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25 May 1999 : Column WA71

Written Answers

Tuesday, 25th May 1999.

Yugoslav Nationals Resident in UK

Viscount Falkland asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the position of Yugoslav nationals who have United Kingdom residency but are prevented from returning to the United Kingdom to renew their residential status by Serbian travel restrictions imposed by law until further notice. [HL2436]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Yugoslav nationals whose entitlement to indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK expires whilst they are unable to leave Yugoslavia due to Serbian travel restrictions would need to apply at a British diplomatic mission overseas for entry clearance. Each application would then be referred to the Home Office for a decision on whether it was appropriate to renew their United Kingdom residency.

President Milosevic

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Foreign Secretary, describes the former Communist Party member, Mr. Milosevic, now leader of the Serbian Socialist Party, as a fascist.[HL2444]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: President Milosevic has been engaged in a brutal repression of Kosovo Albanians since he revoked Kosovo's autonomy almost 10 years ago and has initiated a systematic campaign of violence and ethic cleansing against men, women and children of Kosovo. His policies are those of a fascist regime.

Kosovo: Objectives

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their war aims in the war against Serbia have changed since the Rambouillet talks ended.[HL2446]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our objectives have not changed since the conclusion of the Rambouillet talks. NATO's objectives have been set out clearly: an immediate ceasefire; verified withdrawal of President Milosevic's forces from Kosovo; agreement to an international security force in Kosovo to give the refugees confidence to return; and acceptance of a political process building on the Rambouillet accords.

25 May 1999 : Column WA72

Human Rights Commission: Availability of Reports

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in order to ascertain the effect of the United Nations General Assembly's ruling that no document can be published until it is translated into all the working languages of the United Nations, they will ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide a list of the report of the Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups considered at the 55th Session of the Human Rights Commission, giving in each case the date the report was submitted in its original language, the date of the publication, and the date on which the report was considered by the Commission; and whether they will then place the list in the Library of the House.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We fully share concerns that reports for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) are not always available in good time. To that end the UK was active in supporting a resolution at this year's CHR to improve the availability of reports in the future. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is unable to provide such a list of documents.

Pakistan: Arrest of Mr. Najan Sethi

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the British High Commission in Islamabad to seek permission to visit the detained editor of the Friday Times, Najan Sethi, notwithstanding the absence of any right of access under the Vienna Conventions.[HL2491]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign Secretary has made clear to the Pakistan Foreign Minister our concern at the arrest of Mr. Sethi and other journalists in Pakistan. We hope that any charges brought against them will be dealt with in accordance with due legal process. We joined our EU partners in sending a similar message to the Government of Pakistan. We were pleased to learn that Mr. Sethi's family were allowed to see him on 17 May.

Tunceli, Turkey

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any member of the staff of the British Embassy in Ankara has visited the Turkish town of Tunceli in recent years; and in particular whether the health of the inhabitants there has suffered as a result of restrictions placed on the food supply by the Turkish authorities.[HL2506]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A member of the British Embassy and a Foreign Office official visited Tunceli in March 1998. We are unaware of any reports indicating that the health of the local population has been affected by the food rationing in place. The food rationing was eased in early 1998.

Mr. Akin Birdal

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will intervene to prevent the imprisonment in Turkey of Mr. Akin Birdal, president of the Human Rights Association, on political charges limiting normal freedom of expression.[HL2507]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We will raise the issue of Mr. Akin Birdal's impending imprisonment with the Turkish government, and make clear our concern at the prosecution of a leading human rights activist for the non-violent expression of his views.

Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the achievements of the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group since it was set up; what violations of the agreements which it was set up to monitor it has identified; and what party has been responsible for each violation.[HL2511]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group has on numerous occasions reduced the tension between the parties in south Lebanon. To list all the violations of the April 1996 Understanding which the group has identified and enumerate their conclusion would incur a disproportionate cost.

Rambouillet Accords

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the text purporting to be a draft for the fleshing out of Chapter 7 of the Rambouillet text, published recently by Le Monde was accurately reported.[HL2441]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The extracts from Articles 6a, 6b and 8 of the draft Status of Forces which is Appendix B of the Rambouillet Accords published by Le Monde on 2-3 May are accurate but have been taken out of context. However, the commentary is FRY propaganda designed to justify President Milosevic's refusal to accept a political settlement at Rambouillet.

Kosovar Refugee Camps: Control

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Kosovo Liberation Army is controlling camps of refugees; and, if so, with what non-KLA assistance.[HL2443]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The KLA is not controlling the refugee camps. Camps are run by relief agencies in close co-operation with local authorities. DfID have employed a police adviser to provide advice on security issues is camps to the UNHCR Special Envoy.

NATO Use of Force in Yugoslavia

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to secure the acceptance in international law of the doctrine of "overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe", under which NATO intervention in Yugoslavia has been deemed lawful.[HL2509]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The military action in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, undertaken out of overwhelming humanitarian necessity, is already justifiable under international law.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 16 November 1998 (WA 140), what is the period during which "a limited use of force ... in support of purposes laid down by the Security Council ... to avert an immediate and overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe" remains lawful, without further recourse to the Security Council; and whether, if the use of force fails to avert the humanitarian catastrophe, continuation in the use of force remains lawful.[HL2512]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This will depend on the details of each individual case.

Euro-Atlantic Area

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether parts of the greater Middle East are included in the "Euro-Atlantic Area" mentioned in NATO's new Strategic Concept; and, if so, which parts.[HL2514]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Euro-Atlantic Area has not been defined within the Strategic Concept.

European Council and European Union: Forthcoming Business

Lord Morris of Castle Morris asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for June and list the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL2654]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Please see below.

This calendar is primarily concerned with European Union matters, but certain other relevant events are also included. Events and dates quoted are based on the information available on the date of issue.

European Calendar: June-November 1999

DateLocationEvent
June 1999
1DresdenAgriculture Ministers (Informal)
3-4CologneEuropean Council
7LuxembourgEducation Council
8LuxembourgHealth Council
10LuxembourgFisheries Council
10-13European Parliament Elections
14LuxembourgECOFIN (possible)
14-15LuxembourgAgriculture Council
17-18LuxembourgTransport Council
21LuxembourgInternal Market Council
21-22LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
22LuxembourgLabour & Social Affairs Council (possible)
24-25LuxembourgEnvironment Council
28LuxembourgCulture and Audiovisual Council
28-29Rio de JaneiroEU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit
July 1999
2-3OuluIndustry and Research Ministers (Informal)
9-10OuluLabour/Social Affairs Ministers (Informal)
12BrusselsECOFIN
16BrusselsBudget Council
18-20SavonlinnaCulture and Audiovisual Ministers (Informal)
19-20BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
19-20BrusselsAgriculture Council
20-23StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
23-25HelsinkiEnvironment Ministers (Informal)
28-30BrusselsEU-ACP Ministerial Meeting
August 1999
No Council Business
September 1999
4-5SaariselkaForeign Ministers (Informal)
10-11TurkuECOFIN (Informal)
12-14TampereAgriculture Ministers (Informal)
13-14BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
13-17StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
16-17TurkuJustice and Home Affairs Ministers (Informal)
24-25TampereEducation Ministers (Informal)
27-28KuopioMinisters of Housing
27-28BrusselsAgriculture Council
30 Sep-1 Oct HelsinkiMinisterial Conference on Equality between Women and Men
October 1999
4-5LuxembourgJustice and Home Affairs Council
4-5TampereRegional Policy Ministers
4-8StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
6LuxembourgTransport Council
8LuxembourgECOFIN
11-12LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
11-12LuxembourgEnvironment Council
15-16LuxembourgSpecial European Council
18-19LuxembourgAgriculture Council
22LuxembourgLabour/Social Affairs Council
24-25HelsinkiEnergy Ministers Task Force Meeting
25-29StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
26LuxembourgFisheries Council
28LuxembourgResearch Council
29LuxembourgJustice and Home Affairs Council
November 1999
3-4BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
8BrusselsECOFIN
8BrusselsConsumer Affairs Council
9BrusselsIndustry Council
11BrusselsDevelopment Council
12BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council (possible)
12-13HelsinkiMinisterial Conference on the Northern Dimension
15-16BrusselsAgriculture Council
15-16BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
15-19StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
18BrusselsHealth Council
19BrusselsYouth Council
22BrusselsFisheries Council (possible)
22-23BrusselsEU-ACP Ministerial Meeting (possible)
23BrusselsCulture and Audiovisual Council
26BrusselsBudget Council
26BrusselsEducation Council
29BrusselsECOFIN
29BrusselsLabour & Social Affairs Council
30BrusselsTelecommunications Council

25 May 1999 : Column WA76

The following subjects are likely to be discussed:

Monthly forecast of business: June 1999

DateLocationEvent
June 1999
1DresdenAgriculture Ministers (Informal)
--No formal agenda
3-4CologneEuropean Council
--No formal agenda
7LuxembourgEducation Council
--Adoption of provisional agenda
--Adoption of list of "A" points
--New generations of programmes
--Leonardo II decisions and negotiations on Socrates II (information from Presidency)
--Commission report on Socrates I (information from the Commission and exchange of views)
--Implementation of Leonardo II and Socrates II (information from the Commission)
--Implementation of Europass (information from the Commission)
--Contribution of Education to European Employment Pact (Presidency discussion paper)
--Forward planning in the field of education (Presidency discussion paper)
--(poss.) Conference of European Education Ministers in Budapest on 24-26 June 1999 (information from Presidency)
--Any other business
8LuxembourgHealth Council
Morning
--Adoption of the agenda
--(poss.) Approval of the list of "A" items
--Future Community action in the field of public health
--Draft Council Resolution
Exchange of views
--Antibiotic resistance--a strategy against the microbial threat
--Draft Council Resolution
--Communicable diseases
--Commission report on the 4th meeting of the EU-United States task force on communicable diseases 8159/99 SAN 52
--Commission briefing on development in Europe
--Report on the State of Health in the Community (Migrants)
--Commission progress briefing
--Health issues in connection with the future enlargement of the community (A) Presentation of Commission working paper on "Health and Enlargement" (B) Preparation of informal Meeting with the Ministers of the countries applying for accession
--Approval of the annotated agenda
Informal meeting with the Ministers of the applicant countries
Afternoon
--Proposal for a Council recommendation on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields 0 HZ-3000 GHZ (O)
(Legal basis: Article 152(4), second sub-paragraph
--Adoption 9620/98 SAN 107 ECO 230
--Integration of health protection requirements in Community policies
--Draft Council conclusions
--Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSES)
--Exchange of views
--Other business (A) WHO tobacco free initiative (Request by the Netherlands delegation) (B) Non-conventional medicine (Request by the Belgian Delegation)
(O) Item on which a vote may be taken
10LuxembourgFisheries Council
--Adoption of the agenda
--Approval of the list of "A" items
--Proposal for a Council regulation laying down the details, rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector (X)
Legal basis: Article 37 of the Treaty
--Final adoption
DOC. 13605/98 PECHE 413
--Proposal for a Council regulation establishing a list of types of behaviour which seriously infringe the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (X)
Legal basis: Article 37 of the Treaty
--Final Adoption
DOC. 6030/99 PECHE 31
--(poss.) Proposal for a Council regulation allocating the fishing possibilities for certain fish stocks and modifying regulation no. 48/99 (in particular the allocation of tacs for blue whiting and for new tacs for spurdog and northern shrimps) (X) (Commission proposal awaited)
--Final adoption
--Fisheries agreements with third countries: cost/benefit analysis
--State of play (oral report by the Commission)
--Fisheries relations with Morocco
--North Sea Conference--Intermediate Ministerial Meeting (IMM) 13-14 March 1997 Bergen, Norway--follow-up
--Report by the Commission
--(poss.) Presentation of Commission communication to Council and Parliament
--Conservation of sandeels
--Oral report on state of play by the Commission (at the request of the UK delegation)
--Other business
--Situation in the Adriatic as a consequence of the events in Kosovo (at the request of the Italian delegation)
--Organisation of future work
(X) Organisation of future work
10-13European Parliament Elections
14LuxembourgECOFIN (possible)
--No agenda yet available
14-15LuxembourgAgriculture Council
--No agenda yet available
17-18LuxembourgTransport Council
--No agenda yet available
21LuxembourgInternal Market Council
--No agenda yet available
21-22LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
--No agenda yet available
22LuxembourgLabour & Social Affairs Council (possible)
--No agenda yet available
24-25LuxembourgEnvironment Council
--No agenda yet available
28LuxembourgCulture and Audiovisual Council
--No agenda yet available
28-29Rio de JaneiroEU-Latin America/Caribbean Summit
--No agenda yet available

25 May 1999 : Column WA78


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