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David Miliband: I think, "Oh yes he did" is the answer that came both from the Opposition and some of the people sitting next to the hon. Gentleman. I think it is important that he recognises that on this issue, he can safely agree with what the Government are saying. A pre-report has been published. Our position on the human rights aspect is that there are 27 international agreements that countries wishing to benefit from GSP plus need to adhere to, including on critical issues to do with children's rights, torture and so on. They must be adhered to for GSP plus to continue.

Mr. Keith Simpson (Mid-Norfolk) (Con): In the last few weeks of the conflict in Sri Lanka, Members on both sides of the House were horrified at the civilian casualties, which were the result both of action by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam-use of children and the use of women as cover-and of indiscriminate fire by Sri Lankan Government forces. Have the Government been able to get any answer from the Sri Lankan Government on whether they intend to investigate allegations made against their forces? What pressure is the international community applying regarding war crimes?

David Miliband: I hope the hon. Gentleman saw the statement by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, and President Rajapaksa following their meeting in Colombo-if he did not, I will certainly send it to him. The statement made clear the need for an accountability mechanism. It is certainly our determination in meetings with the UN Secretary-General and in meetings with the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that it is followed up. The hon. Gentleman referred to the international community. There is no better basis for the follow-up of allegations of war crimes than the agreement that the Sri Lankan President had with the UN Secretary-General.

Arab Peace Initiative

9. Mrs. Anne McGuire (Stirling) (Lab): What recent discussions his Department has had with the Palestinian Authority on the Arab peace initiative; and if he will make a statement. [293910]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): I visited the Palestinian territories in August, and met Ministers and the President's chief of staff. The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, most recently on 12 October. All our discussions include the need for urgent progress towards a comprehensive peace in the middle east, with a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians underpinned by a broader peace between Israel and the entire Arab world.

Mrs. McGuire: I thank my hon. Friend for that response. He may be aware that on 9 October, in Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper, King Abdullah of Jordan said:

Given that the Israeli Government have not yet formulated a response to the Arab peace initiative, what more can Britain do to encourage them to support that initiative,
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which I think, frankly, gives an unprecedented opportunity for 57 nations to have normal relations with Israel in the context of a wider settlement?

Mr. Lewis: What can I say, Mr. Speaker? My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I believe genuinely that this is the last best chance for peace in the middle east for a generation. We should give our full support to the initiative led by President Obama, particularly with the appointment of Senator Mitchell. This is now the time in the middle east for responsible and visionary leadership. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State laid out recently, the basis of the agreement is clear: a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state; resolving the issues of final borders, based on '67 including issues of settlements and Jerusalem; justice for Palestinian refugees; and not simply recognition of Israel by the Arab world, but normalisation in relations towards Israel by the Arab world.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate) (Con): Will the Minister assure the House that the Foreign Office will encourage all Arab Governments of the continuing relevance and importance of the Arab peace initiative, and to back it not only with hard diplomacy, but with soft diplomacy aimed at the Israeli population?

Mr. Lewis: I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman. It is important not only that we see justice for the Palestinians in terms of the Palestinian state, but that we give assurances to the Israeli people that their security will be protected should a two-state agreement be reached. That is why it is so important that the Arab world sends very clear and strong messages to terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah that they are obstacles to peace, and that they are not furthering the cause of a Palestinian state.

Turkey and Armenia

11. Mr. Bob Laxton (Derby, North) (Lab): What assessment he has made of the implications for Government policy in the region of the conclusion of protocols on (a) development of relations and (b) establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia. [293912]

The Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant): The Government welcome the signing of protocols between Armenia and Turkey. That is important not only for those countries, but for peace in the wider region.

Mr. Laxton: What further steps can the Government take to encourage both Turkey and Armenia to ratify and implement these protocols, because the benefits will be immense for the region? We need to ensure that momentum in this process is maintained.

Chris Bryant: My hon. Friend is right: we need to ensure that ratification is proceeded with by the Parliaments, and two months after that it will be possible to open the border. That is such a significant change from the position that we were in only a few years ago that all Members will wholeheartedly welcome it. We remain committed to Turkey eventually being able to accede to the European Union, but it is impossible to have any leverage arguing that with German and French colleagues
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unless one sits down in the European Parliament with them, not with people who still refuse to apologise for the Latvian SS.

Refugee Camps (Chad)

12. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): What reports he has received on the security of female refugees from Darfur living in refugee camps in eastern Chad; and if he will make a statement. [293913]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): We are understandably concerned by reports from the United Nations and non-governmental organisations highlighting the dangers that Darfuri women face in and around refugee camps in eastern Chad.

David Taylor: Amnesty's report "No Place for Us Here" documents the worsening plight of the refugees who have fled since 2003 to eastern Chad where rape and other attacks are being committed against many women and girls with egregious impunity inside and outside the camps. Will my hon. Friend urgently raise this fundamental failure to protect innocent victims of the Darfur crisis with the Chadian ambassador and at United Nations level, because this shocking criminal violence must be stopped and the perpetrators indicted?

Mr. Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not only agreed to be my assistant on this occasion, but has agreed to accede to my hon. Friend's request to write to the UN about this incredibly important issue and raise the concerns of the British Government.

Anne Milton (Guildford) (Con): How do the Government intend to integrate UN resolution 1888 on women, peace and security into the existing framework of the national action plan on resolution 1325?

Mr. Lewis: That is entirely consistent with the policies that the Government have promoted on this issue over a very long time, so the UK will be providing leadership on this.

Topical Questions

T1. [293926] Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield) (Lab): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): This afternoon, President Karzai has announced that in the light of the findings of the electoral complaints commission, he will embrace a second round run-off of the presidential elections in Afghanistan. We welcome that. Both he and Dr. Abdullah have been statesmanlike in accepting the prolonged electoral process and have secured support from across the country. Both have a major responsibility to ensure that the next stages are a credit to Afghanistan. The independent election commission is expected to make an announcement this afternoon on the details of the first round result, once it has collated the orders of the electoral complaints commission to exclude flawed ballots and include some quarantined ballots. The Afghan
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people and candidates have shown patience and resilience throughout this process and the UK will continue to support them as they bring it to a conclusion.

I also wish to place on record the thanks of the whole House not just to the UN Secretary-General's special representative, Kai Eide, for the unstinting work that he has done on this election, but to Senator John Kerry for his work over the past few days. I spoke to him on Saturday and Sunday, and he has made a signal contribution to the resolution of the process.

Mr. McCartney: I agree with everything that my right hon. Friend has said. I wish him and our colleagues well in reaching a successful conclusion with a run-off.

Does my right hon. Friend have any comment to make about the complaint by the chief rabbi of Poland about the recent election of Michal Kaminski to the leadership of the Conservative group, given his neo-Nazi links? Does my right hon. Friend think that that was an appropriate election, supported as it was by the leaders of the Opposition in this country?

Mr. Speaker: Order. I remind right hon. and hon. Members that in topical questions both the question and the answer must be brief. I do not want to cut people off, but I will if it is necessary to make progress.

David Miliband: The future of this country depends on wholehearted engagement in the European Union, making Britain's case and ensuring that we are part of a mainstream majority. This Government are proud to be alongside 27 Governments and 26 opposition parties in saying that now is the time to put the Lisbon treaty into practice and to ensure that it benefits all the citizens of Europe. It is a great pity that the Conservative party is stuck in the past.

Mr. William Hague (Richmond, Yorks) (Con): On that, it is a great pity that the Labour party broke an election promise that it made to the people of this country at the last election. However, I am sure that the Foreign Secretary will join me in welcoming today's visit to Sarajevo by Carl Bildt and the US deputy Secretary of State. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, given the situation in Bosnia and what has happened in that country over the past 15 to 20 years, it would be premature to close the Office of the High Representative or to withdraw the EUFOR presence, and that the time might be coming when the carrot of EU accession for Bosnia and Herzegovina has to be accompanied by the stick of sanctions on those who would undermine its political progress?

David Miliband: The House should know that the real pity is that three times the right hon. Gentleman has refused to debate Europe with me on the BBC and Channel 4, because he knows that his arguments are completely threadbare. We stand ready to take questions about Europe-of which there are none-and to hold debates about Europe, which he refuses to have.

In respect of Bosnia, I spoke to Minister Bildt on Sunday about this important issue, and I agree that today's meeting is important. The European orientation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very important part of the package being worked on. However, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will also agree-I think that this
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is his position-that we must ensure proper conditionality in any switch from the OHR to the EU special representative.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am grateful to the Secretary of State, but I must say to Ministers that the abridged version, rather than the "War and Peace" version, will suffice. I call Judy Mallaber.

T2. [293927] Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley) (Lab): Last week, I visited Bangladesh, which will be critically affected by climate change. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if we weaken our political affiliations in Europe and with other countries by fringe activities such as joining fringe groups, we will be in a weaker position when trying to deal with issues such as getting agreements on climate change and other issues critical to UK interests?

The Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant): My hon. Friend- [Interruption.] It is nice to be welcomed.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I ask the Minister to hold his horses for a moment. Mr. Simpson, you are very senior and experienced Member of this House. Chuntering away and bellowing from a sedentary position is not in order. You can behave so much better when you try.

Chris Bryant: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We need to be able to deliver on some key issues for Britain, one of which is an agreement in Copenhagen later this year. It is impossible for us to do that without a stronger EU and our playing a stronger role within the EU. There are no fringe benefits to being on the fringe.

T5. [293930] Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD): From the Liberal Democrat Benches, may I encourage Ministers to be as positive as that answer about the post-Lisbon future? I ask that, in the interests of a Copenhagen deal that works and an economic future for Europe that delivers jobs, we work positively with all the other 26 countries and do not work on the margins, which will put us on the margins for the decades ahead.

David Miliband: I fear that I might have done a disservice to the Liberal Democrats and their allies around Europe. All 27 Governments around Europe, 26 opposition parties and all the Liberal parties in Europe are saying that now is time to put the constitutional arguments, and now the reform treaty arguments, behind us and to work for a stronger Europe. It is a great pity that only one party-this Conservative party-in the whole of Europe wants to fight the battles of the past. From now until election day, it will have to answer whether it is ready to live with the Lisbon treaty or determined to fight it on its own.

T3. [293928] Mr. David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): It is now four years since the Iraqi Government took control of the assets of the Iraqi trade union movement. In the past week, they have seized even more control of the levers of power in the unions. Will the Secretary of State meet me and Iraqi trade unions to see whether we can find a way forward to give these people real support in a situation that should not be happening?

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): We believe in not only the rights of trade unions in this country, but in the rights of trade unions in Iraq. At the heart of the Iraqi constitution is the right to organise in a free trade union, and I would certainly enter into discussions with my hon. Friend about how we make this a reality. When I visit Iraq at some stage over the next few months, I shall raise the point directly with the Iraqi Government.

T6. [293931] Ann Winterton (Congleton) (Con): What impact does Pakistan's deep involvement in the Afghanistan conflict have on the prospect for a resolution of the long-running India-Pakistan dispute over the future of Kashmir?

David Miliband: The key to re-establishing the composite dialogue, which was so important in trying to establish better relations between India and Pakistan, is action in Pakistan on those associated with the Mumbai bombings. There is a real hunger in the Indian Government and among the Indian population to see real action from their Pakistani neighbours on that critical issue. However, the foundation of confidence needs to be proper prosecution and, if found guilty, sentencing of those who were associated-or allegedly associated-with the Mumbai murders.

T7. [293932] Mr. Marsha Singh (Bradford, West) (Lab): May I inform my right hon. Friend that many of my constituents are extremely concerned about the events taking place in Pakistan right now? This is a struggle that the Pakistani Government must win. What support are the Government offering Pakistan, both through what its troops are doing and on internally displaced people?

David Miliband: I am glad that my hon. Friend, who follows these issues carefully, gives me the chance to reflect with the House on the vital work being done in Pakistan. The Pakistani Government have long been urged to recognise that the multiple insurgencies that they face are a threat not just to them, but to overall regional peace and security. The armed efforts now being taken up by the Pakistani army in six of the districts in South Waziristan threaten a large number of refugees, but also offer the prospect that, for the first time, there will be a proper Pakistani Government security presence in those districts. It is of the utmost importance that we continue not only to offer political and humanitarian support, which is an essential part of our work with the internally displaced persons who will inevitably come with the conflict, but to engage with all Pakistani opinion on this vital issue.

T8. [293933] Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): The Government are right to expend diplomatic efforts in trying to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability, but does the Foreign Secretary understand and accept that one of the issues that the Iranians rightly raise is the Israeli nuclear capability? What is his policy on that and will he encourage Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty?

David Miliband: Yes, and I answered exactly the same question when my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) asked it at the beginning of questions today.

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