|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the explosions at a UN World Food Programme compound in Bieh, Sudan on 21 February. 
Mr. MacShane: We were deeply concerned about the attack by a Sudanese Government helicopter on an area next to a World Food Programme feeding station last month. It is our understanding that 18 people were killed and several others injured. This attack is particularly distressing at a time when hopes for peace in Sudan have been growing. Following the incident we made representations at a high level of the Sudanese Government, both in Khartoum and London, and asked the Sudanese Government for a full explanation.
We were pleased to hear that following pressure from the US and UK, the Government of Sudan have signed an agreement with the US on monitoring of reports of attacks on civilians. We hope that this agreement will help to prevent such incidents happening in the future.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the annual budget for communications activities, including press, public relations, marketing and internal communications, was for his Department for each financial year from 199798 to 200102. 
Mr. MacShane: Neither communications activities nor the sub-headings listed have individual budgets specifically allocated to them within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office accounting system. However it is possible to identify and extract expenditure on some of the listed categories through other budgets.
|Financial years||Expenditure on communications activities|
The figures include UK expenditure only, on the following categories: press, public relations, marketing and internal communications; including overseas expenditure could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost. 200102 is the current financial year, an estimating final expenditure figure is provided.
13 Mar 2002 : Column 1171W
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which of the territories leased for 99 years to the US Administration during World War II are due to be handed back at the end of this lease. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In what are now the Overseas Territories, there is one: the 1941 lease agreement regarding the former US bases on Bermuda. We are in discussion with the US Government about early termination of this agreement, following which the land in question will be available for alternative use by the Bermuda authorities.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) celebrations and (b) visits are taking place in connection with the 20th Anniversary of the Falklands War. 
Mr. MacShane: Events are planned on the Falkland Islands for the 20th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Falklands on 14 June and for Remembrance Sunday on 10 November in a spirit of remembrance and reconciliation rather than celebration.
The Secretary of State for Defence will visit the Falklands in March. The Minister for the armed forces will attend the June Liberation Day events as the representative of her Majesty's Government and his Royal Highness the Duke of York will attend the Remembrance Day events in November.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the contracts agreed by his Department with the five largest accountancy firms since May 1997; and what was the total value of contracts with each. 
13 Mar 2002 : Column 1172W
Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of China regarding the prison sentence imposed on Ngawang Sangdrol for protesting against the occupation of Tibet; and if he will make a statement. 
In areas where there is little scope for legislative solutions, it can add value at a European level in the form of co-operation, benchmarking and the exchange of best practice. In others the open method may complement a programme-based and legislative approach.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reports on Colombia presented to the Human Rights Commission by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. 
Mr. MacShane: We welcome and support the presentation to the UN Commission on Human Rights of the reports on Colombia by Hina Jilani and Radhika Cooramaswamy, and will be looking at them closely. These reports and others will be taken carefully into account in the preparation of an EU chairman's statement on the situation in Colombia at the forthcoming 58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to monitor the actions of the self-defence forces in Colombia against human rights organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The British embassy in Bogota continues to monitor the situation in Colombia closely, and has regular meetings with human rights NGOs to discuss their concerns about the activities of paramilitary self-defence forces.
13 Mar 2002 : Column 1173W
As the EU make clear in its statement of 22 February following the termination of the demilitarised zone, we reject and condemn the practice of kidnapping, extortion and other crimes committed by armed groups in Colombia.
There can be no tolerance of the campaigns of violence and intimidation by any of the illegally armed groups in Colombia. Their murder and kidnap of elected politicians, trade union leaders, human rights defenders, aid workers and others is unacceptable. They must give up violence and the impunity of those who are involved in supporting their activities must be ended.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the transparency and fairness of the presidential elections held in Madagascar on 16 December 2001; 
(3) what contacts the Government have had since 16 December 2001 with Mr. Ravalomanana, presidential candidate in the Madagascan elections of December 2001; 
(4) if he will list, by date, visits by Ministers from his Department to Madagascar since 1 January 2000; and what plans Ministers from his Department have to visit Madagascar in 2002; 
(5) what Her Majesty's Government's policy is towards the situation in Madagascar; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) what discussions the Government have had with President Ratsiraka since 16 December 2001 regarding the protests and violence in Madagascar. 
Mr. MacShane: The UK, along with its EU partners, the US, the Organisation of African Unity and the UN, continues to encourage the two parties in Madagascar, at both local and international level, to find a common solution to the current impasse over the result of the December presidential election. The UK ambassador in Antananarivo, along with other resident ambassadors, is following events closely and maintaining close contact with representatives of the two sides.
In their draft report on the presidential election, and in a series of communiqués, the consortium of independent election observers (which the UK part-funded) raised questions about the conduct of the elections, including their organisation, as well as their transparency and fairness. Because of the current volatile political situation, there has been no opportunity to examine these claims.
The crisis in Madagascar has had no impact to date on its neighbouring countries, although there is growing concern among both regional and international investors about the long-term impact on the Madagascan economy
13 Mar 2002 : Column 1174W
of the ongoing general strike. There were no UK ministerial visits to Madagascar in either 2000 or 2001, and there are no plans at present for visits during 2002.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|