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28 Jul 1998 : Column WA181

Written Answers

Tuesday, 28th July 1998.

Kosovo Liberation Army

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether NATO or any other international grouping knows (a) where the arms now reported to be reaching the "Kosovo Liberation Army" are coming from; and (b) who is paying for them.[HL2773]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): It is clear that the Kosovo Liberation Army has procured significant quantities of arms in Albania. Media and other reports also suggest that Kosovo Albanians living in Europe and elsewhere are actively involved in fundraising for the KLA. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1160 adopted on 31 March 1998 condemned all external support for terrorist activity in Kosovo and decided that states should prevent arming and training for terrorist activity there. At its meeting in Bonn on 8 July, the Contact Group requested all states to pursue, as a matter of urgency, all means consistent with their domestic laws and relevant international law, to prevent funds collected on their behalf being used to contravene the resolution.

UN Security Council Members: Nuclear Force Readiness

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In what state of readiness the nuclear weapons of each of the United Nations Security Council member states are held.[HL2062]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): With one submarine always on patrol, our Trident force currently operates in a state of reduced readiness at several days notice to fire. Its readiness state could, however, be quickly increased if required. Exact details of the readiness states of the nuclear forces of the other members of the UN Security Council are matters of which Her Majesty's Government have no precise knowledge.

UN Staff: Peacekeeping Training

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the Strategic Defence Review, whether they will now provide resources and facilities for training international staff in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.[HL2880]

Lord Gilbert: There are already a range of facilities for training the UN's international staff in peacekeeping

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and humanitarian operations, including the UN's own staff college in Turin. The Ministry of Defence's contribution to peacekeeping training is concentrated on staff training for peacekeeping operations in general, training for specific operations, and the development of peacekeeping capabilities in Africa. Much of this training is already directed towards overseas service personnel or is open to them. We will continue to keep under review how best the UK--and the MoD in particular--can contribute to peacekeeping training.

NATO, WEU and the United Nations

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the future operational and policy implications of the commitment to NATO, Western European Union and the United Nations as emphasised in the Strategic Defence Review; and what is their policy towards the relationship between NATO and the United Nations.[HL2882]

Lord Gilbert: The Strategic Defence Review reaffirmed that NATO is the foundation of the security of Europe and of the United Kingdom, and will continue as the cornerstone of our defence planning. The Western European Union has an important role in fostering defence co-operation amongst its members, in particular in conflict prevention and peacekeeping. The United Nations remains of central importance to the planning of peace support and humanitarian deployments. The reshaping of forces set out in the Strategic Defence Review will enhance the effectiveness of the United Kingdom's operational contribution to each of these international organisations. NATO is ready to support, on a case by case basis, United Nations peacekeeping and other operations, under the authority of the UN Security Council.

NATO

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of the recent reports of official United States policy towards NATO, what contingency plans they are making and how such plans would affect the role and significance of Western European Union.[HL2883]

Lord Gilbert: The Strategic Defence Review reaffirmed that NATO is the foundation of the security of Europe and of the United Kingdom, and will continue as the cornerstone of our defence planning. The transatlantic link remains fundamental to the Alliance. The Strategic Defence Review also reaffirmed the important role of the Western European Union in fostering defence co-operation among its members, in particular in conflict prevention and peacekeeping.

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British Forces and the UN

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the precise meaning of the words "potentially available to the United Nations" with reference to what is described as "a much larger proportion of our readily available forces" in the Strategic Defence Review.[HL2958]

Lord Gilbert: The inclusion of forces in the planned Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations is without prejudice to the right of Ministers to decide whether to commit any of those forces to a particular UN operation.

AS90 Regiments

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the Strategic Defence Review, where the proposed six AS90 regiments will be based and train.[HL2961]

Lord Gilbert: The five existing AS90 regiments will continue to be based at Tidworth and Topcliffe in the UK, and at Hohne, Gutersloh and Osnabruck in Germany. No decisions have yet been taken on where the new sixth regiment will be based, but it will be within the UK. Training for UK AS90 regiments will take place on Salisbury Plain and at Otterburn, while regiments based in Germany will train at Bergen Hohne and Graffenwehr and in Poland. All units will also train in Canada.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the Strategic Defence Review, how many guns each of the proposed six AS90 regiments will have; and how many gun battalions there will be in each regiment.[HL2960]

Lord Gilbert: Following the implementation of the Strategic Defence Review, the three AS90 regiments based in Germany will each have three batteries and a total of 18 guns. The three AS90 regiments based in the UK will each have four batteries and a total of 24 guns.

British Servicemen in Cyprus: Assaults

Lord Chesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many assaults have been reported (a) by British servicemen and (b) on British servicemen in Cyprus in (i) 1995, (ii) 1996, (iii) 1997; and (iv) 1998 to date, and how many of these incidents have resulted in people being charged and found guilty.[HL2323]

Lord Gilbert: This information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Central records are kept for assaults committed by and against members of the Resident Infantry Battalions and other permanent units in Cyprus, with the exception

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of British units attached to the UN, but do not include incidents involving members of units visiting Cyprus.

I am therefore providing centrally held information in the table below.

1995199619971998
Assaults by British personnel attached to Resident Infantry Battalions and other permanent units in Cyprus, excepting British units attached to the UN.(1)2016(2)110
Assaults on British Service personnel attached to Resident Infantry Battalions and other permanent units in Cyprus, excepting British units attaching to the UN.2742459

Notes:

(1) Includes 18 incidents reported as involving Royal Green Jackets, which may not have led to charges.

(2) Includes five cases which are still under investigation or have yet to be heard in court.


Youth FM

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With reference to an article in The Times on 16 July, when the radio station "Youth FM" was set up by the Department for Education and Employment; at what cost; and who has control over editorial content and policy.[HL2943]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Youth FM is an initiative of Youth Clubs UK, a national voluntary youth organisation. It is a radio station aimed at young people and run by young people. The Department for Education and Employment gave Youth Clubs UK a grant of £20,000 in 1997-98 to help provide training for the young broadcasters involved. This sum represents less than a third of the total cost of the project. Youth FM operates within the guidelines set down by the Radio Authority. Editorial control is exercised by the young broadcasters, with the support and guidance of youth workers and broadcast professionals.

Medical and Dental Officers: Pay Recommendations

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest report and recommendation about the pay of Medical and Dental Officers in the Armed Forces.[HL3129]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Armed Forces Pay Review Body has made recommendations on the pay of medical and dental officers in the Armed Forces. The review body recommends that all medical and dental officers, in the ranks of major and above, should receive a 5.2 per cent. increase, and officers in the rank of captain and below should receive a 4.2 per cent.

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increase, from 1 April 1998. The review body further recommends that the pay scales for qualified general medical practitioners and general dental practitioners in the rank of major should be restructured to ensure broad comparability of earning with their civilian counterparts, particularly in the first half of a career. The review body also considers that the pay of service general dental practitioners has fallen behind their NHS counterparts and recommends that those officers should receive an additional £1,000 per annum.

The Government have decided to accept the review body's recommendations. In line with all awards to Pay Review Body remit groups, the award will be paid in two stages; 2 per cent. of the award will be payable from 1 April 1998 with the remainder payable from 1 December 1998.


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