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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The Montreal Convention was clearly not designed to deal with a situation in which organs of the state holding the accused are themselves alleged to be implicated in the crime.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We believe that it is right and fair for the two accused persons to be tried in Scotland where the crime was committed and from where the criminal investigation has been carried out rather than in a state whose organs are alleged to be implicated in the crime.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No reliable estimates exist of the number of ethnic Georgians who have fled the secessionist region of Abkhazia into Georgia or elsewhere. UNHCR do not consider them as refugees but as internally displaced persons. The Georgian Government estimate that there are some 250,000 such persons in Georgia and that all are ready to return. It has proved impossible to verify this. UNHCR report that some 25,000 have returned spontaneously.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The UN Secretary General's First Progress Report on UNAVEM III notes that although the cease-fire continued "in general" to hold, both the Government of Angola and UNITA were alleged to have committed violations. A copy of the report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The dispute is about allocating the Total Allowable Catch for Greenland Halibut amongst the contracting parties in the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO)in particular the EU and Canada. The goal of all involved must be to conserve fish stocks so as to allow fishermen from both the EU and Canada a viable future. This requires proper conservation measures, including an equitable division of the agreed Total Allowable Catch. It also requires strict enforcement to ensure that the rules are obeyed by all. We are pleased to hear that the Spanish vessel detained last week has been released. All concerned can now concentrate on resolving the wider issues through negotiation in a way acceptable to the members of NAFO. The UK has been using its position as a member of both the Commonwealth and the EU to promote solutions to the immediate difficulties and to contribute to an outcome in the longer term which is satisfactory to all. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs yesterday spoke to his Canadian and Spanish opposite numbers as part of these efforts. The way ahead must be through negotiations undertaken in a calm and co-operative spirit and by avoiding actions which might make a solution more difficult.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): My department is investigating whether confidential information on these matters was released by unauthorised means. If the results of the investigation show that management action is necessary, it will be taken.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Her Majesty's Government has not received any representations from Commonwealth governments about the introduction of the habitual residence test.
The Minister of State Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): My honourable friend the Minister of State for the Environment represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council held in Brussels on 9 March. During the lengthy discussion on the proposed Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) my honourable friend made clear that the UK continued to welcome this proposal. My honourable friend indicated that we wished to see a directive which achieved a high level of protection for the environment whilst providing a level playing field for industry in the UK. The subsequent debate assisted in resolving a number of issues but an overall agreement was not reached.
The Council agreed conclusions setting out the EU's position for the first Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention, building on those agreed at its meeting in December. The conclusions call for the negotiation of a protocol to the convention, setting out new targets and timetables beyond 2000 and for the agreement by all developed countries of policies and measures aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
There was a useful initial discussion of the proposals for an Ambient Air Quality Framework Directive in which my honourable friend indicated UK support for measures to tackle the problems of air pollution. Discussions also took place on the proposals for the Ecological Quality of Water and on the revision of the Seveso directive.
Viscount Ullswater: Officials routinely support Ministers on the handling of non-Government amendments, including with matters of drafting where Ministers wish to put proposals to another member. However, officials have not provided any assistance with drafting direct to Members of the House other than Ministers with respect to the Environment Bill. Correction
In the first supplementary question asked by Lord Callaghan of Cardiff on his Private Notice Question on Nigeria reported at col. 851 of the Official Report for Wednesday 15 March, the words ''constitutional government'' which appear at line 4 should read ''Constitutional Conference''.
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