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Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Warsaw in October for talks with Foreign Minister Cimoszewicz. They discussed the importance of Poland making early progress in the negotiations in order to make the first wave of accession in 2004.
Mr. Bradshaw: We will continue to work closely with the Governments and law enforcement agencies of the key countries on the main trafficking routes for illegal drugs to the UK. The heroin trade from Afghanistan remains a particular concern. We welcome the recent agreement in Bonn that the Interim Authority shall co-operate with the international community in the fight against terrorism, drugs and organised crime, and look forward to playing a key role in this process.
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19. Ms Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the conclusion of the Laeken Conference, with specific reference to the creation of a convention to discuss the future constitutional arrangement of the EU. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Russia is an important partner in the international coalition against terrorism, as was demonstrated by the announcement of the UK/Russian Joint Working Group on International Terrorism on 21 December during President Putin's visit. This underlined our shared commitment to fighting terrorism by diplomatic, military and economic means.
Mr. Bradshaw: A key element of the peace process, the Inter Congolese Dialogue, is due to start in South Africa at the end of this month. Foreign troops are being withdrawn and there has been some progress in the disarmament and demobilisation of rebels operating in the DRC. We hope that the Foreign Secretary's visit to the region with his French counterpart later this month will help push forward the process still further.
24. Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Government of Israel and (b) the Palestinian Authority concerning population settlements in (i) the West Bank and (ii) Gaza. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: Our view on Israeli settlement activity is clear, and has often been expressed to both the Israel Government and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal, and an obstacle to peace.
Peter Hain: Since 1989, the UK has provided £350 million through the Know-How Fund to help the candidates prepare for accession. We have "Action Plans" with 11 of the 13 candidates, and will launch another soon. The plans bring together the UK's practical assistance to the candidates across a range of activities involving all Whitehall Departments.
Under the Commission's "Twinning" programme, over 40 British civil servants are seconded as long-term pre-accession advisers to Ministries in the candidate countries. Since 1998, the UK has won involvement in over 90 twinning projectsthe third highest number of any member statetargeted on each candidate's priority areas for EU accession.
Peter Hain: The enlargement negotiations have made good progress under the Belgian presidency, in line with the roadmap (timetable) for negotiations agreed at Nice. The Laeken European Council (1415 December) confirmed its objective to complete accession negotiations by the end of 2002 with those candidates that are ready, so they can participate in the 2004 European Parliament elections as members.
26. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consultations he has had with the Government of Yemen about the international coalition against terrorism. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are in regular contact with our many international partners in the coalition against terrorism. I met the Yemeni President's envoy, Dr. Iriyani, when he visited London in October 2001. We discussed the international coalition against terrorism and the Yemeni Government's views towards terrorism.
27. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent discussions he has had with the United States on the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. 
Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has concentrated on the war against terrorism in his recent discussions with the US. Other senior members of this Government have continued to raise the importance of the
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Kyoto protocol at every appropriate opportunity. My right hon. Friends the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have both recently visited the US, where they met senior US politicians. They emphasised the UK's commitment to ratifying Kyoto and encouraged the US to take domestic action to tackle climate change in the short term and to re-engage with the international process in the longer term.
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friends to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), on 8 January 2002, Official Report, columns 39798.
31. Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the US Administration about their role in securing peace in the middle east. [23025R]
Mr. Bradshaw: We have regular discussions with both the US and our EU partners on the subject of the middle east peace process. We stand ready to do all we can to help both parties return to negotiations, and particularly welcome the role of the US envoy to the region, General Zinni.
Peter Hain: During his visit to Turkey on 1718 October where he met President Sezer, Prime Minister Ecevit and Foreign Minister Cem, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary welcomed Turkey's recent constitutional changes as progress towards meeting the Copenhagen criteria, and encouraged the Turkish Government to continue their efforts to reform. As the Laeken European Council of 1415 December noted, this progress has brought forward the prospect of opening accession negotiations with Turkey.
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