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Lord Davies of Oldham had given notice of his intention to move, That the rules laid before the House on 14 March be approved [15th Report from the Merits Committee] [14th Report from the Joint Committee].
Bill returned from the Commons with certain amendments disagreed to but with amendments proposed in lieu thereof; with certain amendments disagreed to with reasons for such disagreement; and with the remaining amendments agreed to; it was ordered that the Commons reasons and amendments be printed.
House adjourned at twenty-four minutes past eleven o'clock.
I have written to ministerial colleagues providing guidance on the conduct of government business during the election period. Guidance for civil servants on their conduct during this period has also been issued to departments. The guidance comes into force with immediate effect.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): With the support of her Majesty's Government, the United Nations Security Council on 29 March 2005 adopted Resolution 1591, which extends the Darfur arms embargo to cover all parties to the N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement and any other belligerents in the states of north Darfur, south Darfur and west Darfur.
Resolution 1591 (2005) also imposes an assets freeze and a travel ban, with conditional exemptions, on individuals who impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in the Darfur region, commit violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law or other atrocities, violate the arms embargo or are responsible for offensive military overflights in and over the Darfur region. The measures are effective 30 days after the adoption of the resolution, unless the Security Council decides that the parties concerned have complied with their commitments in the peace process and demands made by the council in this and previous resolutions. Resolution 1591 (2005) also established a UN sanctions committee and a panel of experts to monitor implementation and enforcement of the measures.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In order to ensure that we can provide noble Lords with a better service, both in London and when they travel overseas, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has set up a new database which will enable us to record the foreign affairs issues in which they are interested. We will keep solely factual information which is already in the public domain, for example details of the all-party
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groups and assemblies of which noble Lords are members, and of overseas and inward visits (e.g. the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegations) in which they have taken part. This should enable us better to tailor information and assistance to noble Lords' needs.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: At last November's EuroMed foreign ministerial meeting in The Hague, EuroMed Foreign Ministers launched a review of the first 10 years of the Barcelona process and its future direction. A copy of the UK's national contribution to the Barcelona review has been placed in the Library of the House.
We believe that the review provides the opportunity to refocus the priorities of the Barcelona process and help ensure it delivers results that have a real positive impact for EU and Mediterranean partner citizens. We want to see the review generate a real debate among all EuroMed partners, and in their civil societies, of how to enhance the partnership. We believe that EuroMed should be guided by the principles of the EU's strategic partnership with the Mediterranean and Middle East and the European neighbourhood policy, but mostly by the desire of Mediterranean partners for the EU's engagement and assistance in meeting the challenges of political, social and economic development.
Our national contribution proposes a strategic approach to achieving the vision set out in the 1995 Barcelona declaration. We want to focus EuroMed on achieving a limited number of 10-year targets on governance, education and economic reform. Improved education systems and more vigorous open market competitive economies are crucial to economic growth in EuroMed countries. Without these countries we will not be able to take advantage of trade liberalisation and the creation of a Euromed Free Trade Area by 2010. And improved governance based on democratic institutions, and civil society institutions especially for women and free media, will facilitate the achievement of these targets, as will focused and effective development assistance from the EU.
This is an ambitious agenda, but one whose success is critical to removing the barriers to development in the Middle East and North Africa and to enhancing the relationship between Europe and that region. The review will be negotiated among the 35 EuroMed partners, all of whom will have their own aims and objectives. It will be submitted to Ministers at the EuroMed foreign ministerial meeting in May and will constitute the main input to the EuroMed tenth anniversary event, which the UK will host jointly with Spain in November in Barcelona.
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
To achieve at least a "satisfactory" rating in the provision of planning and delivery of transport and movements support to emerging operations, an increase in the tempo of existing operations or other requirements.
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