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The meeting of the Asia and Latin America Committee planned for 24 June will not take place. The evaluation report will now be discussed at the Asia and Latin America Committee meeting on 12 and 13 July. It was at the UK's insistence that this report was produced, as we were concerned about progress on the settlement of land claims. If the report is unsatisfactory, the UK will seek to ensure that no decision is made on the project until Parliament has had the opportunity of verifying that the Commission fully respects the four conditions, particularly that relating to land claims.
Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development support the procurement of local goods and services where this is possible, cost effective, and does not harm the local economy or reduce access of the local host population to essentials. NATO forces based in Macedonia have a general agreement to secure supplies, wherever possible, from Macedonian sources. There are no formal arrangements in Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro or Bosnia, but NATO forces purchase locally when appropriate. The Department for International Development offices in Tirana and Skopje have procured locally as far as practicable, and encouraged our partners to do so.
Baroness Amos: We are obliged, under the Treaty on European Union and the Lome Convention, to contribute to the EC's development assistance programmes. However, there can be no doubt that the EC's development assistance programmes are often poor, and action is needed to address this. This is why we sought to restrict the growth of the external assistance part of the EC Budget in March, and succeeded in holding down the level of growth to 1 per cent. for the period 2000-06. This is in stark contrast to the agreement reached at the Edinburgh Council in 1992, where a 180 per cent. increase was agreed for the seven-year period, 1992-99.
In December 1998, we published our 18-point strategy to improve European Union development spending. We are pursuing implementation of this strategy very vigorously with the Commission and with member states, pressing particularly for more development assistance for poorer countries. The Development Council approved conclusions on 21 May endorsing many of our specific recommendations.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Policy Action Team 10 has recently completed work on its report to the Social Exclusion Unit on the potential of the arts and sport to contribute to neighbourhood renewal. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport led the team and expects to publish the report in late July, at which time copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Over the past two years CCAMLR parties have adopted a number of measures to address illegal and unregulated fishing in the Convention's waters. These include tougher inspection provisions, prohibitions on landings of fish taken illegally and the requirement for satellite-linked Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). In an effort further to reduce illegal and unregulated fishing, CCAMLR parties are negotiating a Catch Documentation Scheme to track the international trade in Toothfish and prevent imports of fish taken illegally.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No claims against the UK for compensation have been made. Our action was in strict conformity with international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the First Additional Protocol of 1977.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As envisaged in UNSCR 1244, the KFOR commander is responsible for overseeing the demilitarisation of all armed groups in Kosovo. Mr. Hashim Thaqi, the Commander in Chief of the KLA, signed on 21 June, on behalf of the KLA, an undertaking to demilitarise in phases over 90 days, beginning with an immediate ceasefire. The KFOR commander may choose to seek similar arrangements with other groups.
Neither the United Kingdom nor any other Member of the Security Council has referred the current fighting between India and Pakistan to the Security Council. The Government believe that the underlying causes of the conflict are best addressed by India and Pakistan on a bilateral basis. We have urged both sides to maintain their dialogue and to look urgently for ways of reducing tension in the region.
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