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Noble Lords: Question!

Lord Elton: My Lords, I think that noble Lords are looking at their watches; I shall content myself with that question.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. There was a final communique, but it is the chairman's statement, which he correctly referred to as M Chirac's statement, which has been placed in the Library.

I agree with the thrust of what the noble Lord said. Earlier this week, when asking a question of my noble friend Lady Symons, he put it extremely eloquently by pointing out that if there is that obscene and indecent disparity, there is not only a moral imperative on us to reduce it, but, to put it at its meanest and in terms of realpolitik, it is in our own self-interest. Trade eventually means internal judicial systems that must be appropriate and proportionate; the increased benefits of doing away with malnutrition for lengthening life expectancy; and that, eventually, we shall benefit in all sorts of not so subtle ways.

It is true that the chairman's summary was simply that, but it refers to the problems to which the noble Lord referred. Paragraph 1 on page 1 is entitled: "Strengthening Growth World-Wide",

and covers,

Paragraph 2 is entitled: "Enhancing Sustainable Development". That paragraph contains a bullet point on Africa; a bullet point on famine, which deals in

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particular with emergency food aid needs; a bullet point on water and on health; one on financing for development; and one on debt.

I recognise that few of us have had the opportunity to study the documents in detail, but there are references there to the problems correctly identified by the noble Lord, Lord Elton.

Lord Williamson of Horton: My Lords, in relation to development in Africa, can the noble and learned Lord tell us what has happened to the suggestion that there should be no subsidies for food exports to Africa—a suggestion that has been strongly pressed for by many non-governmental organisations for many years? Further, did the British Government oppose it? I ask that because, if I may say so, half a cake—it is quite a large half of a cake—on the common agricultural policy is something that we should welcome, because we do not usually get a crumb.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for so gently and indirectly reminding me that I have not dealt with the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. In fact, we welcomed the French proposals; specifically, we said that they must go much wider than Africa, because two thirds of the world's poor live outside Africa. We therefore wanted a different approach. So it is not correct to say that we objected to the French proposals; we said that they did not go far enough.

Lord King of Bridgwater: My Lords, will the Lord Privy Seal confirm that the perfectly sensible choice of the Intelligence and Security Committee to conduct the investigation in no way prevents it, if it so wishes, from sitting in public; that it may ask for the attendance of any person—including officials, who are often prevented from attending Select Committees by Ministers; and that the Prime Minister confirmed today that any information that the committee requires will be provided to it?

I did not spot this in the communique, but the noble and learned Lord said that the war in Iraq is over. Recognising the continuing losses of American troops, which are occurring day by day, and the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, that it may be a year or a year and a half before an interim administration is in place, is not one of the most critical needs at present to ensure that the situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq can be sustained? That will require a considerable number of people and considerable resources. Was there any discussion in the G8 of other members playing a full military and security part to help to achieve that?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord; we all know of his great expertise in the context of the ISC. He knows, because we had discussions on the matter, that I myself gave evidence to the committee and was happy to do so. If the ISC comes to the conclusion that certain areas of evidence could be properly and safely explored in public, we would welcome that.

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The noble Lord is quite right and extremely generous in drawing to the House's attention what the Prime Minister said: that there will be full co-operation. The Prime Minister repeated more than once in the House of Commons that such reports as the ISC thought prudent to make would be published, subject to the usual constraints.

The noble Lord is quite right. He says that I said that the war had finished; I think that I actually said that the conflict, in the sense of the grand conflict, had concluded. But he is quite right; soldiers are still being killed, as are civilians; military and quasi-military activity continues.

The discussions about military and general resistance to which the noble Lord referred are continuing. It was an optimistic development that troops from Pakistan, for instance, are to be committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. It seems to us that the more multilateral the approach, the more likely it is to succeed. However, I agree with his necessary implication that one cannot set a timetable; this will be a long haul. If we were not committed to the long haul, we should never have been committed in the first place.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I very much welcome the international financial facility. Does the noble and learned Lord think that that will lead directly to universal primary education? Would that not be about the most welcome possible kind of globalisation?

As for Iraq, a Question in your Lordships' House only yesterday about the looting in Basra University drew attention precisely to the importance of policing. Will the Government discuss with the American authorities the possibility of recruiting Arabic-speaking police officers from the rest of the world to serve in Iraq during the interim period? Will they further discuss with the Americans the vital importance of disarming the population of small weapons?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his question. I know of his concern about universal primary education; I share his approach. He will know—because both of us have been in the Chamber on previous occasions when my noble friends Lady Symons and Lady Amos made it plain—that it is our long-term aim that that should be a truly universal right, rather than simply a universal ambition.

On the question of police, the noble Lord makes an extremely important point, which is not entirely unrelated to similar helpful observations that he has made about widening the police recruitment base in Northern Ireland, for instance. In reply, I am happy to tell your Lordships that we have already sent police experts out there to see what could usefully be done. His specific point seems to me one of great value and I undertake to transmit it to the appropriate quarter.

Lord Mackie of Benshie: My Lords, are there any plans to help Israel to overcome its major difficulty of

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settlements in which settlers, I understand, are determined to stay? For example, might Egypt be asked to lease some of the Sinai desert, so that they could use their skills on that? It is the most difficult question, and I wonder about the thinking.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right. It is a very difficult question that will require enormous courage by the Israeli cabinet, not least because the cabinet is a coalition and a coalition of views as well as a coalition of parties. What has been done so far is a courageous first step.

We ought to recognise that these matters must initially be for internal decision by the Israeli cabinet. However, we stand ready to assist in all appropriate ways. I think we have made that plain.

It is going to be very difficult on a human basis to ask or require settlers to move. They have committed their lives and their energies, determination and dedication. It is a very difficult problem for the cabinet in Israel to resolve and to try to reconcile different views. Again, I shall transmit the noble Lord's suggestion. It is a suggestion worth considering, but what the ultimate worth of it would be, I cannot say without further examination.

Lord Bruce of Donington: My Lords, in the course of my noble and learned Lord's emphasis on the further inquiries to be made, he was kind enough to indicate the agencies that would provide the information. A little phrase crept in with which I am thoroughly familiar. I think the House is familiar with it too. The words were "subject to the usual constraints". This is a vital phrase. If, for example—as seems likely on the face of it—our intelligence services and other official and governmental services were to provide further and enlightening information, this should not be subject to customary practices and restraints. So whenever I hear governments in this place—and I have been here a long time—talk of "usual constraints", my ears prick up immediately. It will not amount to very much and I doubt whether it will be significant in the ultimate, but I have to inform noble Lords that my ears will be very alert for the sources and nature of the usual constraints that are about to be deployed by the Government.

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