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Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy not to accept at his meeting with his Spanish counterpart on 20 November proposals that (a) the Government and (b) the people of Gibraltar do not support. 
Peter Hain: The Government stand by the commitment set out in the preamble to the 1969 Gibraltar Constitution that we will not enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar will pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.
The Foreign Secretary met Spanish Foreign Minister Pique for talks under the Brussels Process in Barcelona this morning. At the conclusion of the meeting, they issued the following statement.
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Peter Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the statement issued in Barcelona earlier today by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Secretary, a copy of which is also being placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has made to ensure that the people of Gibraltar enjoy the rights of citizens of the European Union; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: The UK Government take their responsibility for Gibraltar in the EU very seriously and will continue firmly to defend the rights and interests of the people of Gibraltar.
HMG are actively working to ensure Gibraltar's enfranchisement in time for the 2004 elections to the European Parliament. HMG tabled an amendment to the 1976 EC Act on Direct Elections in order to extend the European franchise to Gibraltar. But such amendment has not proved possible. So, the UK is now actively
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considering taking unilateral action to extend the franchise to Gibraltar. This would involve bringing in domestic legislation without prior amendment to the 1976 Act.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Gibraltar about facilitating their participation in the talks with the Spanish Government on terms that are acceptable to the Government of Gibraltar. 
Peter Hain: I have held extensive discussions with the Government of Gibraltar about their participation in the Brussels process beginning in July and during my visit to Gibraltar on 6 September. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar called on the Foreign Secretary on 9 October. The Chief Minister called on me on 24 October. I also spoke to Chief Minister on 6 November and again on 13 November. At the Brussels Process Ministerial meeting held in Barcelona this morning the Secretary of State and the Spanish Foreign Minister reiterated their invitation for the Chief Minister of Gibraltar to attend future meetings.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Bangladesh regarding the treatment of Hindus. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Our High Commission in Dhaka closely monitor reports of human rights abuses against minority groups and will continue to do so. They have raised the persecution of Hindus several times with the Bangladesh government, encouraging them to investigate allegations. High Commission staff recently visited regions where abuses were alleged to have taken place. The evidence suggests minorities have been caught up in inter-party clashes following the recent elections.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have been held by the the British High Commission in Mauritius with representatives of the Chagos islanders.
Mr Bradshaw: The British High Commissioner in Mauritius met with the Chairman of the Chagos Refugee Committee and his advisers in Port Louis on 12 November.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent visits to the Chagos islands have been made by officials of the British Indian Ocean Territories during the current calender year; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: MOD staff and UK military personnel have visited this calendar year but not officials of the British Indian Ocean Territory Government.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to receive the environmental impact assessment report on potential future settlement of the Chagos Islands by its former inhabitants and their descendants. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 28 June 2001, Official Report, column 164W. Phase 2 of the feasibility studies remains on target and we expect it to be completed by mid-2002.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has held with representatives of the Chagos islanders concerning their legal rights of return. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have maintained a regular dialogue with various members of the Ilois community and their lawyers.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made with drawing up a draft convention on international terroism. 
Peter Hain: There has been extensive work on the Comprehensive Terrorism Convention in the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York. The UK has played an active part. The areas still under discussion have been narrowed consideralby. But consensus on the whole text has not yet been reached.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) India and (b) Pakistan on the situation in Kashmir. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We regularly discuss Kashmir with the Indian and Pakistani Governments. The Prime Minister met the Pakistani President and Indian Prime Minister on 5 and 6 October and again during their respective visits to London on 8 and 12 November. The Foreign Secretary met his Indian counterpart in London on 3 October and his Pakistani conterpart in New York on 13 November. We will continue to urge both countries to persevere with dialogue to find a solution to this and all the issues outstanding between them.
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