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30 Jul 1997 : Column WA37

Written Answers

Wednesday, 30th July 1997.

Baltic States: Military Assistance

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much money they have spent on the security of the Baltic States since independence was restored in 1991.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): It has been the practice in the past not to release details of military assistance provided to other countries on the grounds that this information is confidential between governments and disclosure would risk damaging our international relations. This practice is now being reviewed against the background of the Government's commitment to openness. I will write to the nobel Lord once the review is complete.

Cyprus: Treaties

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they and (to their knowledge) the United Nations consider the following still fully in force, and binding upon the High Contracting Parties:

    (1) The 1960 Treaty Concerning the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus (Cmnd. 1252);

    (2) The 1960 Cyprus: Treaty of Guarantee (Cmnd. 1253), and the Basic Articles of the Constitution of Cyprus guaranteed therein.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We consider both treaties to be in force. We believe the UN shares this view.

Former Yugoslavia: Indicted War Criminals

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs have been indicted as war criminals, how many of each have been taken into custody and by the forces of which Stabilisation Force (SFOR) countries.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has published the names of 77 indictees, of whom 10 are in custody. We do not know how many further "sealed" indictments may have been issued by the ICTY. The tribunal does not disclose the nationalities of indictees. Only one of the indictees in custody, Milan Kovacevic, was apprehended by SFOR; the troops directly involved were British.

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Anglo-Faroese Delimitation Talks

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How close they are to finalising negotiations with the Faroese Government over the delineation of the median line and what progress has been made to date.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Discussions are continuing. A further round of talks was held in Copenhagen on 16 July. Both sides agreed to make every effort to overcome their differences and try to find an agreed solution to the delimitation question in the near future.

Human Rights Abuses: Imposition of Sanctions

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In which countries they consider the abuse of human rights to be sufficiently serious to merit the imposition of economic sanctions.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We may apply economic measures such as the suspension of development co-operation in response to grave and persistent human rights violations, often in conjunction with our European Union partners. This is considered on a case by case basis. We also impose economic sanctions in accordance with any decision of the United Nations Security Council, in cases where there is a threat to international peace and security.

Foreign Affairs Mission Statement: Saudi Response

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received any representations from the Government of Saudi Arabia regarding the "Foreign Affairs Mission Statement" in the context of their commitment to a high priority for human rights.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There have been no such representations.

We remain in close touch with the Saudi Government on a wide range of issues. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Mr. Fatchett, met the Saudi Ambassador on 21 May and discussed the Mission Statement, amongst other topics.


Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will support the second package of sanctions against UNITA discussed by the United Nations Security Council.

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As a Permanent Member of the Security Council, we fully support the Presidential Statement made on 23 July which reaffirmed the Security Council's readiness to consider the imposition of further measures against UNITA.

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether UNITA has provided the information demanded by the United Nations Security Council on 30 June (S1118/1997), including "complete information regarding all armed personnel under its control... in order for them to be verified, disarmed and demobilised in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol and agreements between the parties in the context of the Joint Commission"; and if so, what.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: UNITA submitted information on the strength of its armed forces and other matters to the Joint Commission on 21 July. A statement by the President of the Security Council on 23 July made clear that the council considers the information submitted to be neither complete or credible.

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of reports suggesting increasing attacks by UNITA in Angola and the risk of renewed war.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are aware of reports of increased military activity by both the Angola army and UNITA. We fully support the statement by the President of the Council on 23 July calling upon both parties to refrain from the use of force. The Security Council will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Anti-Drug Initiatives

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made since 2 May in the fight against drugs.

The Lord Privy Seal (The Lord Richard): My right honourable friend the President of the Council has been working with a wide range of ministerial colleagues to ensure a collective and effective response to a major social problem. Specific initiatives under way across government include funding 79 local anti-drugs projects under the £2 million drugs Challenge Fund in England, and related developments in Scotland and Wales; publication of an independent evaluation of Drug Action Teams, which points the way forward for local action against drugs; reversing potential plans for reductions in frontline Customs staff; reinforcing, in the context of the Single Regeneration Budget and elsewhere, the links between tackling drugs and regeneration; planning for the Government's legislative commitment to a drug testing and treatment order; and a cross-departmental review

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to assess the resources available for action against drugs.

In addition, the Government are honouring its manifesto commitment to appoint an anti-drugs supremo to co-ordinate our battle against drugs. The special expert adviser post of UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator, also known as the "Drug Czar", is being advertised tomorrow on a three-year full-time fixed-term contract. We are looking for someone who can bring visible leadership and drive to the fight against drugs, working in partnership with all relevant agencies, communities and individuals. The post-holder will urgently review the overall direction of government action, and submit proposals for a new strategy for England, while maintaining strategic oversight of the work in the rest of the UK and internationally. She or he will work directly to my right honourable friend the President of the Council as Chair of the Cabinet sub-committee on drugs misuse, and have access to the Prime Minister. We plan to make an appointment in the autumn, following an open selection process which ensures that the best possible candidates make themselves available for a vitally important job.

Intelligence and Security Committee

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If a decision has been made on the composition of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Lord Richard: Following consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and in accordance with Section 10 of the Intelligence Services Act (1994) my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has appointed the Intelligence and Security Committee as follows:

    The Rt. Hon. Tom King CH, MP (Chairman)

    Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale

    The Rt. Hon. Alan Beith, MP

    Mr. Kevin Barron, MP

    Ms Yvette Cooper, MP

    Mr. Barry Jones, MP

    Mr. Michael Mates, MP

    Mr. Allan Rogers, MP

    Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours, MP

Privy Counsellor's Oath

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Lord Richard on 18 June (WA 120), whether the following words appear in the Oath of Allegiance taken by Privy Counsellors: "You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance unto the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all jurisdictions, Pre-eminences and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and

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    annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States or Potentates. And generally, in all things you will do as a faithful and true servant ought to do to Her Majesty. SO HELP YOU GOD" and, if so, whether they see any conflict between those duties and the duties imposed on European Commissioners when they declare at the commencement of their term of office inter alia, "I do solemnly undertake to perform my duties in complete independence, in the general interest of the Communities; [and] in carrying out my duties, neither to seek nor to take instructions from any Government or from any other body".

Lord Richard: The words in question appear not in the Oath of Allegiance, the text of which was given in answer to the noble Lord on 18 June (WA 120), but in the Privy Counsellor's Oath. There is no incompatibility between that Oath and the Declaration made by European Commissioners when assuming office.

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