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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office promotes overseas all constituent parts of the UK as a location for internationally mobile projects, working with all the relevant agencies in the UK, including Locate in Scotland.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As at 31 October, the United States owed the United Nations US$1.371 billion. The current operating costs of the UN Special Commission are met from the revenue from Iraqi oil sales under UNSCR 986. In addition, some states contribute personnel and equipment. The United States is the largest such contributor.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The No Fly Zones were established in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 (1991) because of the circumstances of severe humanitarian need and to prevent the repression of the civilian population by the Iraqi regime.
Allied aircraft in the No Fly Zones have the inherent right to self-defence in response to any imminent threat to their safety. They would comply with principles of humanitarian law on any such occasion.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: On 7 November, the US Secretary of State's press spokesman made the following statement: "If Saddam Hussein complies with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we will support a process by which sanctions can be suspended and lifted. There is no question about that. That has been our policy for some time."
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have told the Turkish government that the involvement of its forces in the Kurdish inter-factional fighting in northern Iraq is not compatible with its role as co-sponsor of the Ankara reconciliation process. We have no current plans to raise this in the Security Council.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Planning for this anniversary is still in progress. We are working closely with the United Nations Association and the United Nations Information Centre. We have provided £30,000 to the United Nations Association and Council for Education in World Citizenship to support commemorative, educational activities.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are reviewing the United Kingdom's position on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enables individuals to submit complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as part of the wider review of international human rights instruments announced on 3 July 1997. We will announce our conclusions in due course.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Council of Europe members which have not accepted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are: Albania; Andorra; Greece; Liechtenstein; Republic of Moldova; Switzerland; the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Copies of the Centres' annual report for 1996-97 have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The centres received a grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of £237,000 to support their activities in 1996-97. In
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We remain committed to the EU arms embargo against Afghanistan which the UK interprets as covering all goods and technology entered on Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods Order 1994, as amended.
Following consultation with this department, and the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry recently approved a licence for the export of bomb disposal equipment for use by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan in its demining operations. The grant of this licence is for humanitarian purposes, and is consistent with the purpose of the embargo.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: At the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 24-25 November the nine A Points in Document 12483/97 were approved, and the European Parliament resolutions of 5-6 November in Document 11487/97 were noted. The texts of both documents will be placed in the Libraries of the House as soon as they become available. Agenda 2000
Ministers held their first discussion of the report to the Luxembourg European Council in December on Agenda 2000. Ministers restated their positions on enlargement (with the majority still in favour of differentiation), future financing and policy reform. Discussion will continue, and we hope substantial progress will be made at the next meeting of the Council on 8 December. Turkey
The Council discussed Turkey's participation in the European Conference and the Commission's proposals for strengthening relations with Turkey by building on the Customs Union. Most member states expressed support in principle for both.
The Council agreed that the EC/Israel Co-operation Committee with Israel on 28 November should address the issue of miscertification of goods from third countries under the EC/Israel Interim Association Agreement, notably orange juice. Transatlantic relations
The Council took note of the preparations for the EU/US and EU/Canada Summits which will take place in Washington and Ottawa in December and agreed that the EU should agree a statement of general principles governing electronic commerce with the US. The Council also encouraged the Commission to continue its efforts to negotiate with the US an agreement to ban leg-hold traps. Former Yugoslavia
The High Representative, Carlos Westendorp, briefed the Council on progress in peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council also discussed the situation in the FRY in light of forthcoming Presidential elections in Serbia, expressing its concern at the authorities' failure to respect fundamental democratic principles. Switzerland
The Council reiterated its wish to conclude bilateral sectoral negotiations with Switzerland but highlighted the outstanding problems in certain areas, including transport. The Council instructed COREPER to reconsider proposals to resolve this issue and called on the Swiss to exercise some flexibility in pursuit of their common objective. Mid-term review of Overseas Countries and Territories Decision
Following discussions at the Foreign Ministers' dinner in the margins of the Special European Council on Employment on 20 November, the Council discussed developments in the Middle East peace process following the visit to the region by the President of the Council and Vice President Marin of the European Commission from 11-14 November. The Council confirmed the importance of close co-ordination with the US Administration, and that the Middle East peace process would be discussed at the 5 December EU/US Summit. The Council also reviewed the importance of EU aid to the Palestinians, and took note of the Commission's forthcoming communication on the programme. Russia: Preparation for first Co-operation Council
The Council emphasised the importance that the EU attaches to EU-Russia relations. In light of this, the Presidency asked Ministers to confirm whether they would be able to attend the inaugural Co-operation Council under the terms of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) on 15 December (Primakov being unable to attend on 8 December as originally planned). If that is not possible, the
The Council exchanged views on the conflict in Afghanistan and took note of the conference of donors which will take place in New York on 3 December. The Council confirmed that the UN has the principal role and expressed its support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. European Economic Area Council
The 8th Council of the European Economic Area (EEA) was held on 25 November. Ministers welcomed the continued development of the EEA. Conclusions were agreed which took stock of developments and looked forward to future work (Commission Press Release EEE 1608/97 Press 368).
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