Project Fund in FY 1998-99. We plan to maintain the current funding allocation in real terms for the next financial year, and will keep this funding under review to ensure that it remains at an appropriate level.

UNSCOM

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the USA about the recall of UNSCOM's Director of Operations, Colonel James Moore, to Washington. [75215]

Mr. Tony Lloyd [holding answer 8 March 1999]: None.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set up an inquiry into misuse for intelligence purposes of the disarmament agency set up after the Gulf War to eliminate Iraq's chemical and biological weapons. [75214]

Mr. Tony Lloyd [holding answer 8 March 1999]: The UK government have repeatedly made it clear that all information exchanges between the UK and UNSCOM, and all activities by UK nationals assigned to UNSCOM, have been strictly in pursuit of UNSCOM's mandate to dismantle Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) capability. The US has made similar statements. UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler has said 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.

Uganda

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what warnings of a threat to British nationals in Uganda his Department received prior to 1 March. [75486]

Mr. Tony Lloyd [holding answer 8 March 1999]: This Department has received no warnings of threats to British nationals in Uganda from Rwandan Interahamwe rebels prior to 1 March 1999. FCO travel advice of 19 February did, however, draw attention to periodic rebel activity in the Uganda/Congo/Rwanda border areas around the Kisoro district, and mentioned that, although the situation was currently peaceful, it could change quickly.

There have in the past been a number of threats to UK interests in Uganda from other sources, including the Lord's Resistance Army and the Alliance of Democratic Forces.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reported killings of 15 Rwandan militiamen by Ugandan forces. [75770]

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Mr. Tony Lloyd: We are aware of reports originating in Uganda of the killing of a number of Rwandan militiamen by Ugandan and Rwandan Government forces operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Given the difficulty in obtaining reliable information from this remote area, we are unable to confirm the reports.

A three man UK Police Team arrived in Kampala on Friday 5 March to assist the Ugandan authorities in their investigation into the murders of the four British tourists in the Bwindi National Park. We expect the Government of Uganda's follow up to this incident and the investigation to take full account of international human rights standards.

Kosovo

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of involvement of Islamic terrorist organisations in Kosovo. [75562]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We are aware of press reporting about contacts between Islamic terrorist organisations and the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), but we have no evidence of systematic involvement.

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent detention of OSCE monitors in Kosovo by Serbian forces and the rules of engagement for the extraction force in such circumstances. [75796]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: OSCE verifiers were detained by Yugoslav customs authorities during 25 and 26 February. This was a breach of the agreement setting up the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission and official protests were made by the OSCE to the FRY authorities.

The problem was resolved by peaceful negotiation. In the event of an emergency, an extraction force is available. For security reasons, the rules of engagement remain confidential.

Ireland (Treaties)

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects treaties with the Irish Government establishing (i) British- Irish Council, (ii) British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, (iii) North/South Ministerial Council and (vi) implementation bodies to be signed. [76010]

Ms Quin: The treaties were signed on 8 March 1998 in Dublin. Copies of the Treaties are available from the vote office and have been placed in the Libraries of the Houses of Parliament. The Treaties will be published and laid in the normal way.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sri Lanka calling for UNHCR observers to be present at the exhumations of bodies at the mass grave in Chemmani on 5 March. [75513]

Mr. Fatchett: We are deeply concerned about reports that several hundred bodies of people who "disappeared" in army custody in 1996-97 may be in a mass grave at

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Chemmani in Jaffna. Our High Commissioner in Colombo has pressed on numerous occasions for a prompt and thorough investigation. I raised the issue when I visited Colombo on 10 November.

While we have called for an impartial investigation, we have not specifically suggested that UNHCR observers be present. A preliminary examination was held on 5 March to establish whether the site had been tampered with. We hope that the investigation will now proceed without further delay.

South Africa

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the impact on the South African elections of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's rejection of the ANC leaders' application for a group amnesty for acts committed by ANC members. [75769]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: It is not for the UK Government to assess the impact of a ruling of a constitutional body in another country, such as South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC's ruling on the ANC leaders' application for a group amnesty is a legal matter for the applicants concerned.

Khartoum

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Sudanese Government concerning the attacks on Christian students at the University of Khartoum on 6 and 7 February. [75802]

Mr. Fatchett: We have followed up the reports that we have received of these attacks with the concerned authorities, including the University of Khartoum.

Israel

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will be supporting Israel's request to the EU for support for the desalination plant in Gaza. [75800]

Mr. Fatchett: Water is an issue to be resolved in the final status negotiations. We support the Wye Agreement which provides for the immediate resumption of final status negotiations. We also support an equitable division of water which will take into account the concerns of all parties including other countries in the region. The proposed desalination plant has to be considered in the context of the final status negotiations.

Oman (Ministerial Visit)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the visit by the Minister of State to Oman. [75773]

Mr. Fatchett: I visited Oman on 2-4 March for discussions on regional and bilateral issues with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and senior Omani Ministers. The visit enabled me to reaffirm the importance the United Kingdom places on existing political and commercial relations with Oman, and on the security of the Gulf region as a whole. Oman is one of our oldest friends in a

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region of key interest to the United Kingdom. We are keen to maintain the long-standing ties which exist between our two countries.

Falklands

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department has asked the Chilean Government to state its reasons for recommending to Lan Chile that it ceases flights between Santiago and the Falklands; and what other options for air links in the region his Department has been exploring for the Falklands. [75807]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: The Chilean Government have stated publicly that their action with Lan Chile was in response to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's decision to issue an Authority to Proceed in respect of the Spanish extradition request for Senator Pinochet. We have made it clear that we do no believe any such measures are justified. While we hope that Lan Chile will continue to fly to the Falklands, we are considering other options with the Falkland Islands Government, including flights to other countries, improved surface travel, and the possibility of the Falkland Islands Government leasing their own aircraft.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he made to the Chilean Government when the Presidents of Argentina and Chile signed the joint declaration ratifying Chile's support for Argentina's claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands on 15 December. [75805]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: None. Our position on the Falkland Islands has been made clear to the Government of Chile repeatedly in recent years.


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