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23 Oct 2002 : Column 358Wcontinued
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what mechanisms exist to monitor whether end-use commitments entered into by countries importing military equipment and material
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from the United Kingdom are kept; and how many instances have come to his attention since May 1997 of military equipment sold to one country that has subsequently been sold on to a third country. 
Mr. Macshane: Our Overseas Posts have standing instructions to report on allegations of misuse of any UK-origin defence equipment to take into account in the licensing process. Detailed guidance is provided to Posts and FCO officials involved in licensing in London to help decide when to carry out end-use checks, and to outline the kinds of questions that these checks should address.
We focus our efforts on assessment of potential end-use at the export licensing stage. Carrying out effective risk assessment on end-users before making the export licensing decision is the surest way to prevent UK arms falling into the wrong hands. We assess all export licence applications on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria in accordance with Criterion 7. In accordance with that criterion we will not issue an export licence where there is an unacceptable risk of diversion to an undesirable end-user.
Proactive monitoring of defence exports is only carried out in those cases of greatest concern. The Government has introduced a number of safeguards in order to minimise the risk of diversion; and those measures are under constant review.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has collated concerning links between Saddam Hussein's regime and Mansour Thaer; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with other departments following the attempted attack on the British High Commission in Jakarta in December 2001 concerning placing Jamaah Islamiyah on the UK list of proscribed terrorist organisations. 
Mr. Straw: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House on 15 October (Official Report column 1779), we are urgently considering the proscription of Jemaah Islamiya. Decisions to proscribe are taken by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary after consideration of all relevant aspects.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department made of the threat posed by Jamaah Islamiyah (a) following the Singapore authorities naming it as responsible for the attempted attack on the British High Commission in Jakarta in December 2001 and (b) following the terrorist attack on Bali on 12 October. 
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Mr. Straw: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House on 15 October (Official Report, column 1779), we identified the South East Asian region as an area with a real threat from groups linked to Al Qaida even before 11 September 2001. One of the most prominent of these is Jemaah Islamiyah, which has a network stretching across a number of countries in the region.
The discovery of the plot to attack targets in Singapore last December confirmed the seriousness of the threat from this group. It is too early to know whom was responsible for the Bali atrocity, but Jemaah Islamiyah must be one of the groups under most suspicion. We are therefore urgently considering proscribing them under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has collated concerning the court procedures against Mansour Thaer in Germany and Italy; what evidence he has collated concerning links between Thaer and terrorist organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Mansour Thaer was arrested on 23 April 2002 in Germany and held on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist group. He was being investigated on suspicion of connections to the Abu-Ali group (linked to 11.9.) and the Meliani Case (the Frankfurt cell linked to the Strasbourg bomb plot). He was released on 6 August. Thaer has also been investigated in Italy for his links with a terrorist cell and for participation in a criminal conspiracy to traffic in arms, explosives, chemical weapons, identity papers, receiving stolen goods and aiding illegal immigration. According to the Italian authorities he is a member of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), an Algerian-based group operating in North Africa and Italy. The UN added GSPC to the list of terrorist groups linked to al Qaeda on 8 October.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the statement by the Australian Prime Minister on 16 October that Australia's Foreign Affairs Department received United States intelligence reports in September 2002 which mentioned Bali as a place at risk from a terrorist attack; when his Department received these reports; what that information consisted of; what action his Department took in response to this information; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Nigerian Government on the matter of the sentence of death by stoning passed on Ms Amina Lawal in Nigeria this year; and if he will make a statement. 
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During her recent visit to Nigeria my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, the Baroness Amos, raised with President Obasanjo HMG's concerns about the harsh sentences imposed under the Sharia penal codes. She emphasised the strength of feeling against them in the UK and reiterated HMG's opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.
The British High Commission in Abuja, together with EU partners, follows all such cases closely and keeps in close contact with local human rights organisations. The High Commission regularly raises our concerns about the sentences with the appropriate authorities.
The Federal Government has made clear its opposition to the extreme Sharia penalties. It has declared them discriminatory and unconstitutional. Exercise of the Sharia penal code is, however, entirely under the control of the relevant States. The Federal justice system only comes into play if the defendant appeals to the Federal Appeal Courts.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has collated concerning links between Al-Qaeda and Mansour Thaer; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: In September the US and Italy proposed adding Mansour Thaer to the UN Consolidated List of persons to which UN sanctions apply. According to the Italians he is a member of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), an Algerian-based group operating in North Africa and Italy. The UN added GSPC to the list of terrorist groups linked to al Qaeda on 8 October.
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Official Report, columns 836837. It has since been reliably reported that President Kuchma authorised the transfer of radar equipment to Iraq. This could have consequences for Ukraine's international relationships, including with the UK. The UK's relations with Moldova are developing. Our first resident Ambassador arrived in Chisnau on 8 July.
Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary meets his Irish counterpart regularly in the margins of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC). Discussions have covered the range of EU topics, including the Irish Referendum on the Treaty of Nice on 19 October. The GAERC on 21 October discussed briefly the ''Yes'' result, which is a positive step towards enlargement of the European Union. I attending the GAERC in place of the Foreign Secretary and also met the Irish Foreign Minister.
Peter Hain: Following the Council reforms agreed at the Seville European Council in June, the Danish Presidency has been taking forward further discussions on this issue. They will be submitting an initial report to the Copenhagen European Council in December.
There has also been progress on internal Commission reform. A new financial regulation has now been agreed. Comprehensive improvements to the Institutions' human resources policies are currently being negotiated.
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