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Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria (a) Romania and (b) Bulgaria need to meet to join the EU; what is his assessment of whether (i) Romania and (ii) Bulgaria are on track to meet these criteria; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: As agreed at the Copenhagen European Council in 1993, candidate countries need to meet the so-called 'Copenhagen criteria' before they can join the European Union. This means that they must have:
The European Commission is closely monitoring both countries' preparations. It published a Comprehensive Monitoring Report on 25 October this year in which it confirmed that both countries fulfil the political criteria for membership and are functioning market economies. But it emphasised that both countries need to urgently step up the implementation of reforms in the areas of Justice and Home Affairs, agriculture, the environment and administrative capacity. The Commission will continue to closely monitor their progress and will produce a follow-up report in spring next year. If it deems that either country is manifestly unprepared for membership, it can recommend to the Council that accession be delayed by one year to 2008.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has held with the Russian Government regarding Russia's possible entry to the EU. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has had no discussions with the Russian Federation regarding Russian entry into the European Union (EU). The Russian Federation currently has no plans to seek membership of the EU.
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Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Senegal (a) bilaterally and (b) representing the EU under the UK presidency on the requests by Belgium for the extradition of Hissene Habre on charges of crimes against humanity; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: We continue to work closely with the UN and other members of the international community to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement and a return to good governance in Somalia. We fully support the special representative of the UN Secretary General, Francois Fall, in his efforts to facilitate the peace process and encourage Somali-owned reconciliation initiatives.
We remain deeply concerned by recent reports of military activities, violations of the UN arms embargo and hostile rhetoric between the rival factions. We totally condemn the assassination attempt on 6 November against the Transitional Federal Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed Gedi, and extend our condolences to the families of the victims. We believe that any use of force to settle the current differences within the Transitional Federal Institutions is unacceptable and counterproductive.
We urge all the Somali factions to refrain from military activities and to take concrete steps to reach consensus through dialogue and quickly create the conditions in which humanitarian access can alleviate the suffering of large numbers of southern Somalis.
My noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham) met the Transitional Federal President of Somalia, Abullahi Yusuf, on 20 May, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative, Francois Fall, on 6 September and the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament, Sharif Hasan, on 2 October. Officials in London and Nairobi have also actively been urging representatives of the Somali factions to resolve their differences over the location of the Transitional Federal Government and the details of a security stabilisation plan for Somalia. We also discuss Somalia regularly in the UN Security Council and with our EU partners.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of a split in the ranks of the Sudan Liberation Army on the potential for peace in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: We are concerned about continued divisions within the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A). These divisions are fuelling insecurity on the ground and threaten to hinder the peace negotiations in Abuja. We and our international partners are pressing all factions within the SLM/A to unite and negotiate with one voice at the Darfur peace talks in Abuja, which are due to resume on 21 November.
Ian Pearson: We are greatly concerned by attacks on humanitarian workers in Darfur. In recent weeks there have been a number of attacks on World Food Programme convoys in Southern Darfur. These attacks appear to have been carried out by bandits. Humanitarian operations are critical in supporting the civilians in Darfur, and any attacks on United Nations (UN) and non-governmental humanitarian agencies put their work in jeopardy and limits access to those who need assistance. At present, the UN reports that it is confident that all areas of Darfur are accessible by helicopter, and at least intermittently by road. They report that despite these serious incidents, humanitarian services to all areas are continuing.
We make regular representations to all parties in the Darfur conflict and have made clear that the harassment, abduction and attacks on humanitarian workers in Darfur is unacceptable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. During his visit to Sudan on 58 October my noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham), met representatives from non-governmental organisations and UN agencies in Darfur to hear their views on the security situation which is hampering the humanitarian relief effort. He raised these issues strongly with the Sudanese Government, pressing the importance of improving the security situation and allowing aid workers to operate freely. The African Union Mission in Sudan, to which we are providing almost £32 million, is having a positive effect on security where it is deployed.
We and the international community worked hard with President Mkapa, presidential candidate Kikwete, President Karume and all
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concerned, to encourage them to put their personal authority behind a process that would result in a free and fair election in Zanzibar on 30 October.
My noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham) wrote to President Mkapa on 24 October setting out his concerns regarding reports of violence and intimidation on Zanzibar in the run-up to the elections. As presidency of the EU, the UK made representations to the Tanzanian Government, regarding the importance of peaceful, transparent and credible elections, on 17 and 26 October.
My hon. Friend the former Minister for Africa (Mr. Mullin), went to Zanzibar to observe the election as a special envoy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He met presidential candidate Kikwete on 1 November and discussed the importance of addressing the deeply polarised nature of Zanzibari politics.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Tanzania regarding its support for President Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. 
Ian Pearson: In the wake of Operation Murambatsvina in Zimbabwe, our high commissioner in Dar es Salaam raised Zimbabwe with ambassador Mulamula at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 July 2005. My noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham), also discussed Zimbabwe with Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, on 30 June. More recently, the United Kingdom's permanent representative to the United Nations discussed the situation in Zimbabwe with other United Nations Security Council members, including Tanzania, on 4 October. We intend to continue these discussions until the Government of Zimbabwe addresses the United Nations Secretary General's concerns.
Ministers and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials take every opportunity to discuss with African Governments, including Tanzania, the political situation in Zimbabwe and other issues that affect the region. On 1 November, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear to the House that we would continue to urge Southern African nations to put strong pressure on the Mugabe regime (Official Report, columns 71819).
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