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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There is no legal basis for a visit of this kind. Mr. Amir-Entezam is an Iranian citizen in an Iranian prison. We are, or course, aware of the case of Mr. Amir-Entezam, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981 on various charges including espionage. He was placed under house arrest in 1995 and later released on parole, subject to certain conditions. But he was sent back to prison apparently following complaints by the family of Assadollah Lajevardi that remarks by Amir-Entezam violated his parole conditions. The case was due to come to court on 16 February; we do not as yet have an account of the proceedings. The Iranian newspaper Khordad of 13 February carried an open letter by Amir-Entezam's wife addressed to the Iranian Bar Association calling on the association to ensure that due process was observed.
We have in the past regularly raised the case of Mr. Amir-Entezam and other similar cases with the Iranian authorities. We and our EU partners will continue to raise with the Iranian authorities our concerns over certain areas of their human rights policies, as we did on 18 December 1998 during the latest round of the EU/Iran talks in Vienna. We continue
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Vienna European Council on 11-12 December last year agreed that the High Representative should be appointed at the Cologne European Council (3-4 June). He or she will be expected to take up the post as soon as possible thereafter. The Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit will be set up once the High Representative is appointed.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The staffing of the Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit will be decided when the High Representative is appointed. One of the tasks of the Unit will be to establish appropriate co-operation with the Commission in order to ensure full coherence with the European Union's external economic and development policies.
The UK welcomed the decision of the associate members to align themselves with the principles of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports and of the EU Programme for Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Conventional Arms. In addition, the EU has agreed a joint action on small arms proliferation. This includes a commitment to combat illicit
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Ambassador Moratinos, EU Special Envoy, has played an invaluable role in promoting the European Union's positions and policies on the Middle East peace process. He has maintained good relations with the regional players involved in all tracks of the peace process. He has played a particularly key role in promoting the interim economic issues and the EU-Israel dialogue on problems facing the Palestinian economy, which has shown positive results. Ambassador Moratinos has also sponsored a programme of security co-operation between the EU and the Palestinian Authority to help the Palestinians meet their commitments under the Oslo Accords and Wye Memorandum.
Since October 1998, Ambassador Moratinos has concentrated on EU efforts to support the implementation of the Wye Agreement. He attended the Donors Ministerial Conference in Washington on 30 November 1998, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on 4 February and has accompanied German Foreign Minister Fischer on his recent tour of the region. The EU will be reviewing how it can continue to support the peace process during the next period in the light of these contacts.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The EU has consistently supported the Peace Process and full implementation of the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, including the Wye River Memorandum of October 1998 which calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations on the final status issues.
Most recently the GAC on 25 January urged both sides to implement the Wye Memorandum fully and without new conditions. On behalf of the Presidency, Foreign Minister Fischer toured the region from 10-14 February. In the light of the Presidency's report, the EU will review how best it can support the Peace Process in the next period, including the implications of the expiry of the
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government do not believe that President Mugabe was referring to agents of the UK Government in his televised speech on 6 February. The Government have always supported social, economic and political development in Zimbabwe in the interests of stability.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Inmates Information System (IIS) currently in use in the Prison Service is some 10 years-old and is expected to be replaced in the business change process which will be facilitated by the Quantum project. It is intended that the new system will allow for much greater and more timely exchange of information between the agencies of the criminal justice system. Whether this can best be achieved through a joint database or other possible solutions will be a matter for later study. The Prison Service is working closely with other agencies to determine the most effective way ahead.
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