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United States

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what joint foreign policy initiatives have been (a) planned and (b) agreed with the US Administration in the last 12 months. [100392]

Mr. Rammell: We work in close collaboration with the US on a wide range of foreign policy issues including, for example, the war on terrorism and the security sector reform of Afghanistan.

We work particularly closely with the United States on international security, economic and third world development policy, and will continue to do so in the future.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's hospitality budget (a) is in 2002–03 and (b) was in each of the last three years; and how much was left unspent at the end of each financial year. [99589]

Mr. Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 27 January 2003, Official Report, column 567W on FCO expenditure on entertainment. Overseas missions and UK departments are allocated budgets which they are free to assign to purposes such as entertainment in order

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best to achieve their objectives. They also reallocate within their overall budget as the year passes. So there is no centrally-administered entertainment budget which would be underspent at the year's end.


Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Indonesian Attorney General's Office on the case of Mr. Peters and Mr. Rennie since August 2000. [100469]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In August 2001, the then Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw) raised our concerns about the Balibo murders with the Indonesian Attorney General when he visited Indonesia. In August 2002, the EU, at our request, urged the Attorney General to co-operate with the UN investigation. On 7 October 2002, the EU Presidency gave the Attorney General a copy of the letter from the UN Special Representative to East Timor requesting Indonesian co-operation in the investigation.


Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action has been taken on UN Resolution 57/232 on human rights and Iraq. [101229]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Lynne Jones) today (UIN 100931).

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking in support of the implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/232 of December 2002. [100931]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK helped to draft and sponsored this resolution, which condemns the appalling human rights situation in Iraq. Together with international partners, we take every opportunity to raise the human rights situation in Iraq. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's report on Iraq's human rights violations, published on 2 December 2002, exposes the sheer brutality of the Iraqi regime.

We also take practical measures to protect those suffering repression. We take part in patrols of the northern and southern No Fly Zones. These were established in support of UN Security Council Resolution 688 to prevent Saddam Hussein from once again repressing the people in those regions.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Israeli government on (a) the imprisonment of citizens for refusal to serve in the occupied territories and (b) Palestinians held in custody without charge. [99999]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We regularly raise with the Israeli authorities our concerns about their holding Palestinians in custody without charge. Israel, like all states, has the right to defend itself against terrorism, but it must act within international law.

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We have not lobbied Israel about Israeli citizens imprisoned for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Israeli Government on compensation of the UN for the destruction of food aid supplies on 30 November 2002. [99989]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We deplore the destruction of a World Food Programme storage facility in Gaza on 2 December 2002 by the Israel Defence Forces. Food aid, including EU-funded contributions, was destroyed. The EU has raised its concerns with the Israeli Government about the destruction of infrastructure and goods funded by the EU and wider international community in the Occupied Territories, and has discussed the issue of compensation to the World Food Programme for the destruction of the Gaza warehouse. The European Commission is responsible for monitoring and costing damage to EU-funded aid projects, and the EU reserves the right to seek compensation.


Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been made to the Government of Myanmar regarding (a) human rights violations and (b) the use of forced child labour. [100583]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In November 2002, the UK co-sponsored a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the human rights situation in Burma, including the use of forced labour there. I issued a press statement strongly supporting the resolution. With EU colleagues, we are currently drafting a resolution on human rights in Burma for presentation at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. We will also be taking action at the March 2003 meeting of the International Labour Organisation to make clear our concern that forced labour in Burma remains widespread and systemic.

Small Arms

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government is providing to countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans to (a) address the proliferation of small arms in their regions, (b) reduce their availability and (c) strengthen controls on their transfer. [99543]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK's Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) strategy, jointly funded by FCO, DFID and MOD, supports a range of initiatives tackling both the supply and demand for small arms. From the £20 million allocated to SALW under the Global Conflict Prevention Pool in 2001–04, £7.5 million has been allocated to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide advice, support and technical assistance for global weapons collection, management and destruction programme. This work includes projects in Albania and Kosovo, where UNDP has organised public destruction of weapons, awareness raising, voluntary surrender of

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arms in return for development projects and training for law enforcement and security officials. It also covers UNDP support for the South Eastern Europe Clearing House for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), which is working towards the implementation of a regional Stability Pact Implementation Plan to combat the proliferation of SALW and related munitions.

Since the start of 2001, inter-departmental UK Government teams have in addition visited Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia and Montenegro to exchange information on and offer advice with export control policy and procedures.

In addition, HMG funds work by the NGO Saferworld with governments and civil society to combat small arms proliferation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and the work of the Small Arms Survey which publishes a yearbook on global small arms issues that includes Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Small Arms

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what preparations his Department is making for the July 2003 Biennial Meeting on national, regional and global implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. [100007]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are committed to a successful and productive first Biennial Meeting on the implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) of the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its respects. The formal meeting in July is limited to looking at work that has been undertaken in the last two years in implementation of the PoA. It is not a negotiating meeting. The UK has an excellent track record in initiatives to curb the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), and we will be preparing a report that details its active work, including its use of the £20 million we have committed (2001–04) to this work.

But we will also be taking advantage of the Biennial Meeting to take forward the work we started at Lancaster House on strengthening export controls on small arms on 14 to 15 January 2003. The Conference itself is a major part of the UK's preparation for the meeting, and we will widen that contribution to include states that did not attend. We are currently preparing the ground for that work.

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