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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The breakdown of the details of the furnishings and fittings costs for the set up of the Special European Union Programmes Body were as follows:

Furnishings(1) Amount (£)(2)
Belfast Office11,200.27
Omagh Office4,096.69
Monaghan Office14,512.92
Fittings
Safe1,770.47
Air Conditioning276.23
Artwork1,413.97
Total33,270.55

(1) Furnishings comprise desks, chairs, tables and other office furniture.

(2) Figures relate to expenditure during the first year of operation (2000).


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As indicated in the statement of clarification on 18 December 2002, the British and Irish Governments intend, under the agreement contained in the exchange of notes of 19 November 2002, to take only those decisions required to ensure proper care and maintenance of the implementation bodies and Tourism Ireland in the performance of their necessary public functions. As the statement set out, the two Governments intend only to pursue the policies and actions already agreed in the North/South Ministerial Council and not to introduce any new policies.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 April (HL2098) concerning budgets for Cross-Border Implementation Bodies, why

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    are sterling pounds referred to as GBPs and not UKPs.[HL2767]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: GBP is the standard international currency code for pounds sterling, as determined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the worldwide federation of standardisation bodies. The codes are referred to as the ISO 4217 standard and are in general usage worldwide. The maintenance agency for ISO 4217 is the British Standards Institution.

Northern Ireland Departments: Underspend

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 30 April (WA 101) concerning the ability of Northern Ireland departments to move money from one financial year to another as underspend, whether this applies to cross-Border bodies and to other government organisations; and, if not in either case, why.[HL2713]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The end year flexibility (EYF) scheme applies to the NI departmental expenditure limit (DEL), and as a consequence all organisations which are funded from this source can benefit in that the resources available to Northern Ireland are higher than would otherwise be the case. Within this arrangement there is automatic carry-over for some specified categories of expenditure, the largest of which is capital: for the remainder the amount carried over is returned for central redistribution to programmes early in the following financial year. In the case of North/South bodies, the budgets are set for each calendar year, as distinct from financial year, and thus there is no scope for specific EYF arrangements for their individual budgets. In practice, the contributions from Northern Ireland and Ireland to North/South bodies can be managed to address any planning issues that emerge.

Cabinet Office Sub-Committee on Older People

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the current members of the Cabinet Office Sub-Committee on Older People; and on what dates it has met since its establishment in 2001.[HL3020]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I refer the noble Baroness to the Written Answer I gave on 6 February 2003, Official Report, (WA 44). It has been established practice under succesive governments not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees. This practice is now formalised by Exemption 2 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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Iraq: UN Weapons Inspectors

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that any new United Nations resolution on Iraq ensures the return of Dr Blix and United Nations inspectors to play a full part in the location, destruction and eradication of manufacturing potential of and for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.[HL2751]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Government have been actively engaged in discussions on the issue of independent verification of discoveries made by coalition forces in Iraq. Deployment of UNMOVIC and the IAEA remains an option.

Dr Blix has himself said that the current situation on the ground in Iraq means that it would not be appropriate for UNMOVIC inspectors to return at present.

Convention on the Future of Europe: Eradication of World Poverty

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that the Convention on the Future of Europe, chaired by Valery Giscard D'Estaing, makes development spending in the eradication of world poverty central to its recommendations.[HL2791]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK has consistently pressed in the convention for poverty eradication to be set out as an objective for the European Union's external actions, and clearly stated as the principle objective of the European Union's development policy. This is reflected in the UK's comments on the draft treaty articles on external action, submitted on 2 May, and most recently in a paper submitted to the convention by the UK, and signed by development Ministers from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

Iraq: Agricultural Reconstruction Appointments

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they were a party to the decision to appoint Dan Amstutz, a former senior executive of the grain exporter Cargill, to oversee the agricultural reconstruction of Iraq; and, if so, why this decision was made in preference to appointing one of the experienced agricultural development specialists available within the United Nations system.[HL2794]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government were not involved in this appointment.

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Iraq: UNSCR 1325 on Safeguarding the Rights of Women

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What specific actions they are taking to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 to safeguard the rights of women in Iraq.[HL2796]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government is fully committed to Resolution 1325 and wants to see women fully involved in reconstructing a new Iraq. We are building a dialogue with Iraqi women and we are exploring the possibility of holding a women's conference to produce representatives who would attend a national conference shortly afterwards. The UK-funded "Towards Freedom" television channel will soon be transmitting programmes to encourage women to participate in this process. Our military on the ground and our secondees in the Coalition's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) are aware of their responsibilities under Resolution 1325. A gender expert from the Women's Equality Unit at the Department of Trade and Industry will soon join ORHA to focus on these issues.

Israeli Defence Forces

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made to the Government of Israel about the conduct and training of Israeli Defence Forces in recent actions leading to the death or injury of United Kingdom citizens; and with what results.[HL2797]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Given the number of recent incidents in which foreign nationals and Palestinian civilians have been injured or killed, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr O'Brien) asked the Israeli authorities on 19 April to revise their Rules of Engagement for the Israel Defence Forces in order to avoid a repeat of such incidents. Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv has also made similar representations locally to the Israeli authorities. We will continue to press for these revisions to be made.

UNMOGIP

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have received from the United Nations about the cost of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in 2002; whether they will place copies of reports made by UNMOGIP to the Security Council in the Library of the House; and whether they will propose to the Security Council that UNMOGIP be asked to submit a special report

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    on civilian casualties caused by shelling across the Line of Control.[HL2819]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The total cost to the UN for the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) for 2002 was 6,222,950 US dollars. UNMOGIP does not report directly to the United Nations Security Council. We have no plans to ask the Security Council to ask UNMOGIP to submit a special report on civilian casualties caused by shelling across the Line of Control.


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