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12 Jan 2004 : Column 526Wcontinued
Mr. MacShane: There is no mechanism in the EU's Treaties for the expulsion of a member state. There is however provision in Article 7 TEU for the suspension of a member state's voting rights, though its obligations under the Treaty would still continue to be binding.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restrictions would be placed on the entitlement of EU member states to pursue national policies on (a) asylum, (b) visas and (c) conditions of entry and residence in the event of the proposed European Constitution being approved by member states. 
Mr. MacShane :There is a strong case for co-operation between member states in asylum and immigration. In the event of member states approving the Constitutional Treaty, we will keep our existing opt-ins. We will not participate in common measures where it is not in the UK's interest to do so.
Mr. Rammell: The Government look forward to working with the new leadership in Georgia. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to Mr. Saakashvili on 5 January to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential elections and to offer the UK's support in helping him tackle the major challenges ahead.
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Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government's plans for British involvement in Iraq have changed following the capture of Saddam Hussein. 
Mr. Rammell: Government policy on Iraq has not changed following the capture of Saddam Hussein. His capture should reassure Iraqis who have suffered under his rule and feared his return to power. We will continue with our aim of working with Iraqis towards the establishment of a democratically elected government for Iraq.
Mr. Rammell: We have made it clear that it is for the Iraqi people to decide how to bring to justice those responsible for crimes committed by the former regime. On 10 December 2003 the Governing Council announced the creation of an Iraqi Special Tribunal to fulfil such a task. However, it would be premature at this stage to speculate whether Saddam Hussein will face prosecution before the Tribunal.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the Government has made of weapons imported into Iraq in 2003 (a) prior to and (b) subsequent to the invasion by Coalition Forces; for what purpose this was done and to whom they were supplied; whether such supply was in breach of the UN arms embargo; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell: The Government scrutinises all export licence applications and closely monitors the sale of weapons overseas from the UK. All UK exports are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria on a case by case basis. In line with our obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 661 (6 August 1990) and its amendments, the UK did not sell or supply any weapons to Iraq prior to the onset of the conflict in 2003. Since the conflict ended the UK has rigorously enforced UNSCR 1483 (22 May 2003) which maintains the prohibition on the sale of all arms and related material, other than those required by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to serve the purposes of UNSCR 1483 and other related resolutions.
Since the introduction of UNSCR 1483 the Government have approved export licences for the sale and supply of weapons to the CPA and for the protection of CPA personnel and personnel contracted to assist with the reconstruction of Iraq. I made clear in a Written Statement to the House on 14 October 2003, Official Report, column 7WS, that we have licensed sub-machine guns and pistols for this purpose. The Government have also licensed smoke grenades and ammunition for the protection of CPA personnel, as well as ammunition for the CPA's work with the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. A statement on both of these will be issued in January.
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We are unable to comment on the export control policy of other countries, although EU countries apply substantially the same criteria under the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports and are similarly bound by the UN arms embargo.
Given the ongoing problems of security in Iraq, the Government are unable to assess the illegal flow of weapons across Iraq's borders since the end of the conflict in the spring of 2003. Such exports are in breach of the UN arms embargo, which was reaffirmed in UNSCR 1483.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the implications for the UK's responsibilities as (a) a permanent member of the UN Security Council and (b) a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention of the International Court of Justice's decision to open hearings into the legal consequences of the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory. 
Mr. Rammell: The International Court of Justice has been requested by the UN General Assembly (Resolution A/RES/ES-10/14) to give an Advisory Opinion on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The International Court of Justice's decision to hold hearings on this issue has no direct implications for the UK's responsibilities as a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention or as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the amount of Palestinian land planned for appropriation by Israel under the map released by the Israeli Government on 23 October 2003 to construct the Separation Wall and (b) the amount of land that will be made inaccessible to its owners by the wall. 
Mr. Rammell: According to the UN Secretary General's report of 24 November 2003, the Israeli Defence Force's map of 23 October predicts that 975 square km of land will lie between the Green Line and the fence, and 73 square km will take the form of closed areas.
While recognising Israel's legitimate security concerns, the UK considers the route of the fence Israel is building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be unlawful. It threatens the prospects for a two-state solution and is an obstacle to peace. The Government continues to make representations to the Government of Israel to re-route the fence away from Palestinian land.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the amount of Palestinian land (i) appropriated and (ii) planned for appropriation by Israel in the area around Jerusalem to construct the
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Separation Wall and (b) the amount of land in that area already made inaccessible to its owners by the Wall. 
Mr. Rammell: The UN Secretary General's report of 24 November 2003 sets out various statistics relating to Israel's building of a fence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The report contained no specific figures for the land appropriated in the Jerusalem area, on which estimates from other sources vary.
While recognising Israel's legitimate security concerns, the UK considers the route of the fence Israel is building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be unlawful. It threatens the prospects for a two-state solution and is an obstacle to peace. The Government continues to urge the Government of Israel to re-route the fence away from Palestinian land.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how he intends to respond to the invitations from the International Court of Justice to member states to submit written evidence by 30 January to the hearings it is organising into the legal consequences of the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory; and whether he will indicate by 13 February whether the UK intends to take part in those hearings. 
Mr. Rammell: We are giving careful consideration to the UK's response to the International Court of Justice's invitation to member states to submit a written statement to the Court and/or to take part in the oral proceedings. I shall write to my hon. Friend to inform him of our decision in due course.
Mr. Rammell: As a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Israel would not be in breach of any obligation under international law in the possession or deployment of nuclear weapons. However, the UK firmly believes that possession or
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deployment would be extremely destabilising for the region. We have consistently urged Israel to clarify its nuclear status by acceding to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state, and signing a full-scope safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under the agreement with IAEA, Israel's nuclear facilities would be subject to regular inspection to detect and eliminate any diversion of nuclear materials for weapons production. The UK has consistently supported UN Resolutions calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. That zone would include Israel.
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