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6 Feb 1996 : Column WA11

Written Answers

Tuesday, 6th February 1996.

Russian Federation: Council of Europe Membership

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps to ensure that the Russian Federation is invited by the Committee of Ministers to become a member of the Council of Europe only if, in accordance with the Parliamentary Assembly's Opinion No. 193 (1996), the means and capabilities of the assembly and of the human rights institutions are increased to meet the consequences of Russia's membership.

Lord Chesham: We accept that Russian membership will have consequences for the workload of these bodies, and the Council of Europe in general. But we cannot ignore the financial constraints which are currently being placed on public sector expenditure in a number of Member States. We therefore cannot give the guarantees requested, although we shall closely monitor the needs of Council of Europe institutions in the light of Russian membership.

European Commission and Council of Ministers: Votes

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 25 January (H.L. Deb., cols. 1124-6), how often they have been in disagreement with other member states in the Council of Ministers or the European Commission, but have refrained from pressing the issue to a vote because it was clear that the United Kingdom would be outvoted.

Lord Chesham: When the Government believe that it is in the British interest to vote against a proposal, we do so.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 25 January (H.L. Deb., cols. 1124-6), how often the United Kingdom has been defeated on votes giving rise to Commission regulations or other instruments which become law without being considered by the Council of Ministers or national parliaments.

Lord Chesham: The Council may, under Article 145, confer on the Commission powers for the implementation of rules which the Council has laid down. These powers are exercised in Committees chaired by the Commission and attended by representatives of member states according to voting rules laid down in the Comitology

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decision (Council decision of 13 July 1987, OJ L 197, 18.7 1987, p.33). We do not keep records of votes taken in such committees. The information requested could therefore be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Turkish Intelligence Organisations: Training Assistance

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What training has been provided by the United Kingdom to officers of the Turkish JITEM (Gendarme Intelligence) and MIT (National Intelligency); what subjects were covered; over what periods the training extended; how many officers were trained; and what evaluation of the programme has been conducted, to verify that it has had positive influence in encouraging professional standards of conduct and proper respect for human rights.

Lord Chesham: Neither organisation has received police training assistance from the United Kingdom.

Former Yugoslavia: Arms Supply Policy

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is to be any limit set on the arms that may be provided to any of the various recently warring parties in the former Yugoslavia by the United States, by other members of NATO, by Russia and other CIS states, or by members of the Council of Islamic States; if so, what is this limit; and if not, why not.

Lord Chesham: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 14 December 1995 at col. WA 115.

Under Annex 1B of the Bosnian Peace Agreement, the parties are also committed to agreeing arms control limits within 180 days of signature. Should they fail to do so, limits set by the peace agreement are imposed automatically.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the eventual unlimited provision of weapons, training, intelligence, etc., to the Bosnian Muslim government was a condition set by President Clinton for the United States participation in IFOR.

Lord Chesham: No.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether OSCE rules concerning transparency, confidence-building, crisis prevention, etc., and any of the provisions of the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement will apply to the arming of the states which are parties to the Dayton agreement, particularly, but not only, non-European states.

Lord Chesham: The Dayton Agreement provides for the negotiation of both military confidence building measures between the Bosnian Parties and an arms control agreement between all the Dayton Parties. The

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CBM agreement agreed on 26 January draws largely on the OSCE Vienna Document and incorporates OSCE transparency provisions. The UK, as a witness to the negotiations, will be pressing for an arms control agreement that draws largely on the provisions of the CFE, including limits on weaponry, information exchange and verification. These provisions would apply to all weaponry defined in the agreement--whatever its source of supply.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their opinion and that of their European allies in NATO that the United States' attempt to provide a "level playing field" in war-fighting capabilities in the area of the former Yugoslavia will promote peace among the recently warring Islamic Catholic and Orthodox parties there when IFOR leaves after 12 months' deployment.

Lord Chesham: We believe that the most effective way of achieving stability in the former Yugoslavia is through arms control negotiations provided for in the Bosnian Peace Agreement and currently underway in Vienna.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their statement that "United States policy on arming the Bosnians [after the final lifting of the arms embargo in June] is a matter for them" (H.L. Deb., 24 January) reflects the opinion of all the members of NATO.

Lord Chesham: We cannot answer for other members of NATO on this subject. British policy was set out in my Answer to the Noble Lord of 25 January (col. WA 87).

Former Yugoslavia: Peace Plans

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans are being made, and by whom, for maintaining peace among the recently warring and soon to be re-armed Islamic, Catholic and Orthodox parties in the former Yugoslavia when US, British, French and other forces participating in IFOR leave after 12 months' deployment.

Lord Chesham: All members of the international community involved in Bosnia, either through the Implementation Force or the civilian effort, are making every effort to ensure that peace is embedded during the year of IFOR's deployment. Agreement has already been reached on a package of confidence building measures in accordance with the peace agreement.

Parliamentary Salaries and Expenses: Review

Lord Aberdare asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to review arrangements for the pay of Members of the House of Commons and Ministers and the scheme for Peers' expenses.

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The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has today written to Sir Michael Perry, the Chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body, in the following terms.

"As you know, changes in the structure of civil servants' pay mean that new arrangements need to be found for determining Members' pay for 1997 onwards.

"I would be grateful if you and your colleagues on the Senior Salaries Review Body would under your standing terms of reference undertake a comprehensive review with the following remit.

'The Senior Salaries Review Body is asked to undertake a comprehensive review of the level and structure of parliamentary pay and allowances and to make recommendations for the future. The review should cover each of the following items:

(i) the salary of Members of the House of Commons;

(ii) the salaries of Ministers and other office-holders;

(iii) all allowances, comprising the Office Costs Allowance, Motor Mileage Allowance, Additional Cost Allowance and the London Supplement;

(iv) the severance pay and pension arrangements for MPs and Ministers;

(v) the rates of Peers' expenses allowances and the Secretarial Allowance for Ministers and other paid office-holders in the House of Lords; and

(vi) a linkage to provide the basis for annual uprating in future years without the need for parliamentary decision.'

"I realise that such a review will be time consuming and needs to be fitted in with your other work. Nonetheless, I would be grateful if it could be completed in time for you to make recommendations, if at all possible, by the end of June."

Documents in the House of Lords Library

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked the Leader of the House:

    Whether, when a document is placed at the request of Her Majesty's Government in the Library of the House, it enters the public domain so that every member of the public may have access to it upon request.

Viscount Cranborne: The practice of the Library regarding documents placed there by Her Majesty's Government is that these documents are made available to Members and their research assistants. Members of the public who request access to such a document are referred to the government department which deposited it.

I understand that the Library of the House of Commons follows the same practice.

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