Previous Section Index Home Page

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the impact of British support for Ugandan and Ethiopian forces on diplomatic relationships. [22319]

Mr. Bradshaw: There has been considerable progress in resolving the conflict in the DRC during the last few months. There have been few ceasefire violations. There was a successful meeting of the major players in Abuja on 10 December, and all sides have committed themselves to the next meeting of the Inter-Congolese dialogue to be held in South Africa in January. But there is more to be done. We will continue to press all sides to ensure that they respect their commitments to the Lusaka agreement, and move the process forward.

The UK provides no military support for either the Ugandan or Ethiopian forces. Assistance is being provided on security sector reform in Uganda.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what impact the conflict over coltan is having in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [22320]

Mr. Bradshaw: The addendum to the UN Panel Report on the Illegal Exploitation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Natural Resources makes a clear link between the exploitation of natural resources, including coltan, and the continuation of the conflict. We are ready to work with all sides to put in place the necessary institutions and practices which will ensure that the funds raised from these resources are used to benefit the people of the DRC and not to fund the conflict.

Brussels Agreement

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a paper on what was discussed at the recent meeting in Barcelona under the auspices of the Brussels Agreement. [20452]

Peter Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) on 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 187W. A copy of the joint press communiqué issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 975W

of State and the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs when they met under the Brussels Process in Barcelona on 20 November has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Arms Exports

Roger Casale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what implications the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1373 on terrorism have for the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of arms exports. [23348]

Mr. Straw: By United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373(2001) the Security Council inter alia calls upon member states both to eliminate "the supply of weapons to terrorists" (paragraph 2(a)) and to

I have therefore reviewed the Government's policy in respect of arms exports in light of this resolution. In view of the Government's strong continued commitment to human rights, regional stability, and the campaign against terrorism, and taking account of the fact that our human rights obligations are not affected by the adoption of the resolution, I believe there is no need to amend the consolidated criteria in order for us to comply fully with the terms of the resolution. My detailed conclusions are as follows:

(1) Export licensing decisions are taken on a case by case basis against all of the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, as set out on 26 October 2000, Official Report, column 200W, in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time. The last paragraph of the preamble to the consolidated criteria states that:

(2) Criterion two of the consolidated criteria includes the statement that HMG:

(3) In judging individual applications, the Government will take account of the terms of UNSCR 1373(2001) and will continue to pay attention to this passage in criterion two, within the discretion provided by the consolidated criteria.

(4) The consolidated criteria already state that, when considering export licence applications, the Government will take account of the record of the buyer country with regard to

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 976W

(5) We are taking additional steps to strengthen our export controls. The Export Control Bill currently going through Parliament gives the Government a number of new powers which will help to improve our ability to prohibit the transfer of arms or related technology to terrorists, including new powers to control the transfer of technology by intangible means and trafficking and brokering in arms. We are aiming to sign the UN Firearms Protocol soon and will encourage others to do so, and have proposed bringing forward analysis of the OSEC's information exchange on the marking of small arms. These steps will help us to keep small arms out of terrorists' hands by helping us to trace weapons flows and to combat the illicit manufacture and trafficking in firearms.

(6) Finally, the new Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill includes clauses to close the gaps in our present legislation relating to chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to prevent the use, production, possession or participation in unauthorised transfers of these materials.

Parliamentary Questions

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of parliamentary questions replied to by his Department were the subject of a holding answer in the last three Sessions of Parliament. [22026]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 10 December 2001]: My Department issued the following number of holding replies during the last three parliamentary Sessions:

SessionNumber of holding repliesPercentage

(3) Due to a computer hardware problem figures in percentage form cannot be provided for parliamentary Session 2000–01


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of relations between Russia and the Northern Alliance (a) before and (b) since 11 September. [22169]

Mr. Bradshaw: Russia has maintained close links with members of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance for some years. These have continued since 11 September.


Doctors and Nurses

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many foreign doctors and nurses have

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 977W

been recruited into the NHS in the last year; and how many British doctors and nurses are in training. [18678]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 28 November 2001]: Data collected by the Department do not record how many foreign doctors and nurses were recruited into the national health service last year.

In order to work in the United Kingdom foreign doctors and nurses have to be registered with the appropriate regulatory body, the General Medical Council (GMC) for doctors and the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) for nurses. They do not necessarily work in the NHS.

In the year to 31 March 2001 there were 1,416 admissions to the UKCC register via European Community arrangements. In the same period there were 5,988 foreign entrants from outside the European Community.

GMC data do not distinguish between UK and European Economic Area (EEA) doctors. In 2000 there were 5,649 newly registered doctors from the UK/EEA. 3,054 new doctors with overseas qualifications (outside the EEA) registered with the GMC in 2000.

The Department does not collect data for Britain. In England in 2000–01 there were 49,090 nurses in training. We forecast that in 2001–02 this will rise to around 53,500.

In 2000 there were 34,660 doctors in training in the NHS. The table with data provided by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) for England shows the number of students entering medical school in the UK since 1997–98.

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 978W

Actual medical school intake 1997–98 to 2001–02

Northern Ireland179178179180188
UK total5,0625,0695,3025,6106,088

(4) Provisional information awaiting confirmation of July 2002 figures from HEFCE in November 2002

Next Section Index Home Page