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President Mugabe

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he was informed of the intention of President Mugabe to travel to Rome via the United Kingdom; what steps he took; and what steps he will take in future to prevent such transfers. [61393]

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Mr. MacShane: We understand that Mugabe and his entourage flew directly from Harare to Rome and, contrary to media reports, did not transit London.

High Commission, Harare

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Jubilee celebrations took place at the high commission in Harare; what the costs were; and which Zimbabwean nationals were invited to the functions hosted by the high commissioner and his officials during the Jubilee celebrations. [61865]

Mr. Straw: To mark the Jubilee, the high commissioner hosted a reception at his residence on the afternoon of Friday 31 May. A few bills have still to be presented, but the cost of the event to date is £6,953.88. 781 guests and their partners were invited. We do not have a record of the nationality of the guests, but the high commission estimates that about half were Zimbabwean nationals. No Zimbabwean on the EU travel ban list was invited.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidelines exist with regard to officials from the high commission in Harare visiting farms which have been seized or are under threat of seizure; and how many farms have been visited since January. [61863]

Mr. Straw: There are no guidelines on British high commission staff visiting farms. Since January, high commission officials have visited around half a dozen farms to which they were invited, in order to see the situation at first hand. As a result of the attention focused on British Government policy and activity during the presidential election campaign, and the overall level of political violence, high commission staff remained in Harare in the period 20 February to 20 March, unless given specific permission by the high commissioner to travel internally. This curtailed visits to rural areas. The high commission is also aware that in current circumstances some farmers do not think it helpful to have a British diplomat visit their farm since this would expose them to further harassment by the authorities.

11 September

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether officers from (a) MI6 and (b) the British embassy in Washington have been requested to give evidence to the United States congressional hearings into the intelligence context of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. [61961]

Mr. Straw: No British official has to date been requested to give evidence to the United States congressional hearings.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines issued for civil servants in his Department on answering written questions. [61994]

Mr. Straw: Yes. There are two sets of guidance: a brief one, enclosed with our request for draft FCO written answers; a more detailed guide relating to such questions on the FCO intranet site. Both sets of guidance have already been made public.

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Kisangani

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has had with the Government of (a) the Democratic Republic of Congo and (b) Rwanda regarding the reported massacre in Kisangani of civilians by Rwandan soldiers. [61867]

Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, along with his French, Belgian and US counterparts, wrote to the Presidents of Rwanda and the DRC following the recent events in Kisangani. They expressed concern about the situation in Kisangani and urged President Kagame to exert his influence on the RCD-G to reduce tension in Kisangani and stop the use of force against the civilian population. At the same time they urged President Kabila to refrain from any action that could escalate the military situation on the ground.

Gibraltar

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is Government policy to seek a Spanish commitment to operate unhindered red and green customs channels between that country and Gibraltar. [62320]

Mr. Straw: The Government have, in the course of the Brussels Process talks, consistently urged the Spanish Government to ensure that traffic flows smoothly from Gibraltar into Spain.

We welcome the fact that, on 21 March, the Spanish Government opened a new second channel aimed at significantly seeding up the passage of private vehicles across the border.

We shall continue to monitor the situation and discuss with Spanish and Gibraltarian authorities how delays might be further reduced.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the people of Gibraltar's rights in the free movement of services, capital and persons as (a) EU citizens and (b) a constituent territory of the EU. [62317]

Mr. Straw: The people of Gibraltar enjoy the benefits of free movement of persons, services and capital by virtue of the provisions of Community law relating to these matters, as far as they apply to Gibraltar. I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 10 June 2002, Official Report, column 821W.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on (a) the provision of more telephone lines for Gibraltar and (b) recognition from Spain of the Gibraltar international dialling code. [62420]

Mr. Straw: We remain concerned about the various telecommunications problems that Gibraltar is experiencing. We are concerned that the new telephone numbers offered by Spain at the 26 July Brussels Process Ministerial meeting are still not in use. We have raised this with the Spanish; and invited experts from the Government of Gibraltar to a meeting, with Spain and us, to seek a way forward. But we have always said that more numbers alone will not solve the longer term problems.

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Our objective remains Spanish recognition of Gibraltar's international dialling code, which we believe is the only viable long-term solution.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is Government policy to seek Spanish commitment to open up maritime and air links between that country and Gibraltar. [62315]

Mr. Straw: Yes. In accordance with the terms of the Brussels Communique, November 1984, the talks under the Brussels Process are aimed at overcoming all the differences between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar and at promoting co-operation on a mutually beneficial basis on economic, cultural, touristic, aviation, military and environment matters. These talks are continuing.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is Government policy to seek the recognition of Gibraltarian identity cards by Spain. [62316]

Mr. Straw: Yes. It has been the Government's policy to seek recognition by Spain of Gibraltar ID cards. This was achieved as part of the agreement concluded with Spain in April 2000.

Gibraltar ID cards, as reformatted, are therefore now accepted by the Spanish Government.

BBC World Service

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 19W, on the BBC World Service, what extra funding has been given to regional language services to the Muslim world; and what further action he proposes to take in relation to such services. [62170]

Mr. MacShane: We have provided the World Service with an extra £2.85 million for the enhancement of regional language services after 11 September 2001. This is additional to an uplift of £64 million in funding for the World Service for the present Spending Review period. The uplift over the baseline in this FY alone is £24 million. We maintain constant contact with the World Service over a range of issues, including funding.

EU Applicants

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library the Government's assessment of the economic and social impact on the United Kingdom of the accession to the EU of the eastern European applicant nations. [61765]

Peter Hain: The Government have not made an integrated study of the economic and social impact of EU enlargement on the United Kingdom. However, independent economic studies by the European Round Table of Industrialists and the Centre for Economic Policy Reform show that EU enlargement could increase UK GDP by £1.75 million and create 300,000 jobs among the EU-15. I have placed copies of these reports in the House of Commons Library.

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