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War Criminals (Bosnia)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of British peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in relation to the hunt for war-crime suspects, with particular reference to Mr. Karadzic. [28369]

Mr. Ingram: Assistance to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as an integral part of SFOR's mission and this includes the detention of individuals indicted as war criminals that SFOR encounter in the course of their duties. SFOR have to date performed 26 detention operations; 14 of which involved British forces.

The arrest and transfer to The Hague of Radovan Karadzic remains a high priority for us, as for the other members of SFOR, and the UK will continue to make every effort to ensure that he is apprehended and brought to justice. While the international community may detain war criminals by force if necessary, we continue to urge Mr. Karadzic to surrender himself to the International Tribunal voluntarily.

Royal Navy Vessels

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy vessels have had modifications and upgrades since 1997; and how long each of them were in port for that purpose. [28350]

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Mr. Ingram: All operational Royal Navy vessels will have undergone some form of modification or upgrade since 1997. Rather than bring vessels into port for specific modifications or upgrades this work will generally have been undertaken within a period in which the vessel is either alongside, docked for maintenance or for repair.

United States National Guards

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the presence in the United Kingdom of United States National Guards; what notification he has received from United States authorities of their intention to station such personnel within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [28322]

Mr. Hoon: As with our components of the US visiting force, the presence of US National Guards in the UK is governed by the NATO Status of Forces Agreement of 1951. No request has been received from the United States authorities to station US National Guards permanently in the UK, although they do transit through the UK from time to time.

Russian Armed Forces

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what investment the Government are making in retraining members of the Russian armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [27833]

Mr. Hoon: As at 31 December 2001, the Ministry of Defence's Russian Resettlement Project has spent £7.6 million on the retraining of 13,000 retiring and recently retired officers of the Russian armed forces. The Ministry of Defence funds resettlement courses at five cities around Russia. The range of training courses is aimed at the local job market and covers, for example, logistics, business administration, IT systems and English language.

The Russian Resettlement Project is a major success story of our defence relationship with Russia. Employment is found by 70 per cent. of graduates within four months of successfully completing the course.

European Defence

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with other EU member states about the establishment of a council of European Defence Ministers; and if he will make a statement. [28497]

Mr. Hoon: The question of a formal council of Defence Ministers was discussed at the EU General Affairs Council on 19 November 2001 and an informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers on 12 October 2001.

There is already a programme of informal meetings of EU Defence Ministers, and the General Affairs Council provides a forum for formal discussions as and when required. There are no proposals to establish a separate council of European Defence Ministers.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with other EU member states about the creation of a European concept of Special Forces; and if he will make a statement. [28495]

Mr. Hoon: None.

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Shipbuilding Industry

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his policy towards the establishment of a temporary EU defensive mechanism for the shipbuilding industry. [19585]

Mr. Wilson: We share the UK industry's very real concerns about Korean unfair competition, which we take very seriously. We believe the best means of tackling Korean unfair competition is to launch action in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), on which all member states are agreed, and to help yards improve their competitiveness. However, we are strongly opposed to the Commission proposal to reintroduce, in parallel, temporary operating subsidies.

We do not believe that subsidy is an appropriate response to this complex and longstanding problem. Operating subsidies have not been effective in countering Korean unfair competition or in improving the competitiveness of EU yards in the past and we believe the Commission's new proposal will be even less effective at countering Korea. The Commission proposal is likely to be difficult to operate in practice and is open to abuse. Furthermore, it will distort competition within the EU as only some member states stand to gain. The proposal will not benefit UK yards as they do not build the relevant types of ships, namely containerships and product/chemical tankers, and could well be damaged by the subsidies that competing yards stand to receive.

At the December 2001 meeting of the Industry Council, the Commission tried for the third time to secure agreement on its dual approach of subsidies and WTO action but again failed to secure sufficient support from member states. Member states remained firmly split on the subsidies proposal. The UK vigorously pressed the Commission to launch the WTO action but to no avail. The deadlock on the Commission approach therefore continues, with no action against Korea. The Commission will now review the market situation and present its findings in March as a basis for further discussion.

Telephone Sales

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to make it illegal for telephone sales and marketing organisations to withhold their telephone number when contacting members of the public; and if she will make a statement. [24456]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Consumers are protected under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 which ensures that direct marketers must on request provide their address or a free telephone number on which they can be contacted. The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 also require that telephone sales and marketing organisations who cold call consumers at home are obliged to identify clearly the business they represent and the commercial purpose of their call at the beginning of the conversation. If a contract is concluded over the telephone, the regulations also give consumers the right to clear information before they decide to buy (which

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must then be confirmed in writing) and the right to a cooling off period of seven days in which the consumer can cancel and receive a full refund.

If consumers do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial telephone calls, they can register with the Telephone Preference Service. Telephone sales and marketing organisations are obliged under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 to desist from calling individuals who are registered on the scheme.

Subscribers can register by calling 0845 070 0707 or through the following website: "http://".

Pharmacy Market

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Office of Fair Trading inquiry into controls over the pharmacy market will include within its scope dispensing by general practitioners. [24983]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The market study on pharmacies has been initiated by the Director General for Fair Trading and the scope of the study is for him. OFT have confirmed that they are investigating the restrictions on entry to dispense NHS prescriptions. As such the scope of the study could include all those who dispense NHS prescriptions including general practitioners.


Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations she received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public concerning the use, misuse and sale of fireworks between (i) 1 October and 31 December 1999, (ii) 1 January and 30 September 2000, (iii) 1 October and 31 December 2000 and (iv) 1 January and 30 September 2001. [26699]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The representations received by the Department over these periods, concerning a wide range of issues relating to fireworks is set out in the following table:

1 October to 31 December 1999119260
1 January to 30 September 200065109
1 October to 31 December 2000111129
1 January to 30 September 2001125501

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