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Lord Whitty: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £1 million of humanitarian aid to support the life-saving activities of the International Red Cross (ICRC) within Sierra Leone, and approximately £250,000 to selected refugee care programmes in neighbouring countries.
The UN Sanctions Committee, under Resolution 1132, of which we are a member, is aware of the problems with processing humanitarian aid on the border. Operational responsibility for the clearance of humanitarian aid across the Guinea/Sierra Leone border was passed from the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) to the Guinean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More recently, there has been agreement for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) representatives to be stationed at the border of Guinea and Sierra Leone to authorise humanitarian imports.
Humanitarian relief by sea to Freetown is not a preferred route because of the added risk that items will be diverted by armed factions and therefore strengthen the organisers of the coup and not reach intended beneficiaries.
Lord Whitty: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £1 million of humanitarian assistance to support the life-saving activities of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Freetown and other parts of Sierra Leone. The ICRC are providing basic health care and distributing food to vulnerable civilians.
The continuing fighting and the co-opting of humanitarian items by armed factions makes it enormously difficult to prevent the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to targeted vulnerable groups.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The discussions of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary with the Bahraini Crown Prince and Minister of Foreign Affairs on 28 January covered many areas of mutual concern but focused mainly on the current situation in Iraq. Their discussion addressed the issue of constitutional development and, as I told the noble Lord in my Answer of 4 February, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised the issue of a dialogue between the Bahraini authorities and the Committee for Popular Petition.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have been in close touch with our Embassy in Tehran about Mr. Firoozi. We understand that he has been sentenced to death on spying charges. We are considering with our European partners what action we might take on his behalf.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Democratic principles are a central element to our political dialogue with the Government of Uganda. It is for the Ugandan people to decide what form democracy should take in their country. They will have an opportunity to do so in the referendum schedule for 2000. We look to President Museveni to ensure that constitutional provisions relating to the referendum are fully implemented, including those that will enable advocates of a multi- party system to put their case to the electorate without restrictions.
My honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Tony Lloyd, made these points to President Museveni during his visit to Uganda in June 1997, and again at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1997. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development made similar points during her visit to Uganda in early October 1997. Legislation on political parties is scheduled for debate during the current session of the Ugandan Parliament.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The national framework is a consultation document seeking views on performance assessment in the National Health Service. The indicators in the consultation document have been chosen, within the constraints of available data, to throw light on particularly important health service objectives and activities, one of which is the number of conceptions below age 16. The Government have announced a national programme to tackle the problem of unwanted teenage conceptions. The principal aim of this programme is to reduce the number of unwanted teenage conceptions by supporting young people in deferring sexual activity and improving access to advice and counselling services, including contraception for those who are sexually active. Any advice on abortion is given in the context of the 1967 Abortion Act.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: In 1997-98, the Government are funding a Health Education Authority-run adult smoking education campaign costing £5.5 million. As part of the campaign, £700,000 is being given to Quit to operate the Quitline--a telephone helpline--which offers smoking cessation advice, counselling and support.
In addition, a wide range of health professionals, notably general practitioners, routinely offer cessation advice and support. These costs cannot be separately identified.
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