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Baroness Mallalieu: My Lords, perhaps I may press the Minister in relation to the question I put initially. Contrary to my understanding of what was said in the debate in another place, am I right that no attempt is to be made by the Government to approach the Commission to relax the rules on set-aside for the hard pressed beef farmers?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, a number of options are available and we shall consider all those points. I shall pass on the noble Baroness's query to my right honourable friend.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, is the Minister aware that many acres of set-aside are quite suitable for grazing?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that information.

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, is the Minister aware that the Scottish beef industry is an excellent industry which produces the highest quality beef? It should be encouraged to continue producing high quality beef and to do that it needs protein. Is the Minister aware that grass contains protein, with a particularly high level in the spring? Is he further aware that some manufacturers still produce animal or mineral licks which contain urea which I gather is obtained from chicken manure? What are the Government doing about that?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, the noble Countess has asked a number of questions. One of them related to mineral licks which are used as a mineral supplement to rations. I gather that the urea used in some licks is generally chemically manufactured and that on occasion it is manufactured from chicken droppings. The licks are not derived from mammals.

On the Scottish beef industry, yes, it is an important part of Scottish agricultural business. It amounts to half a billion pounds per annum and makes up almost 30 per cent. of the value of Scottish agricultural output,

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with 160,000 jobs. When we look around butchers and supermarkets, we all know how often Aberdeen Angus beef is advertised.

Lord Carter: My Lords, is it any wonder that we have a problem with our balance of payments when we now import 160,000 tonnes of distillers waste into Scotland? The crucial question is: are the dark grains from the Scottish distillers waste a better product than the English and the brewers grains? If so, how can we get hold of them instead of sending them to Finland?

The Earl of Courtown: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Carter, makes an important point. As concerns distillers and brewers waste, I understand that 25 per cent. of distillers grains is dry matter, so there is quite a high moisture content. It is comparable to brewers grains. Dark grains, which are a dry substance to which, I believe, molasses are added, are used in rations for ruminants.

On the balance of payments, if my memory serves me correctly, I gather that distillers waste is not an expensive form of protein at £20 to £25 a tonne. The noble Lord will probably correct me on that, but I do not believe that it will have an enormous effect on our balance of payments.

Central Africa: Humanitarian Needs

2.46 p.m.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their latest assessment of the humanitarian needs in the Great Lakes region of Africa with particular reference to Rwanda and Burundi.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): My Lords, the situation is fragile. Rwanda is making progress, but the security situation in Burundi is deteriorating. Almost 2 million refugees remain in the region. Britain has committed more than £126 million to the region bilaterally and through the European Union since January 1993.

Lord Judd: My Lords, does the Minister agree that it is now essential for members of the Security Council to assist responsible leaders in the region to find a durable regional solution covering the destabilising effect of the refugee camps in Zaire, the repatriation of refugees or viable alternatives, the pursuit and punishment of those responsible for killings, adequate resources for the administration of justice and proper resources for reconstruction? In the meantime, can the Minister tell us what the Government are able to do to support the OAU and the former President Nyerere in his important mediation efforts in Burundi?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, the noble Lord is right, it is a matter of considerable concern. We believe that the efforts of the former President Nyerere are extremely important and could be quite promising. With my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, I met former President Nyerere when he was here in

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London and I shall meet him and former President Carter next Monday to try to find ways forward, to reach a solution which deals with the refugees, with the pursuit and punishment of those who are guilty of genocide, to help to bring about justice and to ensure that resources are available where they can be used.

The noble Lord is right; the problems need a durable solution. That is why we have been working not only with the persons mentioned but also with the European Union's special envoy, Aldo Ajello, and the Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Mr. Kikwete. The issue is on our agenda almost daily at present while we try to find a solution. However, no one should underestimate how difficult it is, with all the different parties within the tribes, and with so much conflict, sometimes stirred up from outside either Burundi or Rwanda.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, can the Minister tell us what action the Government are taking to secure control of arms going into Burundi? We should bear in mind the appalling suffering to civilian populations and the extent to which the Hutu militia groups and the Tutsi-dominated army are creating havoc in that country.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, this is a very difficult issue. The arms that have been entering Burundi have been going through third countries, and we do not know their source. We have sought to help the United Nations over this matter. The OAU and the UN are seeking ways of using the deployment of OAU military observers so that they may help in trying to impede the process of arms supply from outside. We hope that other governments who may have influence on neighbouring countries but are so far not using that influence might be persuaded to do so. That would cut down the supply of arms to Burundi and the central African region.

Lord Rea: My Lords, following my noble friend's supplementary question, will the Minister give the House more details about the progress of bringing to justice the instigators of the genocide in Rwanda? Would that not be an important step in bringing stability to the whole region?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, the noble Lord is right in one sense. However, this is a situation in which things are easier said than accomplished, as he already knows. This country has been one of the key contributors to United Nations human rights operations in the area. We have also helped with the question of training people to carry out the tribunals. Progress is gradually being made. The situation is such that many people do not understand that there can be an amnesty, but that they should go for the leaders who have perpetrated the troubles. While we shall continue to help in bringing about peace in this high priority sector, including justice and dealing with those who have been arrested, their own governments must also be determined to solve the problem. It cannot all be done by outsiders, however willing they may be.

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Lord Elton: My Lords, is it not the case that the economic condition of the countries immediately concerned is such that any effort to resettle refugees must be financed from outside? Secondly, will my noble friend tell the House whether the condition of the judicial systems in the countries concerned is such that they are able to deliver the retribution for which noble Lords opposite ask without some judicial input from outside?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right about the parlous financial state of the countries concerned. It is interesting that in the year since January 1995 donors committed over £550 million towards Rwanda's programme of reconciliation and reconstruction. Some of that money is going towards trying to improve the justice system.

One of the difficulties is that, in a country that has lost all its leading personnel, there is very grave difficulty in absorbing the funds and the training to put them into practice. As a result of the lack of human resources, some who have been assigned to help are having to do a very basic training job before much progress can be made. However, we keep at it. A good deal of sound effort is going on to try to improve the situation, bad as it is.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, is the Minister aware that on 12th May 100 displaced Tutsi were massacred by Hutus in Zaire; and according to a report by Medecins sans Frontieres a further 3,000 displaced Tutsi in Zaire are at immediate risk? Is the United Nations doing anything to evacuate the Tutsi who are at risk?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I do not think the evacuation of one group of Tutsi in Zaire to another area will necessarily solve the problem. The United Nations has looked into what happened in Masisi. The area is now predominantly Hutu; there is no reason why those Hutus should be pushing the Zairian Tutsi out of the area. Certainly at the moment there is real difficulty. The UNHCR has been trying to reach a resolution as to where the Zairian Tutsi should go. That has not yet been accepted by the Government of Rwanda. Until it is there will be something of a stalemate. All this is also affected by the attitude of the Government of Zaire. That government, whose citizens they are, have done absolutely nothing to calm the situation.


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