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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH

United Nations

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts are being taken to ensure that Clause 22 of UN Security Council Resolution 1483 is complied with. [117065]

Mr. Rammell: In operative paragraph 22 of its resolution 1483 (2003), the UN Security Council decided: that petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas originating in Iraq will be immune, until title passes to the initial purchaser, from legal proceedings and will not be subject to any form of attachment, garnishment, or execution; and that proceeds and obligations arising from sales thereof, as well as the Development Fund for Iraq, will enjoy privileges and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by the United Nations. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in consultation with other Government Departments and the Overseas Territories, is preparing an Order in Council that will implement these measures.

Afghanistan

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost has been of the Afghan drug elimination programme. [117365]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Repeated internal conflict over the last 25 years, the collapse of legitimate economic activity and continuing insecurity in many parts of Afghanistan have all contributed to the creation of the conditions in which drug cultivation and processing have flourished. The Afghan Transitional Administration have made clear their determination to eliminate drugs from the Afghan economy and society. The UK is determined to provide assistance to help Afghanistan achieve this objective. The UK has committed £70 million over the next three years for this purpose.

However, sustainable reductions in the Afghan drugs trade will only be achieved as progress is made on broader development and security. The UK is leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Mazar-e-Sharif and has pledged £200 million of development assistance over five years (2002–07). Since development assistance helps to create the conditions in which viable alternatives to poppy cultivation can emerge, the total cost of eliminating drugs cannot be clearly separated from these broader development programmes.

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Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the Afghan drug elimination programme; and if he will make a statement. [117366]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Afghan Transitional Administration adopted a national drug strategy on 19 May 2003. Its objective is to eliminate the cultivation, processing and trafficking of illegal drugs in Afghanistan within 10 years. The UK has committed £70 million over the next three years to fund activities that will contribute to achievement of this objective. Additional British embassy personnel will be posted in Afghanistan over the next few months to pursue counter-narcotics work.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he received from representatives of the United Nations prior to the implementation of the policy of paying Afghan producers to reduce the cultivation of opium poppies. [117885]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK maintains regular contact with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on all aspects of its drugs policy. The Afghan TransitionalAdministration have developed a National Drug Strategy. The strategy has received the full support of both the UK and UNODC. Its objective is to eliminate the illicit drugs trade from Afghanistan within ten years. The strategy outlines a broad approach that balances the building up of Afghan drug law enforcement with the promotion of alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those non-governmental organisations with which he has collaborated in seeking to reduce the cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan. [117886]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Tokyo Reconstruction Conference for Afghanistan in January 2002 acknowledged that measures designed to contribute to the elimination of opium poppy cultivation should be mainstreamed into all reconstruction programmes. The UK works closely with a variety of non-governmental organisations to ensure that broad development assistance helps to create the conditions in which viable alternatives to poppy cultivation can emerge. Non-governmental organisations with which the UK has collaborated include: the Aga Khan Development Network, Afghanaid, Merlin, Concern, Ockenden, Mercy Corps International, Tearfund, Central Asia Development Group, Afghans for Civil Society, Food and Agriculture Organisation and International Red Cross.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the UK street value of opium and opium derivatives from poppies cultivated in Afghanistan in each of the past three years; and what his forecast is for the current year. [117887]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy production in Afghanistan, reported that the level of production in 2002 was 3,400 tonnes compared to 4,600 tonnes in 1999, 3,300 tonnes in 2000 and 185 tonnes in 2001. At

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current UK street value, this would have produced heroin worth approximately £58 billion in 2002, £78 billion in 1999, £56 billion in 2000 and £3 billion in 2001.

The UNODC is in the process of carrying out the 2003 survey. Its results will be published in the autumn. In March 2003, the UNODC published an Opium Rapid Assessment Survey for Afghanistan. This gave an early insight into the pattern of opium poppy cultivation for the 2002–03 growing season but did not predict the level of opium poppy cultivation for 2003 or beyond. It did find however that there was a trend for farmers to cultivate opium poppy in increasingly remote and inaccessible areas.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in relation to the reduction of opium production in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [117888]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: On 19 May 2003, the Afghan Transitional Administration adopted a national drug strategy. Its objective is to eliminate the illegal drugs trade in Afghanistan within 10 years. The UK has committed £70 million over the next three years to fund activities that will contribute to achievement of this objective. Additional British embassy personnel will be posted in Afghanistan over the next few months to pursue counter-narcotics work.

Bangladesh

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Bangladesh regarding the situation of the Biharis in that country. [115621]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The British Government are concerned at the periodic reports of discrimination against minority groups in Bangladesh. The British High Commission in Dhaka frequently raises human rights concerns, including those on minorities, with the Bangladesh Government. The situation of the Biharis has featured in these discussions.

Correspondence

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford of 2 April and 15 May 2003 concerning his constituent, Mr. Bevan and others at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, Essex. [117661]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I will be replying to the hon. Member's letter of 2 April 2003 and his reminder of 15 May 2003 within the next few days.

Cyprus

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Cyprus. [116954]

Mr. MacShane: I refer my hon. Friend to the Written Ministerial Statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 4 June, Official Report, column 22WS.

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We welcome the recent partial lifting of restrictions on freedom of movement across the Green line announced by the Turkish Cypriot authorities, and the Confidence Building Measures announced by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. However, such measures are not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the UN plan.

We warmly welcome the proposals announced by the Commission on 3 June, aimed at promoting economic development in the north of Cyprus and bringing it closer to the EU. We urge the authorities in the north of Cyprus to work with the Commission to deliver the best possible results for the Turkish Cypriots.

DynCorp

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the involvement of employees of DynCorp in (a) prostitution rings and (b) sex crimes against children in Bosnia; what contracts the UK Government has with DynCorp in (i) Bosnia, (ii) Kosovo, (iii) Iraq and (iv) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [115472]

Mr. Ingram: I have been asked to reply.

The Ministry of Defence has not received any reports on this matter. However, I am aware of media reporting on the alleged activities of some DynCorp employees.

The Ministry of Defence does not currently have any contracts with DynCorp in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan.


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