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Drugs Trade

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the international effort to reduce the drugs trade in Colombia and Bolivia. [16892]

Mr. Bradshaw: Colombia remains the world's principal source of cocaine. The international community and the Government of Colombia are committed to tackling the drugs trade and reducing the violence and instability with which it is linked. We support the Colombian Government's aim of reducing the cultivation, processing and distribution of drugs by 50 per cent. over the next six years. The UK has also been at the forefront of international efforts to support the peace process in Colombia.

We welcome the considerable progress being made in tackling the drugs trade in Bolivia. The United Nations International Drug Control Programme estimates that illicit coca cultivation in Bolivia has been reduced from 48,600 hectares in 1995 to 14,800 hectares in 2000. This reduction is due to the Bolivian Government's own efforts and international support.


Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage exchange of young professionals and students between the United Kingdom and Mongolia. [17460]

Mr. MacShane: The British Government have been running a successful programme of scholarships in Mongolia for a number of years. Since 1993, the Embassy administered-scheme has sent 44 Mongolians to the UK. Four places were awarded for the academic year 2001–02 at a cost of £105,000. We also co-fund six scholarships per annum with the Soros Foundation for Open Society and the Universities of Manchester and Essex.

We have provided funding for Raleigh International's three year programme of expeditions to Mongolia, which gave over 300 UK students the opportunity to work together with young Mongolians on a variety of projects. This ended in summer 2001.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department is providing for English language teaching in Mongolia. [17459]

Mr. MacShane: My Department has focused its English language teaching efforts on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since we judge that greater competence there has a valuable multiplier effect in enabling Mongolia to interact with the international community more effectively in a wide range of areas. We are supporting programmes in English for special purposes; communication and presentation skills; and interpreting skills.

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We also provide support through our embassy for 10 Department for International Development-funded VSO volunteers working on English language teaching for secondary school teachers.

International Criminal Court

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the United States following the passage of the International Criminal Court Act 2001; what UN state parties have now ratified the International Criminal Court Convention; and which members of the Council of Europe have not ratified it. [17769]

Peter Hain: Since the passage of the International Criminal Court Act on 11 May 2001, the United Kingdom has continued regularly to use our wide bilateral contacts with the United States to explain that we believe US reservations about the ICC are unfounded, and to encourage the US to ratify the Rome Statute. In addition we have participated in European Union action to the same end. The presidency of the European Union wrote to the Secretary of State Powell on 30 October 2001, drawing his attention to the EU Common Position of full support for the early entry into the force of the ICC Statute. The letter expresses the hope that the US will change its mind on the ICC and will not, in the meantime, obstruct those states which support the court and wish to seek to accede to it.

The following 46 UN member states have, as at 22 November 2001, ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC): Senegal,

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Trinidad and Tobago, San Marino, Italy, Fiji, Ghana, Norway, Belize, Tajikistan, Iceland, Venezuela, France, Belgium, Canada, Mali, Lesotho, New Zealand, Botswana, Luxembourg, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Spain, South Africa, Marshall Islands, Germany, Austria, Finland, Argentina, Dominica, Andorra, Paraguay, Croatia, Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Liechtenstein, Central African Republic, United Kingdom (on 4 October 2001), Switzerland, Peru, Nauru and Poland.

The following 23 member states of the Council of Europe have not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine. The following three applicant member states have not ratified: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Monaco.

Scottish Executive

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 117W, on the Scottish Executive, at which Council of Ministers' meetings since May 1999 Scottish Executive Ministers have (a) been present and (b) spoken to the Ministers in formal session. [18182]

Peter Hain: [holding answer 26 November 2001]: The answer to (a) is given in the table.

Scottish Ministers speak at Council meetings whenever appropriate.

Scottish Ministers attendance at Council 1 July 1999—September 2001

24–25 SeptemberInformal meeting of Ministers of Education (Finland)Sam Galbraith
26 OctoberFisheries Council (Luxembourg)John Home Robertson
22 NovemberFisheries Council (Brussels)John Home Robertson
13 DecemberEnvironment Council (Brussels)Sarah Boyack
14 DecemberAgriculture Council (Brussels)Ross Finnie
16 DecemberFisheries Council (Brussels)John Home Robertson
17–18 MarchInformal Council for Ministers of Lifelong Learning (Portugal)Nicol Stephen
20 MarchAgriculture Council (Brussels)Ross Finnie
8 JuneEducation Council (Luxembourg)Nicol Stephen
16 JuneFisheries Council (Luxembourg)John Home Robertson
22 JuneEnvironment Council (Brussels)Sarah Boyack
17 NovemberFisheries Council (Brussels)Rhona Brankin
20 NovemberAgriculture Council (Brussels)Ross Finnie
30 NovemberJustice and Home Affairs Council (Brussels)Jim Wallace
14–15 DecemberFisheries Council (Brussels)Rhona Brankin
12 FebruaryEducation and Youth Council (Brussels)Nicol Stephen
26 FebruaryAgriculture Council (Brussels)Ross Finnie
8 MarchEnvironment Council (Brussels)Sam Galbraith
24 AprilAgriculture Council (Luxembourg)Ross Finnie
25 AprilFisheries Council (Luxembourg)Rhona Brankin
4 JuneHealth Council (Luxembourg)Susan Deacon
18 JuneFisheries Council (Luxembourg)Rhona Brankin
28 JuneTransport Council (Luxembourg)Sarah Boyack
13 JulyInformal Council on Regional Policy (Namur)Angus MacKay

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Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the level is of the UK's civilian policing commitment to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. [19090]

Peter Hain: The UK currently contributes 140 civilian police officers, mainly on secondment from the Police Service for Northern Ireland and the Ministry of Defence Police, to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) international civilian police force. These officers are engaged in both operational duties to maintain civil law and order in Kosovo, and in duties related to the work of UNMIK's Criminal Investigation Unit in Pristina. UNMIK police officers, including those seconded from the UK, played a key role in ensuring that the Kosovo elections on 17 November were conducted peacefully.

On 6 December the UK will deploy 18 recently retired British police officers to Kosovo. The secondment of recently retired British police officers is a new initiative and will increase our commitment in Kosovo to 158 officers. This figure excludes Mr. Chris Albiston, the Police Commissioner in Kosovo, who is a serving Assistant Chief Constable on secondment from the Police Service for Northern Ireland. If this initial deployment of retired police officers proves successful there might be scope for the deployment of increased numbers of retired policemen to peacekeeping duties with the UN in Kosovo and elsewhere.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under what circumstances MI6 may decide that major decisions it takes need not be communicated to him; and what mechanism exists to ensure such decisions are in the public interest. [18536]

Mr. Straw: The Intelligence Services Act 1994 requires the explicit authority of the Secretary of State in respect of a wide range of major operations of the Secret Intelligence Service. There are therefore no circumstances in which major decisions by the Secret Intelligence Service would not be submitted to me or one of my Cabinet colleagues for approval, or of which I or they are not otherwise informed.

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