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2 Nov 2004 : Column 227W—continued

Guantanamo Bay

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed British prisoners at Guantanamo Bay with his US counterpart; and what was discussed. [194897]

Mr. Mullin: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has frequent contact with his US counterpart on a wide range of issues, including Guantanamo Bay.

The Government's position has been that the British detainees should either be tried fairly in accordance with international standards or they should be returned to the UK. In the absence of the prospect of a fair trial in accordance with international standards, we requested that the nine British detainees be returned to the UK. Five returned in March. Following a visit by officials to Washington in May. my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister repeated our request that the remaining four detainees be returned to the UK. We continue to work to resolve their situation.

We are also continuing to pursue actively with the US authorities our outstanding welfare concerns.

International Atomic Energy Agency

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK nationals are working with the International Atomic Energy Agency; where they are posted; and how many have recently worked in Iran. [195149]

Mr. Straw: Staff are employed at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on an individual and not a national basis. The Government cannot, therefore, maintain its own records of UK nationals employed at the IAEA.

According to the IAEA Secretariat, as of 29 October 2004, 73 UK Nationals were employed in professional positions at the IAEA. The overwhelming majority of these were employed at the Agency's Headquarters in Vienna; four were posted at the Agency's laboratory in Seibersdorf. Austria and one at the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco.

IAEA staff travel on short term missions for a variety of purposes related to the IAEA's functions. It is not the practice of the IAEA to release information on who travels on such missions.

Mauritius/Chagos Islands

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date the European Convention on Human Rights was applied to Mauritius and the Chagos Islands; and if he will make a statement. [187610]

Mr. Rammell: The European Convention on Human Rights was extended to Mauritius, together with a number of other territories for whose international relations the United Kingdom Government was then
 
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responsible, on 23 October 1953. It ceased to apply to Mauritius when that country became independent on 12 March 1968. It has not been extended to the British Indian Ocean Territory, which has no settled population.

Russian Espionage

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent discussions he has held with the Russian Government on spying in the UK by Russians; [194796]

(2) what recent representations he has made to the Russian Government about spying in the UK by Russians. [194797]

Mr. Straw: We have a regular dialogue with the Russian Government on a number of operational intelligence issues. However, it is the Government's well-established practice under exemptions l(a) and l(b) of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information not to comment on the detail of bilateral exchanges on security and intelligence matters, or on allegations of espionage activity.

Somalia

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of progress in the peace building framework and role of the United Nations in Somalia. [193916]

Mr. Mullin: The UN Secretary General, like the European Union, has welcomed the election of Abdullahi Yusuf as the transitional President of Somalia. We regard this as an important step towards the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia and look forward to the formation of a transitional federal Government in the near future.

The UN is already active in Somalia and is planning to expand its role once there is a Government. I met Abdullahi Yusuf in Nairobi on 20 October.

Sudan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the reported bombing in the Allaiet area in eastern Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [194825]

Mr. Mullin: We have received reports that on 22 October the Sudan Liberation Movement tried unsuccessfully to retake Allaeit. the commercial capital of Berti Province, from the Government of Sudan's police force. We will continue to press the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop violating the N'Djamena Ceasefire Agreement of 8 April, to which they are all signatories.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the terms of the ceasefire are in Darfur; when these terms were (a) proposed and (b) agreed to; by whom; what assessment his Department has made of the Sudanese Government's compliance with the ceasefire terms; and if he will make a statement. [194826]


 
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Mr. Mullin: The terms of the ceasefire are detailed in the N'Djamena Ceasefire Agreement signed by the Government of Sudan, Sudan Liberation Movement and Justice and Equality Movement on 8 April. I have placed a copy in the Library of the House. Officials from the British Embassies in Khartoum and Addis Ababa are in regular contact with the African Union (AU) Mission which is responsible for monitoring the ceasefire. The AU have reported ceasefire violations on all sides, about which we remain extremely concerned. We are continuing to press all sides to respect the ceasefire.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) members of his Department, (c) other Members of the UK Government and (d) UK representatives in Rwanda have had with their (i) EU and (ii) African Union counterparts concerning the logistical assistance to be given to African Union ceasefire monitors and soldiers in their deployment to Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [194828]

Mr. Mullin: We are in regular contact with our EU and African Union (AU) partners concerning logistical assistance for the expanded AU mission. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has raised this with President Obasanjo, Chairman of the AU. Both my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development have raised this with their EU counterparts. I discussed the issue with the AU Commission Chair, Alpha Oumar Konare, on 26 October. Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development in London, Brussels, Abuja, Khartoum, Kigali and Addis Ababa are also in regular contact with their opposite numbers. As the Prime Minister announced in Addis Ababa on 7 October, the UK will provide £12 million to support the expanded mission.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the possible inclusion of security issues in the humanitarian protocol being negotiated by the Government of Sudan and rebel groups from Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [194829]

Mr. Mullin: We have urged the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement to sign and implement immediately the Abuja Humanitarian Protocol. In accordance with the agenda set by the African Union, security issues are being discussed separately. We have pressed all parties to engage fully at the highest level and to conclude a security agreement as soon as possible. A UK observer is currently at the peace talks in Abuja.

Uganda

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government are providing to the Ugandan authorities in their efforts to combat the Lord's Resistance Army. [195150]

Mr. Straw: We are working actively with the Ugandan authorities to end the crisis in northern Uganda. We are the leading cash donor to the
 
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humanitarian operation. We are seeking to enhance the effectiveness of the Ugandan armed forces through our financing of a comprehensive defence review. And, since we doubt that the Lords Resistance Army threat can be overcome by purely military means, we have also supported Ugandan efforts to promote dialogue and reconciliation to help secure a comprehensive and sustainable end to this conflict.


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