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delegation to the General Affairs European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 18 and 19 February; and what information is being provided by his Department to permit pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. 
Arrangements for scrutiny by the European Committee of the Executive's involvement in preparations for EU Council of Ministers meetings are a matter for them. The Government provide the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament, for information, with the same Explanatory Memoranda on EU documents as are provided to the Westminster Scrutiny Committees.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the measures needed to protect British defence exporters from being included in blanket regulatory legislation to control private military companies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The consultative paper "Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation", which was published on 12 February, examines a variety of options for regulation and invites all interested parties to make their views known to the FCO during the consultation period up to the middle of August this year. The Government recognise the need to define carefully the scope of any legislation designed to regulate the activities of private military companies in order to distinguish them from security and defence equipment companies. A full regulatory impact assessment would be drawn up once final decisions on any legislative proposal have been made.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the measures needed to make the distinction between mercenaries involved in direct combat and those providing assistance for ground troops only; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The paper "Private Military Companies: Options for Regulations" which was published on 12 February, examines the various activities of private military companies and sets out options for their regulation. It is a consultation paper, and invited comments from all interested parties by mid-August 2002. The Government will make final decisions on the way forward after this consultation period.
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when using mercenaries; what measures are planned to counteract such problems; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The paper "Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation", published on 12 February, describes the activities of a number of private military companies employed by other countries. It also includes outlines of current legislation in a number of countries relating to mercenaries and allied activity. Few countries have national legislation on private military companies.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department and its agencies have made of the background of Mr. Mittal of LNM Holdings in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what undertakings were (a) sought and (b) received from LNM/Ispat International when it obtained the assistance of the British ambassador in Romania in its attempted acquisition of Sidex. 
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when, and on what authority, the British ambassador in Romania was authorised to assist the attempted acquisition of Sidex by LNM/Ispat International. 
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 28 February 2002]: Posts have a wide measure of discretion to support British companies in their market. They do not require specific authorisation to offer such support, unless it involves the Post spending public money, which was not the case with LNM/Ispat. Posts maintain regular contact with Trade Partners UK and other Government Departments as necessary about their activities, as happened in this case.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it has been Government policy since 1997 to boycott the purchase of fine wines from certain countries for the Government wine cellar as part of the ethical foreign policy; and if he will make a statement. 
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Since 1997 Government Hospitality has only bought wines from England, Wales, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I have asked Government Hospitality to include Latin American wines in the future.
Mr. MacShane: The Government wine cellar is managed by Government Hospitality Section of Conference and Visits Group, with the advice of the Government Hospitality Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine. Responsibility for the Government Hospitality Fund (as it then was) was transferred to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from the Cabinet Office/Civil Service Department by a Cabinet decision in 1980.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has collated on the make up of the European Union observer teams that will observe the presidential elections in the Republic of Congo in March, broken down by (a) country and (b) role. 
A core team of six experts will be present throughoutHead of Mission (Portugal), Deputy Head of Mission (Spain), Media Expert (Italy), Logistics and Security Expert (France), Legal Expert (Spain), and a co-ordinator for the Long Term Experts (France).
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with (a) the European Union and (b) member countries of the Southern African Development Community concerning the impartiality of the 20 observers appointed by the Tanzanian Government to monitor the Zimbabwean presidential election. 
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Mr. Straw: Neither I, nor any members of my Department, have held discussions with European Union or member countries of the Southern Africa Development Community about the Tanzanian election observation team in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Bradshaw: A team of British officials paid a second visit to Guantanamo Bay between 26 February and 1 March. The purpose of the visit was to ask questions relevant to national security, to establish the identity and nationality of two British detainees transferred there in February and to check on the current welfare of all five British detainees. The British officials were from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Security Service.
The officials met the detainees individually. The meetings were held in the presence of US officials. The detainees appeared to be in satisfactory physical health, though two complained of minor ailments that are being addressed by the US authorities. None of the detainees
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complained of having been mistreated. At the time of the meetings with the detainees none was involved in the hunger strike reported in the camp.
British officials handed recent written letters from some of the detainees' families to the camp authorities to be passed to the detainees. Some of the detainees asked the officials to relay oral messages to their families. All the detainees confirmed that they had had the opportunity to write letters to their families through the camp authorities or through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
On the conditions in the camp, work is now in hand to provide indoor accommodation including individual sleeping and toilet facilities. Medical facilities now include a field hospital in addition to the clinic at Camp X-Ray itself. Exercise arrangements have also been enhanced. All detainees remain able to conduct their religious duties. They have copies of the Koran and have prayer caps and towels for use as prayer mats. Calls to prayer are broadcast throughout the camp.
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