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Turkey: Arms Exports by British Aerospace Subsidiary

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are unaware of the terms of the "licensing contract" between Heckler and Koch, a German-based subsidiary of British Aerospace plc, and the Government of Turkey. The

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British Government have not been approached to grant an export licence in respect of such items.

Export licence applications for export from the United Kingdom would be considered in accordance with our national criteria (The Criteria to be used in Considering Licence Applications for the Export of Conventional Arms), in line with the arrangements cited in the question and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Sales.

Israel: Alleged Chemical Defoliant Spraying

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the case that in March chemical defoliants were sprayed onto land used by the Bedouin of the Negev, on the instructions of the Israeli Minister of Agriculture; and whether they have discussed or will discuss this matter with the Government of Israel.[HL2178]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised this matter with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, who denied that such spraying had taken place.

Conflict Prevention and Resolution: EU Policy

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken within the European Union to assist the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the fulfilment of his policy objectives on conflict, durable peace and sustainable development.[HL2119]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: EU member states fully support the United Nation's Secretary-General's report The causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.

The UK presidency is preparing a review of the EU Common Position on conflict prevention and resolution in Africa. This will be considered by EU Foreign Ministers on 29 June.

Her Majesty's Government have also pressed successfully for conflict prevention to be integral to the mandate for renegotiation of the Lome Convention, which governs EU trade and aid with developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Lome Convention

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress is being made in the renegotiation of the Lome Agreement on the enhancement of human rights and in particular whether it is anticipated that responsibility for deciding whether a human rights issue has arisen will lie with the European Union, with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states or with both together.[HL2120]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The renegotiation of the Lome Convention will not begin until 30 September. The UK for its part would like to see a provision in the new convention affirming that parties' domestic and foreign policies must be informed by respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and good governance (the essential elements of the convention). We would also like it to include a clause permitting any of the parties to seek appropriate action in the event of a violation of one of the essential elements. This action should enshrine dialogue as the preferred means of reaching a solution.

UN Reform Programme

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the reform of the United Nations.[HL2121]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, announced in July 1997 a package of wide-ranging institutional and management reforms. The Foreign Secretary welcomed these at the General Assembly in September 1997. Since then, the UK has continued strongly to support the Secretary-General's proposals, and has in particular used its European Union and G8 presidencies to press for their implementation.

Falkland Islands and South Georgia

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action will be taken to provide adequate supervision of future oil and gas extraction and related activity so as to safeguard the environment in and around the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.[HL2152]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Both Her Majesty's Government and the Falkland Islands Government attach the highest importance to the protection of the unique environment of the Islands. Before each phase of exploration and exploitation the oil companies are required to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for approval by the Falkland Islands Government. Various environmental studies are also being carried out by the oil licensees and Falkland Islands Government. Supervision of oil exploration and possible exploitation activity is ensured by the provisions of Falklands legislation and the stringent environmental conditionality of the licences issued. There are no plans for hydrocarbons development affecting South Georgia.

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Baltic States: ASSIST Programme Funding

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much the following nations of the Baltic states will receive in the financial year 1998-99 from the ASSIST programme (Assistance to Support Stability with In-Service Training)--(a) Estonia (b) Latvia; and (c) Lithuania.[HL2252]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Baltic states have been allocated £41,000 each from the ASSIST programme for the financial year 1998-99.

Sierra Leone

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the role of the United States Administration or forces during the recent events in Sierra Leone; and whether the Government's enquiry will cover United States relations with Messrs. Sandline.[HL2296]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is not for Her Majesty's Government to comment on the role of

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the United States Administration or forces in relation to Sierra Leone.

Sir Thomas Legg KCB QC is investigating allegations of British Government involvement with the supply of arms to Sierra Leone by UK citizens and firms.

British Embassy, Berlin

Baroness Young of Old Scone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Private Finance Initiative contract for the British Embassy in Berlin will be signed.[HL2416]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Private Finance Initiative contract for the British Embassy in Berlin was signed on 22 June and the commercial arrangements completed yesterday, 23 June.

The Embassy will be built to a design by the British architects Michael Wilford and Partners, winners of the 1995 Embassy Design Competition, on the site of the pre-war British Embassy in Wilhelmstrasse. Under the contract, Arteos, a German consortium, will finance, construct and then manage the building for 30 years. Building work will start in July and the building will be handed over by the end of February 2000.

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