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Written Answers

Tuesday, 17th June 2003.

North/South Language Body

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what basis and with what information and advice they agreed to the cut in the budget for 2003 for the Cross Border Language Implementation Body; with whom there was consultation; on what date; and what was the result of the consultation.[HL2778]

The Lord President of the Council (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The agreed budget for the North/South Language Body for 2003 was £11.33 million, £1.31 million less than the indicative budget of £12.64 million. This reduction was as a result of pressure on public expenditure in the Republic of Ireland. The budget was agreed by the two governments following consultation between them.

As the noble Lord is aware, work is now underway to increase the budget of the North/South Language Body.

Whiterock Sewage Works, County Down

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the programme for the extension and improvement of the sewage works at Whiterock, Killinchy, County Down; whether planning approval is required; and, if so, when the application for planning permission will be submitted. [HL2812]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The chief executive of the Water Service has written to the noble Lord. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

Ulster-Scots Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have cut the budget of the Ulster-Scots Agency by 16 per cent; whether they considered the policy effect of the cut; whom in the agency they discussed the policy changes with; and what other factors influenced the decision.[HL2922]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The agreed budget for the Ulster-Scots Agency for 2003 was £1.35 million, £0.22 million less than the indicative budget of £1.57 million. This reduction was a result of pressure on public expenditure in the Republic of Ireland rather than any consideration of the effect on policy.

As the noble Lord is aware, work is now underway to increase the budget of the North/South Language Body.

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Belfast Agreement

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that all aspects of the Belfast agreement of 1998 should be implemented by all parties who signed the agreement; and what machinery exists to monitor the implementation.[HL3083]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Yes; the agreement itself provides a range of machinery for oversight of implementation in particular fields and it is regularly considered in meetings between the Government and the parties.

Peace II Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who is on the panel which decides how money is allocated under PEACE II; and how the members were selected.[HL3087]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The 47 PEACE II implementing bodies in Northern Ireland are responsible for the appointment of selection panel members. Each panel comprises at least three people from within the implementing body but independent of those applying or assisting in the development of the projects; and normally includes a representative, external to the implementing body and with relevant experience.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Privy Seal on 11 March (WA 168), 30 April (WA 102) and 22 May (WA 95) concerning the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Libraries, when the department was created; where it is located; and who is the responsible Minister.[HL3184]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The references to the Department of Culture, Arts and Libraries in my written replies of 11 March (WA 168), 30 April (WA 102) and 22 May (WA 95) were incorrect. The answers should have referred to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Further references to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry were also incorrect. These should have read Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Boris Berezovsky

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 13 May (WA 29), which government departments were involved in hearing representations from Russian officials about Mr Berezovsky, and when the meetings were held. [HL3081]

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Both prior to and after this arrest pending extradition proceedings, the Russian authorities have raised Mr Berezovsky many times with Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in London and with British Embassy officials in Moscow. There have also been written and telephone exchanges between Russian authorities and Home Office officials in connection with the extradition request. The Russian Government have had several meetings with the Crown Prosecution Service, which is representing the Russian authorities in this case. In keeping with established practice, Russian contacts with the latter are ongoing. Compiling a list of all the representations made by the Russian authorities on this case over the past two years would incur disproportionate costs.

Russia

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Written Answer by the Baroness Amos on 28 April (WA 63–64) concerning their representations to the Russian Government on violence against women in that country implies that they regard the Russian Government as having a reciprocal right to make representations in regard to policies, legislation or administration on social affairs in the United Kingdom.[HL3095]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Yes. We regard bilateral dialogue as a two-way process.

Iraq: Crimes against Humanity

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have evidence to justify consideration of legal action against any leading members of the former regime in Iraq for crimes against humanity; and whether any action is under active consideration. [HL3101]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have always believed that those who have been responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq should be brought to justice. UK forces have been tasked with securing and protecting evidence of such crimes as they encounter it and with handing it over to the relevant prosecuting authorities at the appropriate time. The UK sent a team of nine forensic experts to Iraq on 21 May to investigate war crimes and mass graves and to make recommendations for further assistance in this area.

We believe that it will be for the Iraqi people to decide what action to take, with suitable international help. A team of coalition specialists has started the process of assessing the situation on the ground, listening to the wishes of the Iraqi people, and making recommendations for future action.

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Water Supplies for Civilians in Times of War

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

    Whether they will seek to forbid the destruction or pollution of the supply of drinking water for civilian populations in periods of war or international armed conflict, as part of international humanitarian law.[HL3107]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: International humanitarian law already contains provisions on this matter. Under Article 54 of Additional Protocol 1 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which the UK is a party, it is expressly prohibited to attack, destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, including drinking water installations and supplies, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population, or for any other motive.

Zimbabwe: Frozen Assets

Lord Watson of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the total amount of funds held abroad by Mr Mugabe and his colleagues now frozen by the European Union.[HL3146]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Under the Common Position on Zimbabwe, the EU has frozen assets worth £586,910. Approximately £545,025 of this is frozen in the UK and Crown Dependencies.

Convention on the Future of Europe

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the areas which the Convention on the Future of Europe proposes should become subject to qualified majority voting or co-decision.[HL3164]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Annex VIII of document number CONV 727/03 of the Convention on the Future of Europe provides a complete list of the legal bases for which the draft EU constitutional treaty proposes changing the adoption procedure. That document is available on the convention's website (http://european-convention.eu.int) in the "Documents" section.

EU: Decision-making Procedures

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the policy areas which became subject to qualified majority voting or co-decision after the entry into force of the—

    (a) European Communities Act 1973 and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community;

    (b) Single European Act 1987;

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    (c) Treaty on European Union 1993 (Maastricht);

    (d) Treaty of Amsterdam 1999; and

    (e) Treaty of Nice 2002.[HL3165]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The European Communities Act 1973 provided in domestic law for the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community. It did not alter the decision-making procedures for policy areas.

I have placed in the Library a document detailing the movement of policy areas to qualified majority voting or co-decision after the entry into force of the Single European Act, the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice.


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