|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will change the advice on the Foreign Office website to advise UK nationals against purchasing properties in occupied North Cyprus where the original owner of the land was a Greek Cypriot. [R] 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Government already advise potential purchasers of property in north Cyprus that the non-recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and the possibility of a future political settlement in Cyprus could have significant practical, financial and legal consequences. We strongly encourage potential buyers to seek independent, qualified legal advice and we also highlight the risk that purchasers could face legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus.
The travel advice is regularly reviewed and amended in response to changing circumstances on the island. However, it is not the place of the Government to intervene in private commercial transactions.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who represented the UK at the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power for the 21st Century, in Paris on 21 and 22 March; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: This conference is one of a number organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss nuclear issues. We did not attend on this occasion, although the UK is regularly represented at IAEA conferences. For example, we recently hosted the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security in March 2005.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the events that have been organised by the public relations company Geronimo as part of its contract with his Department; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the company in generating media coverage. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Geronimo PR assisted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the planning and promotion of five ministerial visits to different UK regions. Evaluation of their work will take place in due course.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list events that the public relations company Trimedia Communications has organised as part of its contract with his Department; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the company in generating media coverage. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recruited Trimedia Communications UK to provide media relations support during our EU Presidency to ensure an appropriate range of media are informed about the Presidency. No events have been planned and the results of Trimedia's work will not be available until the end of the Presidency. At that point Trimedia are required to provide an evaluation report.
In April 2005, the FCO also recruited Trimedia to provide media and public relations support for the FCO's consular awareness/travel safety campaign Know Before You Go". Recently, Trimedia brokered an agreement with BritishLions.com (the official website of Lions' fans) for the communication of online consular and travel safety messages to rugby fans visiting New Zealand for the British and Irish Lions' Tour. This is the first public facing initiative undertaken by Trimedia on our behalf and is on-going. It would be premature to comment on the company's effectiveness in generating media coverage at this stage. Trimedia are however required to demonstrate their effectiveness against targets laid down by the FCO and the Central Office of Information, through whom this contract was tendered.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will ensure that human rights and democracy issues are a central focus of EU-Russian relations when the UK assumes the EU presidency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: As agreed in the EU-Russia Four Common Spaces on 10 May, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including a free and independent media, and the effective application of common values by independent judicial systems are all key elements of the EU-Russia relationship. The UK will ensure that these issues remain central to the development of EU-Russian relations as it takes forward implementation of the Four Common Spaces during its presidency of the EU.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Russian Government on international fair trial standards in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
We have been following the trial closely. Our embassy staff have attended court hearings and the Russian authorities are aware of our concerns. We believe that Russia's people, and Russia's
6 Jun 2005 : Column 240W
future, are best served by a judicial system properly independent of Government or other outside interference; a system which administers justice consistently, transparently and objectively.
We welcome President Putin's words in his address on 25 April on the importance of an effective judicial system and, together with our EU partners, continue to make clear to the Russian Government our concern that the rule of law should be applied in a non-discriminatory and proportional way. We raised our concerns about the Russian judicial system as recently as 23 May during our regular bilateral human rights dialogue which was held in Moscow.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Saharawi human rights activists concerning protection of their rights within MINURSO. 
Dr. Howells: Human rights issues are outside the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). UK officials meet Saharawi human rights groups when they visit the Western Sahara and will continue to do so.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sudan, regarding the forced relocations of internally displaced persons in the Sorba Arabi Camp, Khartoum. 
Ian Pearson: On 19 May, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development issued a statement expressing the UK's grave concern about the deaths of three civilians and 14 police officers in Soba Aradi Internally Displaced People's (IDP) camp in Khartoum, (available at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressreleases/bennsoba-sudan.asp).
My right hon. Friend called on all sides to prevent any further loss of life and urged the Government of Sudan to respect the human rights of the IDPs, protect its citizens and bring those responsible to justice. Our ambassador in Khartoum has also raised the incident with the Government of Sudan and pressed them to investigate the incident in consultation with the Joint National Transition Team under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and to take the necessary steps to prevent a recurrence.
We have repeatedly made clear to the Government of Sudan that all returns and relocations must be entirely voluntary and take place in full consultation with the established international monitoring mechanisms which are in place.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreignand Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with representatives of civil society from Southern Sudan concerning the peace process in the country. 
A member of the British High Commission in Nairobi now spends much of his time in Southern Sudan. He and other UK government officials discuss the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
6 Jun 2005 : Column 241W
Agreement with members of civil society, and others in Southern Sudan. We have also provided £1.2 million to Pact, a non-government organisation supporting the emergence of an active civil society in South Sudan.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the Government of Sudan, and (b) the Sudan People's Liberation Army and Sudan People's Liberation Movement on ending all support for the Lord's Resistance Army in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. 
Ian Pearson: We regularly raise the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) with both the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Since 2001, the Government of Sudan has been co-operating with the Government of Uganda on this issue and has allowed Ugandan armed forces into its territory in pursuit of LRA fighters. Following representations by the UK Government to both the Government of Sudan and the SPLM, this agreement was renewed on 15 May. Both sides have reiterated their commitment, under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed on 9 January, to work together to disarm, repatriate or expel foreign insurgency groups, including the LRA.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|