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Service Personnel

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) army personnel, (b) navy personnel and (c) RAF personnel are (i) assigned to operations, (ii) training for operations, (iii) recovering from operations and (iv) training for their assigned role; and what the percentage is of each service in each case. [49674]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 April 2002, Official Report, column 1019–20W. The table shows the total number and percentage of trained service personnel deployed on military tasks at home and abroad. This includes personnel deployed on operations (e.g. in Afghanistan) and ongoing commitments (e.g. in the Falkland Islands), but excludes those personnel undertaking public duties.

NumberPercentage
Navy (including Marines)5,70715.3
Army23,44023.2
Air Force6,32412.9

The remaining data requested are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, we estimate that around 5–6 per cent. of trained service personnel are either preparing for, or recovering from, deployments on military tasks.

Those service personnel not accounted for in the above figures are engaged in a wide range of other activities, including collective and individual training.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Israel

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to Israel in respect of its failure to implement in full United Nations Security Council resolutions. [49268]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government have called for an immediate and full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1402. The Foreign Secretary most recently stressed our concerns to Israeli Foreign Minister Peres in a telephone conversation on 15 April. We have called on both parties to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1397, 1402 and 1403.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his current estimate is of the quantity of (a) nuclear weapons and (b) chemical weapons possessed by Israel. [49480]

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Mr. Bradshaw: Any such estimate would be based on sensitive intelligence sources. It has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.

We regularly call upon Israel to resolve international concerns about its nuclear status by acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state.

Israel is a state party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol which prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons. It has also signed, but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling and retention of chemical weapons. We continue to urge Israel to ratify the convention whenever an appropriate opportunity arises.

Afghanistan

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received the UN Secretary General's report to the Commission on the Status of Women on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5 dated 24 January); and what action he will take to ensure the recommendations are implemented. [50698]

Mr. Bradshaw: We have received the UN Secretary General's Report to the Commission on the Status of Women on discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5 dated 24 January). We welcome its recommendations. At the UN, the UK co-sponsored a Consensus Resolution on women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/L.4/Rev.2) approved on 25 March, which urges the Interim Administration to undertake a series of steps aimed at improving the quality of life for women.

As stated in my reply of 28 February to my hon. Friend, Official Report, columns 1638–39W, we have always said that the restoration of human rights, including women's rights, will be key to the establishment of stable systems of government in Afghanistan.

We welcome the role that women are playing in the Afghan Interim Authority, both in the Interim Administration and on the Loya Jirga Commission. While the form of any future Afghan Government is for the Afghan people to decide, we expect that women will be involved.

On reconstruction, our projects have always involved women and this will continue in the recovery and rehabilitation process. The involvement of women in projects, and use of expertise on gender issues will help to ensure that the rights of women are promoted—particularly recognising the complexity of gender issues in Afghanistan.

Mr. Salah Zanie

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the letter dated 21 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mr. Salah Zanie. [51427]

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Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend's letter crossed with the Secretary of State's letter of 20 February. A further copy will be sent and I apologise for any confusion caused.

East Timor

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the British Government were informed that East Timor was to be taken over by Indonesian-backed forces; and if he will make a statement. [51251]

Mr. Bradshaw: The British Government were of course aware of reports of Indonesian involvement in East Timor ahead of the invasion in 1975, but the situation was far from clear and reports were difficult to verify. In the absence of any British representation in the area, HMG had no independent means of doing so. The UK deplored the Indonesian invasion and did not recognise the incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia.

Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) the date and (b) the outcome was of meetings his Department has held with representatives of the (a) Portuguese, (b) Indonesian, (c) Australian and (d) New Zealand Governments concerning the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters; and what matters were discussed. [51309]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ministers and officials have regularly discussed this case with representatives of other Governments. Full details of the significant number of meetings could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

The British Government continue to take an active interest in the events surrounding the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters and will raise our concerns with other Governments at every appropriate opportunity.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Indonesian Government in relation to Yumus Yosfiah and the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters. [51308]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ministers have regularly raised this case with the Indonesian authorities. The most recent discussion took place in Jakarta in August 2001 when I met the Indonesian Attorney-General.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the United Nations transitional administration in East Timor in relation to Yumus Yosfiah and the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters. [51307]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have discussed this case on a number of occasions with Sergio Vieira de Mello, Head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor. I did so most recently when we met in London in October 2001.

Ministerial Meetings

(President Kostunica of Serbia)

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met President Kostunica of Serbia; and what was discussed. [51241]

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Mr. MacShane: FRY President Kostunica visited the UK on 28–29 November and had an audience with Her Majesty The Queen. He also met my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary, and the Secretary of State for International Development. The Foreign Secretary held a meeting with Foreign Minister Svilanovic.

The Government underlined their support for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's development as a democratic state and partner in Europe. The FRY needed to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and send a clear message to Bosnian Serbs that their future lay in Bosnia. Continued positive FRY engagement in Kosovo was necessary, as was a resolution of the constitutional position of Montenegro. Further internal reforms were needed, including in the FRY Army.

Macedonia/Kosovo Border

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest developments on the Macedonia/Kosovo border. [51240]

Mr. MacShane: The situation on the Macedonia/ Kosovo border is stable. A demarcation agreement was signed between the Federal Yugoslav and Macedonian Governments in February 2001. UNMIK and the Macedonian authorities have established a joint committee to agree working arrangements to allow farmers access to their land and to relax Macedonia's visa regime for Kosovo citizens in possession of UNMIK travel documents.

The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), in conjunction with the Macedonian authorities, have taken action against organised crime and extremism, confiscating arms and ammunition and detaining suspected traffickers.


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