6 Nov 2001 : Column: 121W
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements have been put in place for the people of Gibraltar to participate in elections to the European Parliament. 
Peter Hain: We are actively working to ensure Gibraltar's enfranchisement in time for the 2004 elections to the European Parliament. We plan to consult the Government of Gibraltar soon about the precise detail of the necessary arrangements.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has made to the motion passed by the Gibraltar House of Assembly requesting Her Majesty's Government to seek a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice on the right of self-determination and the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713; and if he will make a statement. 
However, HMG's position on this issue has been consistent since the mid-1960s. We believe that Gibraltar's right of self-determination is not constrained by the treaty of Utrecht except in so far as Article X gives Spain the right of refusal, should Britain ever renounce sovereignty. Thus independence would only be an option with Spanish consent.
Peter Hain: The Foreign Secretary and Spanish Foreign Minister Pique met on 26 July to re-launch the Brussels process. A further ministerial meeting will be held in Barcelona on 20 November. Both we and the Spanish Government hope that the Chief Minister of Gibraltar will participate in this meeting. Normal contacts between the UK and Spanish and the UK and Gibraltar Governments in preparation for these talks will continue. The Government stand by their commitments to the people of Gibraltar as set out in the preamble to the Gibraltar constitution.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the talks in July under the Brussels process with Spanish officials regarding Gibraltar; what the agenda is for the discussions under the Brussels process; and what guidelines are being issued to officials leading up to the negotiations. 
6 Nov 2001 : Column: 122W
Peter Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Trend) on 10 July 2001, Official Report, column 473W, regarding the Government's decision to resume talks with Spain under the Brussels process. In accordance with the terms of the Brussels communique issued in November 1984, the talks are aimed at overcoming all the differences between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar and at promoting co-operation on a mutually beneficial basis on economic, cultural, touristic, aviation, military and environmental matters. The communique establishes that issues of sovereignty will be discussed under the Brussels process.
Through these talks we aim to build a better future for Gibraltar. Both we and the Spanish Government intend that Gibraltar should be fully engaged in this process, and hope that the Chief Minister will participate at the next ministerial meeting planned for 20 November in Barcelona. Normal contacts between the UK and Spanish and the UK and Gibraltar Governments in preparation for these talks will continue. The Government will stand by their commitments to the people of Gibraltar as set out in the preamble to the Gibraltar constitution.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of statements from the Spanish Government relating to responsibility for the payment of increases in pensions to Spaniards who worked in Gibraltar prior to 1969; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: Spanish nationals who worked in Gibraltar before 1969 and who are now retired and living in Spain, are eligible to receive pension payments from the Gibraltar social insurance fund. Pension payments under the SIF are awarded to all beneficiaries in line with contributions made.
After the decision was taken in 1988 to wind up the SIF, by 31 December 1993, the UK and Gibraltar Governments agreed in 1996 to set up a new 'closed' scheme to provide for on-going pension benefits to all beneficiaries of the old SIF scheme. Payments to all beneficiaries under the 'closed' scheme were fixed at the level payable at 31 December 1993. The Spanish authorities were kept informed of decisions regarding the dissolution of the Gibraltar social insurance fund.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has asked the European Commission to initiate legal proceedings against the Government of Spain on the grounds of its failure to allow the use of Gibraltar's internationally recognised dialling code by telephone companies in Spain. 
Peter Hain: We are in close contact with the Government of Gibraltar on this matter. We raise the question of Gibraltar's telecommunications situation with the Spanish Government, at both ministerial and official level, at every appropriate opportunity. Most recently, I raised the matter with my Spanish counterpart, Sr de Miguel, on 29 October.
Two private competition complaints have been brought before the Commission by Gibtel and Gibraltar Nynex Communications. We have supported these complaints in our dealings with the Commission and we will continue to ensure that the Commission is fully aware of our concerns.
6 Nov 2001 : Column: 123W
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he is making to the European Commission and other relevant European Union institutions to ensure that citizens of Gibraltar are accorded the right to participate in elections to the European Parliament. 
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the policy papers which he has produced relating to the objectives of the (a) action in Afghanistan and (b) international coalition against terrorism. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Secretary of State placed the paper "Defeating International Terrorism: Campaign Objectives" in the House of Commons Library on 16 October 2001. This paper sets out the objectives of the international coalition against terrorism and our action in Afghanistan.
Mr. Bradshaw: We work bilaterally and through the EU and the UN to combat the illegal drugs trade. The UK supports counter-drugs work and capacity-building in all of the key countries concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine to the UK and Europe. These include Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, the central Asian republics, Central Europe, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Jamaica and the countries of the eastern Caribbean. We also work closely with the United States and our European partners.
Afghanistan's leading role in world opium production was the focus of a meeting of representatives of countries close to Afghanistan and of the main donor countries to the UNDCP, in Vienna on 11 October 2001.
Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Burma regarding the continued imprisonment of Min Ko Naing (also known as Paw Oo Tun). 
We welcome the release so far this year of over 180 political prisoners, but many more remain in detention. We will continue to press for the early release of all political prisoners, including Miss Ko Naing.
6 Nov 2001 : Column: 124W
on Belize, if High Commission staff arranged calls to the two public investment companies in order to arrange meetings between the companies and KPMG; and what the result of these calls was. 
Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expects to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, originally scheduled for 69 October 2001 and now due to be held in Australia early next year. The dates and agenda for the meeting have not yet been set. But we expect Heads of Government to discuss the Commonwealth's response to terrorism as well as the high level group review of the Commonwealth.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|