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19 Jan 2004 : Column 963Wcontinued
Mr. Rammell: We maintain a substantive and on-going dialogue with Brazil on the full range of nuclear proliferation issues at official level in London, Brasilia and at relevant international organisations and international fora. There has been no recent discussion at ministerial level on these themes.
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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence his Department has of links between Chechens and (a) al-Qaeda, (b) Iraqi insurgents and (c) other practitioners of terrorism. 
Mr. MacShane: Chechen extremists had close and long-established links to terrorists based in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Some foreign terrorists who trained in Afghanistan, and had ties with al-Qaeda, went on to fight in Chechnya. Some Chechens fought with the Taliban and al-Qaeda against the Northern Alliance, and subsequently against the Coalition. Chechen groups even set up an "Embassy" in Kabul in early 2001. Those involved are subject to UN sanctions under UN Security Council Resolution 1267. Under the same resolution, the leading Chechen rebel field commander Shamil Basayev was made subject to UN sanctions on 12 August 2003.We have no strong evidence of Chechen terrorists being in Iraq. Some networks that support Chechen terrorism, however, may also support extremists in Iraq. Chechen extremists have developed links with a wide range of other extremists, including some in Europe, in order to fund and support their campaign. Some extremists see the conflict in Chechnya as a 'jihad' which they have a duty to support.
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 15 January 2004]: The formation of a new "government" under the leadership of the pro-settlement politician Mehmet Ali Talat in northern Cyprus is an encouraging development. So too was the statement last week by Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan. I was impressed during my visit to Ankara last week at the new positive line from the Turkish Government in support of the Annan Plan. I stressed in talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Gul the need for Turkey to support and work for the speedy acceptance of the Annan Plan with a view to finding a settlement that would allow a united Cyprus to enter the EU on 1 May this year. It is in the interest of all with a stake in Cyprus to work for a settlement by 1 May.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he plans to make to (a) the new government in northern Cyprus and (b) Turkey over the need for a census to be conducted in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.[R] 
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 15 January 2004]: We believe that the UNSG's proposals (the Annan Plan) satisfactorily take into account the issues underlying calls for a census. It is difficult to see the useful purpose that a census at the present time would serve, nor how the necessary delay in organising it would advance matters. I was impressed in talks with the Turkish
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Government in Ankara last week at the new positive approach to finding a solution based on the Annan proposals.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the outcome of the elections in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.[R] 
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 15 January 2004]: I welcome the fact that a coalition "government" has now formed in northern Cyprus and that the coalition's stated aim is to work for a settlement to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan Plan by 1 May. That is what the majority of the Turkish Cypriot population voted for on 14 December 2003. We continue to believe that the UN Secretary General's proposals offer the only realistic basis for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement. All sides must now commit to resume substantive settlement negotiations on the basis of these proposals as soon as possible, in line with the requirements set down by the UN Secretary General in his report of 1 April 2003.
Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear the Government's position on EMU on many occasions in 2003. These included a speech on 23 October 2003 to the Chester/Ellesmere/North Wales Chamber of Commerce, which I am sending to my hon. Friend. In addition to published texts, the Foreign Secretary frequently answers questions on this issue during the course of all kinds of public discussions.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason extra security has been put in place around the British Embassy in Berlin; when it was put in place; what the total cost of these measures has been since they were implemented; and who is meeting the cost of this extra security. 
Mr. Rammell: Immediately after the attack on the British Consulate-General in Istanbul, all diplomatic missions were instructed to review their security urgently and, where appropriate, implement security enhancements. In addition, those missions with a high level of threat or vulnerability sought additional protection from the host government.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cannot disclose, under Exemption l (a) and 4 (e) of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information the specific security measures in place at the British Embassy in Berlin but such costs would normally be met from FCO budgets.
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Mr. Rammell: We continue to follow developments in Hong Kong closely, in line with our responsibilities as a co-signatory to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary continues to report regularly to Parliament on the implementation of the Joint Declaration. The last such report (Cmnd 5864) was issued in July 2003 and is available in the Library of the House. We continue to assess that, generally, the "One Country, Two Systems" policy enshrined in the Joint Declaration is working well in practice.
The main political issue in Hong Kong is currently constitutional reform. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) contains provisions on constitutional development, with the ultimate aims being the selection of the Chief Executive and election of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. On 1 January up to 100,000 people participated in a march to call for greater democracy in Hong Kong.
On 7 January the Chief Executive announced the setting up of a Task Force, headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, to examine the Basic Law's provisions on constitutional reform and to consult the Chinese Central People's Government on these issues. On 14 January the Chief Secretary issued a paper setting out the Work Plan of the Task Force. This makes clear that the Task Force will be carrying forward discussions with the Hong Kong people while consulting the Central People's Government on issues pertaining to the Basic Law.
When I was in Hong Kong in December I reiterated our position on this issue, that we hope to see early progress towards the Basic Law's ultimate aim of universal suffrage, at a pace in step with the wishes of the people of Hong Kong.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli authorities in advance of the court hearing scheduled for 7 January, concerning the proposed demolition of the peace centre called Beit Arabiya in the West Bank village of Anata. 
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Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of (a) settlement buildings, (b) movement restrictions on Palestinians, (c) planning regulations, (d) rules of residence and (e) construction of the separation wall on the extent to which Israel is fulfilling its responsibilities towards the character and status of Jerusalem under UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 267, 476 and 478; and what representations he is making on the issue. 
Mr. MacShane : The Government have repeatedly said that neither side should take unilateral action that could prejudge the status of Jersualem. We regard the status of Jerusalem as still to be determined in permanent status negotiations between the parties. Pending agreement, we recognise de facto Israeli authority over West Jerusalem but consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. We recognise no sovereignty over the city.
We consider the building of settlements on occupied land to be unlawful. We have regularly called on Israel to fulfil its roadmap commitment to freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements) and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001. We have also urged Israel to improve the humanitarian situation by lifting curfews and easing restrictions on movement of persons and goods.
We understand Israel's need to take steps, within international law, to protect itself from terrorist attack. But we have made clear that we regard the route of the wall that Israel is building on occupied Palestinian land as unlawful. The decision to declare the land between the fence and the Green Line a "closed zone" and require those Palestinians who live on or farm it to apply for a permit to access their land is a matter of particular concern.
My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have raised these issues with the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on a number of occasions. My noble Friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean has also raised these issues with the Israeli Government in Tel Aviv and with the Israeli Ambassador in London. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have also made representations to the Israeli Ambassador, most recently on 10 December 2003.
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