Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Nov 2004 : Column 1342W—continued

Nuclear Disarmament

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation were put by the United Kingdom to the most recent session of the United Nations General Assembly's (UNGA) Committee on Disarmament; which proposals on non-proliferation put forward by other states the UK (a) supported and (b) abstained on; if he will list the resolutions debated during this session of the Committee; what the reasons were for the way the United Kingdom voted in each case; and if he will make a statement. [197616]

Mr. MacShane: At the most recent session of the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament (4 October—5 November) the United Kingdom co-sponsored a number of resolutions on non-proliferation. These included: L31 measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, L49 prevention of the illicit transfer and unauthorised access to and use of man-portable air defence systems, and L50 Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missiles.

The UK also joined consensus on L5 national legislation on the transfer of arms, military equipment, dual use goods and technology, and supported L37 risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

A full list of all 57 resolutions tabled at this year's First Committee with the United Kingdom's voting record and copies of the explanations of vote offered by the United Kingdom to the Committee will shortly be published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/ukdis.
 
16 Nov 2004 : Column 1343W
 

Sri Lanka

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote the peace process in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. [197599]

Mr. Alexander: We welcome the progress that has been made in the peace process since the ceasefire came into effect in February 2002. We are however concerned that there have been no direct peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam since April 2003. We are working closely with international partners to encourage all parties to return to the negotiating table. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, explained our concern that peace negotiations need to be resumed quickly in meetings with the Sri Lankan President in June, and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in July. We are supporting small-scale peacebuilding activities in Sri Lanka with funding from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool and the Department for International Development. The details of a final peace settlement in Sri Lanka will, of course, be for the Sri Lankans to decide. We are keen that any settlement should be one that takes account of the legitimate demands of all communities within a democratic and stable Sri Lanka.

Subsidiarity

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at what point in the EU decision-making process it is the policy of the UK to refer disputes over subsidiarity to the European Court of Justice. [197564]

Mr. MacShane: The Government takes a view on subsidiarity in respect of all draft European laws and communicates this view to the UK Parliament through an Explanatory Memorandum. If the Government felt that a particular draft law breached the subsidiarity principle then it would seek to address this during negotiations and if necessary oppose adoption of the measure. In the event that a measure was adopted which we felt constituted a breach of the subsidiarity principle then, in line with other challenges on procedural issues, we would consider referring a case to the European Court of Justice at that point.

Sudan

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the regime in Khartoum on the forced movement of internally displaced people in the camps in Darfur; and what discussions he has had with the UN on this. [198075]

Mr. Mullin: We are gravely concerned by the forced relocations of people in camps in Darfur. This appears to be a breach of international humanitarian law, as well as the established mechanisms on relocations. We have repeatedly made clear to the Government of Sudan that all returns must be voluntary and appropriate and carried out with full and prior consultation with the international community, as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Sudan and the International Organisation for Migration.
 
16 Nov 2004 : Column 1344W
 

During our respective visits to Sudan, both my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I met the UN Special Representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk. We discussed the need for a co-ordinated international response on the protection of civilians, including displaced persons, in Darfur.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the Sudan Liberation Army. [198076]

Mr. Mullin: I met the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army when they visited London on 13 October. I pressed them on the need to abide by the ceasefire, to sign the Humanitarian Protocol, and to engage fully on negotiating a Security Protocol. We welcome the signing of both Protocols in Abuja on 9 November.

Trafficking/Illegal Weapons Export

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many countries have taken up the UK's offer of help in meeting the 28 October deadline for making a report to the UN on (a) trafficking prevention and export controls of illicit weapons trade and (b) how dangerous weapons-related materials are secured; and if he will make a statement. [198058]

Mr. MacShane: The UK was approached by a number of states seeking advice on the structure and scope of national reports under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. In response to these approaches, the UK circulated widely its own draft report on 13 August in order to provide a possible model for others to follow. The UK formally submitted its national report to the 1540 Committee on 29 September, and my right honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary made a written statement on 11 October Official Report, column 3WS.

We remain fully committed to the work of the 1540 Committee in ensuring global implementation of this resolution, including—where appropriate—through providing assistance or advice to others.

Turkey

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 8 November 2004, Official Report, column 523W, on Turkey (Penal Code), whether the introductory paper to the new Turkish penal codes refers to the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus and the Armenian Genocide in its explanatory notes on Article 305; and if he will make a statement. [198617]

Mr. MacShane: Article 305 concerns Turkish citizens acting against national interests in return for material benefits from a foreign individual or organisation. The wording of this article only refers to such national interests as independence, territorial integrity and national security. There is no mention of Cyprus or the Armenian genocide.

The explanatory note to this Article, designed as guidance to the judiciary, remains unchanged from the guidance drafted under the previous government. It states that in this context (of receiving material benefits
 
16 Nov 2004 : Column 1345W
 
from a foreign individual or organisation) "a citizen who demands the withdrawal of troops from Cyprus, or declares that the Armenian genocide took place during the First World War, can be pursued by virtue of this article."

This explanatory note, however, does not have the same legal status as the Penal Code and is not legally binding.

The Commission has made it clear to Turkey that they expect the language not to be taken into consideration when interpreting Article 305. The Commission, with our support, will monitor implementation of the law closely to ensure Turkey meets its international legal obligations, including those concerning freedom of expression under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

Ukraine

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to monitor the presidential election in Ukraine. [197476]

Mr. MacShane: The United Kingdom made the largest contribution to the OSCE's Election Observer Mission to the first round of Ukraine's presidential election on 31 October. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded 60 short-term observers and five long-term observers together with the OSCE's Deputy Head of Mission. We shall repeat this for the second round scheduled for 21 November.


Next Section Index Home Page