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22 Jan 2004 : Column 1414Wcontinued
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 15 December 2003 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Muhammed Hussain Ahmed. 
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the steps that need to be taken to bring about peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. Mullin: The peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took a big step forward in 2003 with the ratification of the Global Accord (signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002) and the inauguration of an inclusive Transitional National Government (TNG) in July 2003.
The TNG now faces some significant challenges. These include preparation of the country for democratic elections in 2005, economic regeneration, establishing basic systems of governance to help prevent conflicts
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and reduce poverty, and security sector reform. The UK Government will continue to work with our partners in a co-ordinated international effort to bring lasting peace. There has also been a large increase in British aid to the DRC.
Mr. Mullin: Foreign engagements for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers are kept under constant review. It is not practice to announce such visits until they are firm. Because of the unpredictable nature of world events, final decisions on overseas visits are often not possible until very shortly before the day of travel and occasionally not until they are under way. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited Ghana in February 2002 and I visited Accra in 2003.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that the night goggles provided by the EU to Ghana are used in accordance with the country's undertakings. 
Mr. Mullin: All EU members are required to assess rigorously all export licence applications on a case-by-case basis against the 1998 EU Code of Conduct on arms exports, taking account of the circumstances prevailing at the time, embargoes and other announced policies. The 1998 EU Code of Conduct on arms exports is available in the Library of the House. The criteria set out the EU's commitment to take account of the risk that exports might be used for either internal repression or external aggression.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library full statements of income and expenditure by the Coalition Provisional Authority. 
Mr. Rammell: The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), established under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1483, is charged with auditing income to, and expenditure from, the Development Fund for Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority. The IAMB is made up of representatives from the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development. As soon as the Board has reported on the accounts, I will place a copy of their report in the Library of the House.
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Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he is making to the Israeli authorities regarding the nature of charges being brought against the soldier arrested for the killing of Mr. Tom Hurndall. 
Mr. Mullin: The Israeli soldier, held in connection with the shooting of Tom Hurndall, has been charged with aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and other offences. A second soldier has now been charged. We understand the Israelis are reviewing the charges in light of Mr. Hurndall's death. We are in regular contact with the family and will be discussing the response to these developments with them.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he is making to the Israeli authorities to ensure that the family of Mr. Tom Hurndall will have access to all evidence relevant to the case. 
Mr. Mullin: We have pressed the Israeli authorities for a full and transparent investigation into the shooting of Tom Hurndall. My noble Friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean is writing to the Israeli authorities regarding the family's wishes to see the results of the investigation.
John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Israel about their plans to expand illegal settlements in the occupied Golan Heights. 
Mr. Rammell: The Government regularly raise with the Government of Israel their concerns about continued Israeli settlement construction. Settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to a comprehensive peace in the region.
Mr. Mullin: The UK has increasing contact, at senior official and ministerial level, with the African Union (AU) which formally replaced the Organisation of African Unity in 2002. I met the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Professor Alpha Konare on 19 January 2004.
The AU has set itself important objectives in promoting peace and security, governance and economic integration. The UK has provided support (£1,089,745) to the AU Conflict Management Centre and the AU's wider peacekeeping work (£5.9 million to the African Mission in Burundi, AMIB). We are also providing small-scale support to assist the current Chairman of the AU Assembly (HE Joaquim Chissano, President of Mozambique) with Mozambique's AU Presidency duties and English language teaching to the AU Commission Chairman.
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John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government plan to provide a written statement to the International Court of Justice on the case, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 
Mr. Rammell: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) on 12 January 2004, Official Report, column 530W. I will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the use of Article 308 EC as a sole legal base for European Union measures, its implications for defining the areas of competence of the Union and its implications for the principle of subsidiarity. 
Mr. MacShane: Article 308 requires, in order for it to be used as a legal base for action, that a proposal be necessary for the attainment of a Community objective, and have unanimous support at the Council. We have given an undertaking that where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, we will provide the Scrutiny Committees with the Commission's justification of this choice of legal base. Any such proposal would need to respect the principle of subsidiarity set out in Article 5 TEC.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent of collaboration and sharing of expertise between terrorist organisations internationally. 
Mr. MacShane: There are varying levels of contact between al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups either related to al-Qaeda or sharing similar agendas, including sharing ideological ideas and expertise, and co-operating on funding, planning and facilitation. The loss of safe havens such as Afghanistan, and the successful pursuit and arrest of senior terrorists, have made this process more difficult. But terrorist individuals and groups continue to find ways to collaborate and communicate, including through use of the Internet.
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