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Jubilee Line Extension

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: London Transport opened phase 1, between Stratford and North Greenwich, on Friday 14 May. This section includes four stations: Stratford, West Ham, Canning Town and North Greenwich. Phase 2, which includes six stations (Canary Wharf, Canada Water, Bermondsey, London Bridge, Southwark and Waterloo) is scheduled to open in late summer. The final phase, which includes two stations (Westminster and Green Park) is planned to open in late autumn.

Council of Europe Social Development Fund

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): I would refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 5 May 1999 during the debate on the Council of Europe, Official Report, col. 683-721.

European Convention on Human Rights and the Baltic States

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government fully support the work of the Council of Europe in helping new member states meet their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including the right of individual petition to the European Court of Human Rights. This includes policy advice, capacity building and practical assistance. UK experts regularly take part in training programmes organised by the Council of Europe for new member states, including the Baltic States.

Most recently a FCO deputy legal adviser spoke at a meeting of Government agents for the ECHR in Vilnius.

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This brought together agents for cases before the ECHR from all CoE member states to encourage good practice and for an exchange of views/experiences on practical aspects of the role and function of the agents.

Kosovo: NATO Presence

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, as reportedly stated by the Albanian Foreign Minister, Mr. Paskal Milo, the United States at Rambouillet (or elsewhere) has guaranteed the NATO presence in Kosovo, which will support the establishment of democratic institutions in the transitional period, and has guaranteed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) would be assisted in its professionalisation and adjustment to Kosovo's political and military life by becoming part of the Kosovo military forces with direct funding from the United States, with an official in the United States State Department designated to carry out this work; and if so--

    (a) whether these arrangements were agreed by the Contact Group after the KLA agreed to sign the Rambouillet documents;

    (b) whether they explicitly formed part of the Rambouillet agreements that the Serbian authorities were invited to agree to and;

    (c) whether they were compatible with the arms control provisions of the Rambouillet proposals, specifically the disarming of the KLA.[HL2439]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: This is a matter for the US Government.

Kosovo: Liberation Army

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    From whom the Kosovo Liberation Army have been obtaining weapons, training, supplies, uniforms and general funding in recent months; whether the NATO Council has approved any NATO ally providing any of this; and, if so, whether there is to be any limitation on such provision.[HL2442]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have no reliable information on KLA sources of weapons, training, supplies etc. The North Atlantic Council has taken no decision to approve the provision of arms and related material to the Kosovo Liberation Army. This would be in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1160.

FCO Personnel

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of Foreign and Commonwealth Office personnel, in senior and middle management as at 1 May 1997 and 1 May 1999 are (a) women; (b) from minority ethnic groups; and (c) disabled.[HL2535]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As of the 1 May 1997 the percentages of personnel in senior and middle management were as follows:


    (a) Women 17.40 per cent.


    (b) Minority Ethnic Groups 1.1 per cent.


    (c) Disabled 2.0 per cent.

As of the 1 May 1999 the percentages of personnel in senior and middle management were as follows:


    (a) Women 20.60 per cent.


    (b) Minority Ethnic Groups 1.30 per cent.


    (c) Disabled 1.80 per cent.

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many personnel have been seconded and recruited into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office other than those entering the diplomatic service from schools or university over the past two years; and whether they intend to accelerate this process.[HL2536]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recruited 444 personnel between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 1998. We are unable to give a breakdown of those candidates who entered direct from schools or universities. However the table below shows a breakdown of new entrants by age between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 1998. 285 personnel were seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over the same period of time. It is not possible to give an age breakdown for these officers.

Number of personnel recruited

Age groupNumber
16-22 years55
23-29 years179
30-39 years116
40-49 years58
50-55 years23
55-60 years13
Total444

Iran: Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask for clemency to be exercised in the cases of members of the Bahai faith now under sentence of death in Iran, particularly Mrssri Rowhani, Syrus Zabihi and Hhedayat Kashefi.[HL2557]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We and our EU partners condemned the execution of Mr. Ruhollah Rowhani in July 1998 as soon as the news became known, and protested to the Iranian Government. On 4 October 1998 the UK, Austrian and German heads of mission in Tehran (as the EU "Troika") pressed the Iranian Government not to carry out sentences of death on

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Mr. Sirus Dhabihi-Muqaddam and Mr. Hedayat Kashefi Najafabadi. They were told that the sentences were subject to review by the Supreme Court, and were led to believe the executions would not take place. We continue to monitor these and other cases. We and our EU partners regularly press the Iranians on the plight of the Bahai community in Iran, and ensured that this issue featured prominently in the resolution on human rights in Iran adopted in the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in April.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will discuss with the Government of Iran the subject of equal access for Iranians to higher education, without discrimination on grounds of religion.[HL2615]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We regularly press the Iranian Government to remove all forms of persecution and discrimination that affect minority groups in Iran, and will continue to do so. Most recently we ensured that the resolution on human rights in Iran adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in April included firm language on the Bahais, and that the resolution urged that UN recommendations on religious intolerance be implemented to allow the complete emancipation of the Bahais and other religious minorities in Iran.

Pakistan: Human Rights

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have made representations to the Government of the Republic of Pakistan about the arrest and alleged mistreatment of senior journalists including Najam Sethi, editor of the Friday Times, Lahore, and Hussain Haqqani, former correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review.[HL2595]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign Secretary has written to the Pakistan Foreign Minister to express 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 also joined our EU partners in sending a similar message to the Government of Pakistan.

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Government of Pakistan is conducting a campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights and anti-slavery organisations, including the Human Rights Commission; and, if so, whether they will lodge suitable protest through diplomatic and United Nations channels.[HL2622]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are concerned that the recent de-registration of 1941 non-governmental organisations by the Punjab provincial government, as part of its stated campaign against fraud, should not threaten free speech and civil society in Pakistan. We have raised our concerns with the Pakistan Government.

Internet: CIA Kids' Page

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will invite the United States Government to carry out a review of the Central Intelligence Agency's kids page which states of the United Kingdom "Elections: none".[HL2607]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As the noble Lord is aware, Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the accuracy of the information carried on the Internet. However, in this case, we have pointed out to the US Embassy in London that the misleading reference to elections in the United Kingdom should be corrected.

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European Security and Defence Identity: NATO Decisions

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States would retain a veto (in the form of the requirement for consensus in NATO decisions) over European Security and Defence Identity.[HL2609]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: All NATO decisions are taken on the basis of consensus.

Russia and NATO

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether President Yeltsin's sacking of the Russian Government and Prime Minister Primakov has affected Russia's position towards Kosovo and towards NATO.[HL2631]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The new Russian Government have emphasised that there will be continuity over Russian policy towards the Kosovo crisis. We see no evidence to question this. We welcome continued Russian engagement in working for a peaceful solution, and look forward to further co-operation with a new government.

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