Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Israel and Palestine: Hamas

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We continue to be concerned about all Palestinian prisoners who are detained without trial, including elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. We, along with the EU, will continue to call for all those detained to be either released or subject to the due legal process. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised our concerns with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 28 May and in London officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised this issue with the Israeli embassy on 13 June.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: We continue to expect Hamas to adhere to the quartet principles of January 2006 (non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map). These principles are the fundamental conditions for a viable peace process. We hope that Hamas will accept the principles.



19 July 2007 : Column WA51

Israel and Palestine: Quartet

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We will engage closely with the Portuguese presidency on the Middle East peace process (MEPP). We have made clear our support for: the ongoing dialogue between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas; the efforts of the Arab League to take forward the Arab peace initiative; and the quartet’s engagement and appointment of a new special representative. The meeting on 25 June between Egyptian President Mubarak, King Abdullah of Jordan, Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas was also a positive step forward. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary looks forward to discussing the MEPP with the presidency and EU colleagues at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 23 July.

Israel and Palestine: Water Supply

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government are aware of water shortages in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. On 19 June, my right honourable friend the then Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) announced £1 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support a wide range of activities, including rebuilding water and sanitation facilities. The Department for International Development has also contributed £3 million to the emergency services support programme over the past 12 months to pay for essential equipment to keep power and water utilities running in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Btselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, and the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs are also engaged on this issue. Unfortunately, the joint water committee does not publish reports of its monitoring activities. The prevailing security situation also means that obtaining full and accurate reports is not always possible.

It is essential that Palestinians get a fair and equitable allocation of available water to support the fundamentals of a future Palestinian state and meet the Palestinian people's basic needs. We continue to raise this issue with parties and are also supporting the Palestine Liberation Organisation negotiation affairs department to strengthen its technical and legal capacity to support negotiations on water.



19 July 2007 : Column WA52

We continue to stress to the Israeli Government the importance of ensuring the continued provision of humanitarian services, including water, to the people of Gaza. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the importance of humanitarian assistance to Gaza with the Israeli Defence Ministry on 22 June. The embassy also raised the issue with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 June. The Israeli Government have made it clear that they intend to ensure that the people of Gaza's humanitarian needs are met.

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: We continue to stress to the Israeli Government the importance of ensuring the continued provision of humanitarian services, including water, to the people of Gaza. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the importance of humanitarian assistance to Gaza with the Israeli Defence Ministry on 22 June. The embassy also raised the issue with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 June. The Israeli Government have made it clear that they intend to ensure that the people of Gaza's humanitarian needs are met.

On 19 June, my right honourable friend the then Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) announced £1 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross, to support a wide range of activities, including rebuilding water and sanitation facilities.

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: Article VII of the Oslo peace accords signed in September 1993 made reference to the Palestinian Authority establishing a Palestinian water authority. The Oslo II interim agreement in September 1995 is more specific. The issue of water and sewage is covered in Annex III, article 40, available at: www.mideastweb.org/intanx3.htm#article1. Based on this article, the two parties were charged with establishing a joint water committee (JWC) which would be comprised of equal numbers of Israeli and Palestinian representatives. Part of the remit of the JWC, as a co-ordinating body, was to set up joint supervision and enforcement teams that would monitor the various mechanisms ensuring adequate distribution of water.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:



19 July 2007 : Column WA53

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The rolling stock listed in appendix 3 of the First Great Western franchise agreement is sufficient to operate the timetable commitments specified in the service level commitment for the First Great Western franchise from December 2007.

First Great Western (FGW) is not allowed to reduce the fleet without the Department for Transport’s approval, although there is a mechanism by which it can increase it.

FGW has increased the size of its fleet in response to operational needs, but details of the extra rolling stock are matters for FGW itself. Similarly, responsibility for delivering a service which meets the standards set in the franchise agreement is a matter for FGW.

Roads: Carriage of Goods

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are carefully considering the details of the proposal and are consulting stakeholders to ensure that their views are considered during negotiations. Our initial view is that the proposal is consistent with our aims of

19 July 2007 : Column WA54

levelling the playing field in international road haulage and improving road safety standards, without unnecessary administrative burdens.

Royal Air Force: Transport and Tanker Aircraft

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): The Royal Air Force transport fleet comprises C-17, Hercules C-130J/K, TriStar, VC10, HS 125, BAe 146 and Augusta A109E aircraft. The air refuelling aircraft are TriStar and VC10.

The age of these aircraft are listed in the following table:

Age of AircraftNumbers of Aircraft

More than 40 years old

27

Between 30 and 40 years old

9

Between 20 and 30 years old

17

Between 10 and 20 years

0

Less than 10 years old

31


Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page