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EU/UK Law

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) additional scrutiny safeguards are applied and (b) minimum negotiating positions are strengthened by the UK Government in respect of EU proposals where UK primary legislation relating to a proposal has been passed in the last three years. [197567]

Mr. MacShane: If the UK Parliament had recently agreed primary legislation in a particular area, this would be reflected in the Explanatory Memorandum which accompanies all draft European laws deposited with Parliament for scrutiny. The Government would of course take this into account during any relevant European negotiations.

European Court of Justice

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list cases which the UK has referred to the European Court of Justice in relation to (a) legal base and (b) the principle of subsidiarity in each of the last five years; and what the outcome was in each case. [197635]

Mr. MacShane: In the last five years the UK has made two applications to the ECJ in relation to legal base and they are:

Both challenges are on the basis that Article 95 is not an appropriate legal base for the Community to establish centralised EU procedures and bodies. Article 95 allows for the harmonisation of national laws and provisions and requires qualified majority voting. HMG believes that such measures should only be adopted unanimously and that Article 308 (which requires unanimity) is the correct legal basis for such measures. We have not been given a hearing date for either case yet.

No applications have been made in relation to the principle of subsidiarity.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely costs to his Department in the first quarter of 2005 of compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [198763]

Mr. Straw: The cost of compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) will depend on the number and complexity of the requests received. The resources of the Foreign and
 
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Commonwealth Office's (FCO) central unit dealing with FOI have been strengthened to cope with the anticipated demands of the FOIA and contingency arrangements are in place to augment the unit further should need arise. These additional costs are being met from within the existing FCO budget.

Iran

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the government of Iran about the sentence of death by stoning given to 13 year old Zhila Izadi; and if he will make a statement. [193061]

Mr. Rammell [holding answer 25 October 2004]: We have made clear to the Iranian authorities, including by my noble Friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean to the Iranian Ambassador in London, our deep concern at media reports that Ms Izadi has been sentenced to death by stoning. The Iranian authorities have indicated to us that Ms Izadi will not be executed, and that she, and her brother, have been transferred to a welfare organisation.

With our strong support, the use of the death penalty has been an important theme of the EU/Iran Human Rights Dialogue, including the most recent round in June.

Iraq

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reasons for the continued detention of Amir Hamudi Hasan Al Sadi by coalition forces in Iraq; what the conditions of his detention are; what access (a) the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and (b) his family has to him; what views the ICRC has expressed on his detention; and whether a date has been set for his trial. [197537]

Mr. Rammell: I am not in a position to provide details on individuals held by the US. Mr. Al Sadi's case will be reviewed by the detainee review committee in the same way as all other cases. I am aware that the ICRC has visited Mr. Al Sadi. I cannot comment on ICRC observations, since the ICRC reports confidentially to the detaining authority, in this case the US.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what decisions have been made as to which regiments will be sent to Iraq when the Black Watch forces return to the UK in December. [197819]

Mr. Hoon: I have been asked to reply.

We have no plans to replace the one Black Watch Battlegroup when it returns to the United Kingdom in December.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his Answer of 11 October 2004, Official Report, columns 755–6W, on Iraq, whom the British officials, told by Mr. Turki about his concerns in September 2003, informed about his representations; if he will list the British officials concerned; and whether Mr. Turki mentioned specific detention facilities. [194494]


 
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Mr. Rammell [holding answer 28 October 2004]: Mr. Turki raised some general concerns in Baghdad in a meeting with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Human Rights to Iraq, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) and a British official, in September 2003. On her return to the UK, Ms Clwyd reported these concerns to the Prime Minister, in a meeting on 15 October 2003. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials followed up these concerns with the US. In the afore mentioned meeting, Mr. Turki said that a number of individual complaints of poor conditions had been raised with him, but he did not go into detail about specific complaints or facilities.

Ivory Coast

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of France on bringing about (a) an immediate cease-fire in and (b) an early withdrawal of French troops from the Ivory Coast. [198317]

Mr. Mullin: The International Community, including France and the United Kingdom, has urged all sides in the Ivorian conflict to respect the cease-fire of May 2003. We will continue to do so.

The French peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire operate under a UN mandate. Their presence is a result of an agreement between the French and Ivorian governments. We will review the position of all foreign troops in Côte d'Ivoire with France and other members of the UN Security Council once the security and political situation in Côte d'Ivoire has clarified.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring he is undertaking of the situation in the Ivory Coast, with particular reference to (a) civilian casualties and (b) the role of French troops. [198318]

Mr. Mullin: We have continually monitored the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, including the role of French troops, through our Embassy, the UN, the media and humanitarian organisations on the ground such as Human Rights Watch and the International Committee for the Red Cross. However, this coverage is now reduced following the departure of our British diplomatic staff on 13 November.

Kidnapping (Britons)

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens have been kidnapped in foreign countries in the past five years. [198078]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 15 November 2004]: According to our records, 74 British nationals have been reported kidnapped overseas in the last five years. However, not all kidnaps are notified to us. Some incidents are over very quickly and without any HMG involvement.

North Korea

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons
 
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programme; and what research he has commissioned concerning the possible threats that North Korea's nuclear weapons programme poses to international security. [197808]

Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have discussions with a wide range of interlocutors on counter-proliferation including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) nuclear aspirations. Most recently my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (Mr. Rammell) visited DPRK from 11–14 September, where the issue of DPRK's nuclear aspirations was an important element of his discussions. A statement about this visit was made to the House on 16 September 2004, Official Report, columns 186–88WS.

Information on the DPRK nuclear weapons programme is also available to FCO officials from a number of other sources both within and outside Government. It is evaluated continually by them and by experts in other Departments to determine, among other things, the level of threat posed to the UK and internationally. The Foreign Secretary has not asked for other specific research on the DPRK nuclear weapons threat to be undertaken.


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