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8 Mar 2000 : Column WA137

Written Answers

Wednesday, 8th March 2000.

Sudan: Arms Transfers

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have held with the Polish and Czech Governments about the possible diversion to Sudan of arms sold to Yemen; and whether they consider that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers of November 1993 need to be amended to strengthen monitoring of the end use of arms exports to prevent diversions to third countries and to ensure that exported equipment is used only on the conditions under which the export licence has been granted.[HL1170]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Foreign Secretary raised this with his Czech counterpart. Our Embassy in Prague has also discussed this with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Czech Government plan to proceed with the sale of former Czech army tanks to Yemen but have assured us that they are taking great care to ensure that Yemen is the end user and that there is no diversion to a third country. We have not held discussions with the Poles as we are not aware that any further sales are planned.

The OSCE Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers commit OSCE members to avoid transfers which would be likely to be diverted within the recipient country or re-exported for purposes contrary to the aims of the principles. It is up to individual OSCE members to decide how they can best achieve this. Post-export monitoring may be less effective in preventing diversion than a refusal to allow an export if a risk of diversion is determined to exist. The UK has taken steps to promote the exchange of information on end-users of concern in fora such as the Wassenaar Arrangement in order to assist the process of risk assessment by national authorities.

Austria and the EU

Lord Selsdon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any law or laws have been broken by Austria which would justify the imposition of sanctions by the 14 other member states of the European Union, including the United Kingdom; and, if so, what they are.[HL1207]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The measures introduced by the 14 member states of the EU were intended to send a signal of concern over the inclusion of a far-Right party in the new Austrian Government. Along with all our EU partners we are committed to act against xenophobia and discrimination and have

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the obligation to express concern where we see the danger of this arising.

Turkey: HADEP Mayors

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will discuss with the Government of Turkey the recent arrests of the elected mayors of Diyarbakir, Bingol and Siirt and ascertain their current situation.[HL1232]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The EU troika made a demarche in Ankara on 24 February to register our concern at the arrest of the three HADEP mayors and to ask for more detailed information on the reasons for the arrests. The mayors have now been released and reinstated to their posts pending trial. We welcome this development and will continue to monitor closely their situation.

Turkey: Landmines

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they evaluate the claim by HADEP (Peoples Democracy Party) that landmines are preventing former inhabitants from returning to their deserted villages in south-east Turkey.[HL1233]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are aware that landmines in and around villages in south-east Turkey pose a serious threat to those living in the area, killing 13 civilians during 1999.

We are unable however to assess who originally laid these mines and whether they are preventing former inhabitants from returning to their villages.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Turkey has signed or ratified the Convention against Anti-Personnel Mines.[HL1234]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: No.

Turkey: PKK Statement

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are studying the statement of 9 February from the Presidential Council of the Kurdish Workers Party.[HL1235]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have noted the statement on 9 February by the PKK Presidential Council. We welcome its decision to end the armed struggle. The Embassy in Ankara is closely following developments in the light of this and earlier statements by the PKK.

Turkey: Guclukonak Massacre

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask for an impartial and public investigation into the Guclukonak massacre on 15 January 1996 in south-east Turkey.[HL1236]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are concerned that 11 civilians were killed in an attack on a minibus in Guclukonak in January 1996. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was suspected of carrying out the attack but a human rights delegation contended at the time that the security forces were responsible.

We discussed this incident with the Turkish authorities in 1996. We believe that transparency and openness on human rights can only be helpful. We have no plans to request a fresh inquiry.

Kosovo: Administration

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will propose rationalisation of responsibilities in Kosovo, at present divided between UNMIK, KFOR, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Transitional Administrative Council.[HL1297]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: UNSCR 1244, which established the international presences in Kosovo, states that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General shall lead the civilian presence. The UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK) has components led by the European Union and the OSCE, as well as the UN elements. We see no need to change this structure. Our priority is to ensure that UNMIK has the support it needs to carry out its mandate. The Kosovo Transitional Council is an advisory body and the Interim Administrative Council is a forum for discussions between Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs and UNMIK.

Kosovo: Trepca Mine

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will use their best efforts to restore production at the Trepca mine in northern Kosovo, with part of the revenue being used for the benefit of Kosovo as a whole.[HL1298]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) is developing a business plan for the Trepca complex. UNMIK has announced its intention to run state property for the benefit of all communities in Kosovo.

Kosovo: Issue of Travel Documents

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether UNMIK is now in a position to issue travel documents to inhabitants of Kosovo who need to travel outside their country; and, if not, whether they will ask for this matter to be expedited.[HL1300]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: UNMIK intends to introduce travel documents for residents of Kosovo as soon as practicable. These do not have implications for

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the status of Kosovo but reflect the practical necessity of providing people resident in Kosovo with acceptable documentation in advance of the UN Mission completing a comprehensive registration exercise. Many Kosovo Albanians had passports and other documents destroyed by the Serbs.

Torture Convention

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which states have so far ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture.[HL1384]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, this information is readily available on the Internet at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The address of the site is www.unchr.ch.

Police Pursuit Driver Training

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many police forces have accepted the Association of Chief Police Officers' police pursuit driving document issued in September 1998; and[HL932]

    How many police forces have not accepted the Association of Chief Police Officers' police pursuit training document issued in September 1998; and how many are still considering their position.[HL974]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): This is an operational matter for the police service, but I understand from the Association of Chief Police Officers that its Police Pursuit Driving Training report of September 1998 has been accepted in principle by all of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

The report contained a total of 33 recommendations, a large number of which could have been adopted by individual forces immediately, while others which required progressing at a national level could not. Examples of these include the development of driving simulator technology appropriate to police application (recommendation 21), and the police service is currently working alongside the Police Scientific Development Branch to achieve this goal. Another is where core training courses were to be established (recommendations 11, 12 and 13) and work in this regard is due to be completed by August this year.


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