|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans to visit Bulgaria. So far this year, the former Europe Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander), my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East and the former Home Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke) have visited Bulgaria to assess EU accession preparations. I plan to visit later this year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the value of frozen assets held under the EU Common Position on Burma
was in (a) the UK and (b) all European Union member states. 
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people on the visa ban list under the EU Common Position on Burma have been (a) refused and (b) granted entry to Europe. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of reports of Janjaweed militias committing atrocities against civilians and refugees in Eastern Chad. 
Margaret Beckett: There are indications that some militia groups are now operating in the border area inside Eastern Chad, while others continue to mount attacks from inside Darfur. We are concerned for the safety and security of the estimated 50,000 Chadians displaced as a result of attacks and violence in the east of the country, and for the 200,000 refugees from Darfur now sheltering in camps in Eastern Chad. The UK provided £5 million to the response in Chad last year and is providing an additional £4 million this year. We continue to monitor the situation closely.
Margaret Beckett: We are aware that Chadian rebels and Darfur militia continue to mount cross-border attacks into Eastern Chad from Darfur, which has led to the displacement of 50,000 Chadians. We are concerned by the continuing unrest in Eastern Chad and for the safety and security of both displaced Chadians, and the 200,000 Darfur refugees in camps there. We are also concerned about reports of forced recruitment of young men and teenagers from the refugee camps in Eastern Chad by Darfur rebels.
We continue to call on all sides to show restraint and on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to resolve their differences, fulfil their obligations under the Tripoli Agreement and restore calm to the region without the use of violence.
Sir Gerald Kaufman:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she will
reply to the letter to her predecessor dated 18 April 2006 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs. Ahmed. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what counter-narcotics training her Department has facilitated for law enforcement agencies in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Jamaica, (c) Turkey, (d) Iran, (e) Pakistan and (f) the Balkans in the last five years. 
Afghanistan has been a high priority country for CN assistance since 2002. The UK law enforcement and criminal justice budget for 2006-07 is over £20 million. Within Afghanistan, the UK, as key partner nation, has helped to establish the counter narcotics police of Afghanistan (CNPA)the lead national drugs law enforcement agency, with its headquarters in Kabul and seven provincial officesthrough training, mentoring and equipping the force. The UK also co-ordinates the mentoring of senior officers within the CNPA and has contributed £1.5 million to the Afghan Law and Order Trust Fund which supports salaries and purchases of equipment for the CNPA. Additionally, the UK has assisted the establishment of a Counter Narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force, and is providing mentoring on prosecution and investigation. The UK is also helping to strengthen the borders of Afghanistan through contributions to border management assistance in Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan.
In Jamaica, the main focus of our training has been to ensure that Jamaican law enforcement agencies become more effective crime fighting forces and in particular are able to dismantle organised drug syndicates, by enhancing their investigation techniques and ability to gather intelligence and evidence. Training has also been provided to the coastguard on interdiction techniques and to deter illegal drug trafficking into and out of Jamaica, as well as customs training at airports.
In Turkey, CN training is delivered through the UK/Turkey Prime Ministers' Action Plan, agreed at the UK/Turkey summit in May 2004. Our CN training assistance to Turkey concentrates on intelligence capability with a view to facilitating joint operational work with UK law enforcement to tackle trafficking in drugs.
In Iran, the UK supports operational engagement to tackle drug traffickers, providing technical advice to Iranian law enforcement agencies, in particular the anti narcotics police, on how Iran can further improve its performance on supply reduction. We are also helping to strengthen border management capability, and improve drug detection work, mainly through contributing to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Iran CN programme.
In Pakistan, the UK is helping to improve Pakistan's CN capacity through law enforcement intelligence and interdiction capability training for the Anti Narcotics Force (the UK's key CN partner), including capacity building at sea and airports. We also assist judicial CN training to help to improve the criminal justice processes to bring drug traffickers to justice.
In the Balkans, our aim is to help law enforcement agencies to be better equipped to fight drug traffickers and other organised crime groups at an international level through strengthened border controls, intelligence capability and drug detection training and equipment.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the finance director of her Department. 
Mr. Hoon: The finance director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is D. R. Todd. He has a BA in Modern History. He was appointed in 2004, after a Whitehall competition, by a selection board including the then Government chief accountant. The Department is in the process of recruiting a qualified professional to succeed Mr. Todd by December 2006, in line with HM Treasury cross-Whitehall recommendations.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the status is of EU air and sea patrols deployed in the territorial waters of Mauritania, Senegal and Cape Verde; what the cost of such operations are to the EU; and from what budget they are being funded. 
Mr. Hoon [holding answer 26 June 2006]: There are currently no EU air or sea patrols deployed around Mauritania, Senegal and Cape Verde, although the Spanish authorities have been engaged in bilateral co-operation with Mauritanian authorities using EU funding. Action is being planned to counter the illegal migration route through the territorial waters off West Africa at four levels:
external Relations Commissioner Ferrero Waldner has made a commitment of €2 million for a Rapid Reaction Mechanism, which would include air and naval patrols, although not all this funding will be channelled to action around Mauritania, Senegal and Cape Verde;
Frontex (the EU border agency) has allocated an initial indicative €1.3 million to step up patrols as well as other interdiction activities;
the European Development Fund is also being used bilaterally, for instance in Mauritania, to work on strengthening border security mechanisms and to combat illegal migration;
finally as an interim measure some EU member states are making available hardware, manpower and surveillance capability to step up patrols of the affected areas.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to increase transparency of decision making in the Council of the European Union. 
Mr. Hoon: An Overall Policy on Transparency was agreed at the June European Council. Before considering any further proposals on increasing transparency in the Council of Ministers, the Government will want to see how the Finnish presidency implements the policy in practice, and then take full account of the six month review agreed at the European Council.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) other Departments and (b) the Prime Ministers office on the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. 
Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have had discussions on the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for International Development and the Cabinet Office. The most recent meeting was held on 13 June.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Foreign Affairs Committee recommendations the Department has (a) accepted and (b) implemented since 2001-02; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold this data in the form sought by the hon. Member and to collate it would incur disproportionate costs. The Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) produced 59 reports during the period in question. The FCO replies to each FAC report in the form of a Command Paper, in which each of the Committees recommendations receives a response.
We have long made it clear that we regard the circumstances under which detainees
continue to be held at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as unacceptable. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said, it should be closed.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the European Union has agreed to take to encourage the United States Administration to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. 
The US government must take the measures to close the camp as soon as possible.
The United States Government are well aware of the EUs concerns. After the EU-US summit in Vienna on 21 June, President Bush acknowledged these concerns and reaffirmed his wish to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has received from (a) the Council of Europe and (b) others recommending the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate possible human rights violations that transcend national borders. 
The United Kingdom Parliament has not yet established a formal inquiry into possible British participation in abuses committed by the United States in the course of the war on terror, but there have been several noteworthy parliamentary initiatives designed to broaden the public debate and encourage greater openness.
Initiate, if implicated in a case of rendition, an independent and impartial inquiry into the practice of rendition.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) the then Foreign Secretary set out in his written ministerial statement of 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-38WS the results of the extensive review of official records back to May 1997.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department has had with US counterparts on the recent US Department of Defense investigation into labour trafficking in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not discussed recent US investigations into people trafficking in Iraq with US counterparts. I note
the recommendations about labour trafficking in Iraq, laid out by the US Department of State in their annual report on trafficking in persons. We will raise this and other issues with the Iraqi and US Governments in the usual way.
The Government regularly discuss all forms of human trafficking through the International Labour Organisation, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe. The UK is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its optional "Palermo Protocol", specifically concerning human trafficking.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the coalition in Iraq is taking (a) to ensure Iraqi investigation of abuse allegations and (b) to promote public reporting of the investigations; and what the UK's role is in this process. 
Margaret Beckett: The Government take allegations of abuse extremely seriously and raise such allegations with the Iraqi Government at the highest level. We press the Government to investigate fully any allegations and welcome their commitment to make the findings of investigations public.
A joint inspection team comprised of Iraqi and Multi-National Force-Iraq officials has been established, the task of which is to make unannounced inspections at detention facilities and report its findings to the Iraqi authorities.
The Government shall continue to make clear to the Iraqi authorities that all allegations of abuse must be investigated, the abuse ended and those responsible punished. We will continue a close dialogue on this with the newly formed Iraqi Government.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) reports of detainee abuse and (b) extrajudicial police actions in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The Government are aware of such allegations and have raised them with the Iraqi Government at the highest level. We have pressed the Iraqi authorities to investigate allegations fully and make findings public. The Iraqi Government have established judicial investigations into allegations made.
The Government are committed with international partners to provide long-term support to Iraq's rule of law institutions, building their capacity to ensure respect for international human rights norms. The Government's work with the Iraqi police, for example, includes the provision of professional training, including in human rights, and a mentoring scheme that helps implement this training.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|