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Middle East

18. Ms Christine Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest developments in the middle east peace process. [8802]

27. Mr. Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to meet the Israeli Government to discuss the middle east peace process. [8811]

29. Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest developments in the middle east peace process. [8813]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave earlier in the House today to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden), Official Report, column 742.

Afghanistan

19. Mr. Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on policy towards establishing a stable Government in Afghanistan. [8803]

Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has set out four principles:





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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his recent discussions with Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan. [11303]

Mr. Bradshaw: Mr. Brahimi visited London on 9 October and met my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary. We have maintained regular contact. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Lakhdar Brahimi by telephone on 22 October. Brahimi agreed with the Foreign Secretary's four principles on the future of Afghanistan, namely:





The Foreign Secretary informed Brahimi of Paul Bergne's appointment as the Prime Minister's Personal Representative for Afghan Affairs. The Foreign Secretary and Brahimi agreed to stay in close touch.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts were maintained by his Department with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan prior to 11 September. [11442]

Mr. Bradshaw: HMG's policy is to recognise states, not governments. We have maintained contacts with all factions in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, but do not and did not prior to 11 September have normal government to government dealings with any of them.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of their political aims; and if he will make a statement. [11437]

Mr. Bradshaw: British officials maintain regular contact with the Northern Alliance through the Chargé d'Affaires at the Afghan Embassy in London and officials have had a range of contacts with other members of the Northern Alliance including in Afghanistan and during visits by them to Europe. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has recently appointed Paul Bergne as his Personal Representative for Afghan Affairs who will be travelling in the region and meeting with representatives of the Northern Alliance to discuss the immediate political situation in Afghanistan and their aims.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that representatives of Afghan women's organisations are involved in the discussions about the composition of a post-Taliban Government. [11302]

Mr. Bradshaw: Any future Afghan government must be broad-based and representative of the great diversity of the country's ethnic groupings. The form of that government and the process leading to its establishment must be up to the Afghan people themselves. However, the international community has to engage with the widest possible range of community leaders within Afghanistan, which would include women's organisations. We

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would expect any future government to respect the internationally agreed norms of behaviour towards its own citizens.

National Missile Defence

21. Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy on national missile defence. [8805]

Mr. Bradshaw: The position is unchanged. We believe that it is important to tackle the potential threat from weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles as their means of delivery with a comprehensive strategy that includes arms control and counter-proliferation, diplomacy, deterrence and defensive measures. We will continue to work closely with the United States in all these areas. We understand the role that missile defence can play as one element of that comprehensive strategy, but as yet we have had no specific proposal from the United States.

Barcelona Process

23. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to promote the Barcelona process following the events of 11 September. [8807]

Mr. Bradshaw: The UK has always been a strong supporter of the Barcelona process. We welcome the EU's commitment at the General Affairs Council on 8 October



World Cup 2002

24. Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what help his Department will give the England football team in Korea and Japan for the World cup 2002. [8808]

Mr. MacShane: Our Ambassadors in Korea and Japan as well as my officials in London are in regular contact with the Football Association, the Korean and Japanese organising committees and their respective football associations and police. I discussed this with the Korean Government in Seoul last month. We stand ready to provide whatever support may be necessary for the England team arising from these discussions.

Pakistan (Visas)

28. Ms Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what provision he has made for visa applications to be submitted in Pakistan and neighbouring countries affected by the military action in Afghanistan. [8812]

Mr. Bradshaw: Our visa sections in Pakistan remain open. However, due to security considerations we have had to change the way we deliver our service. Posts continue to accept applications through a "drop box" system, which is operated flexibly. Islamabad and Karachi continue to accept settlement applications. Posts in neighbouring countries remain open.

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International Criminal Court

30. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in ratifying the statutes establishing the International Criminal Court. [8814]

Peter Hain: The United Kingdom ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in New York, on 4 October 2001. As the 42nd state to ratify the Statute, the United Kingdom secured a place among the 60 founding members of the Court. The Court will be established immediately following the 60th ratification. A 43rd state, Switzerland, ratified on 12 October.

Sudan

32. Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken following the recent bombings in Bahrel Ghazal in Sudan; and if he will make a statement. [8816]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are deeply concerned at these further reports of civilian casualties. This underlines the urgent need for progress in the Sudan peace process. Meanwhile we regularly urge both sides to respect internationally agreed norms in their conduct of the war.

Albania

34. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Albania. [8818]

Mr. MacShane: We welcome the continuing progress in Albania. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Ilir Meta, Albania has achieved a great deal over the past two years in stabilising the country and extending co-operation with neighbours and the international community. The Albanian Government have continued to take a strong line against extremism in Macedonia and have made some effort to interdict arms supplies to Albanian extremists. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to Prime Minister Meta on 17 October, and I have held discussions with Foreign Minister Arta Dade to encourage further Albanian support to help resolve the situation in Macedonia.


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