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The Minister for Europe (Mr. Denis MacShane): At the meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva on 27/28 November, a new legally binding Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) was adopted. The new Protocol (the 5th to the CCW) sets out obligations and best practice for the clearance of post-conflict ERW (munitions used during an armed conflict that should have exploded but failed to do so or munitions which have been abandoned during an armed conflict.) The principal obligations in the new Protocol are:
The user of munitions which have become ERW undertakes to provide assistance, where feasible, to the party in control of the affected territory to facilitate marking and clearance, removal or destruction of such ERW;
The user of munitions which may become ERW undertakes to provide information on the use of such munitions (subject to legitimate security interests) to the party in control of the territory and to organisations undertaking clearance operations on the affected territory. The content of this information is provided on a voluntary, best practice basis;
Feasible precautions should be taken to warn civilians of the risks and effects of ERW;
States shall take steps, to the extent feasible, to protect authorised humanitarian missions operating in the area under their control from the effects of ERW;
States may provide assistance to deal with the threat posed by existing ERW;
Preventive measures, such as good practice in managing munitions to reduce the chance of their becoming unexploded, may be undertaken on a voluntary basis.
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The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr Robert Burgin and Dr Peter Knight for a three year term of office as members of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body commencing 4 February. Mr Neil Sherlock is also re-appointed for a second three-year term from 4 March. These appointments and re-appointment have been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Prime Minister has announced earlier today that he is appointing Professor David Greenaway as the next Chairman of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): The Supplement to the 2003 Report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body making final recommendations on the pay of Service Medical and Dental Officers has been published today. Copies of the Supplement are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House.
The Review Body recommends a final increase of 6.8 per cent. for all Regular and Reserve Defence Medical Services Medical and Dental Officers, in addition to the 3.2 per cent. interim award already implemented on 1 April 2003, representing a total increase of 10 per cent. The Review Body also recommends a pay increase of 3.225 per cent. for medical and dental cadets and an out-of-hours supplementary payment of £8,500 to junior doctors. In addition, the Review Body recommends that there should be no further increase in the values of Sustained Quality Payments, Trainer pay and Distinction Awards, above the interim 3.2 per cent. increase already implemented.