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UK Overseas Territories: Inter-departmental Co-ordinating Arrangements

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal : Mechanisms, including the creation of Overseas Territories Unit in the Department for International Development and of the Overseas Territories Department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have strengthened Whitehall co-ordination, and pre-date the publication of the White Paper.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Clear roles and responsibilities have been established, and have contributed to enhanced co-ordination within Whitehall.

UK Overseas Territories: Aid

Lord Moyniham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Territories Unit will be ultimately responsible for final decisions on aid policy and priorities in the event of disagreement in the Joint Liaison Committee. [HL3931]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Department for International Development is ultimately responsible for final decisions on aid policy. Ministers and officials from the two departments comprising the Joint Liaison Committee meet on an ad hoc basis to build consensus on priorities relating to the Overseas Territories.

British Council

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 22 July (WA 118-119), whether they will publish the terms and conditions of service which were agreed on the appointment of the present Chair of the British Council.[HL3986]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Terms and conditions of service and a post specification were drawn up by the Nominations Committee of the British Council Board before any candidates were selected for interview. The members of the Committee were Lesley Abdela, Sir Christopher Bland, Sir John Kerr, Prof. Emma Rothschild, Lord Stevenson and Lord Wilson of Tillyorn. These terms and conditions are as specified in the Answer to the noble Lord of 22 July (WA 118-9).

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 22 July (WA 118-119), what further information they have on the question which has been raised by the Charity Commissioners regarding the payment of any honorarium to a trustee of a body with charity status.[HL3987]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Under charity law, the reasonable expenses of trustees can be met, but any remuneration must be authorised by the charity's governing document, the Commission or the courts. The British Council approached the Commission for advice earlier this year. Discussions on possible

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remuneration for the Chair are continuing between the Council's trustees and the Commission.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 22 July (WA 118-119), why the details of the terms and conditions of previous Chairmen of the British Council prior to 1992 are not readily available.[HL3988]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The British Council's archives have been exhaustively searched in response to the noble Lord's questions. The terms of appointment for Sir David Orr, Chairman of the Council from 1984-92 have now been located and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. This shows that in 1984 Sir David was entitled to an honorarium of £5,106.

EU Enlargement

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the institutional and financing reforms, including reweighting of votes in the Council of Ministers, necessary for European Union enlargement.[HL3990]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: An Inter-Governmental Conference will begin in early 2000 to discuss institutional changes needed before enlargement. It will focus on three main issues: Commission size, the reweighting of votes in Council and the possible extension of qualified majority voting.

The Agenda 2000 deal agreed at the Berlin European Council in March 1999 made financial provision for a first wave of applicants to join between 2000 and 2006 without an increase to the 1\27 per cent. Own Resources ceiling, though further reforms are needed before new member states can be fully integrated into the CAP. The WTO negotiations, likely to begin next year, will provide an opportunity for this. Substantial funds to provide assistance to new member states both before and after accession have also been made available.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to stop terrorist activities by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the United Kingdom; and what assistance they will give Sri Lankan authorities in bringing to justice the murderers of Neelam Tiruchelvam, who was assassinated in Colombo in the morning of 29 July.[HL4079]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are determined that the UK should not be used as a base for supporting terrorism overseas. Where there is evidence that individuals are involved in terrorism in the UK or conspiring to commit a terrorist act abroad, the

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Government do not hesitate to take action against them. The Government are also currently considering the responses to the consultation paper on the future of the United Kingdom's counter-terrorism legislation. This process includes consideration of proposals for tightening our controls on international terrorism.

We were saddened to learn of the murder of Neelan Tiruchelvam in July by a suicide bomber. We hope that this terrible tragedy will not weaken the resolve of those who are determined to find a solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka through the democratic process. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are thought to have been responsible and the Sri Lankan Government is trying to bring his killers to justice. They have not asked for our assistance.

UN Resolution 53/35: Preparation of Report

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who were the experts commissioned by the United Nations to produce the report called for by the General Assembly in paragraph 18 of Resolution 53/35 of 13 January on the events dating from the establishment of the safe area of Srebrenica on 16 April 1993 until the endorsement of the Peace Agreement by the Security Council under Resolution 1031 (1995).[HL3920]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The UN Secretary-General has asked the UN Secretariat to prepare the report on his behalf. As foreshadowed in the reply given by my noble friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean to the noble Lord on 2 March (WA 171), the UN is consulting widely. We have passed on a UN request to British NGOs to provide relevant information in their possession.

Panchen Lama

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the welfare and health of the 10 year-old Panchen Lama, who is detained at an unknown location in China, and whether they will refer his case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitary Detention.[HL3879]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have taken every opportunity to seek information from the Chinese Government, both bilaterally and in conjunction with our EU partners, on the well-being of the child recognised by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama. We have also sought permission to visit the child. While this has not been agreed by the Chinese authorities, they have reported that the child is living normally with his family. The UN is already aware of the child's case. It was raised with the Chinese authorities by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights when she visited China in September 1998, and was referred to in a recent report of the UN Working

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Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Summary Executions.


The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Lithuania is on the “fast track" to join NATO; and whether Lithuania will be one of the next countries to become a full member of the Alliance.[HL3800]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Lithuania's continuing efforts and progress in meeting the responsibilities and obligations for possible membership of the Alliance were welcomed by the NATO Washington Summit. Lithuania will benefit from a membership action plan which will include feedback on national programmes of preparations for possible future membership. The Alliance has not taken any decisions on which country, or countries might be invited to join next.

Former Yugoslavia: Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the interests of justice in the former Yugoslavia, they will discuss with Amnesty International the legal cases arising from the death in custody of Mr. Sefik Mujkic in Croatia and the alleged miscarriage of justice in the case of the “Zvornic Seven", heard in the Republika Srpska.[HL3289]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We regularly discuss the human rights situation in individual countries with both local and international NGOs, including Amnesty International. We are concerned that the Croatian courts have yet to conclude the judicial process in respect of the death of Mr. Mujkic.

With respect to the Zvornik Seven, we share the concerns of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ombudsman about the handling of the case. We endorse the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina's demand that the Republika Srpska be seen to abide by the rule of law.

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