|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
19 Nov 2007 : Column 560Wcontinued
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact he has had with his counterparts in (a) Chad, (b) the Central African Republic and (c) Sudan on the EU mission to Chad and the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Our high commissioner in Yaounde met with Chadian Foreign Minister, Ahmat Allami, during his visit to Chad in July 2007 and raised the planned deployment of a European Security Defence Policy (ESDP) force and a UN multi-dimensional mission to Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). During subsequent visits by UK officials to Chad in September, October and November, the deployment of the ESDP force and UN mission have been further discussed with Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives.
UK officials also met the President, Prime Minister and other CAR government representatives in September and October 2007 and took the opportunity to discuss their views on the proposed deployment.
The UK supports the deployment of the ESDP force to Chad and CAR to contribute to protecting refugees and displaced persons, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and contribute to protecting the UN operation. We continue to urge the Governments of Sudan, Chad and CAR to work to promote regional stability and ensure security along their common borders.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the Green Paper on Constitutional Development produced by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; what the Government's policy is on the proposals for China's future role in Hong Kong's constitutional affairs; and if he will make a statement. 
The publication in July 2007 of the Green Paper on Constitutional Development, and the consultation exercise that followed, gave the people of Hong Kong an opportunity to express their views on
the territory's future political development. It is now up to the Special Administrative Region government to take a lead in producing proposals around which consensus can gather.
The People's Republic of China's role on constitutional reform is set out in the basic law and the subsequent interpretation of the basic law by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in April 2004. We expressed our concern at the time that the procedure set out in the interpretation appeared to erode the high degree of autonomy guaranteed to Hong Kong in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Our position on Hong Kong's constitutional development is clear. We believe the people of Hong Kong have demonstrated both their political maturity and their desire for reform. We are convinced that the best way to safeguard Hong Kong's stability and prosperity is for it to advance to a system of universal suffrage, as soon as possible.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the recent statement by the Financial Action Task Force that the Islamic Republic of Iran's lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regime represents a significant vulnerability within the international financial system; and what international action the UK will be proposing on the matter. 
Kitty Ussher: I have been asked to reply.
The UK fully supports the work of the FATF on this matter and HM Treasury concurs with the FATF's assessment. The Treasury has therefore issued a notice to advise all UK businesses within the financial sector to be aware that there are significant deficiencies in Iran's AML/CFT regime. They should take into account this heightened risk and consider applying increased scrutiny and due diligence to transactions associated with Iran. The notice is available at:
The UK will continue to work through the FATF to bring pressure to bear on Iran to address the identified deficiencies. The UK is also calling for action in the UN and EU to address international concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, including against some Iranian financial institutions.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has (a) provided information to and (b) received representations from British banks on the statement by the Financial Action Task Force that Iran's lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism regime represents a significant vulnerability within the international financial system. 
Kitty Ussher: I have been asked to reply.
Following the Financial Action Task Force statement, HM Treasury issued an advisory notice to financial service firms on 12 October on the higher risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in transactions associated with Iran. The notice can be found on HM Treasury's public website at the following link:
HM Treasury has received no representations from British banks on the statement but has discussed the matter informally during general private sector meetings on money laundering and terrorist financing.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the forthcoming report by the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy on the outcome of his discussions with Iran on its nuclear programme will be published; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: With respect to the Iran negotiations, we expect the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, to report on his contacts with Iran in the coming days. He is acting on behalf of the Foreign Ministers of the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the USthe E3+3. I will be discussing the handling of the report, including whether it should be published, with Dr. Solana and E3+3 colleagues.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many studies his Department has (a) started and (b) completed into the consequences of the Iraq war for his Department and lessons learnt; and if he will place copies in the Library. 
Dr. Howells: No study of this type has been carried out by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our strategy on Iraq is kept under constant review with changes made in close consultation with our coalition partners. Since May 2003, there have also been four inquiries on aspects of our operations in Iraq carried out by the Intelligence and Security Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Lords Butler and Hutton, and many parliamentary debates.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what written guidance has been provided to British staff employed in the British embassies in (a) Iraq, (b) Egypt, (c) Iran, (d) Syria and (e) Lebanon on the implementation of the Governments policy of assistance to locally-employed Iraqi staff; and if he will place copies in the Library. 
David Miliband: We have drawn the attention of all regional posts to my written ministerial statements of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 27-28WS and 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 30-33WS and included guidance on implementing the scheme. Posts will refer all inquirers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, the dedicated phone lines that have been established, or the Iraq Locally Engaged Staff Scheme team in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
I will arrange for a copy of the guidance to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Japan about the slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fishermen; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: There have been no recent discussions between my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and Japanese Ministers on this issue. However, at this years meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in May 2007 the UK once again highlighted our concerns over Japans small cetacean (dolphins and porpoises) hunts.
The UK recognises with deep concern that the protection and conservation of small cetaceans is very limited. Small cetaceans continue to be hunted in Japan and many other parts of the world, often at unsustainable levels. We believe that the IWC should take a strong stance in favour of the protection of small cetaceans and the UK will continue to ask Japan for assurances that legislation regulating these hunts will be improved and enforced.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to protect British citizens and officials in Pakistan from the recent violence. 
Dr. Howells: We take a close concern in the safety of our citizens abroad and regularly discuss with the Pakistani authorities the protection of British nationals, including our officials in Pakistan. Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for Pakistan is regularly updated. Our diplomatic missions in Pakistan are monitoring developments closely, keeping staff and the community advised and reviewing and updating their contingency plans. British residents and visitors are being encouraged to register with our missions. All this is prudent. To date, however, foreign nationals have been largely unaffected by the political situation.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what procedures the Government follow to ensure that private military security companies it employs comply with UK and EU law on the procurement of military equipment; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Private military security companies contracted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) need to meet stringent and transparent procurement requirements in line with public procurement guidelines. Military equipment for use on FCO contracts can only be procured with the prior written agreement of the FCO and is conditional upon the end user providing an appropriate end-user certificate and obtaining an export licence.
Issue of the licence confirms that the exporter and end user(s) have satisfied all the requirements necessary to comply with UK and EU law.
Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK has made to the government of Rwanda in relation to the conflict between Congolese armed forces and troops of the dissident general Laurent Nkunda. 
Meg Munn: We have consistently urged the Rwandan government to make clear their disassociation from Laurent Nkunda and to tone down any rhetoric in support of him, in the interest of stabilising the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, when meeting President Kagame in October 2007, noted that Rwanda must continue to play a constructive role in creating lasting peace and security in the Great Lakes region. This message has been reinforced at official level many times over the last few months.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government have had with the newly appointed President of Sierra Leone. 
Meg Munn: Our high commissioner in Freetown and other senior members of the UK country team in Sierra Leone have met President Koroma on several occasions since his appointment to discuss the full range of bilateral relations, development assistance, and regional and international issues.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) logistical and (b) financial support the Government will contribute to the AU-UN hybrid mission in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: We are providing advice and support through a Brigadier who will deploy soon as Chief of Staff to the African Union (AU)/UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Force Commander Agwai, and through UK military staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. We continue to pay for troop rotations to the AU mission in Sudan, which will become part of the UNAMID force. Our financial support to the UNAMID mission will be through our assessed contributions to the UN.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on UK objectives for the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Uganda. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 15 November 2007]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary plans to submit a written ministerial statement to the House on UK objectives before the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting begins on 23 November.
Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Ugandan Government about the time taken to publish its investigation into reports that the Ugandan Army in Karamoja province has engaged in the extra-judicial killing of children and other civilians. 
Meg Munn: We continue to encourage the Government of Uganda to publish the report. This issue was most recently raised by our high commission in Kampala, with other members of the Partners for Democracy and Governance group, on 24 October 2007.
Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Ugandan government about ensuring that the disarmament process across the Karamoja region is carried out in a way which guarantees protection of civilians, especially children. 
Meg Munn: We continue to raise our concerns with the Ugandan government about the forced disarmament programme in Karamoja, including the impact on children. We continue to press for a peaceful and voluntary disarmament process across the Karamoja region that involves all stakeholders, respects human rights and protects the civilian population. Our high commission in Kampala, with other members of the Partners for Democracy and Governance group, raised this most recently with the Ugandan government on 24 October 2007.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assets held in the UK by (a) Robert Mugabe and (b) other Zanu-PF party officials have been (i) confiscated and (ii) frozen. 
Meg Munn: The EU sanctions on Zimbabwe impose, inter alia, an asset freeze on individual members of the Government of Zimbabwe, including Robert Mugabe and all senior figures deemed to be responsible for the misgovernance of Zimbabwe or for human rights abuses.
All funds and economic resources belonging to persons listed under the sanctions are frozen and it is prohibited to make funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to them. To date 43 accounts in the UK have been frozen, amounting to approximately £172,000. The EU sanctions do not provide for the confiscation of funds.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage the next presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe to be free and fair. 
Meg Munn: We believe that if the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe are to be held in line with international standards, including those adopted by Southern African Development Community (SADC), there need to be significant changes in the way the elections are currently being organised. These include the removal of all military personnel from the election management process; all parties able to hold rallies, campaign freely and have free access to the media; voting rights for the substantial Zimbabwean diaspora; and a fairer and more transparent voter registration process. We also believe that international election observers should be given access to Zimbabwe at the earliest opportunity, since preparations are already under way. We will work with EU, SADC and other African and international partners to encourage these changes.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|