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16. Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet Mr. Scott Ritter to discuss progress made on the disarmament of Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain: The responsibility for ensuring the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability lies with the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Monitoring Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. We are in close touch with both organisations. I shall be discussing this important issue with the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Dr. Hans Blix, on 27 July.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British companies are listed in United Nations reports of inspection visits to Iraq since 1991 as having provided technology used in the Iraqi programmes of weapons of mass destruction. 
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Mr. Hain: It is not our practice to comment on information that was given to us in confidence by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). In any case, UNSCOM did not share information from inspection reports with the UK except when seeking our help to follow up that information.
17. Mr. Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of bilateral relations between the UK and Germany; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said at this year's Konigswinter Conference our relations with Germany are as excellent as any bilateral relations can be. Three weeks ago my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited the German Chancellor in Berlin, and just this morning my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met the German Foreign Minister to discuss a range of EU issues where we have many important common interests. I invited the German Minister for Europe Herr Christoph Zopel to London on 14-15 April and I visited him in Berlin in March.
19. Mr. Casale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about recent progress in strengthening British- Italian bilateral relations. [R] 
Mr. Vaz: British-Italian relations are strong both in bilateral and the EU and NATO contexts. President Ciampi visited Britain for a brief visit on 1 June when he attended a lunch hosted by HM the Queen and Prince Philip. During the visit my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held bilateral meetings with Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.
Mr. Hain: To date the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has been signed by 97 States and ratified by fourteen. The Court will be established once 60 states ratify. A Preparatory Commission completed two important subsidiary documents to the Statute at its last session in June.
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demilitarised, schools and hospitals have reopened, a functioning judiciary is being established, houses are being reconstructed, joint administrative structures have been set up and over 800,000 people have registered for the forthcoming local elections. The UK has played an important part in pushing all this forward. But I do not want to minimise the difficulties we still face in restoring normal economic life in Kosovo and bringing about ethnic reconciliation. It will take time but we are determined to get the job done.
Mr. Hain: The Middle East could soon see further steps towards lasting peace. The summit between the Israelis and Palestinians called by President Clinton at Camp David is a crucial event in the search for Permanent Status Agreement. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister saw Ehud Barak on 3 July and sent a message to President Arafat on the eve of the summit. We wish both parties and President Clinton every success in making progress in the talks.
Mr. Vaz: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke off diplomatic relations with the UK on 25 March 1999. Since then relations have been conducted through the British Interests Section of the Brazilian Embassy in Belgrade and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Interests Section of the Cypriot High Commission in London.
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Mr. Hain: I met Bashir al-Asad during my visit to Syria in May. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met him at the condolence ceremony for his father on 13 June. We look forward to continuing our dialogue soon, both to improve bilateral relations and as part of our continuing support for all parties seeking a comprehensive peace in the region.
26. Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts abroad on tackling the international illegal drugs trade. 
Mr. Battle: I take every opportunity to discuss, with our counterparts, the UK's international activities to combat the trade in illicit drugs. We take the lead in co-ordinating and prioritising such activities across Government in close co-operation with the UK anti-drugs co-ordinator Keith Hellawell. The UK plays an active role in international forums dealing with the threat posed by illicit drugs, including in the UN G8 and EU. Last year the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spent over £6.5 million on international counter-drugs activities.
27. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on progress towards joining the European single currency. 
Mr. Vaz: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary meets Cabinet colleagues to discuss a range of issues. The Government's policy towards the single currency has not changed and will not change. We will only recommend joining a successful single currency if it is in our national economic interest to do so, and if the economic case for the UK joining is clear and unambiguous. The Treasury will make another assessment of the five economic tests early in the next Parliament.
28. Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government propose to take to support the Colombian peace process following the conference in Madrid on 6 and 7 July on Plan Colombia. 
Mr. Vaz: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held bilateral talks with the Luxembourg Foreign Minister in September 1999. In the last six months there have been bilateral meetings with the Luxembourg Prime Minister
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and the Ministers of Budget, Justice and Social Affairs. These contacts form part of our Step Change initiative to increase contacts with our EU partners.
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