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Lord Whitty: The NATO/Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Co-operation and Security came into effect on 27 May 1997 with the signature by Heads of Government of members of the Alliance, the Secretary General of NATO, and the President of Russia. The Act provides for the first meeting of the Joint Council to take place within four months of signature. No date has yet been set.
Lord Whitty: The NATO Secretary-General did not raise or seek to include in the NATO-Ukraine Charter, the possibility of Ukrainian agreement to the stationing of foreign troops in Ukraine in the context of the
Lord Whitty: No decision has been taken on which countries will accede to NATO membership. The costs of enlargement, which fall both on the countries which join and on existing members of the Alliance and which will be incurred over a long period, will depend on that decision. Subject to that caveat, we expect the costs of enlargement to be manageable.
Lord Whitty: We would welcome the early conclusion of accession negotiations with states which will be invited to join NATO at the Madrid Summit, and hope that accession instruments will be signed later in 1997.
Lord Whitty: While we expect new members of NATO to participate in the force planning process of the Alliance, decisions on how equipment requirements are met will remain a matter for each country. Decisions on procurement of particular equipment form no part of the criteria against which applications for NATO membership are judged.
Lord Whitty: We will not provide any financial support to companies for trade missions to Burma or for trade promotion activities within Burma until there is progress towards democratic reform and respect for human rights in Burma. Officials in the UK and at the British Embassy in Rangoon will continue to provide British companies with routine advice about doing business in Burma. Wherever possible such advice will make clear the present realities in Burma, including the political and human rights situation and the state of the economy. It will also draw to businessmen's attention statements by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy leaders discouraging trade and investment in Burma. We shall encourage our EU partners to take similar action.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: This is essentially the responsibility of individual departments. However my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has recently written to all ministerial Heads of Department to ensure that they are aware of the arrangements which exist for dealing with the year 2000 date change problem.
From within the Cabinet Office (OPS), departments are supported by the Central Information Technology Unit (CITU) and the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). As part of that support, CITU and CCTA have identified a programme of action to ensure that government's response to the year 2000 problem is co-ordinated and coherent. This involves each department in producing a detailed and costed action plan by October to ensure that all their systems are modified and tested by January 1999.
My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made clear that departments will have to live within their existing running cost limits for 1997-98 and 1998-99, as well as within their overall cash limits. Therefore the cost of preventive and remedial action will be met from existing provision.
The CCTA has also produced a six volume set of guides covering every aspect of starting, managing and successfully implementing a full year 2000 compliance programme. The set, called Tackling the Year 2000, forms the most detailed impartial guidance available to date.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): We have now received the report of the Efficiency Scrutiny into Prescription Fraud. We will be publishing it today, and placing a copy in the Library.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The number of definite and probable cases of new variant CJD reported to the Department of Health by the National CJD Surveileance Unit, as at 16 June 1997, are set out as follows by year of onset:
|Year of onset||Number of cases|
Baroness Jay of Paddington: We have noted the Review Body's comment about the sums which could be needed to make a significant impact on difficulties of access to the general dental services. We are currently considering how best to use the resources available to help ensure that patients who would otherwise have difficulty receiving general dental services can do so.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: This was implemented on 1 April 1997. From that date, dentists are automatically paid compensation in cases where the fee scale applicable to a course of treatment is more than one financial year out of date.
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