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30 Oct 2002 : Column 879W—continued

Turkey

Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Turkey about EU enlargement. [77032]

Mr. Macshane: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met Foreign Minister Gurel on 24 September during his visit to London. They spent much of the meeting discussing EU Enlargement, with particular reference to Cyprus and Turkey. HMG welcomes the major reforms that Turkey has adopted in recent months and believes that Turkish accession to the EU would be in the best interests of Britain and of Europe as a whole. Peter

General Affairs Council

Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of the General Affairs Council held on 21st to 22nd October; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [76930]

Mr. Macshane: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and the then Minister for Europe represented the UK at the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Luxembourg on 21/22 October. Conclusions were agreed by consensus and no formal votes were taken. The Council adopted the XA" points listed in document 12354/1/02 PTS 44. Copies of this document will be placed in the Library of the House.


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30 Oct 2002 : Column 881W

Democratic Republic of Congo

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the situation in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. [77330]

Mr. Macshane: The security and humanitarian situation in the Ituri region remains serious as a result of ethnic clashes and fighting between rebel groups. The United Nations Secretary General has asked the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) to stay in the Ituri region to provide law and order, until an alternative Congolese force can perform this role. The UN peacekeeping operation has also been asked to increase its presence in Ituri.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what humanitarian assistance is being provided to the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. [77329]

Mr. Macshane: The UK is not at present providing any direct humanitarian assistance to the Ituri region. UK assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is focused on human rights projects. Relief assistance is provided through the UN and international NGOs. This year the UK expects to spend over #14 million in the DRC on direct humanitarian and conflict resolution assistance.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Government of Uganda to ensure that its remaining forces in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo cease partisan involvement in ethnic conflict; and if he will make a statement. [77328]

Mr. Macshane: The United Nations Secretary General has asked the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) to stay in the Ituri region to provide law and order, until an alternative Congolese force can perform this role. The UK has reminded the Ugandan Government of the UPDF obligations to the local population. Peter

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which UK companies were named in the report to the UN on 21st October by the UN Panel on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as violating OECD guidelines; what representations have been made to these companies; and what action will be taken.[77059]

Mr. Macshane: Twelve UK registered companies are amongst the 85 listed in Annex III of the UN Panel report (S2002/1146), which can be found on the UN website (www.un.org). The Panel alleges that these companies have violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The report does not go into detail. We have encouraged the companies that have contacted us to seek further information from the UN. We are considering a substantive response to the report's recommendations.

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the recommendations made by the report to the UN of 21st October by the UN Panel on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with particular reference to the recommendation to impose financial restrictions on companies and individuals involved in abuses; and if he will make a statement. [77058]

Mr. Macshane: We welcome the report, which recommends a wide range of potential actions. We are considering a substantive response. It is too early to comment on specific proposals.


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