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10 Oct 2005 : Column 121W—continued

General Lighthouse Fund

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Department for Transport regarding the cessation of payments from the UK general lighthouse fund for the provision of navigational aids in Irish territorial waters. [16051]

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Mr. Douglas Alexander: After initial contact from Department for Transport officials, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office helped to put them into direct contact with their Irish counterparts to discuss the funding of navigational aids in UK and Irish waters.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the status of negotiations with Spain on the future of Gibraltar. [16077]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There are currently no negotiations between the UK and Spain on the future of Gibraltar.

The Trilateral Forum, created through a joint statement by the Governments of Spain, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar on 16 December 2004 gives an equal voice for all three parties to discuss matters relating to Gibraltar. Any party may raise any issue relating to Gibraltar in this forum.

So far, the forum has concentrated on areas of possible local co-operation, including expanded use of the airport, telephones, pensions and problems at the border.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2005, Official report, column 877W, on Iraq, if he will make a statement on the development of a Secretary General/High Representative for Iraq in the context of paragraph 9 of Council Joint Action 2005/190/CFSP of 7 March, Official Journal, L62 vol 48 of 9 March. [16318]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There is no Secretary General/High Representative for Iraq. Paragraph 9 of the aforementioned Council Joint Action refers to Javier Solana, the Secretary General of the European Union and its High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.


Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Israeli security wall. [16590]

Dr. Howells: We fully recognise Israel's right to self-defence. A barrier is a reasonable way to achieve this. But the barrier's route should be on or behind the Green Line, and not on occupied territory. Construction of the barrier on Palestinian land is illegal.

On 15 September the Israeli High Court ordered the re-routing of the barrier around Alfei Menashe, a West Bank settlement near the Green Line, because of its damaging impact on Palestinian villagers in the area. This ruling will reduce the humanitarian impact of the barrier in that area. However, we continue to be concerned at the route of the barrier on occupied territory. The route is particularly damaging around Jerusalem, as this risks cutting the city off from the West Bank and dividing the West Bank in two.
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We continue to raise our concerns over the barrier with the Israeli Government at all levels. Most recently I discussed this with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Housing Minister Isaac Herzog during my visit to Israel on the 28–29 September.


Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in the Lebanon; and if he will make a statement. [16102]

Dr. Howells: The Government of Fouad Siniora is committed to addressing the need for political, economic and security sector reforms in Lebanon. The UK stands ready to assist the Lebanese Government to implement these reforms. This was demonstrated by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's participation in a meeting of like-minded Foreign Ministers to support Lebanon on 19 September.

We are concerned by the recent bomb explosions in and around Beirut, which have killed one person and injured over 30. We condemn all such attacks which seek to destabilise Lebanon. The UK supports full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1614, both of which promote the sovereignty of Lebanon, and encourages all parties in Lebanon to assist with their implementation.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards Moldova, with particular reference to Romanian accession to the EU. [15922]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Romania's accession to the EU will mean that the opportunities and challenges associated with Moldova, including the problems presented by the frozen conflict in Transnistria, will lie on the EU's common external border. This will strengthen the EU's common interest in Moldova. We fully support the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims to share the benefits of the EU's enlargement with neighbouring countries and prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours. We continue to encourage Moldova to implement the reforms set out in the jointly agreed ENP Action Plan, which was launched in February this year.

We are also anxious to see progress towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Transnistria and fully support a more active role for the EU in efforts to find a solution. In this context we welcome the appointment and work of the EU Special Representative, the EU's participation as an observer to the five-sided negotiation process, and the decision to send an EU border assistance mission to Moldova.

Services in the Internal Market Directive

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received regarding the EU
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Directive on Services in the Internal Market from (a) business organisations, (b) trade unions, (c) other organisations and (d) individuals. [15431]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Progress on the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market is a priority for our presidency of the EU. Independent analysis indicates that the Services Directive will increase EU GDP by 0.5 per cent. bringing high quality services and lower prices to consumers and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The Government consulted widely on the Directive's implications when the Commission made its original proposal. A summary of representations made in response to that consultation are available on the DTI's website, at:

Sri Lanka

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Sri Lanka regarding the peace process; and if he will make a statement. [16101]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last had discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka on the peace process when he met Foreign Minister Kadirgamar in London on 14 March. The tragic assassination of Mr. Kadirgamar on 12 August was an unconscionable act of terrorism which we and our international partners have condemned unreservedly. This and the ongoing violence in Eastern Sri Lanka have put the Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka under increasing strain and the peace process is facing its most serious challenge since the Ceasefire Agreement came into force in 2002. It is incumbent on both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the Ceasefire Agreement fully.

In statements on 19 September and 26 September respectively the Tokyo Co-Chairs, including the UK as the EU Presidency, and the EU condemned the LTTE's continuing use of violence and called on the LTTE to take immediate public steps to demonstrate their commitment to the peace process and their willingness to change. An immediate end to political assassinations and the recruitment of child soldiers would be two such steps. It is essential that the LTTE responds. The European Union has also made clear that delegations from the LTTE will no longer be received in any of the EU member states until further notice. The EU is also actively considering the listing of the LTTE as an organisation engaged in terrorism (the UK has proscribed the LTTE since 2001). We also deplore the activities of paramilitary groups which fuel the cycle of violence and unrest. The Government of Sri Lanka have a responsibility under the Ceasefire Agreement to disarm or relocate these groups from the north and east.

We hope that the peace process will be invigorated following the Presidential elections in Sri Lanka on 17 November. We continue strongly to support the efforts of Norway as peace process facilitator.

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