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31 Oct 2006 : Column 376W—continued

Ethiopia

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Reading East (Mr. Wilson) of 11 January 2006, Official Report, column 671W, on Ethiopia, what steps the UK Government have taken to secure the release of opposition political leaders, members of Parliament and journalists who were arrested after the November 2005 riots in Addis Ababa; and if she will make a statement. [97167]

Dr. Howells: We continue to make representations to the Government of Ethiopia regarding all those, including Civil Society representatives, detained in connection with the political disturbances in 2005. Officials from our embassy in Addis Ababa made representations to the Ministry of Justice about the on-going trial of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leadership on 12 July 2006 and our ambassador in Addis Ababa has raised it with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on several occasions, most recently on 14 October with other EU Heads of Mission. He has also visited two representatives of Civil Society detained in connection with the disturbances.

We financed an EU international observer to monitor the trial of the CUD leadership for the first three months. Monitoring continues to be financed by the EU.

European Institutions

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if she will put forward proposals to the European Union to improve the accountability and effectiveness of the European institutions. [98359]

Margaret Beckett: This Government are committed to making good use of the existing treaties to improve the accountability and effectiveness of EU institutions, in line with the agreement at the June European Council. For example, we welcome the Commission's commitment on direct transmission of proposals to national Parliaments. We want to see national Parliaments play a stronger role in ensuring implementation of the principle of subsidiarity.

European Union

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to her statement in Prospects for the EU in 2006 (Cm 6896), which (a) bodies and (b) persons the Government have consulted with regard to proposals dealing with cross-border family maintenance obligations and the law applying to cross-border contractual obligations; and if she will make a statement. [89819]

Mr. Hoon: Following publication of the maintenance proposal, the Government consulted its stakeholder
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group on international maintenance which includes members of the legal professions; the judiciary; and my noble and Learned Friend the Lord Chancellor's Standing Committee on Private International Law.

Following publication of the proposal concerning cross-border contractual obligations, the Government consulted its stakeholder group which includes representatives of the financial institutions; legal professions; commercial organisations; consumer bodies; the trade unions; and my noble and Learned Friend the Lord Chancellor's Standing Committee on Private International Law.

Korea

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the United Kingdom is taking as one of the United Nations guarantor powers to stop incursions along the demilitarised zone on the Korean Peninsula. [93899]

Dr. Howells: The demilitarized zone continues to be supervised by the UN Command Military Armistice Commission under the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953. As a member of the UN Command, the UK continues to monitor violations of the Armistice Agreement.

Kosovo

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the security situation in (a) Serbia and (b) Kosovo prior to the completion of the UN-led talks on the final status of Kosovo. [93201]

Margaret Beckett: Our assessment is that the security situation in Serbia prior to the completion of the UN-led talks on the final status of Kosovo is stable. Security in Kosovo is kept under constant review by NATO and the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The situation in Kosovo remains generally calm but tense as the future status process moves forward. We condemn recent incidents such as the grenade attacks in Mitrovica and on Serb returnees in Klina. Where there have been such security incidents the Kosovo Police Service has responded, with UNMIK providing support where appropriate.

Kurdistan Workers Party

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of the recent activity of the Kurdistan Workers Party in south-eastern Anatolia; and what discussions she has had with her Turkish counterparts on that subject. [93199]

Margaret Beckett: We note the declaration of a ‘ceasefire’ by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from 1 October and will continue to monitor the situation in South-East Turkey closely. It is too early to draw a conclusion about how lasting or comprehensive this cessation of violence may be. The PKK is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations. We regularly discuss terrorism with the Turkish authorities, most recently
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when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met his Turkish counterpart on 3 October.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her Security Council counterparts on the relevance of the Proliferation Security Initiative to the enforcing of UN Security Council Resolution 1718; and if she will make a statement. [95793]

Margaret Beckett: Officials have been discussing, including with Security Council partners, how to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1718. Experience and expertise gained through activities and exercises as part of the Proliferation Security Initiative have informed these discussions, which are ongoing.

Palestinian Authority

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the role of the UK has been in implementing International Community Commitments under the March 2005 London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority. [95350]

Margaret Beckett: Since the London Meeting in March 2005, the UK has taken a number of steps to implement the International Community Commitments. The Palestinian Authority (PA) also had a number of Commitments to implement in parallel. These Commitments include action to address economic development, governance and security. The UK has been encouraging international partners to implement the International Community Commitments.

With regards to economic development, in December 2005 the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee, co-chaired by the UK and Norway, met in London. Also in December 2005, HM Treasury held a private sector business/ investment event.

Under the UK’s Presidency of the EU, an international crossing point at Rafah was opened. The UK was closely involved in the negotiations. Our total financial contribution to the EU Border Assistance Mission at Rafah is £913,000. This financial contribution includes personnel, equipment and financial contribution. Also, the UK seconded a member of staff to the UN Office for the Co-ordination for Humanitarian Affairs to identify physical obstacles to movement in the West Bank which can be removed.

On governance, we provided over £200,000-worth of assistance for the Palestinian elections which were held on 25 January. In particular we worked with the electoral authorities to support work on media monitoring, training local journalists and funding the ballot papers. In addition, as well as supporting the official EU monitoring observation mission, we also separately funded a small parliamentary observation visit to the region organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The Department for International Development provided long-term assistance to the PA for the design and implementation of its Public Administration and Civil Service Support Programme. This included work on strengthening Cabinet policy-making, reviewing the
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mandates and institutional structures of all PA agencies, and assisting with the Medium-Term Development Plan. Direct engagement with the PA has been suspended since the formation of the Hamas-led Government, although work is ongoing with a range of partner civil society organisations active in this field.

On security, the EU expanded its police support mission, EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EU COPPS), in January 2006, to help transform the Palestinian police and make them more accountable to the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior. Through EU COPPS, the UK has helped to: support the PA in reforming its civil policing structures; improve the effectiveness, efficiency and image of 18,600 police officers; rebuild and modernise police facilities; purchase 54 police cars; provide training and equipment and co-ordinate better the international donor community’s support for the Palestinian police.

Since the Hamas-led PA came to power, there has been limited progress against both the International Community Commitments and the PA Commitments.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in implementing International Community Commitments agreed under the March 2005 London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority in the areas of (a) economy, (b) governance and (c) security. [95351]

Margaret Beckett: Since 1 March 2005, the International Community has made some progress against their commitments made at the London Meeting. The UK has been involved in much of the work that the International Community has done to make progress against these commitments. I refer the right hon. Member to the written answer I gave him today (UIN 95350).

In terms of economic development, in June 2005 G8 leaders supported the former Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn’s intention to stimulate a global financial contribution of up to US$3 billion per year over the coming three years. Also, on 15 November 2005, the EU High Representative Javier Solana, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and James Wolfensohn announced an Agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians on Movement and Access.

On security, United States Security Co-ordinator General Ward and his successor, General Dayton, have been working closely with the Palestinians on Security Sector Reform (SSR). Since March 2005 progress has been made including developing capacity within the Ministry of Interior, establishing international co-ordination mechanisms for SSR and developing consensus around an SSR approach, and facilitating an upgrade of the Palestinian security forces’ capability. Following the election of Hamas, the international community suspended previous security sector work. Since then General Dayton has been developing a range of plans, which the international community can implement in the current political circumstances, and which will deliver tangible improvements in the day-to-day lives of Palestinians. We have been working closely with General Dayton’s team on these plans. Donors, including ourselves, are looking at funding options.


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With regards to governance, the EU, as well as other international partners, provided support to the Palestinian Legislative Council elections on 25 January.

Since Hamas came to power, and failed to meet the three Quartet principles (renouncing violence; recognise Israel; and accept all previous agreements and obligations including the Roadmap), work on meeting the International Community Commitments has slowed. We, along with our international partners, want to see a Palestinian Government with whom we can engage and do business.

Rwanda

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the UN requesting an urgent investigation into allegations by the former Rwandan ambassador to France regarding France's role in the Rwandan genocide. [97953]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 30 October 2006]: In 1999, the United Nations conducted a comprehensive investigation into the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and the actions taken at the time by the international community. The United Kingdom welcomed the Secretary-General's resulting recommendations. With respect to recent allegations by the former Rwandan ambassador to France, we understand investigations are under way in Rwanda.

Sudan

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made (a) by her and (b) on her behalf to the Government of Sudan regarding the Government military offensive in Darfur. [93195]

Margaret Beckett: In mid-August the Government of Sudan began a military offensive targeting rebel militias and non-signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement. We made immediate representations to the Government of Sudan in Khartoum, and to senior Sudanese officials, to halt the offensive. I raised my concerns about the offensive with the Egyptian Government and the League of Arab States during a visit to Egypt on 7 September. They have subsequently engaged the Government of Sudan to raise these concerns.

During the UN General Assembly ministerial week in New York from 18 to 22 September, my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, other Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and I raised with African, Arab, Security Council and other Foreign Ministers the need for concerted action by the international community to halt the Sudanese military offensive, secure the deployment of a UN force, and to ensure a political solution in Darfur. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised the need for such action by the Government of Sudan with Sudanese Presidential Adviser Dr. Ghazi Salaheddin, when they met on 21 September. European Commission President Barroso also delivered this message during a call on President Bashir when he
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visited on 30 September. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development is planning a visit to Sudan later this month and we will continue to make such representations directly through our embassy in Khartoum.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what areas have been identified for the enhancing of the capability and resources of the African Union Mission in Darfur; and what role is planned for the UK. [93196]

Margaret Beckett: The UK is a leading supporter of the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS). We were its first donor, and have to date provided £52 million of assistance. This has been used for budgetary support, vehicles and other equipment, and to airlift troops to and from Darfur. The African Union has now decided to increase the strength of AMIS by two battalions (approximately 1,200 men). We stand ready to assist them in this. Meanwhile, at our urging, the UN is helping to bolster AMIS prior to any transition to a UN force. The UN will provide much-needed planning and logistics capability with the deployment of 163 staff officers to assist the military and civilian police wings of AMIS as well as its senior management. The UN will provide a further 36 armoured personnel carriers and a range of other equipment to help improve AMIS effectiveness. We are looking at what personnel the United Kingdom can provide to the UN assistance package.

Turkey

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Turkish Government on the conflict in the Kurdish areas of eastern Turkey. [98362]

Margaret Beckett: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe discussed terrorism during his visit to Turkey in September. The UK and EU both consider the PKK a terrorist organisation. The Government deplored the PKK's 2004 decision to resume their campaign of violence and terrorism, and the numerous deaths (including British) which followed right across Turkey.

On 1 October the PKK announced another “ceasefire”, excluding defensive actions. Clashes with Turkish security forces have diminished but not halted.

Zimbabwe

Ms Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any funds have been made available to support access to sanitary products for the Zimbabwe women campaign. [97712]

Hilary Benn: I have been asked to reply.

I applaud the work of the Zimbabwe Women campaign and wish them every success in their efforts and their fund-raising. DFID has not provided funds directly to this campaign. DFID's top priorities are to tackle HIV and AIDS, currently causing over 3,200 deaths per week; and assisting over a million people living in dire poverty. DFID recently contributed
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£20 million to a behaviour change programme which is already showing results in reducing HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe. DFID has also committed £25 million to assist the country's 1.3 million orphans and £20 million to enable an additional 20,000 Zimbabweans with AIDS to access anti-retroviral therapy, treatment for opportunistic infections and other services including home based care. Last year we contributed £10 million to the World Food Programme's work in Zimbabwe. DFID supports an ongoing Protracted Relief Programme, spending some £10 million per year, which is providing food, seeds, fertilisers and other forms of practical assistance to over one million of the country's poorest and most vulnerable people. This has included giving access to clean drinking water to over 600,000 people in the last year. DFID is currently developing a new initiative to reduce the high mortality rates for mothers and newborn children, through support for reproductive health services including maintaining poor people's access to affordable contraceptives. All of DFID's assistance is delivered through NGOs and UN agencies—none of our funding is channelled through the Government of Zimbabwe.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of antisocial behaviour orders issued were breached in each of the last three years in each London borough. [97083]

Mr. Sutcliffe: ASBO breach data are currently available from 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2003 for ASBOs issued since 1 June 2000 and are available at Criminal Justice System (CJS) area level only.

More up to date data are being validated and we hope to publish shortly.


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