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Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings United Kingdom representatives in Colombia have had recently with (a) trade unions, (b) human rights groups, (c) universities and (d) opposition parties; and if he will make a statement. [157709]

Mr. Rammell: Our embassy in Bogota maintains regular contact with a wide range of organisations and individuals in Colombia, including representatives from the categories highlighted by my hon. Friend. These contacts encompass governmental and non-governmental figures, academics, trade unionists, NGOs, and other representatives of civil society, and a broad range of political parties both in government and opposition. For my part, I met representatives from these categories on 21 and 22 June during my second visit to Colombia, this time with Mr. Rory Murphy of the TUC. During my first visit in May 2003 I also met a wide range of Colombian NGOs, including representatives from a number of the categories mentioned. In addition I frequently meet Colombian visitors in London—both governmental and non-governmental—to brief me on the situation in their country. On 16 September I met a representative from a Colombian trade union in London. I also saw a Church representative on 18 October. Finally 1 hold regular meetings with British trades unionists about Colombia, most recently on 18 October. A further meeting with them is planned for 23 November. All the meetings are an important means of enhancing our understanding of the situation in Colombia.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement in relation to UK military aid to Colombia. [159607]

Mr. Rammell: We have always made it clear that we do provide, from time to time, military and security advice and assistance to the Colombian Government. UK military assistance focuses on Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training and British military education.

Mines and other explosive devices are responsible for a significant proportion of deaths among the Colombian armed forces, and also have a devastating effect on the civilian population. Bomb disposal training, which forms the core of our military assistance programme, directly helps the Colombian armed forces to save civilian and military lives. We have also trained elements of the Colombian Authorities engaged in Counter-Narcotics work.

We have also assisted the Colombian military on human rights issues. For example, under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights Project Fund we recently ran a project to raise awareness of the armed forces on their role in prevention of displacement and protection of the rights of internally displaced persons. We also have an ongoing project on human rights training for the military through the Colombian military justice school.

British military training and education introduces personnel to British defence concepts, including the importance of accountable and democratic control of the armed forces, and the use of Rules of Engagement. It improves the ability of the Colombian armed forces to
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provide security for the Colombian people in a professional manner that preserves democracy and respects human rights.


Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make enhanced intergovernmental contracts with Cuba contingent upon an improvement in human rights in that country. [199119]

Mr. Rammell: UK policy on Cuba is governed by the EU Common Position, which has human rights enshrined as one of its key principles. The EU regularly issues statements condemning the imprisonment of human rights activists and other political prisoners in Cuba. I have also raised our concerns on human rights with the Cuban ambassador in London, and the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister at the UN General Assembly.


Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it a condition of the United Kingdom's support for opening sea ports in northern Cyprus to EU trade that such ports adhere to (a) all existing and future European ports directives and (b) health and safety requirements; and how he expects such rules will be enforced. [199351]

Mr. MacShane: It has not proved possible to respond to my hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation, for which I apologise.

Ditchley Park

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria he applies to the use of Ditchley Park by outside organisations for conferences, seminars and meetings concerned with international issues. [196721]

Mr. Straw: Ditchley Park is an independent organisation. Neither the Foreign and Commonwealth Office nor any other Government Department is responsible for setting its criteria. Further information on Ditchley Park can be found at their website:

Equatorial Guinea

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 9 November 2004, Official Report, column 631W, on Equatorial Guinea, from what source his Department learned of the attempted coup plot in Equatorial Guinea; to which foreign security agencies this information was passed, and when; and whether his Department informed authorities in Zimbabwe about the plot. [198323]

Mr. Mullin [holding answer 16 November 2004]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave to the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) on 17 November 2004 (UINs 198219, 198227 and 198228).
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EU Arms Embargoes

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what plans there are for future EU arms embargoes to include provisions to turn off or degrade the Galileo positioning system signal to those subject to the embargo if the signal is used for military purposes; [197592]

(2) what assessment he has made of whether provision of Galileo positioning signals by the EU to a warring party would constitute a breach of neutrality in that armed conflict. [197593]

Mr. MacShane: Galileo is a civilian system under civilian control, as confirmed by successive EU Transport Councils.

As is currently the case with GPS, the Galileo Open Service will be freely available.

A decision to develop or use specific military applications for Galileo would, under the terms of the EU treaty, have to be taken by unanimous decision by all member states. The UK is opposed to the development of military applications for Galileo.

The Galileo Management Structures will be responsible for ensuring compliance of Galileo with international arms control regimes, acting on the guidance of member states through the Council.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times during the Greek presidency of the EU the Committee for protection against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country, and actions based thereon or resulting therefrom (anti-boycott) met; when and where these meetings took place; which UK Government expert was present at each meeting; what issues were discussed; which of those were brought to the Committee's attention by the UK Government expert; what recommendations were made by the Committee; what actions were (a) proposed and (b) taken by the EU as a result of the Committee's recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [192492]

Mr. Alexander: It was intended that a Committee for Protection Against the Effects of the Extraterritorial Application of Legislation Adopted by a Third Country and Actions Based Thereon or Resulting Therefrom (anti-boycott) would be established in Brussels to assist EU companies affected by extraterritorial jurisdiction by third countries, and in particular those affected by the extraterritorial aspects of the US trade sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Libya.

Thus far, the Committee has not been convened. UK companies are obliged to inform HMG and the European Commission of any extraterritorial action taken against them, but whilst it is clear who would be responsible for representing the UK at any meeting of the Committee, in these times of improved electronic communication, it has not been necessary in practice for it to meet.

In addition, as part of the 1997 Understanding between the EU and the US, the US undertook to exempt European individuals and companies from the
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extraterritorial aspects of US legislation drastically reducing the number of cases occurring, thus further reducing the need for the Committee to meet. In this case, the other questions about the Committee do not apply.

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