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Lord Mackay of Clashfern: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, this is a United Kingdom tribunal. Reference to practice in England and Wales, while useful, is not the whole story.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, the noble Lord is right. In discussion with officials this morning we reflected on
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the Northern Ireland situation as being different. Nevertheless, as we know, while it is not exactly the same, there is a robust and strong process in place for ensuring that a judge cannot wrongly be removed from office, as should be the case.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, my noble friend the Minister has spoken of the need for him to reflect further on my original amendment, and I should like to avail myself of the same privilege. I should also like to think again about the subsequent amendment to which I spoke.

I want to thank my noble friend for his intervention, which was valuable, and I thank all those who have supported the ideas behind these amendments. I want to add only two things. First, I cannot give any assurances whatever tonight, but I hope that my noble friend the Minister will think again about what lies behind the amendments. Secondly, for the time being, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 57 not moved.]

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 57A:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Asylum and Immigration Tribunal: Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provision]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 57B:

"(a) sections 103A to 103E (review and appeal),"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 57C to 58 not moved.]

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 58A:

"23 (1) Section 112 (regulations, &c.) shall be amended as follows. (2) In subsection (2) after "Regulations and rules under this Part" insert ", other than regulations under section 103D(3),". (3) For subsection (6) substitute— "(6) Regulations under section 103D(3)— (a) must be made by statutory instrument, and (b) shall not be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.""

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Goodhart moved Amendment No. 59:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 4 [Repeals]:

[Amendment No. 59A not moved.]

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 60:

"Asylum and Immigration Act1996 (c. 49)Section 8(9)."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

7 Jun 2004 : Column 72


The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement on Iraq made in another place by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. The Statement is as follows:

"With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement on political and diplomatic developments relating to Iraq.

"Under a revised and accelerated timetable agreed on 15 November last year, and endorsed by the Security Council in Resolution 1511, full authority will transfer from the occupying powers—the United States and the United Kingdom—in just three weeks' time, by 30 June, to a sovereign interim Iraqi Government. That Government will be in office until 31 January next year, by which time national elections for a transitional government and constituent assembly are due to have been held. The transitional government and assembly will oversee, among other things, the drafting of a new constitution, with a view to its agreement and elections for a government on the basis of the new constitution by the end of next year.

"To facilitate this process, the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, appointed Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi to nominate the interim Government. On 1 June, Ambassador Brahimi announced the appointment of Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar as the new president; two deputy presidents, Dr Ibrahim Jaafari and Dr Rowsch Shaways; and a new Prime Minister, Dr Iyad Allawi.

"Dr Allawi's Cabinet was also announced on 1 June in a joint press conference with Ambassador Brahimi. Twenty-two of its 31 members are newcomers—that is, not former members of the Iraqi Governing Council; and six of the 31 are women. In an address to the nation last Friday, Dr Allawi identified his Government's priorities as the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty; security; economic revival; national unity; and preparing for elections.

"Immediately following the announcements on 1 June, the Iraqi Governing Council dissolved itself and handed over its responsibilities to the new Government, including control of the 14 ministries already under full Iraqi authority. The remaining 11 ministries will be transferred to full Iraqi authority by 30 June, at which point the Coalition Provisional Authority will dissolve and the occupation will come to an end. I express my thanks to Ambassador Bremer, who has led the CPA, and the British representatives, Ambassadors Greenstock and Richmond, for their work.

"The announcement of the new interim Government was the fruit of many weeks of wide-ranging consultations conducted by Ambassador Brahimi and his team. The result is, I believe, a competent, professional and broad-based Government acceptable to the widest possible range of Iraqis and reflective of Iraq's diversity. The new Government have been welcomed by the United Nations, the European Union,
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many governments in the region, and by key figures in Iraq, such as Ayatollah al-Sistani, the leading Shia cleric. I am sure that the House will wish to join me in paying tribute to the outstanding work of United Nations Ambassador Brahimi and his staff; in congratulating all the members of Iraq's new Government; and in offering our fullest support.

"Meanwhile, Ambassador Brahimi has made recommendations for the membership of a Supreme Commission, to be formed within days to prepare a national conference to be held this July—next month. This conference will include a diverse range of Iraqi voices in the political process, thus providing for the broadest possible representation. It is expected to elect an interim national council of about 100 members, whose role will be to promote constructive dialogue and national consensus; to advise the presidency and the council of Ministers; to monitor the work of the executive, including the implementation of laws; to have the power of veto over executive orders; and to approve a national budget.

"The United Nations will be advising on the organisation of the national, regional and local elections which are to be held no later than 31 January 2005. We welcome the formation of an Iraqi independent electoral commission to prepare for those elections, with UN assistance. The commission's members have been recommended by the UN; and I pay tribute to the work of Carina Perelli, Head of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, and her team, for making that possible.

"As the House will be aware, the United States and the United Kingdom have proposed that there should be a new Security Council resolution to facilitate the transfer of sovereignty by 30 June. Drafts have been under discussion in New York and between capitals for some weeks. These discussions with our Security Council partners have taken place in a constructive atmosphere. I hope that this process may be brought to a conclusion very soon.

"Key elements of the resolution affirm the full sovereignty of the interim Government, and give the United Nations a lead role in support of the political process.

"The mandate of the multi-national force is dealt with both within the context of the resolution and in an exchange of letters to the president of the Security Council from the Prime Minister of Iraq on the one hand and the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on the other, on behalf of the multi-national force. The draft resolution provides that the mandate of the force will expire in any event by 31 December 2005; but the Iraqi Government will have a clear right to review or terminate it earlier if they so wish.

"The draft resolution and the letters lay down in some detail the nature of the relationship between the multi-national force and Iraq's own security forces, and state the need to reach agreement on fundamental security and policy issues, including
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policy on sensitive offensive operations. I am placing the text of the letters in the Libraries of both Houses.

"The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, addressed the Security Council last Thursday in New York. He asked that the international community endorse and support the Iraqi interim Government as quickly as possible; made clear his support for the resolution; and made a number of points about the provisions of the resolution, which are now being dealt with. The Security Council has been holding further discussions about the resolution over the weekend, and will resume those discussions later today in New York. A revised draft text is being circulated later today to Security Council members. As soon as it is, I shall lay it before the House and place a copy in the Library of the House of Lords.

"The biggest challenge which the new Government of Iraq will face is to build security. There will be those who will continue to seek to disrupt the transition to successful democracy in Iraq and to force decisions by the bomb, not the ballot box. But the Iraqi Government are firmly resolved to defeat the men of violence and we are resolved to help them to do so. The multinational force, including British troops, continues to work with the Iraqis to stabilise the country and to assist the process of reconstruction and political transition. The force is helping Iraq's own security forces to build their capacity. The Iraqi police force now numbers some 89,000 men, the Civil Defence Corps some 29,000 men, the border police over 8,000 men and the Facilities Protection Service some 74,000 men.

"I pay tribute to the courage and bravery of all those in Iraq who are working to build peace and democracy. The British troops of the multinational force, along with many British police and civilians, are giving them vital and courageous help. There will be some difficult times ahead, but the path to a free and democratic Iraq is now clear. The British Government will remain committed to helping the Iraqi Government and people to achieve that historic goal".

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

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