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Iraqi Prisoners of War

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The United Kingdom will act in accordance with its obligations under the Geneva Convention including the provisions governing the transfer of prisoners of war. Under arrangements we have agreed with coalition partners, prisoners whom we have captured will not be transferred out of Iraq without the agreement of the UK.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any prisoners captured by British forces in Iraq have been handed over to United States forces or control.[HL2452]

Lord Bach: All prisoners of war captured by British Forces in Iraq have been transferred to a United States internment facility in theatre. The United Kingdom remains the Detaining Power for prisoners of war transferred to the US, and they cannot be released, or removed from Iraq without UK approval.

EU Institutions

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will instruct their representatives in the European Convention on a Constitution for Europe to support the proposals made by the Swedish Minister for International and Economic Affairs and Financial Markets and the Swedish Government Representative in the European Convention, as set out in their letter to the Financial Times published on 9 April, for the treaty to lay down legally binding roles of good administration within the European Union institutions; to protect the right to freedom of expression of all European Union officials; and to improve the public's access to documents in all European Union institutions and bodies.[HL2531]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The UK Government strongly support the principle of good administration. We are working closely in the convention with other governments, including Sweden, to ensure that appropriate guidelines are placed in the new draft treaty. As a general principle the UK supports the right to freedom of expression of all European citizens. The Government have long been an advocate of greater openness in the EU institutions. This was a key theme of the UK presidencies in 1992 and 1998. Making it easier to gain access to non-sensitive documents is crucial to this. Draft Treaty Article 36 on access to documents extends the access regime to bodies established by the institutions, and the UK has supported this.

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EU: Forthcoming Business

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for May; and what are the major European Union events for the period 1 June to 30 November 2003. [HL2648]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean:

Forthcoming Business in the Council of the European Union, May–November 2003
29 April 2003

2–4Cruise from Rhodes to Kastellorizo Gymnich (Informal Foreign Ministers)
3–4AthensInformal Environment (Ministerial Informal)
5–6BrusselsEducation, Youth & Culture Council
8BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
10–13CorfuAgriculture (Ministerial Informal)
14BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
14BrusselsTransport, Telecom & Energy Council
15–16BrusselsConvention Plenary
15–16BrusselsEU–ACP Ministerial
16–17HalkidikiInformal Regional Policy (Ministerial)
16–18Cruise off GreeceInformal Transport & Merchant Marine (Ministerial)
17BrusselsEU–W. Balkans (Zagreb Process)
19BrusselsCompetitiveness Council
19BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations (+ Defence)
20BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations
22BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
24ThessalonikiInformal Culture (Ministerial)
26–27BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
26–27CreteEUROMED Conference (Mid Term Ministerial)
27BrusselsEnvironment Council
28BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
28BrusselsEconomic & Financial Affairs Committee
30–31BrusselsConvention Plenary
31St PetersburgEU–Russia Summit
5–6BrusselsTransport, Telecom & Energy Council
4BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
5–6BrusselsConvention Plenary
5–6BrusselsJustice & Home Affairs Council
2–3BrusselsEmployment, Social Policy, Health & Consumer Affairs Council
6RhodesPublic Administration (Ministerial Informal)
11BrusselsMeeting of the Presidium
11–12BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
2–3AlexandroupolisDevelopment Co-operaton (Ministerial Informal)
12–13BrusselsConvention Plenary
13BrusselsEnvironment Council
17–18LuxembourgGeneral Affairs & External Relations
20HalkidikiEuropean Council
21ThessalonikiZagreb II Summit
22BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations
2–3RomeResearch (Ministerial Informal)
4–5NaplesTransport Infrastructure (Ministerial Informal)
6PalermoTrade (Ministerial Informal)
10VareseInformal Council/Troika
11–12VareseEmployment & Social Policy (Informal Council)
17–18TrevisoEU Employment Committee (Informal)
18–20MontecatiniEnergy & Environment (Ministerial Informal)
22–23BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
22BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations
24–25MilanEuropean Conference on
25–26RomeCompetitiveness (Informal Ministerial)
25–26VeronaEducation (+Research?) (Ministerial Informal)
No Meetings Planned
3–4ViterboTelecommunications (Ministerial)
5–6Riva del GardaGymnich (Informal Foreign Affairs)
7–9TaorminaAgriculture (Informal Council)
12–13StresaECOFIN (Informal Council)
19–20RomeJustice & Internal Affairs (Informal Council)
22–23BrusselsCompetition (Internal Market, Industry & Research)
26–27EriceCommunity Regional Cohesion Policy (Ministerial Informal)
29–30BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations
29–30BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
2–3BrusselsJustice & Internal Affairs
3–4RomeDefense (Ministerial Informal)
9–10BrusselsTransport, Telecom & Energy Council
13–14BrusselsGeneral Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)
13–14BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
16–17BrusselsEuropean Council
20–21BrusselsEmployment, Social Policy, Health & Consumer Affairs Council
27BrusselsEnvironment Council
6BrusselsJustice & Internal Affairs (Informal Council—to be confirmed)
17–18BrusselsGeneral Affairs & External Relations
17–18BrusselsAgriculture & Fisheries Council
24–25BrusselsEducation, Youth & Culture Council
27–28BrusselsJustice & Internal Affairs (Informal Council)

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Honorary Knighthoods: Foreign Nationals

Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the procedure for withdrawing an honorary knighthood from a foreign national.[HL2540]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The Queen would be asked to approve withdrawing an honorary knighthood which she had previously conferred on a foreign national only on the specific recommendation of the Foreign Secretary.

Byways and Unclassified Roads

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many experimental traffic regulation orders have been issued for byways open to all traffic and unclassified roads in the past 12 months.[HL2489]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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