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Iraq

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the (a) role, (b) mandate, (c) budget, (d) diplomatic status, (e) level of support available from British diplomats, (f) personal security arrangements and (g) level of access to classified documents of the Secretary General/High Representative of the EU for Iraq. [10241]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There is no EU Secretary General/High Representative for Iraq.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice and assistance the Government have provided on oil policy to the Government of Iraq since June 2004; and if he will make a statement. [11481]

Dr. Howells: Since June 2004 the UK Government have provided policy advice and support to Iraq on oil matters in two areas.

In August 2004 the UK Government handed an outline document to the Iraq Ministry of Oil (MoO) on transparency and business ethics. The purpose was to familiarise the MoO with international initiatives aimed at improving transparency and the importance of good practice.

The UK has also been involved with assisting the MoO on education and training issues, delivered through the UK-Iraq Joint Board on Education and Training, established in December 2003. This includes work on a Learning Needs Analysis, English Language Training, IT Strategy, and Human Resources Procedures.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the fiscal and regulatory frameworks for the Iraqi oil industry prepared by the Government and referred to in paragraph 11 of the Response of the Secretary of State to the Seventh Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee session 2003–04, on Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [11516]

Dr. Howells: We discuss with the Iraqi Ministries their priorities on a regular basis. We had intended to prepare a paper for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) on regulatory frameworks, but following discussion with them decided to reprioritise the funding. We are therefore not able to place a copy of the fiscal and regulatory frameworks for the oil industry in the Library of the House.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to him today (UIN 11481) on the areas the UK has assisted the MoO on oil policy since June 2004. We are continuing to discuss with the MoO how we can help them develop an oil industry that is transparent and efficiently run.
 
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Israel

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports (a) NATO and (b) the Government have received regarding whether Israel possesses weapons of mass destruction. [11051]

Dr. Howells: The Government are not able to answer on behalf of NATO. We are of course aware of the widespread assumption that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, but note too that the Israeli Government have refused to confirm it.

Middle East

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East. [11086]

Dr. Howells: The United Kingdom strongly supports the establishment of a zone free from all Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East. The UK, together with the Russian Federation and United States, sponsored the Resolution on the Middle East agreed at the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference which included a call for the establishment of a such a zone.

Sir Donald Tsang

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer to Question 6623, what the Government's policy is on the use of Sir Donald Tsang's title. [10784]

Ian Pearson: There is no Government Policy on the use of Donald Tsang's title, which derives from the KBE awarded to him in 1997 for his 30-year service to Hong Kong. It is for the individual concerned to decide whether they use or wish to be known by their title.

Sudan

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Sudan regarding (a) the use of torture in Sudan, (b) summary arrest without trial, (c) the treatment of minorities outside Darfur and (d) the treatment of opposition parties in Sudan. [10895]

Ian Pearson: We make regular representations to the Government of Sudan on human rights, both bilaterally and through multilateral forums such as the EU-Sudan Human Rights dialogue and the sub-Joint Implementation Mechanism meetings on human rights. On 30 June we emphasised to senior Sudanese government and judicial officials the importance of human rights. The discussions covered a wide range of subjects including the use of torture and treatment of minorities.

We regularly raise with the Government of Sudan the importance of fully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the new Interim National Constitution which make explicit provisions for the protection of human rights, fair trial and free speech. We intend to take forward these issues as part of our EU presidency.
 
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the (a) fairness and (b) effectiveness of the Sudanese judicial system. [11063]

Ian Pearson: The UK makes regular representations to the Government of Sudan on the need to ensure its judicial process is fair and transparent, and we have raised our concerns on a number of individual cases. We are pleased that, under the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the parties have committed themselves to a comprehensive review of the Sudanese judicial system, and to guaranteeing free and fair trials for all. The UK will play a leading role in supporting reform of the Sudanese justice sector. As part of our £7.2 million programme in this area, we are assisting the National Judicial Service Commission, which monitors reform.

The International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur set up by the UN Secretary-General cited shortcomings in the Sudanese criminal justice system and concluded that the Sudanese judiciary were unable or unwilling to carry out prosecutions in relation to the crimes in Darfur. UN Security Council Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005, which we sponsored, therefore referred Darfur to the International Criminal Court. In the Prosecutor's first report to the Security Council on 19 June, he said he had sufficient grounds for a formal investigation. The decision was, in part, based on the absence of Sudanese legal proceedings relating to the cases the Prosecutor is likely to focus on.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the (a) treatment of prisoners and (b) safety of political dissidents in Sudan; [11064]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the prospect for fair and humane treatment of political activists and dissidents in Khartoum. [11065]

Ian Pearson: We make regular representations to the Government of Sudan regarding the treatment of prisoners and the release of political detainees. We welcome the release on 30 June of 29 political prisoners, among them the leader of the Popular Congress Party Dr. Hassan al-Turabi and General Secretary of the Beja Congress Abdulla Musa. We continue to press the Government of Sudan to release those political detainees still held.

Under the terms of the Interim National Constitution, signed on 6 June 2005, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January 2005, the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, expression and association are guaranteed to all. They also guarantee freedom from discrimination on any grounds, including for political or other opinions. We continue to urge the parties to implement fully the CPA and to ensure that swift progress is made on the provisions on human rights.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent peace deal for Darfur, with specific reference to the security situation; and how this peace deal relates to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2004. [11213]


 
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Ian Pearson: We welcome the signature on 5 July in Abuja, of the Declaration of Principles for the resolution of the conflict in Darfur. We congratulate the parties on this achievement, and commend the African Union (AU)-led mediation team for its efforts. This is an important step. It is the first document agreed by the parties to the Darfur conflict that deals with political, rather than humanitarian and security, issues. Although not a peace deal in itself, it sets the framework within which the negotiations towards such a deal should proceed. We are pressing the parties to return to Abuja on 24 August, the date set for resumption of talks by the AU Special Envoy Salim Salim, and to negotiate in good faith, towards a full political agreement, necessary to achieve peace in Darfur. Such an agreement will need to be complementary to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in Nairobi on 9 January. We also continue to insist that the parties abide by the commitments they have already made to improve the security situation in Darfur, notably the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement and the Abuja Humanitarian and Security Protocols.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the security situation in Khartoum for Darfuri citizens; [11031]

(2) what assessment he has made of the risks to the safety of black African Darfuris in Khartoum. [11066]

Ian Pearson: There are over a million Darfuris in Khartoum, many of them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). We and our international partners closely monitor the living conditions of IDPs including those from other parts of the Sudan, for example through participation in the recently formed Consultative Committee on Re-planning Areas of Displacement in Khartoum. We are constantly pressing the Government of Sudan to improve conditions for IDPs, including Darfuris. We have no information that the conditions for black African Darfuri IDPs are worse than those for any other IDPs.


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