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UN Register of Conventional Arms

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

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We submitted our 1999 return to the UN register covering conventional arms transfers in calendar year 1998 on 27 May. Copies have been placed in Libraries of both Houses.

Muzaffer Ilhan Erdost

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have repeatedly made clear to the Turkish Government our condemnation of the prosecution of individuals for the non-violent expression of their views.

We understand that the Turkish Court of Appeals confirmed the 12-month prison sentence imposed on Mr. Erdost at its hearing on 21 April 1999. We have made no representations to the Turkish Government on this issue to date but will do so when a suitable opportunity arises.

Oral Calislar

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have repeatedly made clear to the Turkish Government our condemnation of the prosecution of individuals, and particularly journalists, for the non-violent expression of their views, but we have not raised the specific case of Mr. Calislar with the Turkish authorities.

Akin Birdal

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We raised the issue of Mr. Akin Birdal's prison sentence with the Turkish Government both in Ankara and in London, most recently on 7 June. We are concerned that he was sent to prison on 3 June. We understand that he may be released on medical grounds.

We have made clear to the Turkish authorities the considerable interest in this case in the United Kingdom.

It is not our practice to make prison visits to Turkish citizens, but we will nevertheless keep his case under review.

United Nations Panels' Recommendations

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made to secure agreement among United Nations Security Council members for a resolution to translate the conclusions of the United Nations panels into action.[HL2637]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK and the Netherlands have circulated a draft Security Council resolution which, if adopted, would implement the vast majority of the recommendations made by the three panels. Russia has also proposed a draft resolution which in our view does not offer a realistic basis for agreement in the Council. Discussions on both drafts are continuing.

Iraq: Oil Export Ban

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they and the United Nations Security Council intend to maintain the oil export ban against Iraq until they are satisfied that Iraq has disarmed in accordance with United Nations resolutions; and what guarantees they will seek that oil revenues are not used for the purposes of re-arming.[HL2640]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our position remains that sanctions cannot be lifted until Iraq has complied with its obligations under Security Council resolutions, including its disarmament obligations. At present, under the UN oil-for-food programme, Iraq is allowed to export 5.2 billion dollars worth of oil every six months to purchase humanitarian supplies. The UN sanctions committee controls the revenue from those oil sales via an escrow account. We remain determined to enforce the sanctions regime and to limit as far as possible Iraq's ability to sell oil illegally to fund military procurement. British naval assets are deployed to the multinational Maritime Interdiction Force to prevent illegal oil trade through the Gulf. And our draft Security

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Council resolution calls for measures to ensure that any illegal trade in oil comes under the oil-for-food programme, so that the revenue can be controlled and used for humanitarian purposes.

Iraq: Disarmament

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a more intrusive system is needed to monitor weapons development in Iraq; and, if so, what action they are taking to ensure that the proposed United Nations Commission on Investigation, Inspection and Monitoring will provide such a system; and whether this is supported by other members of the Security Council; and [HL2638]

    Whether Iraq is fulfilling its United Nations obligations to disarm; whether a more intrusive system is needed to monitor disarmament in Iraq; and, if so, what action they are taking to ensure that such a system is implemented; and whether this is supported by other members of the Security Council.[HL2639]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The report of the panel established by the UN to consider disarmament issues explicitly recognised that Iraq had not met its disarmament obligations and that important questions remained unanswered. It also specifically endorsed the intrusive inspection regime provided for in earlier Security Council resolutions. It advocated a reinforced monitoring regime, integrating the disarmament and monitoring functions, and recognised that this would need in some ways to be more, not less, intrusive than before. To implement these recommendations, the UK/Dutch draft Security Council resolution creates a new body, the UN Commission on Inspection and Monitoring. UNCIM would have all UNSCOM's powers, rights and responsibilities and would be a larger and better-resourced organisation. Discussion on our draft continue in the Security Council.

NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia: Civilian Casualties

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimate they make of the civilian casualties, which have taken place and may be expected to occur consequent on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, including estimates of the proportion of injuries to deaths, the nature of the injuries, the causes of death and the ages and sex of the victims.[HL2675]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have no information on which to base an estimate of the number and nature of civilian casualties. The only information available is that which the Serb media broadcast which is clearly not reliable. But NATO goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

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EU Common Foreign and Security Policy

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they expect that Turkey, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will participate in the European Union's Common, Foreign and Security Policy formulation, presentation and enactment, as apparently proposed by the United States.[HL2643]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is for the member states of the European Union to determine the direction and objectives of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. Certain associate countries of the European Union, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, are already invited to align their foreign policies with those of the European Union.

The Treaty of Amsterdam provides for the EU to avail itself of the WEU to elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Norway and Iceland are all associate members of the WEU. It is the Government's policy that any changes to defence arrangements in Europe, including in the WEU, must take account of the interests and existing rights of WEU associates.

Iraq: Alleged Breaches of UN Sanctions

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 12 May (WA 151), on what dates over the past two years approaches have been made to the Governments of Syria, Jordan and Turkey about alleged breaches in the United Nations sanctions regime on Iraq; and what responses were received in each case.[HL2625]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have made a number of approaches both formal and informal with a range of contacts in Syria, Jordan and Turkey. It would be disproportionately costly to research the dates and exact substance of these contacts.

Race Relations Legislation

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will seek to harmonise the treatment of ethnic minorities in race relations legislation in all jurisdictions of the United Kingdom; and, in particular, whether they will ensure the travelling people who cross from Northern Ireland into the mainland of Britain are treated the same on both sides of the Irish Sea.[HL2755]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Race Relations Act 1976 prohibits racial discrimination in the areas of employment, training and related matters, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services and in the disposal and management of premises in Great Britain.

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The Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 follows the lines of the Race Relations Act.

Irish travellers are specifically described as a racial group in Article 5 of the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and receive protection from racial discrimination under the order. While the Race Relations Act 1976 does not include specific reference to Irish travellers, Irish people in general on the mainland are protected by the Act if they are discriminated against on the grounds of their nationality or ethnicity.


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