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European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Forthcoming EU business in February is as follows: 8-9--Stockholm--Justice and Home Affairs Council 12--Brussels--ECOFIN Council 12--Brussels--Education/Youth Council 12--Brussels--Research Council 15-17--Lulea--Employment/Telecommunications (Informal) 19-20--Brussels--Agriculture Council 25--Brussels--Informal Trade Ministers Dinner 26--Brussels--General Affairs Council

No agendas for the above are available at present.

The following are the principal events in the EU between 1 March and July 2001 (certain relevant events are also included: the list is based on the information available at the date of issue.)

6BrusselsEmployment and Social Affairs Council
8BrusselsEnvironment Council
12BrusselsECOFIN Council
12BrusselsInternal Market/Consumer Council
15BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
16BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
19BrusselsAgriculture Council
19BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
20BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
20-21BrusselsFisheries Council (possible)
23-24StockholmEuropean Council
31-1BrusselsInformal Meeting of Ministers of the Environment
5-6BrusselsTransport/Telecommunications Council
8-10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
8-10BrusselsAgriculture Council (Informal)
24-25BrusselsAgriculture Council
7BrusselsECOFIN Council
7BrusselsEmployment and Social Council (possible)
14-15BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
14-15BrusselsIndustry and Energy Council
22-23BrusselsAgriculture Council
28-29BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
28BrusselsEducation and Youth Council
30BrusselsDevelopment Council
31BrusselsHealth Council
5BrusselsECOFIN Council
5BrusselsInternal Market/Consumer Council
7-8BrusselsEnvironment Council
11-12BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
11BrusselsEmployment/Social Affairs Council
15-16GothenburgEuropean Council
18BrusselsFisheries Council (possible)
19-20BrusselsAgriculture Council
19BrusselsECOFIN Council (possible)
21BrusselsCulture Council
25-26BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
26BrusselsResearch Council
27-28BrusselsTransport/Telecommunications Council
6-7BrusselsInformal Employment and Social Affairs Council
10BrusselsECOFIN Council
13-14BrusselsRegional Territories Council (Informal)?
16-17BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
20BrusselsBudget Council
23-24BrusselsAgriculture Council

7 Feb 2001 : Column WA112

Armenian Massacre, 1915

Lord Biffen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the factors which have dissuaded them from acknowledging as genocide the Armenian massacre in 1915. [HL510]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government, in line with previous British Governments, have judged the evidence not to be sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorised as genocide as defined by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, a convention which was drafted in response to the Holocaust and is not retrospective in application. The interpretation of events in Eastern Anatolia in 1915-16 is still the subject of genuine debate amongst historians.

Overseas Estate

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for any disposals of the overseas estate. [HL499]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In accordance with resource accounting and an asset recycling agreement with the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is engaged in a rolling programme of rationalisation and modernisation of the overseas estate, including disposal of properties which do not provide value for money.

Ambassador's Residence, Buenos Aires

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to sell the British Ambassador's residence in Buenos Aires; and, if so, why.[HL455]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In accordance with resource accounting and an asset recycling agreement with the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing the value for money provided by all its owned properties, including the Ambassador's

7 Feb 2001 : Column WA113

residence in Buenos Aires. No decisions have yet been taken on the future of this property.

Northern Iraq: Withdrawal of Turkish Forces

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they and their allies are taking to secure the withdrawal of Turkish armed forces from the Kandil mountains and the countries of Ranya and the Hadji-Omran in northern Iraq, near the frontier of Iran.[HL477]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have closely monitored the recent incursions into northern Iraq which began in December, and we will continue to do so. We are in contact with the Turkish authorities and the US as co-sponsors of the Kurdistan Democratic Party/Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (KDP/PUK) reconciliation process, to achieve peace and stability in northern Iraq for all those who live there.

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However, we have not taken any specific steps to secure the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the area in question, and we are not aware of any action by other governments to do so.

Ozgur Politika: Importation and Distribution in Turkey

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the Government of Turkey to remove their ban on the importation and distribution of the newspaper Ozgur Politika, published in Frankfurt, Germany.[HL479]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It is not clear whether Ozgur Politika has been officially banned in Turkey. We understand that the newspaper has never been imported or distributed in Turkey. But we have been informed that it can be read on the Internet by Turkish readers.

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