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Written Answers

Friday, 29th September 2000.

Sanctions and Arms Embargoes

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the sanctions and arms embargoes currently implemented by the United Kingdom.[HL3623]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): As of 27 September 2000, the United Kingdom implemented mandatory UN sanctions, imposed by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in relation to Afghanistan, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. UN sanctions in relation to Libya have been suspended.

The United Kingdom implements, in addition, sanctions imposed by the European Union in relation to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Croatia, Libya, Sudan and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In accordance with a decision of the OSCE, the United Kingdom implements arms embargoes on Armenia and Azerbaijan.

There are also national arms embargoes on Iran and Zimbabwe.

A list of sanctions regimes and arms embargoes implemented by the UK is in the Library of the House. Annexed to this is a summary of additional UK restrictions on the export of strategic goods. These documents are also available on the FCO website and are updated each time there are changes to sanctions regimes implemented by the UK or to UK restrictions on the export of strategic goods.

International Criminal Court Bill

Lord Strabolgi asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in draft the legislation to enable United Kingdom ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal court.[HL3688]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The draft International Criminal Court Bill was published on 25 August for consultation. We published the Bill as soon as it was ready, even though this was during the Recess, because we are anxious to make progress on legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. We hope that the draft Bill will receive support from all sides of the House and look forward to receiving comments from interested parliamentarians, individuals and organisations. Comments should be received by 12 October.

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Transport Bill: Strategic Rail Authority

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, prior to the third reading of the Transport Bill, they will publish the draft directions and guidance which they propose to give to the Strategic Rail Authority under Clause 206 of that Bill.[HL3830]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): We expect to consult on draft directions and guidance after Royal Assent to the Transport Bill and before the Strategic Rail Authority is formally established. The consultation will be a wide one and will include representatives of local government, PTAs/PTEs, passenger and freight interests, disabled people, trade unions and devolved administrations.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in issuing directions and guidance to the Strategic Rail Authority under Clause 206 of the Transport Bill, they will ensure that due cognisance is taken of local transport plans.[HL3831]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Yes. Our directions and guidance to the Strategic Rail Authority will cover the relationship between national, regional and local planning for the railway.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any voluntary agreements between rail operators and local transport authorities, concerning the frequency and timing of services, currently exist; if so, what form they take; and whether such agreements as exist have been found acceptable by the Office of Fair Trading.[HL3833]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Information on direct agreements between rail operators and local transport authorities is not collected centrally. I understand that the Office of Fair Trading has not had any applications for a decision under the Competition Act in relation to such agreements.

Transport Bill: Quality Partnership Agreements

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) whether the express exclusion, in Clause 113(6)(b) of the Transport Bill, of the prescription of the frequency and timing of services within a quality partnership agreement, will inhibit the making of voluntary agreements on these matters by operators and local transport authorities;

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    (b) what discussions have taken place on this subject with the Office of Fair Trading; and

    (c) what guidance has been or will be published (and, if so, when) so as to facilitate the entering into of such agreements.[HL3832]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We see no reason why the provisions in Clause 113, which relate only to statutory schemes under the Bill, should inhibit voluntary agreements between local authorities and bus operators. My department has regular discussions with the Office of Fair Trading on competition issues affecting the bus industry, in particular stressing the importance attached by the industry to receiving appropriate guidance from OFT. For its part, the department is currently preparing good practice guidance on quality partnership arrangements, based on current experience around the country; we hope to issue that later this year.

TAVR Associations: Restructuring

Lord Grenfell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the restructuring of the Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations recommended in the Strategic Defence Review has been completed.[HL3902]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations are now known as Reserve Forces' Cadets' Associations (RFCA) to better reflect their role. We can confirm that the implementation of the organisational improvements and efficiencies sought in the Strategic Defence Review is now complete--well ahead of the original schedule.

No changes were made to the organisational arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the administrative areas for which associations in England have responsibility now match those of the Government Office (GO) regional areas. To achieve this, the South East RFCA and the Eastern Wessex RFCA administrative areas, minus Dorset, have been amalgamated to reflect the South East GO region. Its responsibility extends to the Channel Islands also. It will be known as the South East RFCA, with a headquarters at Seeley House, Shoe Lane, Aldershot. The responsibility for carrying out the Eastern Wessex Association's functions for Dorset moves to the Wessex RFCA, whose administrative area will now reflect that of the South West GO region.

These arrangements will take effect from 1 October 2000, following the laying of the Defence Council's

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Reserve Forces Act 1996 (Reserve Associations) Order 2000. They are reflected in minor amendments to the RFCA Regulations, details of which will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. We have also agreed with the RFCAs revised or amended Schemes of Association. Following consultation with their trade union representatives, arrangements for those association employees opting for redundancy have been agreed. These are broadly in line with civil service arrangements.

Animal Advisory Committee: Defence Research Report

Lord Grenfell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the fourth report of the Animal Advisory Committee on the use of animals in defence research.[HL3904]

Baroness Symons of Venham Dean: The Independent Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr Jeremy Lucke, has published its fourth annual report. The committee was set up in 1996 specifically to keep under review the care and welfare arrangements of animals used in defence research. We are placing a copy of the report in the Library of the House.

The use of animals in defence research is concerned with providing the Armed Forces with safe and effective protection against hazards encountered while conducting their duties, and is kept to the absolute minimum.

The committee's report highlights the work being done by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency to ensure the welfare of all animals used for defence research purposes. The report provides assurances that all animals used in defence research programmes in the UK are regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The report also concludes that there is an effective ethical review process for the application of new licences which examines, amongst other issues, whether the use of animals can be avoided altogether in any new research procedures.

The Ministry of Defence continues to seek to find alternatives to the use of animals wherever possible. There is still much to be done in developing technologies that allow the use of animals in experiments to be further reduced. We welcome continuing scrutiny by the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and aim to minimise the use of animals as far as possible, against the continuing requirement to research effective measures to counter the hazards faced by the Armed Forces in the conduct of their duties.



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