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17 Nov 2004 : Column 1556W—continued

Ivory Coast

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between the Government and (a) France and (b) the UN, regarding hostilities within Ivory Coast between northern rebels and government forces. [198254]

Mr. Mullin: We have been in constant contact with both the French and the UN about the situation in the Ivory Coast.

On 15 November the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1572. This condemns the Government of Côte d'Ivoire's air-strikes; reiterates support for French and UN action on the ground; emphasises the need for a political solution; and imposes an arms embargo on Côte d'Ivoire with immediate effect. It also agrees to impose a travel ban and assets freeze on those blocking the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire should there have been no progress on implementing the Accra III Peace Agreement by 15 December.


Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to assist Jamaica in fighting gun and drug culture, with particular reference to (a) funding and (b) counter narcotics and weapons expertise; and if he will make a statement. [198274]

Mr. Rammell: We continue to support Jamaica's efforts to counter drugs and crime problems.

Included in our assistance is support worth around £3.6 million for the Caribbean Security Sector in 2003–04. Of this, at least £850,000 was spent on projects in Jamaica tackling gun and drugs crime.

We are working closely with the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) on targeting individuals trying to smuggle drugs through airports. We are funding courses to train the JCF in using firearms safely and properly, and providing assistance in investigating high profile crimes. The Department for International Development is assisting in the reform and modernisation of the JCF. Our police officers in the UK are working closely with the Jamaicans while dealing with drugs and crime problems in the UK, and supporting their new anti-crime operation "Kingfish". We have conducted joint operations with the Jamaican Defence Force and other international parties, and a number of Royal Navy and Auxiliary fleet ships have been in the region supporting the efforts being made on maritime interdiction.

Legal Base (EU)

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is in respect
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of choice of legal base for EU measures; whether preference is given to bases requiring unanimity rather than qualified majority voting; and at what point in the decision-making process it is the policy of the UK to refer disputes over legal base and voting method to the European Court of Justice. [198128]

Mr. MacShane: The legal basis of a proposed measure is not a question of member state preference. It has to be determined by an analysis of the aim and content of the measure in question in the light of the provisions of the EC Treaty establishing the Community's power to act in the relevant area. The point at which the Government would consider referring a dispute about the legal basis of a measure to the ECJ similarly is determined by the relevant provisions of the Treaty, in particular. Article 230 TEC and the Statute and rules of Procedure of the Court.


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has raised the case of Mr. Fathi al Jehmi and his treatment by the Libyan Government with the Libyan Government. [198154]

Mr. Rammell: The Government are aware of the case of Fathi al Jehmi and is monitoring developments. The Government continue to have and to raise concerns about Libya's human rights record, including restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, the treatment of political prisoners, arbitrary detention and on conditions in Libyan prisons.

The Government welcomed Amnesty International's visit to Libya in February—the first since 1988—and their report "Time to Make Human Rights a Reality". The report included the case of Fathi al Jehmi. The Government have been speaking to the Libyan authorities about this report and will continue to look for ways in which we can work with the Libyan authorities to improve the human rights situation there. This has included a number of visits to the United Kingdom by Libyan human rights groups, and a Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded project to work with the Libyan authorities to improve the management of their prisons.


Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans the Government have to recognise the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as The Republic of Macedonia in international fora. [198269]

Mr. MacShane: The Government uses the constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia" in bilateral relations. Along with the majority of our partners and allies, we use the designation 'the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' in certain international fora.


Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the
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Government are taking in conjunction with the international community to foster political stability in Somalia. [198265]

Mr. Mullin: The UK is fully committed to the establishment of a Transitional Federal Government for Somalia which represents an important opportunity to build political stability. We are supporting this process politically, working with other international partners, and providing financial assistance bilaterally and through the EU.

Student Visas

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons student visas issued to overseas nationals coming to the UK do not cover the full length of their courses. [198843]

Mr. Mullin: Overseas students who have been issued entry clearance to the United Kingdom to pursue a course of longer than twelve months are issued with a visa for the full duration of their course. If the course finishes in summer they are granted leave to enter until 31 October in the year in which they complete their course. For courses that do not follow the standard autumn to summer pattern an additional two months leave is added to the end of the course date. Postgraduate students are given four months beyond the end of their course irrespective of when it finishes. This allows postgraduate students the necessary time to make any corrections or redrafts to their thesis.


Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding the progress of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development talks in Sudan. [198264]

Mr. Mullin: At the latest round of the IGAD-led talks on the comprehensive peace agreement, which took place in Kenya from 7–30 October, steady progress was made, including on permanent ceasefire arrangements and implementation modalities for the agreement. These talks are due to resume at the technical level on 26 November, and the principals, First Vice President Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) Chairman Garang, will reconvene on 11 December to address any remaining political issues. We continue to press both the Government of Sudan and the SPLM to fulfil their commitment to conclude the talks by the end of the year.

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government have provided to the African Union troops in the Darfur region of Sudan, in terms of (a) funding, (b) equipment, (c) training and (d) transportation logistics. [198263]

Mr. Mullin: In May the UK contributed £2 million to help jump-start the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur. In August we helped fund the airlift of 150 Nigerian troops into Darfur, and, through the British Peace Support Team in Kenya, we provided logistics advice for the 150 Rwandan troops that joined the
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mission. We have also donated rations packs and maps, and provided technical planning expertise for the AU, as well as seconding a British monitor to the mission.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in Addis Ababa on 7 October, we will also play our part in supporting the expansion of the AU force. We have set aside a further £12 million for this purpose. We are working hard to ensure that the extra troops can be deployed quickly, including by providing vehicles. We have informed the AU that we will consider requests for additional support as required, including training.

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