|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
15 May 2008 : Column 1775Wcontinued
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there are plans to publish the refreshed 6 June 2006 E3+3 proposals on Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: We will be passing the refreshed E3+3 offer to the Iranian Government in confidence. We hope that they will study its contents carefully and respond in a timely manner. We have no plans to publish it before the Iranian Government has seen it.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to seek to extend extra-territorial jurisdiction to allow the British prosecuting authorities to prosecute alleged offences by contractors working for HM Government in Iraq. 
Meg Munn [holding answer 14 May 2008]: Future policy options are under review. We believe that our current working relationships, and contracts with our contractors in Iraq, ensure that any cases of alleged crime or misconduct would be brought to our attention promptly, so that we could investigate. Where such misconduct is substantiated our procurement guidelines specify that we can terminate the contract. We expect the highest professional standards of those holding Government contracts.
On the broader issue of the regulation of the overseas operations of private military and security companies, registered in or operating from the UK, the then Foreign Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Jack Straw), requested a review by officials of the options. The review was completed in 2005 and considered ways forward including self-regulation, national regulationbased on export controlsand/or company licensing systems. We have also considered international regulation on the basis of common international values and norms. However, the review and subsequent analysis has also highlighted difficulties with regard to implementation or enforcement, with respect to each of the options. We have also considered the complex legal matter of extra-territorial jurisdiction. These issues have since been the subject of extensive Ministerial correspondence and official consultation. If it is decided that regulation is appropriate, the Government will put the proposals to public consultation.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Answer of 24th May 2006, Official Report, column 1862W, on Iraq, what reports he has received since May 2006 on the activities of the Facilities Protection Service; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Facilities Protection Service is an Iraqi internal security organisation, outside the remit of the UK forces operating in Iraq. The Iraqi Council of Ministers has recently passed a draft law, to the Council of Representatives, aimed at reforming the Facilities Protection Service and bringing all branches under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the safety and security of Iraqi citizens in Iraq. 
UK forces have consistently taken firm action against rogue militias and criminal elements who seek to undermine or oppose progress in Iraq. We have so far trained over 20,000 army personnel and over 22,000 police officers. In addition, we put significant time and resources into improving the safety and security
of Iraqi citizens and are now involved in training all companies of the Iraqi Army 14 Division.
The Government funded civilian project teams continue to mentor and develop key leaders in the Iraqi Police Service and Ministry of Interior. Our objective is to allow these leaders to develop the capacity to take control of their own security.
The UK is also working with the Government of Iraq in developing human rights legislation, including the setting up of a National Human Rights Commission. We continue to lobby the Government of Iraq at the highest level on the treatment of those in Iraqi detention to ensure that the rights of Iraqi citizens are upheld.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of (a) the political situation in Kenya and (b) progress in implementing the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The UK, together with Kenyas other international partners, has welcomed the appointment, by President Kibaki on 17 April, of a Grand Coalition Government with Mr. Raila Odinga as the countrys Prime Minister. This is an important step in implementing the National Accord and Reconciliation Act that came into force on 20 March. The UK has offered its strong support to the new Kenyan Government and looks forward to it making progress to achieve reconciliation and restore stability and prosperity through the full implementation of the programme of reforms set out under the National Accord agreed by Kenyas leaders on 28 February.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of the Maldives on establishing effective parliamentary process for the completion of the new constitution. 
Meg Munn: It is essential that the new Constitution, in the final stages of scrutiny in the Special Majlis (constitutional assembly), enjoys the support of all the people of the Maldives. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, told Maldivian President Gayoom of the need to keep the democratic reform process, of which the new Constitution is a cornerstone, on track in July 2007. He reiterated this to Dr. Mohamad Asim, the Maldivian High Commissioner in March 2008.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department will send (a) independent observers and (b) observers as part of an EU delegation to the Maldives, in advance of the elections expected in 2008. 
Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East (Kim Howells) gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring), on 27 February 2008, Official Report, column 1704W.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Maldives government on the distribution of media resources between political parties in advance of expected elections in 2008. 
Meg Munn: We have made no specific representation on this issue. We are however working closely with the BBC, the Maldives Ministry of Information and the Maldives Media Association to promote media freedom and skills development including, objectivity and balance.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of the Maldives on establishing an independent election commission in advance of the expected elections in 2008. 
Meg Munn: In a meeting with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in April, the Maldivian Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid, stated that an Interim Election Commission would be created within 30 days of the ratification of the new Constitution. He underlined that the deliberations of the Special Majlis (Constitutional Assembly) were nearly complete. Foreign Minister Shahid told us that the Commission would be responsible for all elections-related matters, and that all registered political parties would be able to nominate Commissioners.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of the Maldives on charges against members of opposition parties in advance of expected elections in 2008. 
Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East (Dr. Howells) gave to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 27 February, Official Report, column 1705W.
Free, fair and credible elections are a crucial element of democratic reform in the Maldives. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, emphasised this point to Dr. Mohamad Asim, the Maldivian high commissioner in March. He also pointed out that the freedom of politicians and political parties to campaign and debate freely was a cornerstone of democracy.
Mr. Dai Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the Government put forward to the Preparatory Committee meeting for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2010, held recently in
Geneva; what responses were received from other national delegations at the preparatory meeting to those proposals; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Government proposed initiatives to promote consensus around the Treaty's three pillars: non-proliferation; peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and disarmament. This included studies on the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's conference on peaceful uses of nuclear energy to be held later this year. The UK also co-sponsored a paper by the US on civil nuclear energy and an EU paper on nuclear weapons free zones. These proposals were well received. Further details on these proposals can be found at:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received from the Polisario Front. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has received representations from consultants working on behalf of the Polisario. He reiterated the UK's concerns over the conflict in Western Sahara, and our hope that ongoing negotiations will achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self determination of the people of Western Sahara. In addition, officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have received Polisario representatives for discussions on Western Sahara.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many smoking shelters were built at each of his Departments London buildings in each of the last five years. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has erected one smoking shelter in its London Estate, situated in the external courtyard of the Old Admiralty Building in 2003.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal advice he has (a) commissioned and (b) received on the death of civilian workers on projects funded by the UK in Somalia resulting from interaction between the governments of Somalia and Ethiopia and UK-supported activities. 
Meg Munn: No legal advice has been commissioned or received on this subject.
The majority of UK funding for Somalia is channelled through the UN Development Programme and other UN agencies. Any civilian staff working for these projects do so under UN terms and conditions of employment and follow the security advice given by the UN Department for Safety and Security.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what political, diplomatic and military support (a) the UK and (b) the EU has provided to (i) Ethiopia in support of its role in Somalia, (ii) Ethiopia and (iii) Somalia in the last two years. 
Meg Munn: Neither the UK nor the EU provide any political, diplomatic or military support for Ethiopia for its role in Somalia.
Both the UK and the EU maintain full diplomatic relations with Ethiopia. Neither the UK nor the EU provide any military support, but where suitable opportunities arise and we are satisfied that human rights concerns are being met, the UK remains interested in assisting Ethiopia to develop its internal security infrastructure.
Both the UK and the EU support the Transitional Federal Institutions of Somalia as established by the Transitional Federal Charter, including the Transitional Federal Government. The UK does not currently have formal diplomatic accreditation to Somalia, but we maintain a high level of contact with members of the Somali Government. Neither the UK nor the EU provide any military support to Somalia.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Ethiopia and the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia on their obligations to ensure that their armed forces comply with international humanitarian law; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: We regularly raise the issue of compliance with international humanitarian law with both the Ethiopian Government and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, including at the highest level.
While Ethiopias troops remain in Somalia, we urge them to use only appropriate force, adhere to international humanitarian law, respect human rights and to ensure that their forces should leave the country as soon as is practical without creating a security vacuum.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking to monitor the human rights situation in Somalia; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: In March 2008 we fully supported the UN Human Rights Council in renewing the mandate of their international expert for Somalia.
Through the UN Security Council (UNSC), we have also asked the UN to produce a comprehensive plan, and to build capacity to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Somalia.
To be effective and have a sustainable impact, measures to combat human rights abuses should be part of a broader approach to peace-building. Effective state-building is the only way to address human rights in the long-term. The UK is in the forefront of
international efforts to re-build the Somali state through shaping UNSC policy and through our membership of the Contact Group for Somalia. We continually press for greater focus on human rights capacity in Somalia.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the capacity of the African Union force in Somalia to protect civilians caught up in the conflict; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The African Union (AU) force in Somalia has a mandate to carry out a limited number of specific tasks in Somalia. The force is mandated to deploy 8,000 troops. At the current force level of approximately 2,400 troops, the mission does not have sufficient capacity to carry out its full mandate.
Even so, the AU troops are doing what they can to aid the civilian population in Mogadishu, particularly in the areas of water provision and medical assistance. We are grateful to Uganda and Burundi for the efforts of their soldiers and their contribution to improving the situation in Somalia. We are working with the AU and international partners to increase the strength of the force.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he received of attacks on humanitarian aid workers along the Chadian border with Sudan in each of the last three months. 
Meg Munn: With regret I confirm that Pascal Marlinge, an aid worker with Save the Children-UK, was shot and killed by armed men in eastern Chad on 1 May. Ramadan Djom, also of Save the Children-UK, was killed in the same region on 4 April. The border area between Chad and Sudan remains highly dangerous, with regular bandit activity throughout the region. The UK strongly condemns these senseless attacks on both individuals and organisations that are seeking to improve the welfare of those affected by regional conflict.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the re-population of Acholiland in northern Uganda; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The most recent report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, states that of the 1.1 million people in Internally Displaced Persons camps in the Acholi region of Uganda at the end of 2005, 9 per cent. have moved back to their villages of origin, with a further 32 per cent. in satellite sites, in transition to returning home. We are encouraged by this report and will continue to monitor the situation in northern Uganda closely.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|