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What action the United Kingdom ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, had in mind when he indicated that, in relation to the Government of Sudan's actions in Darfur, the United Nations Security Council should respond to continued provocation and that the council should consider further sanctions. [HL2872]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The situation in Darfur remains appalling. There are continued attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and the humanitarian agencies. The arms embargo on Darfur continues to be violated. No side is making a serious effort to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict and President Bashir has gone back on his Government's commitments at Addis Ababa, in particular with regard to the UN support package for the African Union Mission in Sudan.
We believe that the UN Security Council should impose further measures on those responsible for violating UN Security Council Resolution 1591 and we will be taking this forward with our Security Council partners in the coming days.
Lord Triesman: No reliable figures exist for the total number of persons who have died or been injured across Darfur as a result of the conflict there. However, a frequently quoted, and plausible, figure for the number of deaths is 200,000.
Every death, injury, displacement or rape in Sudan is a tragedy. That is why we are pressing the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop the fighting, to agree to the deployment of the UN-African Union hybrid force in Darfur, to commit to and implement the Darfur peace agreement, and to ensure full humanitarian access for the UN and non-governmental organisations in Darfur.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government welcome the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's investigation has got to the point at which he is able to ask for the issuing of summonses against two individuals. It is now for the ICC judges to decide whether to approve this request.
The UK has made clear to the Government of Sudan that, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1593, they must co-operate fully with the ICC in any action the court decides to take. We will monitor the actions of the Government of Sudan extremely carefully. My right honourable friend the
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Lord Davies of Oldham: Unfortunately the requested information cannot be disclosed as to do so would undermine the measures introduced by HM Revenue and Customs to counter Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud and as such prejudice the assessment and collection of tax.
Lord Davies of Oldham: HMRC has a duty to protect tax revenues and does so through a multi-faceted strategy using a range of interventions. The investigation of MTIC fraud is directed on the basis of perceived risk and not limited by specific products or sectors. Although the majority of all MTIC fraud seen so far has been perpetrated using mobile phones and computer chips, a wide range of other goods have been, and continue to be, used.
Ongoing prosecutions, resulting from HMRC's criminal investigations, involve some £2.5 billion of VAT. However, this figure is dynamic and changes as further evidence comes to light, and new cases are adopted and current ones completed.
Lord Davies of Oldham: MTIC fraud is an attack on the taxation system and, as such, is an assigned matter to HM Revenue and Customs. However, the police have conducted investigations that touch on MTIC fraudfor example, into money launderingand have worked with HM Revenue and Customs in support of their investigations. HM Revenue and Customs also works closely with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Details of the investigations and prosecutions conducted each year by HM Revenue and Customs are published in the departmental annual report and, prior to the creation of HM Revenue and Customs, were published each year in the annual reports of both the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise.
27 Mar 2007 : Column WA267
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 16 March (WA 160) on the introduction of the UNECE Regulation 48, whether they will provide a breakdown of the time from the agreement by the European Community to the drafting of the regulatory impact assessment, the statutory public consultation and
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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The UNECE Regulation 48 amendment was adopted in March 2006. Work on a public consultation document and regulatory impact assessment is underway and instructions about draft amendments to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations are currently in hand. Statutory consultation, once issued, will be open for three months. The amending instrument will then need to be approved by Parliament.
The current timetable of work will ensure that, pending parliamentary approval, regulations are ready to enter into force from 10 October 2009, the earliest date we are permitted to refuse to register heavy vehicles not fitted with reflective tape.
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