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15 Sept 2004 : Column 1611W—continued

Falun Gong

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the persecution of the Falun Gong in China; and what action the Government are taking to draw attention to this. [188634]

Mr. Rammell: We have serious concerns about human rights abuses against Falun Gong adherents in China, We regularly raise these concerns with the Chinese Government. At the most recent round of the biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue, held in London on 13–14 May, we again noted our concerns about the mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners in detention, and handed over a list of individual cases of
 
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concern which included Falun Gong prisoners. I also recently raised the issue of human rights with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui during my visit to China in July.

Gibraltar

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the comments made by the Secretary of State for Defence during the Gibraltar Tercentenary celebrations in August that the enlargement of the European Union would have implications for Gibraltar, if he will make a statement on what those implications are. [188483]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 14 September 2004]: As the Government have often made clear, enlargement will bring a range of benefits, including economic ones, to both existing and new member states. Gibraltar with its record of economic dynamism is well placed to take advantage of these increased opportunities within an enlarged Union.

Intelligence Workers

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the rules are regarding British intelligence workers being asked to assist in the prosecution of someone abroad who may face the death penalty if convicted; and if he will make a statement. [188937]

Mr. Straw: The British intelligence and security services operate strictly in accordance with statutory provisions and requirements laid down by Parliament. Those requirements take full account of obligations under international law. In particular these services have regard to section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the safeguards in respect of disclosure of intelligence information in section 2(2) of the Security Service Act 1989 and sections 2(2) and 4(2) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994.

Iran

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress was made in discussions at the end of July between Iran, France, the UK and Germany concerning Iran's nuclear programme; what future talks are planned; and if he will make a statement. [188485]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 14 September 2004]: France, Germany and the UK have jointly drafted a resolution on Iran's nuclear programme for discussion at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, taking place in Vienna this week.

Talks are continuing on a regular basis between senior officials.

Iraq

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the number of United Kingdom personnel working with Iraqi ministries (a) before 30 June and (b) since 30 June. [188344]


 
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Mr. Rammell: On 1 June, there were some 180 UK personnel working for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and who were involved in restructuring or assisting Iraqi Ministries or other Iraqi institutions. By the end of September there will be some 35 UK personnel working with Iraqi Ministries, 36 working with Iraqi Governorates or other institutions, and 87 assisting with police and prison training.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department is providing for (a) the establishment of systems of criminal and civil justice in Iraq and (b) the new Iraqi governments. [188349]

Mr. Rammell: We are providing support in Basra to strengthen the overall capacity of the criminal justice institutions by funding a training seminar to streamline co-operation and communication between the Iraqi police, prison service and judiciary at the provincial and national level. We are also providing six prisons advisors in the south to work with the Iraqi Correctional Service to improve standards and procedures.

We are providing capacity building assistance for the Iraq Special Tribunal tasked with bringing to justice members of the former regime suspected of committing war crimes. This includes support for training judges, prosecutors and court administrative staff.

The Department for International Development is also providing assistance to the judiciary including training for judges in international human rights standards. All other reasonable requests for assistance from the Iraqi Interim Government are considered.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department is providing to the Iraqi Special Tribunal. [188350]

Mr. Rammell: We have allocated £1.3 million for a capacity building assistance programme for the Iraqi Special Tribunal. This includes supporting training of a full Iraqi forensic team for the IST and training for judges and court administration staff.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of Islamic countries to encourage them to send troops to Iraq. [188356]

Mr. Rammell: The UK has a regular dialogue with Islamic countries in the region and elsewhere on matters relating to Iraq, including possible military deployments. The UK welcomes any contribution to the Multi-National Force. Any decision on troop deployments to Iraq ultimately rests with the Iraqi Interim Government.

Israel

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Israeli Government that it should ensure that the route of the security wall does not become the border of the Israeli state. [188498]

Mr. Rammell: As my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have stated on numerous occasions, final status issues such as the
 
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border between Israel and a future Palestinian State can only be decided by the two parties during final status negotiations. We have made our view clear to the Israeli Government, most recently when the Foreign Secretary met with Israeli Vice Prime Minister Olmert on 8 September.

Libya

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage (a) economic reform and (b) political liberation in Libya. [188370]

Mr. Rammell: The Government welcomes Libya's recent actions, in particular Libya's courageous decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction. The Government are working closely with Libya on governance, reform and human rights.

Since early 2004, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund, we have been developing and funding projects in Libya, including on administrative, economic and prison reform.

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of chartering an aeroplane for his recent trip to Sudan. [188456]

Mr. Straw: The gross cost of chartering an aircraft for the return trip UK-Sudan-Kenya was £168,000. Accompanying media contributed £60,200, making a net cost of £107,800.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the goals of the Government are for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2005. [188604]

Mr. MacShane: The Government are strongly committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The UK's goals for the review conference are to make the case for stronger and more effective counter-proliferation measures and to emphasise the importance of compliance with the treaty. We will do this in the context of emphasising the UK's good record on nuclear disarmament, and we will produce a final report of the studies that we have conducted on the verification of nuclear disarmament. We look forward to working with the chair and other countries before and during the conference itself to help secure a successful outcome.


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