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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A number of cross-Whitehall co-ordinating mechanisms exist to deal with the security threats identified in the Strategic Defence Review, many of which pre-date the review. Notably:
work on environmental and other disasters is being pursued in the context of the White Paper on Eliminating World Poverty (Cm 3789), on which the Department for International Development co-operates closely with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These departments also work for early and effective international action to prevent the dangerous environmental change which can lead to such disasters;
work on international crime and drugs is being taken forward in the context of the strategy set out in the Communique of the G8 Birmingham Summit. Drug-related work is co-ordinated by the Government's Special Representative for International Drugs Issues. The Special Representative, who was appointed in 1996, was closely involved in the formulation of the SDR, and is pursuing follow-up with the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator and relevant departments and agencies;
there are a number of cross-Whitehall committees co-ordinating on weapons proliferation, including the FCO-chaired Non-Proliferation Steering Group.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We raise this question regularly with the US. The Administration, while assuring us that it wishes to solve the problem, points to political difficulties in the Congress. Many members of Congress blame the blockage on the Administration's unwillingness to accept the language on family planning in the relevant legislation.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The EU, including the UK, consider current measures implemented by various Russian organisations against Latvia to be unjustified. By adversely affecting trade between Latvia and Russia and by encouraging nationalist sentiment in Latvia, they harm the sizeable Russian-speaking minority in Latvia, whose interests they are supposed to promote. The EU has made clear to the Russian Government its wish for these measures to stop, and will continue to do so. More generally, Her Majesty's Government, through the EU and bilaterally, is working in a number of ways to reintegrate the Baltic States into mainstream European structures and to promote regional co-operation to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the Baltic region.
Baroness Symons of Verham Dean: According to statistics provided by the Council of Europe, 972 cases have been referred to the European Court of Human Rights since 1960 in respect of all states parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. Forty-four of these cases were brought against Turkey. The Court has found at least one violation and awarded just satisfaction in 18 of these 44 cases. Turkey has paid non-pecuniary damages, pecuniary damages or costs and expenses in nine of the 18 cases, and paid part of the award of just satisfaction in a further three cases. Payment is outstanding in six cases. In three of the six outstanding
Under the procedure set out in Article 32 of the Convention, the Committee of Ministers' Deputies has found at least one violation and awarded just satisfaction in a further seven cases against Turkey. Turkey has paid non-pecuniary damages and costs and expenses in six of the seven cases and payment is outstanding in one case.
Baroness Symons of Verham Dean: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (of which the UN Secretary General is the Depositary) was signed by the previous government. When we ratified it, we were aware that the US intended to maintain the safety and reliability of their stockpile by means not prohibited by the treaty. Relations between the US and Russia are a matter for them.
Baroness Symons of Verham Dean: All NATO Allies have expressed their commitment to efforts to contribute to the objective of the elimination of anti-personnel landmines. Work is in hand to resolve issues of interoperability, command and control and logistics arising from the fact that not all Allies have yet signed the Convention.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our instrument of ratification will be deposited with the UN Secretary General in New York today, thus fulfilling our pledge to be among the first 40 ratifications and helping to bring the Convention into force.
We have placed in the Libraries of the House the note accompanying the instrument of ratification, which sets out our understanding that the mere participation in the planning or execution of operations, exercises or other military activity by the United Kingdom's Armed Forces, or individual United Kingdom nationals,
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Security Council regularly provides for humanitarian exemptions when adopting a resolution imposing sanctions. The UK strongly supports this. Indeed the UK has taken the lead in drafting successive Oil for Food resolutions which provide for food, medicines and humanitarian supplies to reach the Iraqi people.
The foundation received £2,713,650 from the FCO, along with £139,099 from other sources, for its activities in 1997-98. With these funds it supported 256 new projects in 47 countries. It directed most of its funds to supporting democratic institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Anglophone Africa, and also supported worthwhile projects in other parts of the world. It makes a valuable contribution to the promotion of democracy overseas. Projects have included work with political parties, parliaments, the independent media, trades unions, human rights groups, women's groups and other non-governmental organisations involved in political development.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are aware of reports of shipments of arms from China to Ethiopia, and from Bulgaria to Eritrea on a Ukrainian aircraft. We are seeking to establish whether these arms were ordered
There are no arms embargoes against either Ethiopia or Eritrea. But we are nevertheless extremely concerned that both countries, two of the poorest in the world, should apparently be seeking to rearm themselves at a time when the OAU, supported by the United Nations and the EU, are engaged in mediation efforts to settle their dispute by peaceful means.
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