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Written Answers

Wednesday, 1st March 2000.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any apologies were ever offered to General Pinochet following the non-disclosure of the connection between Amnesty International and Lord Hoffmann.[HL1127]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): No apology was made directly to Senator Pinochet. However, I refer the noble Lord to the article in The Times on 9 February 1999, where I was accurately quoted as saying "What we are talking about here is an error of judgment . . . It is very, very unfortunate. It has never happened before this century and I don't believe that it will happen again in 100 years.". I am sure that would have been read by Senator Pinochet or his advisers.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations have been made to the Spanish Government following the disclosure of the medical report on General Pinochet.[HL1126]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Following receipt of a letter from Senator Pinochet's solicitors dated 16 February 2000 expressing concern about the leaking of the medical report in a Spanish newspaper, Home Office Officials wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service, as representatives of Spain, asking whether Spain could provide any information on how the report had been disclosed.

A reply from the Spanish authorities on the same day indicated that enquiries which they had made did not make it possible for them to conclude that the leak had occurred in Spain, but expressed regret for any difficulty caused by the report's disclosure in the Spanish press.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following receipt of the medical report on General Pinochet, it is appropriate that demonstrators should be allowed to bang drums outside General Pinochet's house and keep him awake.[HL1172]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The policing of demonstrations is an operational matter for the local police, and is not a matter in which government Ministers can intervene.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

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    Whether they believe the length of time taken over the case of General Pinochet, during which time he has been detained, reflects well on the British system of justice.[HL1175]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Senator Pinochet has been held on bail for 16 months pending proceedings pursuant to an extradition request received from the Kingdom of Spain. This length of time reflects the opportunities to mount legal challenges and appeals, of which the parties to the request have availed themselves.

Chechnya: Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are in touch with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights concerning alleged torture and rape by Russian forces in and near Chechnya; and whether they are studying reports on these matters that appear in Le Monde and the Moscow Times.[HL1166]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We are in regular contact with the UN High Commission for Human Rights concerning alleged human rights abuses in and around Chechnya. We are studying reports on such abuses from a number of sources, including from the UNHCR, the Council of Europe, NGOs and the media. During his recent visit to Moscow (22-23 February), the Foreign Secretary urged early contact between Mrs Robinson, the UN High Commissioner, and Mr Kalamanov, the recently appointed Russian president's special representative for human rights and civil liberties in Chechnya.

European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

Lord Christopher asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for March; and whether they will list the major European Union events for the next six months.[HL1279]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: See separate list.

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.

Monthly Forecast of EU Business: March 2000

March 28 February to 1 March--Lisbon--EuroMed Investment Conference


    -- Open Statements


    -- Panel Discussion


    -- Investing in an Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area


    -- Working Groups

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    -- Doing Business in the Free Trade Area


    -- Promoting Investment in a Free Trade Area


    -- Investment Financing in the Mediterranean Region


    -- Presentation and Discussion of the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Working Group


    -- Conclusions and Recommendations


    -- Closing Statements


    -- Press Conference

1 to 2 March--Brussels--European Parliament Plenary


    Consultation procedure


    -- (poss) Proposal for a Council regulation establishing a Community framework for the collection and management of the fisheries data needed to conduct the common fisheries policy


    -- (poss) Proposal for a Council decision on financial contribution from the Community towards the expenditure incurred by the Member States in collecting data, and for financing studies and pilot projects for carrying out the common fisheries policy


    -- (poss) Proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 93/53/EEC introducing minimum Community measures for the control of certain fish diseases


    -- Proposal for a Council regulation amending for the fourth time Regulation (EC) No. 1626/94 laying down certain technical measures for the conservation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean and for the fourth time Regulation (EC) No. 850/98 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms


    -- (poss) Initiative of the Republic of Austria with a view to adopting a Council decision to combat child pornography on the Internet

2--Lisbon--EU/Russian Ministerial Meeting


    -- EU-Russia relations


    -- Developments in Russia, including the Northern Caucasus


    -- Developments in the EU


    -- Western Balkans


    -- Mediterranean region and the Middle East Peace Process


    -- Preparation for the EU-Russia Summit

3 to 4--Lisbon--Justice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)


    No formal agenda

10--Tokyo--EU/Japan Ministerial Meeting


    No agenda yet available

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13--Brussels--Social Affairs Council


    -- Preparation of the special European Council in Lisbon


    -- Presidency paper on a Europe of innovation and knowledge


    -- Commission Communication on Community policies to promote employment (Article 127)


    -- Commission Communication on social inclusion


    -- Commission Communication on job strategies in the information society


    -- First Commission report on the social situation in Europe


    -- Commission proposals on Article 13


    -- Oral report from the Presidency on progress in negotiations

13--Brussels--ECOFIN Council


    -- Adoption of the provisional agenda


    -- Approval of the list of "A" items


    -- Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact


    -- Preparation of the Lisbon European Council on Employment, Economic Reforms and Social Cohesion


    -- Towards a Europe based on Innovation and Knowledge, Lisbon, 23-24 March 2000


    -- (a) (poss) VAT: Postal Services


    -- Presentation of Commission proposal


    -- (b) Taxation of aircraft fuel


    -- Presentation of Commission communication


    -- Discharge of 1998 budget


    -- Presentation of Commission action plan to improve management and financial procedures


    -- AOB

13 to 17--Strasbourg--European Parliament Plenary


    No agenda yet available

16--Brussels--Internal Market Council


    No agenda yet available

17--Lisbon--Informal Education Ministers Meeting


    No formal agenda

17 to 18--Porto--Trade Ministers' Meeting (Informal)


    No formal agenda

20 to 21--Brussels--General Affairs Council


    No agenda yet available

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20 to 21--Brussels--Agriculture Council


    No agenda yet available

23 to 24--Lisbon--Special European Council


    No formal agenda

27--Brussels--Justice & Home Affairs Council


    No agenda yet available

28--Brussels--Transport Council


    No agenda yet available

29 to 30--Brussels--European Parliament Plenary


    No agenda yet available

30--Brussels--Environment Council


    No agenda yet available

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: March-August 2000

DateLocationEvent
March
28 Feb to 1 MarLisbonEuroMed Investment Conference
1 to 2BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
2LisbonEU/Russia Ministerial Meeting
3 to 4LisbonJustice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)
10TokyoEU/Japan Ministerial Meeting
13BrusselsSocial Affairs Council
13BrusselsECOFIN Council
13 to 17StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
16BrusselsInternal Market Council
17LisbonInformal Education Ministers Meeting
17 to 18PortoTrade Ministers' Meeting (Informal)
20 to 21BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
20 to 21BrusselsAgriculture Council
23 to 24LisbonSpecial European Council
27BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
28BrusselsTransport Council
29 to 30BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
30BrusselsEnvironment Council
April
3LuxembourgFisheries Council
3 to 4CairoEU-Africa Summit
4LuxembourgSocial Affairs Council
7 to 8LisbonECOFIN Council (Informal)
10 to 11LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
10 to 14StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
13LuxembourgConsumer Affairs Council
15 to 16OportoEnvironment Council (Informal)
17 to 18LuxembourgAgriculture Council
May
2BrusselsTelecommunications Council
3 to 4BrusselsEuropean Parliament Plenary
5 to 7San Miguel, AzoresInformal Meeting of Foreign Ministers
8BrusselsECOFIN Council
8LisbonEU/New Zealand Ministerial Meeting
11BrusselsHealth Council
15 to16BrusselsAgriculture Council
15 to 16OportoWEU Council
15 to 19StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
16BrusselsCulture Council
18BrusselsIndustry Council
18BrusselsDevelopment Council
22 to 23BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
25BrusselsInternal Market Council
25 to 26LisbonEuroMed Foreign Ministers Meeting (Informal)
28 to 30EvoraAgriculture Council (Informal)
29 to 30BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
30BrusselsEnergy Council
June
5LuxembourgECOFIN Council
6LuxembourgSocial Affairs Council
8LuxembourgEducation Council
13 to 14LuxembourgGeneral Affairs Council
13 to 16StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
15LuxembourgResearch Council
16LuxembourgFisheries Council
19 to 20LuxembourgAgriculture Council
19 to 20Sta. Maria da FeiraEuropean Council
21 to 23Cyprus3rd Euro-Mediterranean Conference of the Ministers of Industry
22 to 23LuxembourgEnvironment Council
26 to 27LuxembourgTransport Council
28LisbonEU/India Summit
July
3 to 7StrasbourgEuropean Parliament Plenary
6 to 7LilleCulture Council
7 to 8(To be confirmed)Social Affairs Council (Informal)
10 to 11BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
15 to 16(To be confirmed)Environment Council (Informal)
17BrusselsECOFIN Council
17 to 18BrusselsAgriculture Council
24BrusselsBudget Council
25(To be confirmed)Education Council (Informal)
27BangkokASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting
28 to 29BangkokASEAN Post Ministerial Meeting
28 to 29ArlesJustice & Home Affairs Council (Informal)
August There are no Councils scheduled for this month.

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