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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): To the best of our knowledge, five Zimbabweans on the EU travel ban list have travelled to the EU since the targeted sanctions were imposed on 18 February 2002. Robert Mugabe, Stan Mudenge and Joseph Made visited Rome to attend World Food Summit meetings between 10 and 13 June. Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner, travelled to France on three occasions to attend meetings of the Interpol Executive Committee on 1416 May, 1820 June and 27 August. Samuel Mumbengegwi, Trade and Industry Minister, visited Belgium from 2229 September to attend trade talks between the EU and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries. In all cases, the EU country concerned consulted EU partners before issuing visas.
The EU's Common Position 2002/145/CFSP imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe specifically allows member states to grant exemptions where travel is justified on grounds of attending meetings of international bodies. In all these cases, the EU country in question had a legal obligation to grant visas. In doing so, they attached maximum restrictions, ensuring that the visas were for a limited time and restricted to the host country of the meeting concerned.
Baroness Amos: The Organization of American States (OAS) concluded its two-year process to help the governments of Guatemala and Belize settle their territorial dispute on 30 September. Detailed proposals drawn up by independent facilitators appointed by both governments were presented to the governments on 16 September and provide the basis for a fair and honourable settlement to this long-standing dispute. We hope both governments will now seize this historic opportunity.
The facilitators have recommended some adjustment to the land border and proposed new maritime limits giving Guatemala an economic exclusion zone and continental shelf in the Gulf of Honduras of some 2,000 square nautical miles. The governments of Belize and Honduras have each agreed to contribute 1,000 square nautical miles to this zone.
The facilitators have also recommended the establishment of a tri-national ecological park covering coastal, insular and maritime areas of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras and a substantial development trust fund.
At a ceremony in Washington on 30 September marking the end of the facilitation process, Dr MacShane spoke of the UK's full support for the OAS process. He welcomed the proposals highlighting the potential for investment and economic growth that will result if the referendums that are now due to be held simultaneously in both countries are successful.
Her Majesty's Government believe that the facilitators have worked patiently and meticulously to produce proposals that are fair and honourable to the governments of Guatemala and Belize. They represent the best chance yet of settling the dispute. Settlement would also have a global significance, demonstrating that with good will and determination even the most intractable problems can be resolved by negotiation. A settlement would open a new chapter of peace and harmony between the two countries and reduce the risk of potential conflict along the border.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has published its annual report and accounts 200102 today. Copies of the annual report and accounts 200102 have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Further copies may be obtained from the Stationery Office.
The Lord Chancellor: The Government have considered very carefully the arguments put forward for the early implementation of this section, which makes it an offence for a person to destroy or alter a record requested under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Data Protection Act 1998. The Government have decided to retain the original date for implementation of this section1 January 2005.
The reason for this decision is that the policy intention behind the creation of the offence was that greater deterrence was needed to prevent the destruction of paper records, to which the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act will apply from 1 January 2005, than was needed for computerised or structured records, to which the Data Protection Act currently applies. It is far easier to conceal the destruction of paper records than of computerised records as in the latter case an audit trail is available. There is no evidence to suggest that the existing provisions in the Data Protection Act are defective in preventing the wrongful destruction of records. The Government do not believe that it would be right to create a new offence where there is no mischief to be addressed. Accordingly, the Government have decided to retain the 1 January 2005 implementation date for Section 77.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government Actuary's Department estimates that employers' national insurance contributions relating to employees over state pension age amount to around £300 million a year.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As stated in my Answers to the noble Lord on 17 July (WA 159) and 30 July (WA 161), no satisfactory agreement was reached by the countries concerned on the repayment of First World War debt following the one-year moratorium in 1931. Neither the debt owed to the United States by the United Kingdom nor the larger debts owed by other countries to the United Kingdom have been serviced since 1934, nor have they been written off.
The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): During 200102, 4,100 inspections of theatres and 1,641 inspections of cinemas were undertaken by local authority fire safety officers. In addition, 249 and 218 inspections (respectively) were carried out by operational fire brigade staff. The Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998 allocate theatres and cinemas to local authorities for wider health and safety inspection and enforcement purposes but the figures requested are not held centrally.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): We are planning to publish our national languages strategy towards the end of November this year. It will set out our agenda for the next decade in support of the transformation of our nation's capability in languages.
Language skills improve an individual's employment prospects and a company's economic competitiveness. Such skills help our people to get better and more interesting jobs and our country to prosper in the global economy.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: We are planning to publish the national languages strategy towards the end of November this year. We are currently finalising the details for publication and expect to be in a position to confirm the date very soon. The strategy will not be published in the form of a White Paper or other command paper. It will be in the form of a policy paper setting out our agenda for the next decade in support of the tranformation of our nation's capability in languages.
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