I was also asked about the issue of Ethiopian and Eritrean relations more generally. My noble friend made reference to a leaked memo on Ethiopia’s destabilising policy against Eritrea—at least the memo refers to itself as being leaked, whether it was or not I simply do not know. We will consider its contents seriously and closely. Better relations between the two countries are clearly needed. We have called on both sides to respect the commitment that they made in the Algiers peace agreement of December 2000 to refrain from using force against each other. We will continue to encourage both Eritrea and Ethiopia to engage bilaterally and internationally to overcome the current stalemate and hope that progress can be made towards demarcation in accordance with the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

Lord Avebury: Does my noble friend not recognise that the Algiers agreement was final and binding and that both parties had agreed to accept it, so there is no question of negotiations or variations on the settlement? They both must accept it, and, in particular, Ethiopia must agree to the border that was determined by the British judge, Judge Lauterpacht.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, international agreements, once entered into, should be adhered to, and I hope that the Russians hear that with regard to

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the Minsk protocol with regard to Ukraine. I agree with my noble friend about the importance of keeping one’s word.

Much attention was drawn to the issue of human rights, and rightly so. I will summarise very rapidly indeed. The noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, my noble friends Lord Avebury and Lord Chidgey, the noble Lord, Lord Rea, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby all raised issues. Briefly, with regard to the matter of Petros, we are of course aware of that case. I am afraid that I can give the noble Lord, Lord Rea, no comfort. We do not have any assurances about his well-being despite consistent efforts to obtain them. We will continue to call for his release.

There are human rights abuses across the board. The right reverend Prelate raised the issue of religious freedom. We will continue to look very carefully at the matters he raised because, clearly, those are abuses that have occurred and, as he rightly says, particularly against groups that are not registered under the Eritrean system. There was a reference to the detention of political prisoners and journalists. We certainly try to establish the facts. There are still journalists in detention despite reports that six have been released. There was a reference to the Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, who is still under arrest.

With regard to all these matters, we do not give up. Just because it is difficult, we do not give up in pursuing our relationship with these two countries. Walking away would leave those who are the victims of persecution and misbehaviour by Governments in a more perilous position than they currently face. The commitment of this Government is that this is a challenge that requires a global, long-term response to a difficult problem. We will all keep trying to ensure that, as an international community, we do our best to tackle it for the sake of those behind the traffickers and behind Governments who do not have good governance.

Infrastructure Bill [HL]

Returned from the Commons

The Bill was returned from the Commons with amendments.

House adjourned at 8.12 pm.