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Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development chaired a meeting on 22 April of representatives of US, French, German and Italian development ministries to begin preparatory planning for refugees to return home in security and for the future rehabilitation and reconstruction of Kosovo. There was general agreement on specific issues, notably: an early involvement of Kosovar people in the planning and implementation phases, clear roles for and full preparation by the key agencies, strong links between military and civilian agencies. The countries that attended this meeting will continue to work together, involving other countries and organisations, to take the planning process forward. The UK has prepared a paper on conditions for refugee return drawing on the discussions of this meeting. Copies will be made widely available to interested parties, including Kosovar refugees in the region. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.
Baroness Amos: We recognise that it is vital to meet the educational needs of the young Kosovar refugees, and to help them reintegrate into the formal school system on return. The Department for International Development's programme of assistance for the refugees includes funding for education projects: we have, for example, contributed £300,000 to the Save the Children Fund's appeal, which includes plans for non-formal education activities in Macedonia and Albania.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The MoD has now received the final report of the audit of the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme, MAP, undertaken by the King's Fund Health Quality Service. The auditors were impressed with the organisation of the Medical Assessment Programme and the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff to the provision of a high quality service. Nevertheless, the auditors also made a number of specific recommendations for improving the service and these have been accepted in full and work has already begun to implement them. The process of implementation is expected to be completed by November of this year. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House. The report will also be published on the Ministry of Defence Gulf Veterans' Illnesses website.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): On 22 April 1999 we sent to interested organisations an information document entitled CAP Reform Agreement, which summarises the outcome of the negotiations on the CAP reform package of Agenda 2000. It also includes an economic note on the likely effect of the reforms upon producers, taxpayers and consumers, and a summary of responses to the consultation exercise received to date. A further consultation will be undertaken on the implementation of the agreed CAP reform measures when detailed regulations and details of available Community funds are known.
Two consultation documents which stem from the agreement on CAP reform on which early preparatory action is necessary were also made available on 22 April. The first, Rural Development Regulation: Consultation on Implementation in England, seeks views on mechanisms for drawing up and operating seven-year rural development plans. We will be asking for comments on who should prepare plans, on the geographic areas they should cover and on who should operate them.
The second, Supporting the Hill Farmer, seeks views on how we should support farming in the Less Favoured Areas in future. Since the Agenda 2000 reforms have changed the basis on which LFA support can be provided, we will be replacing our Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances scheme. We hope this consultation document will stimulate a wide debate on how we should design a new and better framework of support for our hill farmers.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Agreement was signed on 27 April. Copies of the Agreement are available from the Printed Paper Office, have been placed in the Libraries of the Houses, and will be published later in the usual way.
Her Majesty's Government are considering the possibility of taking interim measures under existing regulations to help BDTCs to enter and remain in the UK. Meanwhile the current immigration regulations remain in force and citizens of UK Overseas Territories currently in the UK are still subject to the conditions attached to their permission to stay in the UK.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to the reply that I gave on 13 April concerning member states of the Council of Europe which had not accepted the right of individual petition. All member states of the EU are also member states of the Council of Europe.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Military action is being taken only as a last resort to seek to end a humanitarian catastrophe and secure a lasting peace for the Balkans. All civilian deaths are a tragedy. But a key NATO aim has been to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, in contrast to the deliberate targeting of civilians by Serbian security forces.
NATO has clearly set out its conditions for a cessation of military action. President Milosevic knows what he must do if he continues to reject the path of peace and pursue a military strategy. NATO will continue to degrade his forces' ability to repress.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The application of Article 227(4) of the Treaty of Rome to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is explicitly qualified in the Treaty by Article 227(5) c, which provides that, notwithstanding the previous paragraphs of that article, the "Treaty shall apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements for those islands set out in the Treaty concerning the accession of new member States to the European Economic Community and to the European Atomic Energy Community signed on 22 January 1972". The relevant arrangements are set out in Protocol 3 to the Act of Accession annexed to the 1972 Treaty.
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