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5 Dec 2002 : Column 951Wcontinued
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made towards the formulation of a universal set of standards for use by the African Union for the peer review mechanism of the New Partnership for Africa's Development. 
Mr. Rammell: The NEPAD Steering Committee has tasked its Secretariat to develop detailed criteria and indicators for measuring performance on political and economic governance. These will be considered at the next meeting of the NEPAD Implementation Committee in February 2003. We understand that the process of the peer review mechanism will draw on expertise from both UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union, but the NEPAD Secretariat will have the key role in making sure the process gets started.
Pending the ultimate integration of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) with the African Union, the Implementation Committee has recommended that the specialist commission, units or organs of the AU responsible for democracy, political and human rights, be tasked to conduct technical assessments for the APRM.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether G8 funding for the New Partnership for Africa's Development is conditional on the inclusion of the peer review mechanism. 
As NEPAD is a political agreement between African leaders, not a funding mechanism, G8 countries will not be funding NEPAD directly. The G8 is committed to establishing enhanced partnerships with African countries whose performance reflects the NEPAD commitments. The peer review mechanism will inform our considerations of eligibility for enhanced partnerships. Each G8 member will make their own assessments. The bulk of UK bilateral assistance to Africa will flow to enhanced partnership countries, providing sustained and predictable levels of support to those countries best able to use it. Poor performers and those in conflict, will not be neglected, but the nature of the engagement will differ.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the status of the peer review mechanism within the New Partnership for Africa's Development. 
Mr. Rammell: There has been welcome progress on NEPAD's African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an African-owned and led initiative. At the 3 November NEPAD Implementation Committee meeting in Abuja, African leaders developed an agreement on a comprehensive, voluntary, peer review mechanism covering political, economic and corporate governance. We welcome the decision of 12 members of the Implementation Committee plus Uganda to sign a Declaration of Intent to submit to the peer review process.
The NEPAD Secretariat has been tasked with finalising the accession process (by January) and developing the indicators for measuring performance in time for the next Implementation Committee meeting in February. Review of the first countries should start in April 2003.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 19 November 2002, Official Report, columns 4450W, whether discussions have taken place in the last two years between British Government officials and (a) Andrew Smith and (b) other representatives of Avient Air in Zimbabwe on matters other than the sale of military equipment. 
Mr. Rammell [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Further investigation has revealed that there have been a number of discussions in the last two years between Andrew Smith and British Government officials in London and Freetown concerning Mr. Smith's interest in a civil aviation contract in Sierra Leone. Mr. Smith has also made representations to officials following the publication of the UN Panel Report on the DRC.
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In addition, further investigation has revealed that the previous Political Counsellor at the British High Commission in Harare met Mr. Smith on a number of occasions in the last two years, and that our Defence Attaché in Zimbabwe had a meeting with Mr. Smith in October 2001. The Defence Attaché also met him informally at several social events in that year.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions took place in (a) 1998, (b) 1999 and (c) 2000 between British Government officials and (i) Mr. Andrew Smith and (ii) other representatives of Avient Air in (A) Zimbabwe and (B) the UK with regard to (1) sales of military equipment, (2) military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and (3) other matters. 
Mr. Rammell [holding answer 25 November 2002]: British High Commission officials in Zimbabwe had contact with Mr. Smith on a number of occasions between 1998 and 2000, including at social events. British officials did not at any time encourage, support or promote Mr. Smith's activities in the DRC.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of the Bonn conference he attended on 2 December with regard to progress in Afghanistan, with particular reference to (a) extending the ISAF effort outside of Kabul and (b) the progress of the restoration of women's rights; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The participants at the Bonn conference reviewed the achievements of the past year; agreed on the text of a communiqué highlighting areas where further progress is needed; welcomed the intention of Afghanistan and neighbouring states to meet in Kabul on 22 December to decide on a declaration of good neighbourly relations; and welcomed the signing, by President Karzai, of a decree on principles governing the establishment of the Afghan National Army (ANA). The participants discussed the importance of pressing ahead with ANA reform and demobilisation in accordance with the agreed principles in order to improve the security situation throughout the country.
The participants agreed that the strengthening of the national independent Human Rights Commission's capacity for the monitoring of human rights implementation and investigations into human rights violations was fundamental. The participants also noted the importance of the development of a new constitution and the preparation for free and fair elections to select a broad-based, gender-sensitive, multi-ethnic and fully representative government. The UK will continue to work closely with the Afghan Transitional Administration and the rest of the international
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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with European colleagues on financial assistance to states to assist them in implementing programmes to protect minors against cruelty and exploitation. 
The EU has been actively engaged in the development of a comprehensive policy to fight violence against and the sexual exploitation of children, including child pornography and child sex tourism. The EU Daphne Programme, now with a budget of Euro20 million, has allowed for the implementation of around 100 projects dealing with the protection of children from all forms of violence: trafficking, child pornography and the internet, commercial sexual exploitation, and missing children.
The STOP II Programme was adopted in 2001 giving special attention to efforts to assist victims and to prevent trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. This programme focuses on candidate countries and also provides for co-operation with third countries and international organisations.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the impact which the EC regulations implementing the Kimberley Process of diamond certification will have on conflict diamond trading in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. Rammell: The DRC is a participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. When that scheme comes into effect in January 2003, all exports of rough diamonds from the DRC will have to be accompanied by the appropriate Kimberley Process certificate. The EU regulation prohibits imports into the Community of rough diamonds not accompanied by a certificate.
The Government of the DRC is making positive steps to put in place legislative and administrative procedures to implement the scheme. The EU and some of the other participants in the Kimberley Process are prepared to assist the DRC with their implementation plans.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) sunset and (b) territoriality provisions are contained within the EC regulations implementing the Kimberley Process of diamond certification. 
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Commission to report to the Council on the implementation of the regulation and on its possible repeal in the event that the Kimberley Process Scheme comes to an end.
The scope of the regulation covers Community territory, including airspace and aircraft,and vessels under a member state's jurisdiction. Outside the Community territory, it also applies to any national of a member state and to any legal person, entity or body, which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a member state.
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