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9 Jun 2003 : Column 640W—continued

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what targets his Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how he intends to achieve these targets. [116655]

Mr. Rammell: The FCO is party to the Whitehall wide target of reducing (weather-corrected) CO2 emissions from buildings on the Government estate by 1 per cent. per annum relative to the base-year 1999–2000. To date, we have met this target through the purchase of green electricity exempt from the climate change levy and by a small reduction in consumption through closer building temperature control. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will agree new targets for 2010, based on benchmarking the performance of individual buildings where possible, by the end of this year.

We have recently reviewed energy consumption across our estate. As a result, we now intend to set further specific efficiency targets which we aim to achieve by upgrading building facilities, using more energy efficient equipment, staff awareness campaigns and improved monitoring.

Export Controls (Small Arms)

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the meeting held by his Department in

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London in January on export controls of small arms; and what minimum standards were agreed for exports of small arms and light weapons. [117916]

Mr. Straw: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), on 23 May 2003, Official Report, column 782W, and that given by the then International Development Secretary on 10 March 2003, Official Report, column 39W.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made in relation to the human rights of British prisoners in Guantanamo Bay; and if he will make a statement. [118262]

Mr. Straw: The issue of the detainees' rights under international law is linked, at least in part, to the question of their status, which depends on all the facts of the individual cases. Whatever their status, the detainees are entitled to humane treatment and if prosecuted, a fair trial. We have made this clear to the United States authorities. They have assured us they will treat the detainees humanely and consistently with the principles of the Geneva Conventions.

UK officials visited the British detainees in Guantanamo Bay for a fifth time in April. As part of this visit they checked on the welfare of the detainees who appeared generally to be in sound physical health. The physical conditions of their detention appear to be satisfactory. We have raised any welfare concerns we may have with the US authorities.


Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence his Department has collated on whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction on 18 March. [115513]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government published its assessment of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programmes in September 2002, based on evidence drawn from a range of sources, including the reports of the UN weapons inspectors.

There remained, on 18 March, no evidence to show that Iraq's weapons had been destroyed. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1441, the onus was firmly on Iraq to demonstrate its full compliance with the disarmament obligations contained in a succession of previous resolutions. They had also failed to address any of the unresolved disarmament issues arising from the final report of the UNSCOM Executive Chairman, Richard Butler, produced in February 1999.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [pursuant to his answer of 6 May, Official Report, columns 562–63W], on Iraq, what discussions took place on options for a new judicial system (a) among the members of the Coalition and (b) among members of the UN Security Council prior to the commencement of military action. [116289]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: We maintain regular contact with the US Ministry of Justice but we have no record of any specific discussions on options for a new Iraqi judicial system that took place prior to the commencement of military action.

In accordance with UNSCR 1483, the Coalition Provisional Authority will work with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to assist the Iraqi people with legal and judicial reform. The UK has already deployed personnel to assist in this work. Assessments are underway as to how to take forward the justice sector but the immediate priority remains to reinvigorate a basic law and order capacity.

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role is to be played by the UN in offering technical advice to the US and British Governments on good governance in Iraq. [117036]

Mr. Rammell: Security Council resolution 1483 calls for the United Nations Special Representative for Iraq to work closely with the Coalition Provisional Authority on a variety of issues including the rebuilding of Iraq and restoration and establishment of national and local institutions for representative governance in Iraq. We recognise that the UN has valuable experience which it can bring to bear on the situation and we will be staying in close touch with the Special Representative.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will list reconstruction contracts approval by the Iraq Assistance Fund; the value of each and the contractor with whom the contract has been agreed; [118202]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

It will take a little while to assemble and confirm the information requested. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as I can and will place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a state of war existed between the UK and Iraq; and what the current relationship between the two countries is. [118206]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: A state of war was never declared between the UK and Iraq. The UK is an occupying power in Iraq and is carrying out its responsibilities under the Hague Regulations, Geneva Convention IV and UNSCR 1483.

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Kyoto Protocol

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken recently to persuade the Russian Federation to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. [117367]

Mr. Rammell: In recent months, the UK, other EU member states and other countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, have pressed the importance of ratification on the Russians on many occasions at ministerial and official level. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Putin earlier this year urging ratification and the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and the current President of the European Council, Costas Simitis, wrote more recently. President Putin's replies of 4 February and 9 May 2003 respectively stated that Russia hoped to be in a position to make a recommendation to the State Duma on the issue in the near future. We are now working more closely with Russia to address the technical issues surrounding Kyoto implementation. For example, last month the European Commission hosted a seminar for Russian and EU officials, which discussed these practical issues and the UK jointly funded with other European countries a seminar in Moscow on 'Implementing Kyoto'.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the US Administration and (b) the Australian Administration regarding the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. [117659]

Mr. Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not recently discussed this issue with the US and Australian Administrations.

The Government believe that the Kyoto Protocol, with its binding targets and timetables, is the only existing international framework for tackling climate change and take every opportunity to urge all countries that have not yet ratified it to do so as soon as possible.

The Government are encouraged that although Australia will not be ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, it intends to meet its Kyoto Protocol target.

We welcome the US's recognition that climate change is a serious problem and the fact that they are taking domestic action, although this will not result in the absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the US would have been committed to make under the Kyoto Protocol.

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