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2 Dec 2002 : Column 524Wcontinued
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Cyprus regarding their accession to membership of the European Union. 
Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I discussed Cyprus' accession to the European Union with Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, the Cyprus Foreign Minister, when he visited London on 26 and 27 November. We welcomed Cyprus' progress in the negotiations and that it should be among those candidates which conclude negotiations next month. We made clear our strong preference for accession by a reunited island.
Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the UK Government will ensure that there is no division of Cyprus as part of a settlement. 
Mr. MacShane: The Government welcome the UN's initiative to table a comprehensive proposal for a settlement to the Cyprus Problem.
Our aim remains for a reunited Cyprus to accede to the EU, to be able to speak with one voice internationally and to have a single international legal personality. We believe the UN proposals achieve this.
Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will visit Cyprus to discuss with the two communities the future of Cyprus and the EU. 
Mr. MacShane: Neither I, nor the Foreign Secretary, have plans to visit Cyprus in the immediate future. But we are in very close contact with all the parties involved. The Foreign Secretary and I met the Cypriot Foreign Minister last week in London; the Foreign Secretary is visiting Ankara this week (to follow up his and the Prime Minister's meetings with the new Turkish leaders in London on 20 November and contacts at the NATO ministerial meeting in Prague); and the UK special representative for Cyprus visited Nicosia for talks with key players from both sides on 2122 November.
The UK supports the UN Secretary-General's proposals for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem. I urge both sides in Cyprus to make every effort to secure a settlement before the Copenhagen European Council on 12 December, at which key decisions on Cyprus' candidacy to the European Union will be taken.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what applications have been received from the USA to allow construction of new aircraft facilities on Diego Garcia; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK and US governments discussed improvements to US military facilities on Diego Garcia earlier this year. Work is underway on the construction of new aircraft facilities.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list landings on the Chagos Islands in each of the last five years that were not associated with US military activity on Diego Garcia. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We do not keep records of all individual landings on the outer islands of the Chagos Archipelago. It would be impractical to attempt to do so given that the Archipelago covers over 50,000 square kilometres of ocean.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the US Administration regarding the potential development of weapons of mass destruction in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has regular discussions with the American Administration and other governments on a wide range of non-proliferation issues, including in relation to Iran.
The UK is committed to combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction wherever it may occur.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Israel regarding the illegal construction of settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK Government considers settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace. We have consistently called on the Israeli Government to freeze all settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of Israeli settlements, as recommended in the Mitchell Report. Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv conveyed the Foreign Secretary's concerns expressed on 18 November in a press statement at reports of the Israeli Government considering extending settlements in Hebron to Prime Minister Sharon on 18 November.
I raised settlement activity with the Israeli Ambassador on 5 November, as did a Foreign Office official on 20 November.
Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in reviving negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Revival of these negotiations may best be achieved through determined implementation, by the parties and international community, of the roadmap now being finalised by the Quartet. We expect its publication in December and will do all we can to support its immediate implementation, leading to a final and comprehensive settlement.
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures have been taken to prevent the export and manufacturing of leg irons in the UK. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: As my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary, announced on 28 July 1997 Official Report, column 65W, there is a complete ban on the export or transhipment from the UK of leg-irons, gang chains and shackles designed for the restraint of a human being. The necessary amendment to the Export of Goods Control Order came into force in December 1997.
The manufacture of leg-irons is not prohibited in the United Kingdom.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what report he has received regarding the quantities of missile material stocks held by (a) each of the four nuclear weapons states party to the non-proliferation treaty, (b) Israel, (c) India, (d) Pakistan, (e) Democratic People's Republic of Korea and (f) Iraq. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Any national analysis of quantities of missile stocks would be heavily based on intelligence assessments. Under exemption l(a) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, it is not Government policy to publish such information.
There are, however, unofficial assessments available from non-governmental sources, including the military balance produced by International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Although the report by IISS will not have had access to Government information.
With regard to Iraq, the most reliable source of information on missile stocks remains the final report from UNSCOM, published in 1999.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent approaches by the USA to the Government concerning preparation for participation in National Missile Defence. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 7 November Official Report, column 630W.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent admission by the Government of North Korea that they are in possession of weapons of mass destruction. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: North Korea has not to our knowledge explicitly stated that it possesses weapons of mass destruction. We understand that in bilateral
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US/North Korean discussions on 4 October North Korean officials admitted that they had been pursuing a covert programme for the enrichment of Uranium.
The possession of nuclear weapons would be a breach of a number of North Korea's international obligations. On 17 October my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in press statement:
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan on the treatment of (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Pakistani Government concerning the violence perpetrated against Christians and other minorities by Muslim extremists in Pakistan. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are deeply concerned about human rights violations against Christians and other minorities in Pakistan. On 15 July I raised our concerns directly with the Pakistani High Commissioner in London. Together with our EU partners, we also regularly raise our concerns with the Pakistani authorities in Islamabad. We will continue to take appropriate opportunities to urge Pakistan to pursue laws and practices which foster tolerance and mutual respect and to protect Christians and other religious minorities against discrimination, intimidation and attacks.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will urge the Pakistan Government to (a) take tougher action against extremists and (b) protect religious minorities. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had substantive discussions with President Musharraf in Islamabad and the then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Inam ul Haque, and underlined the importance we attach to Pakistan's commitment to combat terrorism. We welcome the steps taken thus far by the Pakistani authorities to clamp down on extremists, including the banning of five groups, but remain deeply concerned about terrorist atrocities against Christian targets. Together with our EU partners, we will continue to urge Pakistan to intensify its efforts and provide better protection for Christians and other minorities.
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