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21 Nov 2006 : Column 57Wcontinued
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether personnel from her Department have (a) been posted to and (b) visited Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia since September 2001. 
Mr. Hoon: No officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been posted to the Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina since September 2001. The Eagle Base is the main landing strip in Eastern Bosnia and is used by both civilian and military aircraft. In this context, officials and Ministers have used it as a landing point for visits to Eastern Bosnia, including to Srebrenica commemorations and the International Commission on Missing Persons facility based in Tuzla.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why no reference to the use of cluster munitions in the Lebanon-Israel conflict was included in her Department's Human Rights Annual Report 2006; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights covers the period from July 2005 to late August 2006. At the time of writing, many of the details surrounding the Israel-Lebanon conflict were still unclear. A decision was made not to cover the conflict as a whole. However, we were able to insert a section about the UK's efforts to bring about a ceasefire and our plans to help with reconstruction. Additionally, two paragraphs were added to the section on Syria remarking on its unhelpful role in supporting Hezbollah. We had concerns about Israeli actions during the conflict, which we made public at the time. And there is a large section in the human rights report covering our other concerns about Israel. We intend to cover the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in greater detail in our next report.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department's human rights monitors have made of the use of cluster munitions in the Lebanon-Israel conflict. 
Mr. McCartney: Cluster munitions are legitimate weapons when used in accordance with international humanitarian law. We have called on Israel to make a public statement about their use of cluster munitions and have discussed the issue with the Government of Israel, the Government of Lebanon and human rights organisations.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of electricity used by her Department in the last period for which figures are available was generated (a) from renewable resources and (b) through on-site micro-generation facilities. 
Mr. Hoon: Since the financial year 2002-03, 100 per cent. of the electricity used in the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) Main Building is from renewable sources. In financial year 2005-06, this amounted to 38.97 per cent. of the FCOs total UK electricity consumption. At present we do not generate electricity on-site from micro-generation, though we are a significant user of the Whitehall District Heating System. We do not hold data on the percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy resources and on-site micro-generation facilities for our overseas estate.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the level of human trafficking from sub-Saharan Africa; and what her policy is on facilitating the reduction thereof. 
Mr. McCartney: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) monitors global levels of human trafficking to the UK. We assess that trafficking victims, predominantly women, come from a range of African countries, although it is difficult to give any firm figures on the numbers involved, given the clandestine nature of trafficking.
The FCOs policy for reducing the scale of trafficking to the UK focuses on preventative work in source and transit countries. This includes awareness-raising among potential victims and the authorities in these countries; providing training and capacity building support for law enforcement agencies; and providing advice on effective legislation to prosecute trafficking gang members.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations her Department has made to the Sudanese Government over human trafficking of female detainees. 
Mr. McCartney: We are not aware of any cases of human trafficking in Sudan. However, we take the issue of human trafficking very seriously and would raise any cases of which we became aware with the Government of Sudan.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what projects her Department is funding to combat human trafficking. 
Mr. McCartney: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently funding the following anti-human trafficking projects:
Albania: a non-governmental organisation (NGO) managed campaign to raise awareness among potential victims of the dangers of human trafficking;
Russia: a project to promote NGO and police co-operation to tackle human trafficking; and
Latvia: an NGO-managed anti-trafficking awareness raising project.
The total value of the projects in the financial year 2006-07 is £403,000.
In the last financial year the FCO also funded a programme in Lithuania which provided re-integration assistance and social support for trafficking victims returning from enforced prostitution in the UK. The FCO also contributed to the Association of Chief Police Officers Operation Pentameter through the production of multi-lingual awareness-raising material that was used in several east European source and transit countries.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on (a) bilateral relations with Libya and (b) relations between Libya and the EU; 
(2) if she will make a statement on the progress of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership to establish a bilateral agreement with Libya. 
Dr. Howells: Bilateral relations between the UK and Libya continue to strengthen. We are engaging with Libya across a broad range of areas, including health, education and training, migration, trade and investment, and counter-terrorism. High-level UK/Libya contact continues. Following a visit to Libya by the then Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), in February, I visited Libya from 25 to 27 June and met the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Ministers for Justice, Employment, and European Affairs. My noble Friend Lord Kinnock visited Tripoli on 18 to 20 September and opened a new British Council centre.
The UK wants to see relations between the EU and Libya develop. One process through which this could happen is the Euro-Mediterranean (Euro-Med) partnership, in which Libya has observer status. If Libya decided that it wanted to join as a full member, negotiations on a bilateral association agreement would follow. Libya's membership of the Euro-Med partnership would be dependent on Libya accepting the Barcelona acquis.
There are ongoing technical contacts between the EU and Libya. The further development of EU-Libya relations would be encouraged by resolution of the case of the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical workers imprisoned in Libya. General Affairs and External Relations Council Conclusions of 2004 expressed grave concern over the plight of the medics and insisted that Libya resolves remaining EU concerns, notably the medics' case.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the International Criminal Court warrants served on the leaders of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA); and whether she supports UN-sponsored meetings with LRA leaders. 
Mr. McCartney: The UK is a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC). We believe it is imperative to tackle impunity to deter others taking up arms and terrorising civilians. The ICC warrants themselves are a matter of international justice on which the ICC leads.
The UK strongly encourages the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to continue their current efforts to reach a sustainable peace agreement which provides both peace and justice to the people of northern Uganda. A solution needs to be found which is compatible with the wishes and needs of the local communities and the Rome Statute of the ICC.
The Rome Statute offers no bar to judicial and mediation processes running on parallel tracks. The recent visit by Jan Egeland, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, to meet LRA commanders provided a welcome opportunity to call on the LRA to fully commit themselves, to the peace process and release all those they have abducted. Thus far they are not fully committed and have released no abductees.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the progress towards a new constitution for the Maldives; and what steps the UK Government are taking to encourage the Government of the Maldives to expedite completion of the constitution with a view to holding free and fair elections. 
Mr. McCartney: Following President Gayoom's speech in June 2004 outlining his aspirations for democratic reform, the Special Majlis (Constitutional Assembly) was established. Political parties were legalised for the first time in June 2005. We understand there are now at least three registered political parties. In March this year President Gayoom launched the Roadmap for the Agenda Reform. However, the process of bringing modern democracy to the Maldives has been lethargic and subject to setbacks. After two years, the Special Majlis has made little progress on a new constitution.
This summer in talks between the Maldivian Government and the Maldivian Democratic Party, which were hosted by the British high commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, there were encouraging signs of progress. In September, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells), made a statement calling on the Maldivian Government and all political parties to work constructively both together and with the people of the Maldives to step up the pace of the democratic reforms. It is disappointing that the main stakeholders now seem to be drawing back from the progress they had made together. We continue to underline directly to stakeholders the need for open discussions among all political parties on the implementation of the democratisation process and on the promotion of democracy in the Maldives. We welcome and support the efforts of the EU, and other individual partners within it, in doing the same.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the Maldives Government requesting reasonable behaviour by their police force against peaceful protesters. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not made representations to the Maldivian Government on this issue. The British high commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives has in recent weeks been active in making direct representations to Maldivian political leaders on all sides. He has urged them to act with restraint and not to take any steps that might inhibit the promotion of democracy in the Maldives. He has underlined the need to resume discussions on implementing democratic reforms.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects for maintenance of the UN-led ceasefire in Southern Lebanon after the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanon. 
Dr. Howells: The cessation of hostilities has continued to hold and Israeli troops have completed their withdrawal from Lebanon, except for the divided town of Ghajar. Ten thousand Lebanese armed forces are now deployed in the south for the first time in many years and there is effective co-ordination between them, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Israel Defence Force. On the ground there are currently 8,000 soldiers deployed in UNIFIL. There has been good progress too on reconstruction and recovery work, in which the UK has played a significant part.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on bilateral relations with Montenegro. 
Mr. Hoon: On 17 November the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that Mr. John Dyson MVO would become the resident ambassador to Montenegro, replacing Mr. David Gowan CMG, who has been non-resident ambassador to Montenegro since its independence in June 2006. One of Ambassador Dyson's first tasks will be to upgrade the British Office in Podgorica to an embassy. He will also continue to reiterate the UK's support for Montenegro's aspirations to join the EU and NATO. Montenegro has announced its intention to open an embassy in London as soon as is practicable. I visited Podgorica on 8 November and met the Prime Minister, President and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the expulsion of Chadian people from Niger; and if she will make a statement. 
On 20 October 2006, the Government of Niger began their planned expulsion of 3,300 Mahamids from the Diffa region across the
border into Chad. However, following a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Niamey on 27 October 2006, the expulsions were suspended. Our High Commission in Accra will continue to monitor the situation and encourage EU partnersrepresented in Niameyto make representations to the Government of Niger to respect the human rights of the Mahamids.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has for the implementation of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK is committed to the full implementation of all articles in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The UK has a good record in fulfilling its disarmament obligations under Article VI and is widely recognised as the most forward-leaning nuclear-weapons state in this regard. We will continue to press for multilateral negotiations towards mutual, balanced and reliable reductions in nuclear weapons.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Pakistani Foreign Minister on the non-proliferation treaty. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have had no recent discussions with the Pakistani Foreign Minister on the non-proliferation treaty. However, the UK and Pakistan do hold regular discussions on the treaty through the UK-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue; the second round of talks was held in London on 31 October this year. During the talks, the two sides discussed non-proliferation issues.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of recent reports that the Europe Minister told Bulgarian observers in the European Parliament on 15th November that UK restrictions on labour market access for Romanians and Bulgarians might be ended after one year. 
Mr. Hoon: In discussions with Bulgarian (and Romanian) observers at the European Parliament, I made reference to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 24 October 2006, Official Report, columns 82-84WS, which announced transitional arrangements on labour market access in the UK for Romanian and Bulgarian workers. The Home Secretary said that the new arrangements will be reviewed within 12 months and the Government's proposed new Migration Advisory Committee will assist in this process taking account of the needs of our labour market, the impact of the A8 accession and the positions adopted by other EU countries.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Russian Government on the killing of journalists. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had discussions on the killing of journalists with the Russian Government. EU leaders discussed their concerns about the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya with President Putin at the informal heads of EU states meeting in Lahti, on 20 October. Officials raised our concerns about the killing of Anna Politkovskaya with the chair of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, on 18 October. Anna Politkovskayas murder and wider freedom of expression concerns were discussed with the Russian authorities at the EU-Russia human rights consultations held in Brussels on 8 November 2006.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary condemned the murder of Anna Politkovskaya at the launch of the 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights on 12 October. I issued a statement of condemnation about her murder on 9 October, expressing sympathy to her friends and family and calling for the Russian authorities to bring her killers to justice. The full text of the statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website at
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