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UN Charter: Article 53

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Under Article 53 of the United Nations (UN) Charter, enforcement action under regional arrangements described in Article 52 requires Security Council authorisation. As I said in my Written Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, on 16 November (WA 140) the prohibitions on the use of force contained in the UN Charter do not preclude the use of force by a state or group of states in accordance with Article 51 or under the authority of the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter. Cases have also arisen when, in the light of all the circumstances, a limited use of force was justifiable in support of the purposes laid down by the Security Council but without the Council's express authorisation when that was the only means to avert an immediate and overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe. Such cases would in the nature of things be exceptional and would depend on an objective assessment of the factual circumstances at the time and on the terms of relevant decisions of the Security Council bearing on the situation in question.

We are working to ensure the closest possible co-operation between the Security Council and regional arrangements. I draw the noble Lord's attention to the 30 November statement by the President of the Security Council "Enhancing Monitoring of Activities authorised by the Council but carried out by member states or Coalitions of States", which has been placed in the Library of the House.

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UN Charter: Article 51

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy towards United Nations Security Council authorisation for action and interventions by NATO.[HL259]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Article 51 of the UN Charter preserves the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence; NATO members may use force in self-defence without requirement for prior UN Security Council authorisation. In cases where there is a legal requirement for Security Council authorisation for use of force, that requirement applies equally to NATO members as it does to other states.

Council of Europe: Fact-finding Mission to Turkey

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the conclusions of the Council of Europe's fact-finding mission to Turkey, which began on 6 September; and whether the Council of Europe is taking further action on this matter.[HL289]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The two rapporteurs from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by member states visited Turkey in September and November. The rapporteurs have produced an interim report which is still confidential. We understand that the rapporteurs are likely to return to Turkey before finalising their report. The final report should be available in late January 1999.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What efforts they have made to persuade President Kabila to hold talks with the rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the interests of preventing a wider regional conflagration.[HL297]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have been working hard to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in the DRC. Most recently, the Prime Minister has written to President Kabila and other regional leaders urging an early agreement on a ceasefire. We are also taking action with our European Union partners and in the UN Security Council to promote a negotiated settlement. This must be based on the acceptance of territorial sovereignty and integrity of the DRC, the security concerns of neighbouring states and the aspirations of all sections of Congolese society.

Turkey: Human Rights

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they intend to make to Turkey at the forthcoming Organisation for Security

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    and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul concerning Turkey's continuing violations of human rights, particularly with regard to Kurdish people and church communities of Turkish Christians, Assyrian and Armenian Christians; and[HL299]

    What representations they intend to make to Turkey at the forthcoming Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul concerning the closure of the Halki Theological Seminary on 9 November by the Turkish Government, in violation of Article VI of the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief; and[HL300]

    What representations they intend to make to Turkey at the forthcoming Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul concerning the allegations of torture and forced confession in the case of Soner Onder arrested in 1991 in connection with a bombing attack and subsequent sentence of 16 years imprisonment.[HL301]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government are aware of the issues raised by the noble Baroness, and regularly raise our concerns over Turkey's human rights record at both Ministerial and official level.

There are also a number of fora in which Turkey's human rights record could be raised, including the Human Dimension Review Conference that the OSCE will hold in either Vienna or Istanbul prior to the summit.

Assassinations

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 3 December (WA 54), whether the present time is one of ordinary peacetime circumstances in which it is inconceivable that they would give authority to conduct assassinations; and whether there are any circumstances in which such authority might be given.[HL302]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In present circumstances it is inconceivable that authority would be granted to conduct assassinations.

European Union: Economic and Financial Sanctions

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Under what provisions of what treaty the European Union has the power to impose collective economic and financial sanctions on another state; and when this power has been exercised.[HL312]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Economic and financial sanctions are imposed by the European Union under a combination of Article J.2 of the Treaty on

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European Union and Articles 73g and 228a of the treaty establishing the European Community. These powers have been exercised with regard to Libya (1993), Haiti (1994), Iraq (1996), Sierra Leone (1997), Angola (1997 and 1998) and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (1994 and 1998).

Sudan: IGAD Peace Process

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they still have confidence in the IGAD process as a means of reaching a peaceful settlement in Sudan; and what other channels are being pursued.[HL322]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: While aware that the IGAD has its weaknesses, we firmly believe that the IGAD Peace Process is the best framework within which to work towards a peaceful solution to the civil war in Sudan.

We shall continue to offer our support to the IGAD Secretariat, particularly through the IGAD Partners Forum.

State Immunity Act

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or British Embassies have given any advice to former heads of state or former heads of government about the absence of sovereign immunity and the vulnerability to extradition proceedings during visits to Britain; and to whom that advice has been given.[HL332]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is not the function of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or of British embassies to give advice on such matters. The interpretation of the State Immunity Act is one for the courts.

General Pinochet: Extradition Proceedings

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the British Embassy in Madrid gave any warning to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the possibility of extradition proceedings against General Pinochet during his visit to Britain.[HL333]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Judge Garzon's investigations into Pinochet have been in progress for over a year. Although the Embassy in Madrid routinely reported on these investigations to the FCO, they had no advance knowledge of the judge's extradition request.

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Argentina: Arms Exports

Baroness Crawley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes have been made to arrangements for the control of arms and military equipment to Argentina.[HL353]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Since 3 April 1982 the UK has maintained a national arms embargo on Argentina. It has been the policy of the UK to deny all applications for licences to export goods specified in Part III of Schedule I to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, commonly known as the Military List. We have decided to replace this embargo with new arrangements, with immediate effect.

Licences will only be granted for exports that we are satisfied would not, now or in the foreseeable future, put at risk the security of our Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic or our forces operating there. We will assess all applications for licences to export goods to Argentina on a case-by-case basis against our national export licensing criteria and those in the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. This will also be the case with applications for advance approvals for promotion prior to formal application for an export licence.


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