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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the Government will be offering Peru following the announcement by President Alejandro Toledo diverting military spending to basic social services for children. [57678]

Clare Short: We are pleased that President Toledo has reaffirmed the commitment that he made on assuming government in Peru last year to reduce military expenditures and to divert the funds to social expenditures. In support of this and other pro-poor policies, we have provided additional support to Peru in the last year, and we will continue to work closely with the Government and civil society in Peru to support improved access to basic services, for the poorest and most excluded people, including children.

Anglo-Italian Meetings

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on how many occasions in the last six months members of her Department have met their Italian counterparts; and what subjects were discussed. [56885]

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Clare Short: Members of my Department meet their counterparts from other countries on a regular basis. It is not possible without disproportionate effort to provide details of all meetings that have taken place between staff of my Department and their Italian counterparts.


John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People regarding the provision of humanitarian aid to internally displaced people in Burma. [57660]

Clare Short: The UK contributes to the costs of providing safe refuge and assistance for both Karen refugees in Thailand and internally displaced people in Burma. This includes funding through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Burmese Border Consortium and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Officials from my Department have met the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People, and we are aware of its work through our more regular contacts with the Burmese Border Consortium.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action the Government are taking to get (a) food and (b) medical supplies to internally displaced Karen, Kaenni and Shan people in Burma. [57661]

Clare Short: The situation for internally displaced people in Burma remains extremely vulnerable. Many of these people have taken refuge in remote, inaccessible and politically sensitive areas, making it difficult to conduct any detailed humanitarian assessment of their situation. In 2001–02 we provided humanitarian assistance amounting to over £2 million for both refugees and internally displaced people within Burma. This included funding through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Burmese Border Consortium and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress towards creating a Government of National Unity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [58096]

Clare Short: The Inter-Congolese Dialogue reached agreement on a wide range of issues and passed 37 resolutions. But it did not reach agreement on the crucial issue of a transitional leadership. An agreement was signed outside the ICD between President Kabila and the Chairman of the MLC, Jean-Pierre Bemba, which a number of political parties and members of civil society also signed. The RCD-Goma and some political parties including UPDS of Tshishekedi did not. Intensive efforts continue to find an inclusive agreement acceptable to all Congolese elements of the ICD as envisaged by the Lusaka Agreement.

UN Aid Pledge

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps her Department has taken to meet the UN pledge of wealthy countries to spend 0.7 per cent. of national income on international aid. [58213]

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Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have made clear their commitment to the United Nations' 0.7 per cent. oda/GNI target and to reversing the decline in UK development assistance. In 1997 the UK's oda/GNI ratio was 0.26 per cent. By 2003–04 it will have risen to 0.33 per cent. This represents an increase in the UK's development assistance budget of 45 per cent. in real terms.

The Chancellor confirmed in his November 2001 pre-Budget report that in the next Spending Review, for the years 2003–04 to 2005–06, the Government will not only raise significantly the amounts of our own overseas development aid but also raise its share in national income. Further details of the review will be published later this year.



Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote trade with, and United Kingdom investment in, Mongolia; and if he will make a statement. [39948]

Mr. MacShane: Mongolia is a specialised market and British exporters often need help in establishing themselves. Trade Partners UK maintains a market information service on Mongolia for potential exporters. Trade Promotion is also a high priority of the British embassy in Ulaanbaatar. Her Majesty's ambassador and his team are fully equipped to help British exporters pursue business in the country.

Grenade Licence Application

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) legal and (b) human rights factors were taken into account before 1998 when his Department considered export licence applications for the (i) E100 series integrated grenade system and (ii) fragmentation grenade E105 incorporated into the trip wire mechanism manufactured by PW Defence. [57169]

Mr. Bradshaw: Such items would have been considered under the criteria applicable to all items on the Military List. From July 1997 onwards those were the UK's national export licensing criteria set out in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the former Foreign Secretary to my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Mr. Timms) on 28 July 1997, Official Report, HC26–29. Under those criteria we were obliged to comply with the UK's commitment not to export all forms of anti-personnel land mines and their component parts. The criteria also made clear that we would not issue licences where there is a clearly identifiable risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression, aggressively against another country, or to assert by force a territorial claim.

The legal basis for controls of integrated grenade systems and fragmentation grenades is entry ML4 in Part III of Schedule 1 of the Export of Control (Goods) Order 1994 as amended.

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Foreign and Defence Council

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was discussed at European Union Foreign and Defence Ministers' meeting at Brussels on 13 and 14 May; what conclusions were reached; what was agreed for the agenda for European Council's meeting at Seville; and if he will make a statement. [57259]

Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on 13 May. Conclusions were agreed by consensus and no formal votes were taken. Preparation for the Seville European Council was not included in the final agenda.

Preparation of the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development

The Council noted progress made in preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which will take place in Johannesburg on 26 August to 4 September 2002. The Council instructed relevant Council bodies to prepare a substantive contribution on the EU's role in the WSSD process, to be approved at the GAC on 17 June and endorsed at the Seville European Council.

Annual Policy Strategy 2003

The Council endorsed the Commission's three main priorities for 2003: achieving enlargement successfully, continuing to ensure security for EU citizens, and developing a sustainable and inclusive economy. The Council agreed that the Commission's suggested budgetary allocations would be studied in the framework of the Preliminary Draft Budget examination for 2003. The Council recommended that future versions of the Annual Policy Strategy should be presented as early in the year as possible to improve the coherence of the budgetary process.

Effectiveness of the Union's external action

The Council noted work in hand and heard presentations on improving cross-pillar co-operation, strengthening the EU's role in international organisations, budgetary issues, development aid and the EU decision- making process. Commissioner Patten briefed Ministers on pilot studies aimed at improving the impact of EU external assistance and on the process of evolution of responsibilities to Commission delegations.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with ACP countries

The Council welcomed the Commission's proposal for a mandate to negotiate EPAs with the ACP countries, recalling that the ultimate purpose of the negotiations was poverty eradication and integration of ACPs into the world economy. It also addressed questions of ACP market access and WTO compatibility. The discussion will continue in the Permanent Representatives' Committee, with a view to adopting the mandate at the June GAC.

Renewal of mandates and financing of EU Special Representatives (EUSRs)

Recalling the essential role played by EUSRs, the Council agreed to extend the functions and funding for FYROM and Afghanistan EUSRs and asked the relevant bodies to study financial formulae to make this possible.

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Middle East

The Council discussed the possibility of convening an international conference and welcomed the end of the Church of the Nativity crisis in Bethlehem. It thanked the Cypriot Government for their assistance and thanked member states for provisionally offering the 13 Palestinians involved temporary residence on humanitarian grounds.

European Security and Defence Policy

The Council welcomed the participation of Defence Ministers, meeting as the GAC for the first time, and noted progress towards establishing the Capability Development Mechanism (CDM). It also acknowledged recent advances made in European military capabilities and discussed possible means of resolving current shortfalls with a view to meeting the Headline Goal.

Western Balkans

The Council conducted its annual review of the Stabilisation and Association Process for South Eastern Europe (SAP), which provides a route map to EU membership, tied to each country's progress on reform. The Council called on the SAP countries to devote adequate attention and resources to implementation of EU recommendations, with particular reference to strengthening the rule of law and judicial systems and visa and entry policies. The Council invited the Commission to assess progress made at its next annual review in March 2003. The Council also proposed to establish a new ministerial-level political forum, linking the EU with the SAP countries. It also highlighted the need for a greater EU public information effort to foster greater understanding of the SAP. Crisis management in the Balkans, including the future EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a possible mission in Macedonia, was also discussed.


The Council noted that broad agreement had been reached on substance and objectives for developing EU relations with Iran. In addition to commercial matters, it was felt important that this include dialogue on terrorism, proliferation and regional stability. It instructed officials to pursue discussion with a view to a decision at the next GAC on a negotiating mandate for a Trade and Co-operation Agreement with Iran.


The Council welcomed recent encouraging developments in Angola, including the signing of an MOU by the Angolan Armed and Unita forces culminating in a ceasefire. The Council, while expressing support for positive initiatives undertaken by the Angolan Government, called on the authorities to allocate the necessary resources to: reintegrating Unita and Angolan armed soldiers into the armed forces police and civil society; demining; and reconstruction of social and civil infrastructure. It also requested that the Angolan Government do their utmost to assist humanitarian needs.

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