|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
23 Nov 2006 : Column 244Wcontinued
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many EU (a) directives, (b) decisions and (c) regulations have been enacted in the UK in each year since 2002. 
Mr. Hoon: The following table shows the number of EU directives, decisions and regulations enacted in the UK in each year since 2002. This does not include legislation repealed or expired.
House of Commons Library, Standard Note: SN/IA/2888, last updated 25 July 2006.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments significant reservations are about the proposals by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe for (a) the regulation of the security services, (b) civil and state aircraft and (c) state immunity. 
Dr. Howells: The Government believe that domestic legislation and international legal instruments already exist to deal satisfactorily with the concerns raised by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. The activities of the British security and intelligence agencies are governed by domestic legislation. Civil and state aircraft and state immunity are governed by customary international law and by treaties, including the Chicago Convention and the 2004 UN Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property. We see no need to create new mechanisms.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with Iran on its nuclear programme; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We remain deeply concerned by Irans nuclear programme. Ministers and senior officials are in regular contact with the Iranian authorities. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this and other areas of concern when she met the Iranian Foreign Minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, on 19 September, and I did so when I met the Iranian Ambassador to London on 12 September.
Iran has not met the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and the UN Security Council, including a full suspension of all uranium enrichment related and reprocessing activities. This is essential to build confidence that the intentions of Iran's nuclear programme are exclusively peaceful.
We remain committed to a negotiated solution, and regret that Iran has not taken the steps that would enable negotiations to begin on the basis of the proposals presented in June by Javier Solana on behalf of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany + US, Russia, China). These proposals would form the basis of a long-term agreement: they offer Iran everything it needs to develop a modern civil nuclear power industry in return for restoring international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
We are determined that Iran should comply fully with its obligations. E3+3 Foreign Ministers met in London on 6 October and agreed that Irans failure to address IAEA Board and Security Council
Resolutions, and to take the steps that would enable a return to negotiations, leaves no option but to seek a new Security Council Resolution adopting measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter. We are now discussing a draft with other members of the Security Council.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her international counterparts on the introduction of a sanctions regime against Iran. 
Dr. Howells: Ministers and senior officials are in frequent contact with their counterparts about Irans nuclear programme. The Foreign Ministers of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany + US, Russia, China) met in London on 6 October and agreed that Irans failure to address International Atomic Energy Agency Board and Security Council Resolutions, and to take the steps that would enable a return to negotiations, leaves no option but to seek a new Security Council Resolution adopting measures under Article 41 of the UN Charter. We are now discussing a draft with other members of the Security Council. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary most recently discussed Iran with her EU counterparts on 17 October and 13 November.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Iranian authorities regarding (a) the conduct of the trials of Ahwazi Arabs and (b) the recent sentencing of 11 men to death by the Revolutionary Court; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We have been closely monitoring the case of the Ahwazi Arabs, who have been sentenced to death recently for their alleged role in terrorist activities in Ahwaz, last year.
We oppose and condemn the death penalty in all its forms. In this case, we have specific concerns about the conduct of the trial including whether it was held secretly behind closed doors; whether a jury was present; and whether the defendants had adequate access to lawyers before the trial.
The presidency of the EU raised our concerns about this case with the Director General of the International Department of the Judiciary on 20 November and highlighted the EUs long-standing objection to the death penalty in all its forms. We will continue to monitor this case closely with EU colleagues.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what relationship the US-Iraq high-level working group on security announced in Washington on 28 October will have to the existing Joint Committee on Transfer Security Responsibility; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what role the UK will have in the US-Iraq high-level working group on security announced in Washington on 28 October; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The Joint Committee on Transfer Security Responsibilitys job is to conduct the conditions-based assessment for the transition of provincial security responsibility from the Multi-National ForceIraq (MNF-I) to the Iraqi security force. The High Level Working Group (HLWG) is an additional body, which will be looking at ways to accelerate the pace of training of the Iraqi security forces, Iraqi assumption of command and control over Iraqi forces, and transferring responsibility for security to the Government of Iraq.
The MNF-I, of which the UK is a member, will play a key role in the HLWG and its committees.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK Government was invited to make a submission to the Iraq Study Group in the United States. 
Margaret Beckett: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with the group via video link on 14 November. Our Ambassador in Washington has also spoken to the Group, as has our Ambassador in Baghdad.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will publish a transcript of the evidence given to the Iraq Study Group in the United States via video-link by the Prime Minister. 
Margaret Beckett: I refer the hon. Member to the press briefing given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers official spokesman on 14 November 2006. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website at: http://pm.gov.uk/output/Pagel0421.asp. A copy will also be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the government of Israel on its military incursions in Gaza; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The UK frequently makes its concerns known to the Government of Israel about the consequences of its military operations in Gaza. Most recently, our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised specific concerns about the incident in Beit Hanoun on 8 November, in which a number of Palestinian civilians were tragically killed. As I said on 8 November, Israel must respect its obligation to avoid harming civilians.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what fora the United States security co-ordinator's plans to deliver tangible
improvements in the day-to-day lives of Palestinians will be reported; what the plans involve; and when they are expected to be implemented. 
Margaret Beckett: We continue to work very closely with the United States Security Co-ordinator, General Keith Dayton, including through seconding a military liaison officer to his team. General Dayton has been particularly focused on securing the reliable opening of the Kami crossing point between Israel and Gaza. The detail of his proposals has not yet been finalised. When the plans have been agreed with the parties, we expect them to be endorsed by the Quartet. General Dayton has also recently established the Security Committee envisaged under the Access and Movement Agreement of November 2005.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to (a) the Prime Minister of Israel and (b) the Palestinian President on military operations in Gaza; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The UK frequently makes its concerns known to the Government of Israel about the consequences of its military operations in Gaza. Following the incident at Beit Hanoun on 8 November I issued a statement saying that Israel must respect its obligation to avoid harming civilians. Our embassy in Tel Aviv also raised our concerns about the incident with the Government of Israel. On 10 November I discussed the violence in Gaza with President Abbas by telephone. I offered him my condolences, and encouraged his efforts to end the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, as well as to form a new Palestinian Government based on the three Quartet Principles. I also discussed the matter with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, on 21 November.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what decisions have been taken following the discussions held in Paris, Rome, Brussels, Beirut, Washington and New York on security sector reform in Lebanon; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: Since a team of UK security sector experts made a tour of capitals in early September my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that the UK had set aside resources for the training and equipping of the Lebanese security forces. This has been set at £2.5 million. As part of this, the Ministry of Defence laid a minute before the House indicating the UKs intention to provide 50 Land Rovers to the Lebanese armed forces. The UK has also been instrumental in setting up a co-ordination group in Beirut to liaise with the Government of Lebanon and ensure their needs are met in a structured and coherent way. The UK continues to co-ordinate closely with our international partners on efforts to assist the Lebanese security forces to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701. We hope this will include particular attention to the land border with Syria. The UK will work with EU partners to help the Government of Lebanon, should assistance be requested.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to implement UN Resolution 1701 and help secure the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. 
Dr. Howells: UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is aimed at assisting the Government of Lebanon to exert full sovereignty and control over its territory. To this end, the UK has committed £2.5 million to provide the Government of Lebanon with security sector assistance to allow it to exercise full control of its territory. As part of this the UK is in the process of giving 50 Land Rovers to the Lebanese armed forces. We also called on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people. We are also working closely with other international partners on co-ordinating security assistance. The UK has contributed £22.3 million in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.
We have offered the Government of Israel assistance in securing the release of the two Israeli soldiers. We continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Mrs. Goldwasser on 21 November.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Minister for Europe's responsibilities are; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The responsibilities of all Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers can be found on the FCO website at www.fco.gov.uk. Those of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, (Mr. Hoon) include the EU and Europe; Russia, south Caucasus and central Asia; the Balkans; Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova; the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe; and NATO.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the responsibilities are of the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) in his role as the Governments special representative to Sri Lanka; with whom he will hold meetings in that capacity; and what the objectives are of his role. 
I must make clear that my right hon. Friend the member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) has not been appointed as a special representative. He himself stressed this to his interlocutors and to the media while in Sri Lanka. His visit came about following discussions between my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka in August in which, it was felt that some sharing of our experience with the Northern Ireland peace process might be of help and encouragement to all parties. In line with this, my right hon. Friend the Member for
Torfaen, accompanied by a senior official of the Northern Ireland Office, visited Sri Lanka from 14 to 16 November. While there, he met with a range of key participants in the Sri Lankan peace process including the President, Sri Lankan Government Ministers and political representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He also talked about the UKs experiences of Northern Ireland with a wide variety of other Sri Lankans, including the media. We hope that my right hon. Friends efforts, which were much appreciated by all concerned, will be of some help in the pursuit of peace for all the people of Sri Lanka.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with Russia on counter-proliferation in respect of missiles; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We are engaged in regular discussions with Russia on counter-proliferation issues, including in respect of missiles. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary continues to discuss these issues with Russian colleagues, most notably the threat posed by Iran and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), further to the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1696 (Iran) and 1695 (DPRK).
Countering the threat of missile proliferation remains one of the Governments strategic priorities, particularly where such proliferation might contribute to the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and if she will make a statement on the role of (a) the International Atomic Energy Agency and (b) the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in implementing this resolution. 
Dr. Howells: The United Kingdom is a staunch supporter of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 in the Security Council, on the 1540 Committee and internationally. National implementation of UNSCR 1540 is almost complete and work is in hand to bring into effect outstanding elements (e.g. enactment of primary legislation to ratify the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material). The UK's first national report to the 1540 committee offered assistance to those who wanted help implementing UNSCR 1540. We are engaged in a number of outreach efforts on export control to this end. Much of the UK's work under the Global Partnership assists directly to implement UNSCR 1540.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|