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Sudan

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): This was an internal UN report which has not been made public and we cannot therefore get a copy for the Library of the House. Nor have we received any related written reports which can be placed there.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 14 December 1998 (WA 134), whether the United Nations report on the murder of World Food Programme and Sudanese Red Crescent aid workers in the Nuba mountains in June 1998 identifies the individuals or organisations responsible for the murders.[HL703]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This was an internal UN report which was not made public and has not been shared with Her Majesty's Government. We have heard informally that the report was inconclusive and that it does not apportion blame.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who were the aid workers murdered in the course of their work in Sudan since 1993; who was responsible for the murders, and whether those responsible have been brought to justice.[HL746]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There have been no British aid workers murdered in the course of their work in Sudan since 1993. We do not hold definitive records of other nationalities.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have received about the identity of those responsible for the attacks on Sudanese refugee camps near Dunga in the Democratic republic of Congo in October 1998, and the Mboki settlement in the Central African Republic in November 1998, as reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.[HL745]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has confirmed that members of the Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) attacked the camps in question. On 19 November, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution confirming the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps. The UK believes the security of refugee camps must be respected and the principle of voluntary return must be upheld.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the report commissioned by the Norwegian Government into the activities of Norwegian People's Aid in Sudan asserts that food and emergency aid was knowingly being diverted to procure weapons and war materials; if so, by whom is this diversion being carried out; and whether they will place a copy of this report in the Library of the House.[HL748]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government are not aware of the details of this report, which was commissioned by a foreign government.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    From what sources they derive their assessment of the human rights situation in Sudan.[HL749]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our reporting is derived from a wide range of sources, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur, government, opposition and other sources.

Iraq

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their view on the effectiveness of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq.[HL747]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Despite constant Iraqi deceit, concealment, harassment and obstruction, UNSCOM has managed to destroy more weapons of mass destruction (WMD) than were destroyed during the whole of the Gulf War. UNSCOM's achievements are impressive but many important disarmament issues remain outstanding. It is essential that these issues are resolved and that Iraq is not allowed to reacquire WMD.

Tallin: British Embassy

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Concerning the new Embassy in Tallin:


    (a) when the renovations will be completed;


    (b) what is the total cost of renovations;


    (c) on what date the British Embassy staff will be in post in the renovated Embassy; and


    (d) who will officially open the Embassy and on what date.[HL697]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government expect that the renovations to the new embassy in Tallin will be completed by the end of April 1999 and that staff will occupy the building shortly thereafter. The total forecast cost of renovation is £1.492 million. No decision has yet been made on who will officially open the Embassy.

Indonesia: Arms Export Licences

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of the admission of the Indonesian Defence Attache, Colonel Halim, that United Kingdom manufacturers' equipment has been

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    used by their forces in East Timor, they will review their decision to renew and to create arms export licences for British companies exporting armaments and military equipment to Indonesia.[HL664]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In July 1997 we introduced new criteria for licensing defence exports. Since that date, we have not issued licences for the export of equipment where we judge that there is a clearly identifiable risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression or international aggression.

Trilateral Commission

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the composition and status of the Trilateral Commission; why Secretary-General Solana of NATO meets with it; why its activities are secret; and in particular why its meetings with Mr. Solana are secret.[HL660]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental organisation whose members are private citizens from North America, Europe and Japan. These questions should best be addressed to the Commission. Its web-site is:

http://www.trilateral.org/moreinfo/about.htm

Private Military Companies: Control

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What statutes of Henry VII are relevant to their inquiry into the best means of controlling private military companies in this country.[HL661]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government are not aware of any statute of Henry VII relevant to this enquiry.

Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered the effects on the international situation of new arms races in offensive strategic weapons, or in other asymmetrical (for example cyber-war) responses, that would result from the development of anti-ballistic missiles and from their deployment (a) in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, Turkey or Greece or (b) in space.[HL739]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government have indeed considered the implications of the development of anti-ballistic missile systems for strategic and regional stability. Such systems are, by definition, defensive in nature, though we recognise that they pose a complex set of issues.

We remain concerned about the development and potential proliferation of offensive systems, in particular of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and of the

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missiles that might be used to deliver them. We are working hard with out international partners to combat these threats.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered the economic, financial and strategic consequences for Britain and for Europe of the United States' recently-stated intention to develop anti-ballistic missile defences, and to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to do so.[HL738]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government take a close interest in the debate in the United States on the possible development of a national missile defence system, and its wider implications.

The United States Administration has made clear that no decision to deploy such a system has yet been taken, nor will it be before the year 2000; and that, if necessary, it would work in good faith with the Russian Government to negotiate amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will follow up Baroness Thatcher's approach to President Reagan at Camp David in 1984 when she obtained an undertaking that his administration would not breach the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty without consultation.[HL743]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government have of course taken a close interest in the debate in the United States on the possible deployment of a national missile defence system.

The United States Government has made clear, both to us and in public, that no decision to deploy such a system has yet been taken, nor will it be before the year 2000; and that, if necessary, it would consult in good faith with the Russian Government with a view to negotiating amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.


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