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Afghanistan

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if serial numbers have been systematically logged in respect of the weapons found in Afghanistan since coalition military operations began against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda forces earlier this year. [64685]

Mr. Hoon: The Royal Marines deployed in Afghanistan have discovered a number of significant weapons caches. Those weapons that have not been destroyed have been handed over to the Afghan authorities. There has been no routine logging of serial numbers.

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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Madagascar

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Madagascar. [65002]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 27 June 2002]: The Organisation of African Unity and President Wade of Senegal continue with their mediation efforts. The UK, along with EU partners and others in the donor community continues to encourage the two parties to find a solution through dialogue. The US has recently recognised Mark Ravalomanana as President of Madagascar.

European Parliamentary Investigations

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what protocols exist on the operation of European parliamentary investigations being conducted within the United Kingdom. [65006]

Peter Hain [holding answer 27 June 2002]: There is no protocol which governs the operations of European parliamentary investigations. Temporary committees of the European Parliament are set up under its rules of procedure. A Decision of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission sets out the detailed provisions governing the European Parliament's right of inquiry and the setting up of temporary committees of inquiry.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the power members of the European Parliament have to summon witnesses for inquiries that they are conducting within the United Kingdom. [65007]

Peter Hain [holding answer 27 June. 2002]: Article 193 of the treaty on European Union provides for the setting up of temporary committees of inquiry.

Under the Decision of the European Parliament, Council, and the Commission on the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry, temporary committees of inquiry may request member states to designate an "official or servant whom they authorise to appear before the temporary committee of inquiry, unless grounds of secrecy or public or national security dictate otherwise by virtue of national or Community legislation". This is without prejudice to any other provisions of the member states which prohibit officials from appearing.

The European Parliament may set up temporary committees under their own rules of procedure. Such committees can request witnesses and experts to make a statement or provide testimony. There is no obligation on those individuals to respond to that invitation.

Gibraltar

Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the arrangements made with Spain in respect of Gibraltar Airport to unblock the progress of EC aviation measures. [66422]

Peter Hain: We have agreed a procedure with Spain and the Commission allowing aviation measures to be unblocked, without prejudicing any party's position on

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sovereignty, or affecting day to day operations at Gibraltar airport. When such a measure is brought forward, the Commission will judge whether or not it places obligations on airports. If so, the Council and Commission will agree to the insertion of the clauses suspending application until the implementation of the 1987 Joint Declaration of the UK and Spain on Gibraltar airport, which have featured in previous measures. If not, the text will not be amended. The Transport Council agreed Common Positions on the first measures subject to this arrangement, relating to occurrence reporting and aviation statistics, on 17 June.

We are confident that suspension will have no material impact on the operation of Gibraltar airport. We will continue to work with the Government of Gibraltar and the authorities at Gibraltar airport to ensure that, wherever necessary, equivalent measures are implemented on a national basis.

The Government believes that this is the best way forward until a long-term solution is found. We have always made clear that we want Gibraltar to enjoy the full benefits of EC aviation measures, as is its right. But, since the 11 September atrocities in particular, it is essential for British and other European air travellers, and the companies concerned, that EC measures to improve the functioning of the aviation sector, and especially to enhance aviation security, are taken forward quickly and effectively. It would be intolerable if all air travellers were denied the benefit of such measures because of delay

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caused by disagreement between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar and the refusal of the Government of Gibraltar to join discussions to resolve such problems under the Brussels process.

EU Events

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the (a) forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for July and (b) major European Union events for the period between 1 August and December. [66082]

Peter Hain The following are the principle events in the EU between 1 August and December 2002. The list is based on the information available at the date of issue.

DateVenueEvent
August
1–2BruneiASEAN post-Ministerial Conference (Troika)
27–29IllulissatMeeting of the Northern Dimension (Ministerial)
31–1ElisnoreGymnich (Ministerial Informal)
September
6BrusselsASEM Economic Ministers Meeting
6–8CopenhagenECOFIN (Ministerial Informal)
8–10NyborgAgriculture Council (Ministerial Informal)
12–13BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe
12–13CopenhagenJustice and Home Affairs Council (Ministerial Informal)
22–24CopenhagenASEM Meeting
23–24BrusselsAgriculture Council
24CopenhagenEU—China
24CophenhagenEU—South Korea
26BrusselsInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism Council
27TentACP—EU Ministers Meeting
30BrusselsResearch Council
30–1BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
October
3–4BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe
3–4BrusselsTransport and Telecommunications Council
7–8CopenhagenEU—Canada (Ministerial)
8BrusselsECOFIN
8BrusselsEmployment and Social Policy Council
10CopenhagenEU—India
14BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs, and Civil Protection Council
15–16BrusselsAgriculture Council
17BrusselsEnvironment Council
18–19AalborgInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Industry Meeting (Ministerial Informal)
21–22BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
24–25BrusselsEuropean Council
28–29BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe
November
1BrusselsCulture Council
2BrusselsECOFIN—Troika meeting on Macro—Economic Dialogue
7–8CopenhagenEU—SADC (Ministerial)
7–8BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe
11CopenhagenEU—Russia
12BrusselsEducation and Youth Council
14–15BrusselsInternal Market, Consumer Affairs and Youth Council
18BrusselsFisheries Council
18–19BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
19–20BrusselsAgriculture Council
22BrusselsDevelopment Council
25–26BrusselsBudget (Council)
25–26BrusselsIndustry and Energy Council
28OuagadougouEU—Africa
28OuagadougouEU—ECOWAS (Ministerial Troika)
28–29BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs, and Civil Protection Council
December
2–3BrusselsECOFIN
3BrusselsEmployment and Social Policy Council
5–6BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe
5–6BrusselsTransport and Telecommunications Council
9–10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
9–10BrusselsEnvironment Council
12–13CopenhagenEuropean Council
16Copenhagen/WashingtonEU—US (Ministerial)
16–17BrusselsFisheries Council
18–19BrusselsAgriculture Council
19–20OttawaEU—Canada
20–21BrusselsPlenary Session of the Convention on the Future of Europe

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