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COPEX 98 Exhibition

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: COPEX and similar exhibitions which are privately arranged provide opportunities for a wide range of British companies to exhibit their goods and services to potential purchasers. Provided that these exhibitions are legitimate and that all UK laws are observed, the Government are not in a position to and do not seek to exercise any control over them. But it would be illegal to display electro-shock batons. In any case, the fact that certain equipment may be displayed at an exhibition does not mean that the Government would be prepared to licence its export.

Officials may attend, as they did for COPEX 98, in line with their department responsibilities.

Kosovo: Security Council Resolution 1199

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: UNSCR 1199 does not deny the Government of Belgrade the right to defend the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's borders and handle security problems in an appropriate proportional manner. In the view of the Contact Group and NATO, the requirement in UNSCR 1199 for the withdrawal of security units used for civilian repression means in practice the withdrawal of Belgrade's security forces to their positions before March which have been responsible for the worst excesses of disproportionate violence. President Milosevic has now committed himself to such withdrawals. Her Majesty's Government attach the highest priority to ensuring that the OSCE Verification Mission is able to deploy personnel as quickly as possible, so that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's compliance with the requirements of UNSCR 1199 can be fully verified throughout Kosovo.

Northern Iraq: Media Reports of Turkish Incursion

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, as holders of the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council, they received notification under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter of an armed incursion into northern Iraq of an estimated 10,000 Turkish troops on or about 12 October.[HL3482]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government are aware of media reports of a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq in mid-October, but we have no evidence from our own sources to support these reports.

Iraq: Security Council Resolution 1194

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken, as holders of the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council, to secure Iraq's compliance with Security Council Resolution 1194 and with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary-General on 23 February.[HL3538]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Security Council has discussed Iraq many times during the UK Presidency. The Council continues to insist that Iraq rescind immediately its decision of 5 August to suspend co-operation with UNSCOM and the IAEA, as demanded by Resolution 1194. It has furthermore reiterated to Iraq that the comprehensive review of Iraq's compliance with its obligations provided for in Resolution 1194 cannot begin until full co-operation with both UNSCOM and IAEA has been resumed.

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Thai-Burma Border: UNHCR Role

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have had with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about its role in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border; and whether they will make representations to the UNHCR to limit its role in those camps to one of protection, including ensuring that no forced repatriations take place.[HL3542]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British Embassy in Bangkok is in close touch with the Thai authorities and the local UNHCR office about arrangements for UNHCR role on the Thai-Burma border. UNHCR hopes to open two new border offices in the next few weeks which would focus on protection, admissions, relocation and registration. We have received assurances from the Thai authorities that no forced repatriations of Burmese refugees will take place.

US Attacks on Khartoum and Afghanistan

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will detail the provisions in the Charter of the United Nations, or elsewhere in international law, under which the United States attacks on (a) the pharmaceutical facility in Khartoum and (b) the camps in Afghanistan were lawful.[HL3448]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The US reported its actions to the Security Council under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter which concerns self-defence.

Military Action

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will detail the provisions in the Charter of the United Nations, or elsewhere in international law, under which an attack by Turkey (a member of NATO) on Syria would be lawful, as recently claimed by the Prime Minister of Turkey.[HL3449]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is for the Government of Turkey to justify any military action that they might take.

Israel and Iran: Military Action

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will detail the provisions in the Charter of the United Nations, or elsewhere in international law, under which an Israeli attack on Iran, such as has recently been advocated in the Israeli Knesset, might be lawful.[HL3450]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is for the Government of Israel to justify any military action that they might take.

US-Japan Defence Co-operation Guidelines

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new "defence co-operation guidelines" agreed between Japan and the United States require the United States to come to the assistance of Japan in the event of disputes over ownership of islands in the South China Sea claimed not only by Japan but by other states in the area; and whether this commitment (which may involve Diego Garcia), in advance of the legal decisions, may not be destabilising and therefore deserve the pre-emptive attention of the United Nations Secretary General.[HL3548]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The guidelines for US-Japan defence co-operation state that the aim of the governments is to co-operate to promote, in line with the basic principles of international law, the defence of Japan and a more stable international security environment. We welcome these objectives.

NATO Common Budget

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current formula for assessing national contributions to the NATO common budget; and what are the current national shares of the budget; and [HL3487]

    How frequently the formula for calculating national contributions to the NATO common budget is reassessed; and[HL3488]

    Whether they are satisfied that the British share of the NATO common budget is appropriate, in terms of population, GNP per head and the comparable contributions of other European Union member states to the common defence.[HL3489]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: NATO has three common-funded budgets--the Civil Budget (which is applied largely to meeting the costs of the Alliance's political HQ in Brussels), the Military Budget (which covers the costs of NATO's military HQ and agencies) and the NATO security and Investment Programme (which funds common-user infrastructure such as communications facilities and air defence systems).

The percentage contribution that each ally makes to each budget depends on a variety of factors, including capacity to pay and whether it participates in the alliance's integrated military structure or in certain common-funded programmes; all allies contribute to the Civil Budget.

The cost shares for current allies were determined in the 1950s, broadly based on the basis of allies' capacity to pay. They are not subject to regular review, although there have been adjustments, for example in 1982 to

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take account of the accession of Spain. In 1997 the contributions of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were assessed on the basis of their capacity to pay and factors such as their projected economic growth. The UK's contribution is consistent with our role as a leading European member of the alliance.

I am arranging for tables showing the current cost shares for each budget to be placed in the Library of the House.


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