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23 Jul 1996 : Column WA101

Written Answers

Tuesday, 23rd July 1996.

Security and Intelligence Services: Staff Access to Industrial Tribunals

Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy towards access to industrial tribunals by staff of the security and intelligence services.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): For reasons of national security, staff of the security and intelligence services have been subject to a general ban preventing their access to industrial tribunals. Following advice from the Heads of the services, the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary agree that there should no longer be a general ban, but that decisions on whether access to industrial tribunals can be allowed should be taken case by case. Staff will be allowed access to an industrial tribunal in those cases where national security considerations can be met by the procedural safeguards available; where they cannot, access will continue to be disallowed.

This change carries forward the Government's policy of protecting national security whilst also protecting to the maximum extent possible the employment rights of the staff of the security and intelligence services on whose diligence, professionalism and commitment the nation depends. It does not affect the restrictions on union membership by staff of the services.

Entry Clearance Refusal: Independent Monitor's Report

Baroness Seccombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to lay before the House the 1995 report by Dame Elizabeth Anson, the Independent Monitor of Refusal of Entry Clearance when there is no right of appeal.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Copies of Dame Elizabeth's 1995 report will be placed in the Libraries of the House today. We welcome the report and note Dame Elizabeth's recommendations, which will receive careful consideration.

Wassenaar Arrangement

Baroness Seccombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in negotiations to establish the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: After more than two years of negotiations, the Wassenaar Arrangement was

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formally launched at a meeting of the thirty-three founding participating states on 11th-12th July 1996 in Vienna.

The purpose of the arrangement is to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations. Participating states will seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.

The arrangement will complement and reinforce existing control regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, by focusing on the threats to international and regional peace and security which may arise from transfers of conventional armaments and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies where the risks are judged greatest.

As part of the arrangement, participating states have agreed new control lists for military and dual-use goods and technologies. These are more focused than earlier lists on those goods and technologies which pose the greatest risk to international and regional peace and security. They are also shorter, thus benefiting British industry. A target date of 1st November 1996 has been set for the implementation of these new control lists.

Participating states will exchange, on a voluntary basis, information that will enhance transparency and will lead to discussions among all participating states on arms transfers, as well as on sensitive dual-use and technologies.

The Wassenaar Arrangement is based on political, not legal commitment. All measures taken will be in accordance with national legislation and policies and implemented at national discretion.

The arrangement will not be directed against any state or group of states and will not impede bona fide civil transactions. Nor will it interfere with the rights of states to acquire legitimate means with which to defend themselves, as recognised in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Government welcome the establishment of the Wassenaar Arrangement as a further step towards increased regional and international security. The UK will continue to play a full and active role in the negotiations to develop the arrangement further and in line with British interests.

A copy of the "Initial Elements", which describe the operating procedures of the Wassenaar Arrangement, has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Countries receiving Military Training Assistance

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the countries from which military officers have been given training, or are

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    scheduled to be given training, by United Kingdom soldiers, either in the United Kingdom or abroad during 1996.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey : Countries with military personnel receiving training supported by the United Kingdom Military Training Assistance Scheme in 1996 are:

Albania, Angola, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Swaziland, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

President Chirac: Speech to Both Houses of Parliament

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the publication Outre Manche (No. 69 June-July 1996) published by the British Embassy in Paris spends four pages reporting the State visit of President Chirac to London in May but fails to report that the President made an important speech to Members of both Houses of Parliament assembled in the Palace of Westminster on 15th May.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: President Chirac's address to the joint Houses of Parliament is referred to on the third page of Outre Manche number 69, where passages from President Chirac's speech are quoted.


Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Consultative Group meeting on Cambodia in Tokyo on 11th-12th July; whether any measures were agreed to combat illegal trade in Cambodia's timber and the diversion of revenues to the Khmer Rouge; what undertakings were received from the Cambodian government, if any, on the preservation of freedom of expression and of assembly; whether future aid is to be conditional on Cambodia's adherence to the principles of good governance and the rule of law, and what additional procedures they and other donors consider necessary for monitoring compliance with these objectives.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A successful Consultative Group Meeting secured commitments from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in the fields of human rights and economic policy (including steps

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to combat illegal logging), while donors pledged their continuing support for Cambodia's development.

The RGC committed itself to implementing the recommendations on forestry policy made by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation and requested international experts and advisers to assist it in this process. In addition, the RGC stated its willingness to appoint a reputable international company to verify the export of logs and ensure transparency and accountability of revenues.

The RGC also committed itself to the democratic process, a free mass media, the rule of law and combating corruption. Most donors, in pledging further aid, made it clear that they expected to see further progress in these areas. Given the widespread presence of donors and NGOs in Cambodia and of a UN Centre for Human Rights in Phnom Penh (to which Britain has provided financial support), we will help to ensure the monitoring of progress.

NATO Enlargement: Costs

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are conducting studies of their own, or collaborating with other parties, on the costs of NATO enlargement, and when they expect to have properly-derived cost estimates.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Naturally the Government are studying the implications of NATO enlargement and will be sharing the results with other Allied governments over the coming months in the period leading up to the decisions on NATO enlargement.

Russian and US Foreign Bases

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider (a) that remaining ex-Soviet, now Russian, bases in the Baltic States, and (b) that US naval installations in Cuba, should be removed.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: There are only two significant former Soviet bases in the Baltic States: the nuclear training site at Paldiski was returned to Estonian control for dismantling last September, and the radar station at Skrunda (Latvia) remains in Russian use by mutual agreement before it is dismantled by February 2000. The removal of the US naval installations in Cuba is a matter for the United States and Cuban Governments.

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