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Gibraltar: Illicit Trafficking Control

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Illicit trafficking of drugs and tobacco using fast launches based in Gibraltar became a serious problem in the mid-1990s. Following Gibraltar legislation banning fast boats and regulating the tobacco trade, this problem has been solved, as paragraph 6.1 of Partnership for Progress and Prosperity; Britain and the Overseas Territories states.

As with any port, there may be individual cases of illicit trafficking using other types of boats based in Gibraltar. But the Gibraltar authorities are committed to combating any such activity. Gibraltar's record in this area is very creditable.

FCO: Restructuring of Departmental Responsibilities

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Responsibility for the UK's bilateral relations with our EU partners and responsibility for EU policy has hitherto been handled by two different directorates within the FCO. From June 1999, responsibility will be brought under a single directorate to achieve better coherence.

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The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new Foreign and Commonwealth Office department dealing with European nations currently outside the European Union will be able to devote more time and energy to matters concerning Estonia, Lativia and Lithuania. [HL2056]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Following the restructuring of the Europe and European Union Commands of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Central European Department will remain responsible for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They will continue to be given the keen attention they already receive.

Treaty of Amsterdam: Co-operative Initiatives

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What new arrangements or extensions of existing arrangements were contained in the Treaty of Amsterdam relating to inter-governmental co-operation in the fields of defence, foreign affairs and police and judicial matters.[HL2073]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Treaty provides for a new arrangement to make the Common Foreign and Security Policy more operational and effective, including, amongst others, by the appointment of a High Representative for foreign and security policy; the provision of a Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit; and by the introduction of some limited new decision-taking procedures.

The Treaty ensures that police and criminal judicial co-operation will continue to be dealt with under the third pillar. It also introduces a new Free Movement Title (Title IV, TEC) which brings within the EC framework provisions for civil judicial co-operation. By virtue of a separate protocol the United Kingdom will only be bound by measures adopted under this Title where we so choose.

Sudan: Killing of Relief Workers

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 13 April (WA 115), what efforts they have made to secure the release of the four Sudanese abducted by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army while assisting International Committee of the Red Cross activities in southern Sudan.[HL2075]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As I said in my Answer of 13 April, we understand that the four men were killed at end of March.

We have condemned these deaths and have called on the SPLA to permit a thorough investigation of the incident and to co-operate with the International

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Committee of the Red Cross in returning the bodies to their families.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 13 April (WA 115) concerning the murder in March of the four Sudanese abducted by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) while assisting International Committee of the Red Cross activities in southern Sudan, whether they will review Sudanese government claims that the SPLA were also responsible for the murder of World Food Programme and Sudanese Red Crescent aid workers in the Nuba mountains in June 1998.[HL2076]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have not received any further reports on the deaths last June to which the noble Lord refers since I last answered him on this issue on 4 February 1999 (WA 229).

Sudan: Ceasefire

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their assessment of, and what encouragement and support they are giving to, the Government of Sudan's declaration of a comprehensive ceasefire in southern Sudan.[HL2077]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We welcome the declaration by the Government of Sudan.

We will continue to encourage all parties to the conflict to agree to and to implement a comprehensive ceasefire. We will continue to encourage peace negotiations within the IGAD framework. It was disappointing that the latest round of IGAD talks was postponed by the Government of Sudan and we very much hope that talks will take place soon.

Serbia: Costs of NATO Action

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, while seeking to degrade the military capabilities available to the Serbian Government, NATO is estimating the economic and social value to the various communities of the targets currently being damaged or destroyed; their importance to the non-military viability of the communities, and the likely costs of their reconstructions; and, if they are not currently doing so, whether they intend to do so in order to know whether the costs of reconstruction will exceed the assumed benefits of total victory.[HL2104]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: NATO's goal is an end to Milosevic's repression of his own citizens in Kosovo. NATO's targets are selected with that goal in mind. We are considering with our Allies and partners how best to ensure the stability and prosperity of the region in the long term.

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Bahrain

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What officials of the Government and armed forces of Bahrain they have received during the month of April.[HL2129]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Director Middle East and North Africa, FCO, received Shaikh Abdul Aziz, the Bahraini Ambassador to London, at the Foreign Office on 1 April. They discussed a range of bilateral issues.

To the best of our knowledge, Her Majesty's Government has not received any other officials of the Bahraini government or armed forces during April 1999.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received or sought information from the Government of Bahrain on the date of the resumed hearing of the case against Shaikh Abdul Asmir al-Jamri; and whether they will ask the Government of Bahrain for permission to send a representative of the British Embassy to attend the proceedings.[HL2130]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have not received or sought any information from the Government of Bahrain on the date of the resumed hearing of the case of Shaikh Al-Jamri, owing to the period of official mourning following the death of Shaikh Isa.

We requested permission to send a representative from the British Embassy to attend the trial on 22 February.

Good Friday Agreement

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what extent civil servants were involved in the political campaign to persuade Northern Ireland electors to vote "Yes" in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.[HL2014]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): During the referendum campaign, as at all other times, civil servants were required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Civil Service Code and, in the case of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, their Code of Ethics also. In addition, guidance on the conduct of civil servants during the campaign was issued to the Home Civil Service members of the NIO and to the Northern Ireland Civil Service. A copy of this guidance was placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 13 May 1998.

Mr. David Adams

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to bring criminal charges against the persons who caused injuries to Mr. David Adams in Northern Ireland, when arrested and in custody in February 1994, for which in 1998 he was awarded substantial compensation; and, if not, why not.[HL1926]

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Lord Dubs: Following the allegations made by Mr. Adams and comments made by Lord Chief Justice Kerr in the case of Adams v. The Chief Constable, the Chief Constable appointed Mr. John Orr, Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde, to investigate. Mr. Orr has since completed his investigations and has submitted a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP's directions are awaited.


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