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Israel and Palestine

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: As the Quartet has consistently made clear, final status issues can be resolved only through negotiations and agreement between the parties. We share the Quartet's goal of a two-state solution with Israel secure within her borders and Palestine established as a viable, contiguous state. We shall continue to work with the parties, Quartet partners and others in the international community to this end.

European Neighbourhood Policy

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: European Neighbourhood Policy action plans have been adopted so far with Ukraine, Moldova, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The action plan for Moldova came into effect on 22 February 2005. The European Neighbourhood Policy sets ambitious objectives for the EU's relations with third countries, based on commitments to shared common values and effective implementation of jointly agreed commitments, as outlined in the action plans. The EU has consistently made it clear that the pace of progress in the EU-third country relationship will depend on the degree of commitment to common values, as well as the extent of implementation of jointly agreed priorities. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to make further efforts to secure progress on the road map, and a comprehensive settlement of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, as part of their political dialogue with the EU as outlined in their European Neighbourhood Policy action plans.

Lord Birt

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: No.
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Israel and Palestine: Land Requisition Orders

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: According to UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs), a number of land requisition orders have been issued for an area between the Palestinian village of Walaja and the Israeli settlement of Gilo, near Bethlehem, for the construction of the barrier.

We are extremely concerned at the route for the barrier approved by the Israeli Cabinet on 20 February. The approved route takes in the two Israeli settlements of Ma'ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion to the west of Bethlehem. These settlements are illegal under international law. The barrier's route also threatens to divide the West Bank in two, which in turn undermines the prospects for a two-state solution.

We deplore the destruction of Palestinian homes and the confiscation of land associated with the barrier's construction. We have made our concerns extremely clear to the Israeli Government and will continue to do so.

European External Action Service

Lord Bowness asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: In the context of the preparatory discussions of the proposed European External Action Service, the Government received one "issues paper", in March, presented jointly by High Representative Solana and Commission President Barroso. This paper was discussed by the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Brussels although no formal conclusions were drawn. The Government have also received five technical information notes from the Council Secretariat covering legal status, personnel issues, budget, administration of the service and management of the overseas delegations. These technical notes were discussed at official level, again without formal conclusion. The Commission and Council Secretariat will provide the June European Council with a joint progress report on the official level discussion so far but we do not expect there to be any substantive discussion of this issue by Foreign Ministers or heads of state and government. We shall place the joint progress report and the March "issues paper" in the Library of the House once we have received the final texts.
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There have been no formal or informal meetings of Ministers which have discussed this issue.

European Parliament: Cost of Multiple Sites

Lord Barnett: asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The European Parliament (EP) is located on three sites: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg. The housing of the EP on three sites dates from well before the UK joined the EU with Strasbourg chosen as the seat of the EP back in 1958 as a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.

There has been no study of which we are aware of the financial costs and benefits of having multiple sites for the EP rather than a single site.

North Korea

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We have concerns about the situation of North Korean asylum seekers in China. We have raised the matter on a number of occasions with the Chinese Government, most recently during the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing on 22 November 2004. We continue to urge China to observe its obligations under the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the China/North Korea border region.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We have repeatedly requested the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK) authorities to allow the UN Special Rapporteur to visit the DPRK in order to continue the dialogue on human rights issues, but the North Koreans have not yet agreed to such a visit. We and international
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partners also continue to make requests to the DPRK Government to visit prisons, gain access to the judicial system and to allow independent monitors access to the country to verify or disprove reports of human rights abuses there. We remain firmly determined to express our concerns to the DPRK authorities regularly and at a high level, and to press them for greater co-operation on human rights and other issues of concern.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We have not made an estimate but are aware of the problem and remain concerned by reports of forced repatriation.

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