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Ministerial Visits

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to visit (a) China, (b) Taiwan and (c) South Korea. [31680]

Mr. Straw: I hope to visit China later this year. I have no plans to visit Taiwan. Other visits to the region remain under review.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to visit (a) Singapore, (b) Malaysia and (c) Indonesia. [31679]

Mr. Straw: I have no firm plans to visit these countries.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to visit the Gulf states. [31682]

Mr. Straw: I have no current firm plans for a substantive visit to the Gulf states.

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Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to visit Poland. [31867]

Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State visited Poland in october 2001. I intend to visit in the next two months.

Gibraltar

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Gibraltar. [33835]

Peter Hain: At the Brussels process ministerial meeting today the Secretary of State and Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Pique, continued to make good progress in our discussions about Gibraltar in the atmosphere of friendship and understanding which links the UK and Spain, reaffirming the full range of commitments that we assumed at our previous meetings in London and Barcelona.

Our common aim remains to conclude a comprehensive agreement before the summer, covering all outstanding issues, including co-operation and sovereignty.

Both Governments confirmed that their shared objective is to overcome their differences over Gibraltar and to ensure a secure future for Gibraltar in which Gibraltar can preserve its way of life and traditions, enjoy greater internal self-government, sustain and enhance its prosperity, and reap the full benefits of a harmonious and mutually beneficial co-operation in all fields together with the wider region.

We reiterate our invitation to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar to attend future Brussels process meetings so that he, and through him the Gibraltarians, can join the current dialogue and contribute to it to the benefit of Gibraltar. We confirmed that the Chief Minister is warmly invited to participate on the basis of the two flags, three voices formula, having his own and distinct voice as part of the British delegation.

Our intention is that the comprehensive agreement we seek will offer the best framework for a secure, stable and prosperous future for Gibraltar. In that framework, our objective is that Gibraltar can enjoy enhanced powers of internal self-government allowing its Government and population to have a greater say in their lives. We will invite the Government of Gibraltar to develop together with us the relevant ideas on this objective.

We also took forward our work on all possible ways of enhancing co-operation to improve the quality of the daily lives of people in Gibraltar and the Campo region. The UK and Spain reaffirmed that the aim of the arrangements they seek is to promote the highest level of fruitful co-operation within the wider region, favouring better standards of living and working conditions in Gibraltar and the Campo, and fluid communications with the region.

The Spanish Government recalled the arrangements it had made to allocate a further 70,000 telephone numbers for Gibraltar and reaffirmed that, as regards the technical responsibilities of the Spanish side, they are operational. It expressed its commitment to ensure that no obstacles prevent their immediate use for the benefit of all Gibraltarians. To that end, the UK and Spain agreed to

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engage in immediate talks to assess the situation and attain their objective. Both Governments also tackled the issue of pensions, a problem on which they will intensify their efforts to find a prompt solution consistent with the responsibilities of the public authorities involved.

Afghanistan

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the interim Afghanistan Government in implementing democratic reforms. [30270]

Mr. Bradshaw: Since its inauguration on 22 December, the Interim Administration has made good progress in implementing the Bonn agreement. The Interim Administration represents the major ethnic groups in Afghanistan and includes Afghanistan's first Minister for Women's Affairs.

On 25 January Hamid Karzai, Chair of the interim Administration, announced the appointment of the 21 members of the Special Commission for the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga (the traditional Afghan Grand Council). The commission has the task of organising a Loya Jirga to take place in June. The Loya Jirga will then appoint a transitional Government to hold office until elections are held for a fully representative Government in 2002.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent changes there have been to United Nations sanctions against Afghanistan. [33836]

Mr. MacShane: With the full support of Her Majesty's Government, on 16 January the United Nations Security Council ("UNSC") adopted resolution 1390 (2002). Taking into account the changing situation in Afghanistan, the resolution extended or amended some of the existing measures and introduced new measures targeting Usama bin Laden, members of the al-Qaeda organisation and the Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them designated by the UN Sanctions Committee on Afghanistan. Other UNSC sanctions targeting Afghanistan were terminated or allowed to lapse.

UNSC resolution 1390 (2002) continues the asset freeze imposed by resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1333 (2000) on senior members of the Taliban, Usama bin Laden and individuals and entities (including members of al-Qaeda) designated by the Security Council as associated with him, and extends it to all designated members of the Taliban and their associates. The resolution also places an embargo on the supply of arms and military assistance to, and imposes a world-wide travel ban on, Usama bin Laden and persons designated by the Security Council as members of the al-Qaeda organisation or the Taliban or their associates.

A full list of those designated by the UN Sanctions Committee on Afghanistan is available on the UN website: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/committees/Afghanistan/ Afg_list_eng.htm.

On 15 January the UNSC had adopted resolution 1388 (2002) removing all previous UNSC restrictions on Ariana Afghan Airlines.

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UK-Japan 21st Century Group

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his Department's involvement with the UK-Japan 21st century group. [32259]

Mr. MacShane: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office supports the work of the UK-Japan 21st century group. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials and, where possible, Ministers have attended the annual conference of the group since it was founded (as the UK-Japan 2000 Group) in 1984.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representation he will have at the February conference of the UK-Japan 21st century group. [32258]

Mr. MacShane: The Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will host a reception for the group. I shall attend the conference, together with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Echelon Interception System

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the European Parliament report of the Temporary Committee on the Echelon interception system. [32634]

Mr. Straw: In January 2001, as Home Secretary, I briefed a delegation from the European Parliament Temporary Committee on the legislation underpinning the work of the UK's intelligence agencies, most notably the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. The report seeks to address a difficult subject, but does not fully reflect the safeguards in place in the UK under RIPA, which ensure compliance with the European convention on human rights.

Computer Hacking

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions in 2001 attempts were made to gain unauthorised access to computers in his Department by hacking; and of those how many were successful. [32738]

Mr. MacShane: In 2001 there were three occasions when unauthorised access to FCO systems was identified. On the first occasion successful access was gained to the FCO's website, and the internet service provider has subsequently put stronger firewalls in place. The second and third occasions both involved access to FCO computer systems through weaknesses which have now been resolved. In common with other Departments, no facility exists to alert FCO to unsuccessful attempts to gain unauthorised access.


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