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23 Feb 2004 : Column 76W—continued

EU Migrants

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with (a) the presidents of (i) Austria, (ii) Finland, (iii) France, (iv) Italy and (v) Spain, (b) the Prime Ministers of (A) Belgium, (B) Denmark, (C) Greece, (D) Ireland, (E) Luxembourg, (F) Portugal, (G) Sweden and (H) the Netherlands and (c) the Chancellor of Germany about the expected number of migrants coming to their respective countries after enlargement of the European Union. [155625]

The Prime Minister: I have regular discussions with Governments of EU countries on a wide range of international and European issues including on migration and the forthcoming enlargement.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Prime Minister for what reason the words

The Prime Minister: As Lord Hutton said in his report, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) had overall responsibility for the dossier of 24 September and accepted only drafting suggestions which were consistent with the intelligence known to the JIC.

Middle East

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister whether it is his policy that Israel should cease building settlements and the security wall on Palestinian territory unconditionally; and if he will make a statement. [155284]

The Prime Minister: As we have made clear, we consider all settlements in the Occupied Territories illegal under international law and an obstacle to a comprehensive peace in the region. The Government regularly presses the Israeli Government to freeze settlement activity and dismantle outposts in line with Israel's commitments under the roadmap.

We condemn unequivocally the suicide bombing of Israeli civilians and 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 wall Israel is building on occupied Palestinian land as unlawful.

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the principal barriers to peace in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement. [155285]

The Prime Minister: The path towards a renewed political process is through the Quartet (US, UN, EU and Russia) roadmap. Both the Palestinian and the Israeli Governments should implement their roadmap commitments without delay.

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The Palestinian leadership should renew its determination to tackle violence and dismantle terrorist capabilities and make further progress on Palestinian Authority reform. Israel should remove settlement outposts erected since March 2001, freeze all settlement activity and reroute the fence away from Palestinian land. Israel should also seek to improve the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories.

Minister for Women

Tim Loughton: To ask the Prime Minister if he will add interests in parental contact to the responsibilities of the Minister for Women. [155108]

The Prime Minister: I have no plans to do so.

Headed Paper

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister what authority members of the Prime Minister's staff have to use 10 Downing street headed paper subsequent to employment in his Office. [154888]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to my previous answer.



Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Solicitor-General if the Attorney-General will release his full opinion on the

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legality of the war in Iraq to Parliament before the Butler Committee has reported. [155100]

The Solicitor-General: No. As I indicated in my reply to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith) of 23 October 2003, Official Report, column 693W, there is a long-standing convention, observed by successive Governments, that advice which the Law Officers have given to the Government is not publicly disclosed. This is consistent with paragraphs 2 and 4(d) of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Sir Roy Meadow

Tim Loughton: To ask the Solicitor-General what directions she has issued to local authority departments to identify and secure documents relating to cases involving infanticide or harm to children which relied on expert testimony from Sir Roy Meadow. [151028]

The Solicitor-General: With regard to the review of criminal cases, a total of 258 convictions over the past 10 years for the murder, manslaughter or infanticide of a child under two by its parent have been identified. Of those, a total of 72 relate to persons still serving a custodial sentence. These will be accorded the utmost priority. Currently, some 365 boxes of evidence relating to 52 high profile cases have been recovered from central storage and dispatched to CPS areas for them to conduct an initial review. The remaining high profile cases are being recovered from the areas themselves.

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Butler Inquiry

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether individuals will be able to put themselves forward as prospective expert witnesses to the Butler Inquiry into weapons of mass destruction intelligence; [153779]

Mr. Straw: On 12 February the Butler Review announced that the Committee would in due course be taking oral evidence from a number of witnesses at its own invitation. But it is also inviting anyone who has information that might assist it in considering its remit to submit evidence by 31 March 2004 by post to the Secretary, The Butler Review, Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS; by email to

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what his involvement has been in planning Operation Artemis; and what discussions he has had with the police with regard to Operation Artemis; [154727]

Mr. Rammell: At the request of the UN Secretary-General, the Security Council agreed to the deployment in June 2003 of an Interim Emergency Multinational Force (Operation Artemis) to Bunia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of the operation was to support the UN Mission present in the country and to provide a secure environment under which the interim Administration could function. Operation Artemis was a French-led European Security and Defence Policy force, over which the EU's Political and Security Committee exercised political control and strategic direction. It was deployed for a short period until 15 September 2003 and was a military mission with no civilian police involvement.

The UK contributed some 85 military personnel to Operation Artemis. The Operation's mandate expired on 15 September 2003, by which time all forces involved had been withdrawn from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Outer Space Treaty

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government continue to support the outer space treaty. [154984]

Mr. MacShane: Yes.

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Colombian Government regarding human rights issues, with particular reference to (a) press, (b) trade union and (c) religious freedoms. [155352]

Mr. Rammell: Both I and our Embassy in Bogota have regular discussions with the Colombian government, and also with NGOs and trades unions, about human rights issues. We frequently raise specific cases with the Colombian government. The Colombian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, the right to establish and participate in trades unions and religious choice. We continue to urge the Colombian Government to bring the perpetrators of human rights crimes swiftly to justice and to take effective measures to protect all vulnerable groups at risk from illegal armed groups in Colombia. We have underlined the importance of the Colombian government implementing the specific recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent arrests of church leaders in Colombia. [155353]

Mr. Mullin: Neither our Embassy nor the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bogota is aware of recent arrests of Church leaders in Colombia. If additional information can be provided we would be willing to investigate further.

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