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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The entry clearance section at the British Deputy High Commission in Bombay will undertake this trial. The trial will run for a three-month period from August until October this year. A further three months will be set aside to allow applicants time to register any observations arising from the trial. An evaluation of the trial should therefore be completed in February 2000.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal : NATO operations in Yugoslavia were based on collective decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council. The military campaign was explicitly designed to damage and disrupt the capability of the Yugoslav military, paramilitary and police to carry out repressive operations in Kosovo.
NATO regrets any civilian casualties and collateral damage. NATO did not intentionally plan military operations against civilian targets. NATO's approach was in stark contrast to President Milosevic's brutal and systematic campaign of violence against civilian men, women and children in Kosovo.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal : UK and US aircraft continue to patrol the No Fly Zones over Iraq, established in response to a situation of overwhelming humanitarian necessity. Since December, Iraqi forces have conducted a sustained campaign to shoot down our aircraft, which have responded in self-defence, as is their right under international law, while making every effort to avoid civilian casualties. These actions are unconnected to last December's Operation Desert Fox, to which I believe the noble Lord refers. Our priority in the Security Council is to build consensus on a new way forward on Iraq. We are encouraged by the support received so far for the comprehensive approach set out in our draft resolution.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal : The Commercial Section of the British Embassy in Quito has been promoting a catalogue exhibition to be staged in Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil and Manta, which targets possible opportunities for UK manufacturers of fishing equipment and safety gear in the two latter cities. The exhibition does not however have a specific maritime theme.
British Trade International was set up in May this year (following the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's 12 March statement on the results of the Wilson Review on Export Promotion) to bring together in a single joint department the trade and investment promotion work at home and overseas of the FCO and DTI. British Trade International encourages all our overseas missions to target market opportunities in sectors which offer the best possibilities for British exports or investment.
British Trade International works with other government departments to ensure that their own sector priorities and interests are not overlooked. In addition, the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) within the MoD is principally responsible for co-ordinating government support for British defence exports, including maritime equipment and services, in the following countries: Australia, Brunei, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I refer the noble Lord to the Answers given him by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 28 July (WA192-193) and reaffirm that the question of the justifiability of any use of force under international law must be considered on a case by case basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): I understand that the user requirement has been accepted by the Association of Chief Police Officers Police National Computer Steering Committee and that this will be further considered and subject to a full technical impact assessment at their next meeting in September. The firearms application has been included in the Police Information Technology Organisation's work plan for 1999/2000 although it is not possible at this stage to say precisely when it will be implemented.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is not possible to give a meaningful forecast because the situation in individual countries may improve or deteriorate suddenly with little or no warning. An assessment of risk is made at the point of removal and no-one will be returned in circumstances where his or her life would be at risk. This practice will not be affected by the provisions of the Bill and the number of cases in which enforcement action is not pursued for these reasons will therefore not be affected either.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: On the assumption that the Bill receives Royal Assent in early November, it is expected that the statutory interim arrangements (Schedule 8) would come into effect in early December. The full asylum support arrangements would come into effect on 1 April 2000.
It would not be practical for all those who were asylum seekers on 31 March 2000 to be transferred to the new support system on 1 April 2000. There will, therefore, need to be phased transition arrangements. Asylum seekers who were in receipt of income support or other welfare benefits would, therefore, continue on these arrangements until they could be transferred into the new support system. Those applying for asylum after 1 April 2000 would, if they would otherwise be destitute, be eligible for support under the arrangements in Part VI of the Bill.
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