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Written Answers

Wednesday, 12th July 2000.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Aid

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much of the £5 million promised by the Prime Minister to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia last year has actually been given. [HL3170]

Baroness Amos: We have allocated £5.8 million for bilateral technical assistance to support reform programmes in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the next three years. This is in addition to our share of European Commission programmes, which amounts to £2.15 million this year. Since the Prime Minister's undertaking, we have committed £0.2 million to advice on trade liberalisation and £0.16 million to training in EU integration issues. We are considering a further commitment of £0.75 million for support to small and medium enterprise development, to add to our previous commitment of £0.45 million. And we are discussing with the FYROM authorities new programmes to help to reform public financial management and administration to strengthen social policy and to increase capacity to conduct international trade.

Tunisia: Human Rights

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken, if any, to invoke the provision in the Association Agreement between the European Union and Tunisia, signed on 17 July 1995, that "relations between the parties, as well as the Provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles . . . "; and, in particular, whether they have requested the Government of Tunisia to respond to the recommendations made by the United Nations Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right of Freedom of Opinion and Expression in his report to the Fifty-Sixth Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/2000/63.Add.4 of 23 February. [HL3126]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The EU has followed a policy of constructive engagement with the Tunisians on the issue of human rights. Respect for human rights and democratic principles, including freedom of opinion and expression, are regularly raised during dialogue at all levels, most recently at the second EU-Tunisia Association Committee on 23 June 2000. EU Heads of Mission in Tunis also regularly raise human rights concerns with the Tunisian government. Support for

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civil society and the media, with a view to ensuring freedom of expression, are two of the priority areas identified in the National Indicative Programme for Community spending in Tunisia over the next 3 years. The EC's regional MEDA Democracy programme is also able to support human rights initiatives in Tunisia.

Sudan: Sanctions

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have allowed the Government of Sudan to resume commercial operations by the Sudanese Airlines in the United Kingdom, in spite of the continued application of United Nations Security Council sanctions.[HL3147]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The restrictions on Sudanese aircraft provided for by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1070 (1996) never entered into force.

The measures imposed by UNSCR 1054 (1996) remain in force.

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will maintain United Nations Security Council sanctions against the Government of Sudan, in view of the recent decisions by the Government of the United States to uphold these sanctions.[HL3148]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The mandatory sanctions in relation to Sudan imposed by the UN Security Council acting under Chapted VII of the UN Charter will be lifted when the Council determines, in accordance with its Resolution 1054 (1996), that Sudan has complied with the demands of the Security Council. Members of the Security Council have recently agreed to postpone for several months any consideration of Sudan's request for the lifting of these sanctions.

Biological Weapons Convention: Protocol Negotiations

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress is being made on the preparation of the protocol to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention; when they expect it to be ready for ratification; and whether they expect it to enhance the prospects for the complete and permanent elimination of biological and toxin weapons.[HL3064]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The United Kingdom continues to play a leading role in the negotiations on protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention as chair of the meetings on compliance measures. A possible eight weeks of negotiations remain this year and we are moving to informal consultations with delegations during the current session in Geneva in order to try to resolve outstanding issues. Ratification of the protocol can only begin once there has been successful completion of the negotiations. We hope therefore that these will be concluded before the agreed deadline of the BWC Review Conference at the end of 2001. The United Kingdom believes that a successful outcome will represent a significant addition to measures seeking the prohibition of biological and toxin weapons.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to respond to the resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Thursday 29 June in Strasbourg concerning Russia, Chechnya and the Committee of Ministers.[HL3167]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We share the serious concerns about the conflict in Chechnya expressed in the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly Resolution of 29 June and in the earlier recommendations. The Committee of Ministers gave careful consideration to all aspects of the Assembly's recommendations and concluded that the international community's objectives were better pursued through engaging critically with Russia rather than by taking action against it in the European Court of Human Rights or by suspending and thereby isolating it. We continue to take every opportunity to impress on Russia the need to comply fully with its human rights obligations and the need for a political dialogue as the only way to secure a sustainable end to the conflict.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Export of Ex-Army Trucks

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have approved the export of two military rated trucks to the United Methodist Committee for Relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[HL3273]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government have approved the export of two 4 x 4 wheel drive all purpose vehicles to the United Methodist Committee for Relief in Sarajevo. These goods are of ex-army stock and are rated on the military list. The committee needs the trucks to distribute relief to remote villages in the region. The committee has substantially modified the trucks to curtail their military

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applications and has undertaken that the vehicles will be for its sole use.

This decision does not affect the Government's continued support for the EU Common Position on arms exports to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Export ofEx-Army Truck

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will issue an export licence for an ex-military Bedford truck for use by the Catholic Relief Service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[HL3274]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Following consultations with this Department and the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry issued an export licence for an ex-military Bedford 4 x 4 truck for use by the Catholic Relief Service in Kinshasa. This will provide the Catholic Relief Service with the means to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance. We are satisfied that the truck will not be used for military purposes. This decision is consistent with and does not affect the Government's continued support for the EU Common Position on arms exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre

Baroness Wilkins asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any decision has been taken on when Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre, Erdington, will finally close.[HL3303]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): On 17 April 2000 in my reply to my noble friend Lord Stone of Blackheath at cols. WA 78-79, we announced that, while we had concluded that it was no longer appropriate for the Department of Health to run such a child care facility as Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre, no decision would be taken on when the centre would finally close until suitable alternative placements had been found for the 12 children accommodated in the centre at that time.

The department and the management of the centre have worked closely with the local authorities and the Prison Service to identify the most appropriate alternative places. Suitable arrangements have now been made for all 12 children. The last child has now left the centre.

We therefore propose to close the centre on 13 July 2000.

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