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15 Oct 2002 : Column 534W—continued

Mongolia

Mr. Trend: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Government of Mongolia over the case of Ms B. Khanddolgar, Editor-in-Chief of the UG newspaper, recently imprisoned for alleged slander; and if he will make a statement. [74510]

Mr. MacShane: The editor of the Mongolian ''Ug'' newspaper was sentenced to one year's imprisonment after publishing a story claiming that a private citizen had contracted AIDS following alleged affairs with Russian border guards. The allegations proved false. ''Ug'' issued an apology, but the citizen had already been killed by her partner. This was the fourth time that ''Ug'' had been taken to court facing similar charges.

In discussion with ministers, editors and journalists in Mongolia last month I made clear the importance the government attaches to freedom of expression and for the need to check facts carefully and avoid publishing allegations made for sensationalist or sectarian purposes.

Export Licences

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Strategic Export Controls report 2001. [74664]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, East and Mexborough (Mr. Jeff Ennis) on 19 July 2002, Official Report, column 611W.

The 2001 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls was published on 19 July. The annual reports were an innovation of this Government and have opened our policy to unprecedented public scrutiny. We maintain one of the most effective and transparent export licensing system in the World.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the applications for the export of military equipment to (a) the United States and (b) Israel which have been turned down since May 1997. [73563]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

Details of all relevant applications for the export of items on the Military List, where the end users were in the United States of America and Israel, which were refused between 2 May 1997 and 31 December 2001, are published by destination in the Government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls. Copies of the 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 Annual Reports are available from the Libraries of the House.

Between 1 January 2002 and 15 July 2002, 42 Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) applications and 1 Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) application were refused in full, for items on the Military List, where the end users were in Israel. During the same period 5 SIEL applications and no OIEL applications were refused in full, for items on the Military List, to end users in the United States of America.

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Iraq

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps (a) have been taken since 1991–92 and (b) are being taken to ensure the compliance of Iraq with Paragraph 30 of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 687; and if he will make a statement. [74665]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: A Tripartite Commission was set up under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross to establish the whereabouts of Kuwaiti and other nationals still missing since the occupation of Kuwait. So far, the Iraqis have provided information sufficient to close only three files. 605 Kuwaiti and other nationals are still unaccounted for. Since January 1999 Iraq has refused to attend Tripartite Commission meetings, and has thereby effectively obstructed progress. The UK, along with other members of the Tripartite Commission, continue to meet regularly. Despite our and others' efforts to convince Iraq of the humanitarian nature of this issue, Iraq still refuses to co-operate with the process.

Beryllium

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department had with the Department for Trade and Industry regarding the decision to license the export of beryllium to (a) India and (b) Iran in 2001. [74698]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Views expressed by any individual department involved in the licensing process fall under the description of ''internal discussion and advice'' the disclosure of which would in this case harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion. The information is therefore being withheld on the basis of Exemption 2 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Sri Lanka

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what refreshment provisions are available to members of the public at the British Embassy in Sri Lanka. [74114]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: All members of the public who are waiting in the visa waiting room in our High Commission in Colombo have access to a chilled water dispenser. The visa and consular section in the British High Commission has just been awarded its second Charter Mark for excellence in customer services. The Charter Mark was obtained in 1998 and the award retained on re-inspection earlier this year.

Afghanistan

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Afghanistan Government's strategy for its fight against drugs; and what the UK's role was in the development of this strategy. [73786]

Mr. Macshane: The Afghan Transitional Administration has made clear its determination to break Afghanistan's social and economic dependence on drugs. On 4 September President Karzai reiterated in a radio broadcast to the Afghan people his personal

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commitment to the implementation of the ban on drug cultivation, processing and trafficking introduced in January. The Afghan government has already carried out an eradication programme.

The UK is co-ordinating international anti-narcotics assistance to Afghanistan. In consultation with the Afghan Government, other donors and international (especially UN) agencies, the UK has developed a strategy for the long term elimination of drugs from Afghanistan. It identifies four key areas where the international community should focus its support: providing alternative livelihoods for opium poppy farmers; improving Afghan drug law enforcement capacity; building up the capacity of Afghan drug control institutions; and reducing drug demand in Afghanistan.

East Timor

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Indonesian authorities over the conduct of General Wiranto during the East Timorese ballot in 1999. [73423]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK has not raised with the Indonesian authorities the specific case of General Wiranto. The EU has however urged the Indonesian government to extend the jurisdiction of their Ad Hoc Tribunal to cover all human rights violations perpetrated in East Timor before, during and after the ballot in 1999.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Saville Inquiry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost to the Saville Tribunal was of the temporary relocation of proceedings in London. [74178]

Mr. Desmond Browne: The estimated cost of the temporary relocation to London of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is #15 million.

Terrorist-related Activity

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Irish Republicans who have been charged with terrorist-related activity since 1972 have been members of Sinn Fein. [74277]

Jane Kennedy: Statistics are not recorded on the political party affiliation of persons charged with terrorist related offences.

Police Service

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recommendations were made by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary following completion of his review into the performance of the PSNI Special Branch. [74175]

Jane Kennedy: Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary has not yet completed his review of the Special Branch of the Police Service of Northern

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Ireland. He is scheduled to make a presentation of his findings to the Northern Ireland Policing Board on 6th November.

Electoral Identity Card

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what additional financial and staff resources will be put in place to ensure the provision of the statutory electoral identity card prior to the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 1 May 2003. [74286]

Mr. Desmond Browne: #750,000 has already been allocated to provide for the electoral identity card and a member of staff has been seconded from the Northern Ireland Office to act as a project manager in implementing all the requirements of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act.

The arrangements for the production of the card are the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer. An advert inviting tenders from experienced and competent service providers for the provision of the card was entered in the Official Journal of the European Community (in line with Government procurement guidelines) on 9 September. Tenders are returnable by 4 November.

The Government is committed to providing those people who require one with an electoral identity card in time for the Assembly election on 1 May 2003. In order to achieve this target the Chief Electoral Officer's staffing and resource requirements will be kept under review.


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