|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
5 Nov 2002 : Column 244Wcontinued
18. Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to tackle the human rights abuses involved in Northern Nigeria states' use of Sharia law. 
Mr. Rammell: In September my noble Friend Baroness Amos, the Minister for Africa, raised with President Obasanjo HMG's concerns about the harsh sentences imposed under the Sharia penal codes. She
5 Nov 2002 : Column 245W
emphasised the strength of feeling against them in the UK and reiterated HMG's opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. The high commission, together with EU partners, regularly raises our concerns about the sentences with the appropriate authorities in Nigeria.
20. Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with EU counterparts on the political situation in Zimbabwe. 
Mr. Rammell: We regularly discuss Zimbabwe with our EU partners, at official, ministerial and Heads of Government level. We have worked hard to achieve an EU consensus on policy towards Zimbabwe. This resulted in the EU's Common Position of 18 February, which imposed an EU wide travel ban and an assets freeze on key members of the Mugabe regime. The EU has extended the sanctions twice since February and they now apply to 79 people. We are in regular contact with EU partners to ensure that the sanctions are applied in accordance with the Common Position.
Our dialogue with EU partners on Zimbabwe is on-going. The Minister for Africa, Baroness Amos, is travelling to Maputo in Mozambique this week, for talks between EU Foreign Ministers and Ministers representing the 14 SADC countries.
22. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on bilateral relations with Finland. 
Mr. MacShane: Bilateral relations are good. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister last met the Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen bilaterally in London on 21 October and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met his Finnish opposite Erkki Tuomioja on 27 September. We are close EU partners and trading with Finland.
24. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussion he has had with his counterparts in India and Pakistan about human rights abuses in Kashmir. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, has raised human rights abuses regularly with the Governments of India and Pakistan, including during his last visit to the region on 1820 July. I also recently discussed a wide range of human rights issues, including Kashmir, during my visit to India on 17 October.
25. Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken in the case of (a) Peter Devlin from Falmouth and (b) other divers involved in the Friesland salvage.
5 Nov 2002 : Column 246W
Mr. Mike O'Brien : When our consular staff in Madrid were notified on 21 June of the men's detention they contacted the court and were told that Mr. Devlin and the other divers had been released pending further investigations. Our consular staff in London have spoken to Mr. Devlin on five occasions about the matter and our Honorary Consul in Vigo spoke to the judge hearing the case who confirmed that some, but not all, of the men's equipment would be released. My noble Friend Baroness Amos wrote to my hon. Friend on 11 October explaining that this was a legal matter and that the company should be guided by its lawyer.
26. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make a statement on progress towards EU enlargement. 
Mr. MacShane: In line with the objective first set by the Prime Minister, the Brussels European Council agreed that ten candidate countries should be ready to join the EU in 2004 (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia). It also confirmed the objective of completing negotiations with these countries this year. Brussels also confirmed that enlargement will not stop there. The UK welcomes the progress made by Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
30. Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, What recent discussions he has had with the Colombian Government in connection with their efforts to restore peace and security. 
Mr. Rammell: My hon. Friend the Minister for Europe visited Colombia from 68 October. He met President Uribe and other Ministers, and representatives of British and Colombian NGOs and Colombian Trade Unions. He emphasised our willingness to help tackle Colombia's grave problems as well as the importance of further progress on human rights.
31. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, What recent discussions his Department has had with the US Administration concerning Iraq. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We regularly discuss Iraq with the United States and our other Security Council partners. It is essential that we maintain the pressure on Iraq to comply with its obligations under UN resolutions, including on disarmament, through a tough new United Nations resolution that will ensure the weapons inspectors can complete their task effectively.
37. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, If he will make a statement on the UN weapons inspection programme for Iraq. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA are responsible for ensuring that a work programme for
5 Nov 2002 : Column 247W
inspections in Iraq is drawn up. It is envisaged that the task of drawing up a work programme will take some 45 days after the arrival in Iraq of inspection teams. The work programme will then be put before the UN Security Council for approval.
32. Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, What steps are being taken by the Government to encourage the Government of Iran to guarantee human rights for all its citizens. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We raise human rights issues with the Iranian authorities at all levels. My right honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary did so while in Iran on 9 October. We supported the recent EU decision to establish a formal dialogue on human rights with Iran with the hope that this will bring about improvements in Iran's respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We have made clear that we expect to see concrete results and will assess progress before taking a decision on whether to sponsor a resolution at the Commission on Human Rights.
35. Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress in the Convention on the Future of Europe. 
Mr. MacShane: I refer my honourable Friend to the answer I gave earlier in the House today to my honourable Friend the Member for Rhonnda.
36. Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the breach of UN sanctions by European countries on the sale of arms. 
Mr. Rammell: The Government works to ensure the rigorous enforcement of United Nations (UN) Sanctions and takes all breaches very seriously. When the Government receives information regarding an alleged breach by a third country we raise the issue with the country concerned. We also where appropriate ensure that the breach is acted on by the relevant UN Sanctions Committee.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans are in place to provide continuing security to Afghanistan through the International Security Assistance Force. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The United Nations Security Council Resolution authorising the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul and its immediate environs will expire on 20 December. There is, however, a clear need for ISAF to remain in Kabul for the foreseeable future. We are in discussion with our UN partners about an extension beyond that date. The provisional offer made by Germany and the Netherlands on 24 September to replace Turkey as lead
5 Nov 2002 : Column 248W
nation of ISAF is very welcome and is an important sign of the international community's continued commitment to sustaining ISAF for as long as it is required.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the remains of British citizens killed in the Bali bombing to be returned to relatives in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The remains of 14 victims of the Bali bombing have been repatriated.
We are still awaiting the positive identification of three British victims. This is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.
Four British Citizens are still missing.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the British Government are giving to the Indonesian and Australian authorities who are engaged in the identification process of those murdered in the Bali bombing. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We immediately sent a team of police officers led by the anti-terrorism branch to Bali including investigators, family liaison officers and officers skilled in identification processes. A UK coroner and pathologist travelled to Bali to ensure the Indonesian/Australian identification and repatriation processes were in line with ours. Police and consular staff are present throughout the day in the local mortuary. British police also arranged for relatives' DNA samples both in the UK and overseas to be taken and transferred to Australia for profiling.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|