My noble friend Lord Chidgey asked: what are the Government doing about international corruption in the DRC and Zimbabwe? We believe that a combination of voluntary approaches by business and existing legal and regulatory methods will provide sufficient incentives to achieve greater transparency. However, we are interested to see how the United States Government will implement their new legislation on conflict minerals, and are monitoring it very closely. My noble friend was also concerned that poor people are not benefiting from mineral wealth in their countries. Her Majesty’s Government are a strong supporter of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which enables people to hold their Governments to account for mineral revenue. We are also working with countries to strengthen their public financial management systems and the capacity of their tax departments to stop tax avoidance.

The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup, asked: has there been international agreement on long-term financing for Afghanistan? The continued support of the international community for Afghanistan after 2014 is vital for our shared national and international security. At the Bonn conference last December, the

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international community reiterated its long-term commitment to Afghanistan. The UK announced in April that we would provide £70 million per year, as I mentioned, and international partners have announced significant contributions in the build-up to the NATO Chicago summit this weekend. However, our support to Afghanistan will be more widely focused than on security elements alone. We look forward to the Tokyo conference in July, where the international community will deliver long-term commitments for development assistance.

My noble friend Lord Teverson and several other noble Lords asked about South Sudan and the Sudan crisis. My noble friend was particularly interested in China’s involvement in discussions. It is significant that the UN Security Council resolution was unanimously supported by all members, including China.

My noble friend also asked what the commitment is of the new French Government to the UK-French treaty. We are pleased that initial contacts with the new French Government suggest that they remain committed to the co-operation which we agreed in 2010.

The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig, asked about the 1% increase in defence spending. That increase in spending on equipment and equipment support in the period beyond the spending review brought over £3 billion of new money into defence over the 10-year planning period. The increase applies only to equipment and equipment support. In balancing the programme, we have assumed that the non-equipment programme will increase in line with inflation. An exact defence budget for the years beyond 2014-15 will be set during the next spending review.

The noble and gallant Lord also asked what the next stages are in the coalition’s defence thinking. The SDSR concluded that we should assume an adaptable strategic posture, which means that we will remain ready to use armed force where necessary to protect our national interests. However, we will be more selective in its use and focus our Armed Forces more on tackling risks before they escalate and on exerting UK influence as part of a better, co-ordinated overall national security response. The SDSR also made it clear that we must give priority over the next decade to recovering capabilities damaged or reduced as a result of overstretch. This takes time and investment but is needed to rebuild the strength and restore the capability of our Armed Forces to react effectively to new demands.

The noble and gallant Lord asked about Afghan gifting. We are currently examining options for the future of equipment procured as urgent operational requirements for Afghanistan, but no decisions have yet been made and we will not dispose of equipment that is required as part of the future contingent capability.

Finally, the noble and gallant Lord asked about the MRA4. Following the removal of the Nimrod from service, the department has conducted a number of studies into the resulting capability implications but no decision has been made on whether a long-term manned or unmanned replacement for the marine patrol aircraft is required.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lichfield and the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, mentioned the 0.7% commitment and

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the timing of legislation. We will continue to honour our commitment. That is why we will not only enshrine that historic commitment in law—the Bill is already prepared—but be the first G8 country to deliver.

The noble Earl also asked about the post-MDG framework. We are delighted that the Prime Minister has been asked to co-chair the Secretary-General’s high-level panel on a framework to replace MDGs, alongside the Presidents of Indonesia and Liberia. We will do all we can to support the UN process to secure global agreement on a successor framework that will help meet the needs of the world’s poorest people.

My noble friend Lord Luke asked a number of questions about the carriers and the JSF, which is an important issue. As a result of the recent decision to switch back to the stable variant of JSF, we will have two carriers capable of flying stable aircraft and thus the ability to deliver continuous carrier availability. As we set out in the SDSR, a final decision on the use of the second carrier will be taken as part of the SDSR in 2015. Overall, the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier costs will be subject to a detailed review and thorough scrutiny by the MoD approving authorities. Until this work has been undertaken, it is too early to comment on the revised cost of the programme. I think that my noble friend’s other questions were covered in the Statement that I made last week on the carriers.

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My noble friend Lord Sharkey asked about Cyprus. Successive UK Governments have long been advocates of a comprehensive settlement. We are committed to assisting Cyprus in its preparation for the EU presidency.

The noble Lord, Lord Williamson, asked how useful the EEAS is. The Government see it as an important tool to support member states of the EU in making the best use of their collective weight in the world, in areas where we agree to act together. The real potential of the EEAS lies in its ability to mobilise the combined resources of the EU institutions and the member states. This is apparent in the Horn of Africa, where we are beginning to see an effective, comprehensive approach that brings together the EU’s diplomatic development and CSDP mission activities into one approach.

We must adapt to stay ahead, configure our capability to address tomorrow’s threats not yesterday’s, build more versatile and agile forces for the future and ensure that our people have what they need in this important endeavour—the defence of our nation in a changing world. I beg to move.

Motion agreed nemine dissentiente, and the Lord Chamberlain was ordered to present the Address to Her Majesty.

House adjourned at 5.36 pm.