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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Under Article 53 of the United Nations (UN) Charter, enforcement action under regional arrangements described in Article 52 requires Security Council authorisation. As I said in my Written Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, on 16 November (WA 140) the prohibitions on the use of force contained in the UN Charter do not preclude the use of force by a state or group of states in accordance with Article 51 or under the authority of the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter. Cases have also arisen when, in the light of all the circumstances, a limited use of force was justifiable in support of the purposes laid down by the Security Council but without the Council's express authorisation when that was the only means to avert an immediate and overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe. Such cases would in the nature of things be exceptional and would depend on an objective assessment of the factual circumstances at the time and on the terms of relevant decisions of the Security Council bearing on the situation in question.
We are working to ensure the closest possible co-operation between the Security Council and regional arrangements. I draw the noble Lord's attention to the 30 November statement by the President of the Security Council "Enhancing Monitoring of Activities authorised by the Council but carried out by member states or Coalitions of States", which has been placed in the Library of the House.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Article 51 of the UN Charter preserves the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence; NATO members may use force in self-defence without requirement for prior UN Security Council authorisation. In cases where there is a legal requirement for Security Council authorisation for use of force, that requirement applies equally to NATO members as it does to other states.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The two rapporteurs from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by member states visited Turkey in September and November. The rapporteurs have produced an interim report which is still confidential. We understand that the rapporteurs are likely to return to Turkey before finalising their report. The final report should be available in late January 1999.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have been working hard to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in the DRC. Most recently, the Prime Minister has written to President Kabila and other regional leaders urging an early agreement on a ceasefire. We are also taking action with our European Union partners and in the UN Security Council to promote a negotiated settlement. This must be based on the acceptance of territorial sovereignty and integrity of the DRC, the security concerns of neighbouring states and the aspirations of all sections of Congolese society.
What representations they intend to make to Turkey at the forthcoming Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul concerning the closure of the Halki Theological Seminary on 9 November by the Turkish Government, in violation of Article VI of the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief; and[HL300]
What representations they intend to make to Turkey at the forthcoming Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul concerning the allegations of torture and forced confession in the case of Soner Onder arrested in 1991 in connection with a bombing attack and subsequent sentence of 16 years imprisonment.[HL301]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government are aware of the issues raised by the noble Baroness, and regularly raise our concerns over Turkey's human rights record at both Ministerial and official level.
There are also a number of fora in which Turkey's human rights record could be raised, including the Human Dimension Review Conference that the OSCE will hold in either Vienna or Istanbul prior to the summit.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: While aware that the IGAD has its weaknesses, we firmly believe that the IGAD Peace Process is the best framework within which to work towards a peaceful solution to the civil war in Sudan.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is not the function of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or of British embassies to give advice on such matters. The interpretation of the State Immunity Act is one for the courts.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Judge Garzon's investigations into Pinochet have been in progress for over a year. Although the Embassy in Madrid routinely reported on these investigations to the FCO, they had no advance knowledge of the judge's extradition request.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Since 3 April 1982 the UK has maintained a national arms embargo on Argentina. It has been the policy of the UK to deny all applications for licences to export goods specified in Part III of Schedule I to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, commonly known as the Military List. We have decided to replace this embargo with new arrangements, with immediate effect.
Licences will only be granted for exports that we are satisfied would not, now or in the foreseeable future, put at risk the security of our Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic or our forces operating there. We will assess all applications for licences to export goods to Argentina on a case-by-case basis against our national export licensing criteria and those in the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. This will also be the case with applications for advance approvals for promotion prior to formal application for an export licence.
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