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Wassenaar Arrangement

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Denis MacShane): Hon. Members will wish to be aware of the outcome of the plenary of the Wassenaar arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies which took place in Vienna on 10–12 December 2003.

The arrangement is the only multilateral export control forum dealing with conventional arms. Its purpose is to prevent de-stabilising accumulations of conventional weapons in sensitive parts of the world by promoting transparency and responsibility in transfers of arms and dual-use goods. The Government believe the arrangement has an important role to play in improving arms exporting practices amongst its current participating states, and can help to spread good practice to other countries.

The plenary meeting concluded a year-long review of the arrangement, which has agreed a number of important changes to its operations, including:

The question of admission of new participating states was discussed, although no decisions in this area were taken at the plenary. The plenary also agreed on the importance of work to explain the arrangement's merits to non-participating states.

A ministerial statement was agreed in the name of Ministers from all Wassenaar arrangement states and released at the end of the plenary. The purpose of this statement was to reaffirm the importance participating states attach to the Wassenaar arrangement as a forum for the promotion of peace and stability, as well as to raise the arrangement's public profile. It reads as follows:

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The Government will continue to work for further changes to the arrangement so that it becomes an even more effective forum for the promotion of responsible and transparent exporting practices for strategic goods.


Postal Elections (Pilot Regions)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Mr. Christopher Leslie): In December it was announced that, subject to the European Parliamentary and Local Elections Pilot Bill achieving Royal Assent, the north-east and east midlands regions would pilot all postal voting at the combined European Parliamentary and local elections in June 2004. I can today announce it is our intention that two further regions will also hold all-postal pilots. These regions will be Yorkshire and the Humber and the north-west.

I am pleased to be able to announce these further regions so that the important work of preparing for the pilot elections can begin in earnest. We have identified Yorkshire and the Humber and the north-west after discussion with electoral administrators and look forward to those regions, alongside the north-east and east midlands, helping us to progress our electoral modernisation agenda.


UK Gulf Veterans' Mortality Data

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): As part of the Government's commitment to investigate Gulf veterans' illnesses openly and honestly, data on mortality of veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict are regularly published. The most recent figures, for the period 1 April 1991 to 31 December 2003, were published on 15 January 2004. The key tables from that publication are set out below. Table 1 gives the causes of death to UK Gulf veterans over that period; table 2 shows the deaths due to malignant neoplasms among UK Gulf veterans. As with previous information, the data for Gulf veterans are compared to that of a control group, known as the Era cohort, which is made up of armed forces personnel of a similar age, gender, service, regular/reservist status and rank who were not deployed.


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Table 1: Deaths to UK Gulf veterans(1) 1 April 1991–31 December 2003

ICD ChapterCause of deathGulfEraMortalityRateRatio95%ConfidenceInterval
All deaths6326430.98(0.88–1.09)
All cause coded deaths6196270.98(0.88–1.10)
I–XVIDisease-related causes2653210.82(0.70–0.97)
IInfectious and parasitic diseases631.99(0.43–12.30)
IIIEndocrine and immune disorders160.17(0.00–1.37)
VMental disorders13160.81(0.36–1.79)
VIDiseases of the nervous system and sense organs10110.90(0.34–2.35)
VIIDiseases of the circulatory system881130.77(0.58–1.03)
VIIIDiseases of the respiratory system1181.37(0.50–3.92)
IXDiseases of the digestive system16200.80(0.39–1.62)
IV, X–XVIAll other disease-related causes(3)5140.36(0.10–1.04)
EXVIIExternal causes of injury and poisoning3543061.15(0.99–1.35)
Railway accidents413.98(0.39–196.03)
Motor vehicle accidents1241011.22(0.93–1.60)
Water transport accidents514.98(0.56–235.34)
Air and space accidents26191.36(0.73–2.60)
Other vehicle accidents010.00(0.00–38.81)
Accidental poisoning14150.93(0.42–2.06)
Accidental falls881.00(0.33–3.04)
Accidents due to fire/flames020.00(0.00–5.30)
Accidents due to natural environmental factors221.00(0.07–13.73)
Accidents due to submersion/suffocation/foreign bodies1772.42(0.95–6.89)
Other accidents32301.06(0.62–1.81)
Late effects of accident/injury020.00(0.00–5.30)
Suicide and injury undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted1131081.04(0.79–1.37)
Injury resulting from the operations of war340.75(0.11–4.41)
Other deaths for which coded cause data are not yet available912
Overseas deaths for which cause data are not available44


(1) Service and Ex-Service personnel only.

(2) Causes have been coded to the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th revision (ICD-9), 1977.

(3) Includes cases with insufficient information on the death certificate to provide a known cause of death.

Table 2: Deaths due to Malignant neoplasms among UK Gulf veterans 1 April 1991–31 December 2003
Major anatomical sites and specific sites with at least 5 deaths in one of the cohorts

ICD ChapterAnatomical siteGulfEraMortalityRateRatio95%ConfidenceInterval
140–149Malignant neoplasms of lip, oral cavity and pharynx641.49(0.35–7.19)
150–159Malignant neoplasms of digestive organs and peritoneum25310.80(0.45–1.40)
of which:
150 Malignant neoplasms of oesophagus942.24(0.62–9.95)
153 Malignant neoplasms of colon4110.36(0.08–1.22)
160–165Malignant neoplasms of respiratory and intrathoracic organs17260.65(0.33–1.25)
of which:
162 Malignant neoplasms of trachea, bronchus and lung15240.62(0.30–1.24)
170–175Malignant neoplasms of bone, connective tissue, skin and breast16141.14(0.52–2.52)
of which:
172 Malignant neoplasms of skin761.16(0.33–4.18)
179–189Malignant neoplasms of genitourinary organs470.57(0.12–2.24)
190–199Malignant neoplasms of other and unspecified sites23310.74(0.41–1.31)
of which:
199 Malignant neoplasms of brain15151.00(0.45–2.18)
200–208Malignant neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissue21141.49(0.72–3.17)
of which:
200–202 Lymphomas1081.24(0.44–3.63)
204–208 Leukaemias961.49(0.47–5.10)
235–239Neoplasm of uncertain behaviour or unspecified nature331.00(0.13–7.43)