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Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consultations he has had with (a) the United Nations and (b) the International Red Cross about the use of cluster bombs. 
Mr. Bradshaw: As part of the review process of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UK co-sponsored a working paper proposing a way ahead for future work on explosive remnants of war, including cluster bombs. The UK will continue to participate actively in the UN as discussions develop, aiming to work together with EU partners and other States' parties, towards a practical solution that addresses humanitarian concerns while safeguarding the UK's military requirements. UK officials have also participated in discussions, about cluster bombs, with the International Committee of the Red Cross, in the context of consultations about the ICRC's proposals on explosive remnants of war.
Mr. Bradshaw: The Gambian Independent Electoral Commission is in the preliminary stages of planning for parliamentary elections to be held on January 17 2002. Similar arrangements to the October Presidential elections
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will be used, including the unique marble system of voting. The voter education campaign is not yet finalised, but will also follow a similar course to the Presidential election, where the turnout was high (89 per cent.). The British observing team found the Presidential election well organised, fair and transparent on the day. I hope that the Parliamentary elections will be conducted in a similar manner. The Independent Electoral Commission has told us it will invite all those who observed the Presidential election, and others, to observe the parliamentary elections.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of existing international efforts to prevent ballistic missile proliferation, with particular reference to the MTCR; and what international plans there are to strengthen these efforts. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has done a good job in countering the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction through the co-ordination of the export controls of its 33 members. But it is not comprehensive in its membership or scope. The UK has therefore been active in the development of an International Code of Conduct (ICOC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. A draft text was agreed by MTCR members at their plenary meeting in Ottawa in September 2001, and will now be opened for wider negotiation. We hope the Code will become a universally accepted international agreement establishing global standards of practice in an area where currently there are none.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has made to the Russian suggestion to engage permanent members of the Security Council in negotiations on nuclear weapons reductions. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are parties to the Outer Space Treaty and other treaties that place some important limitations on military activity in space, prohibiting the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space and military activity on the moon and other celestial bodies. While we do not wish to see a general prohibition on the military use of outer space we do recognise that there are legitimate concerns about these issues and support further consideration of them within the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
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Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State visited during her recent visit to Zimbabwe with the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group; whom she met; and what discussions she has had since returning from the region. 
Mr. Bradshaw: My noble Friend Baroness Amos and the Commonwealth Committee visited Harare and toured two farms, one near Masvingo and one in Marondera in Mashonaland East. She met members of the Zimbabwe Government as well as groups and organisations representing chiefs, farmers, war veterans, ZANU(PF), the MDC, the churches, UNDP, NGOs, the media and the Electoral Supervisory Commission. Since the visit Baroness Amos has discussed Zimbabwe with Ministers from SADC countries and with senior US officials.
Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the letter of 6 September from the hon. Member for Putney with regard to his constituent, Mr. M. Sandhu (GV100/69005/JS). 
Peter Hain: The Secretary of State has raised the human rights situation in Chechnya with the Russian Foreign Minister on a number of occasions, most recently during his visit to Moscow on 31 October.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings have been held with the US administration of Diego Garcia on the conditions relating to the return of the Ilois people to the islands; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: There have been no recent meetings with the US administration on this matter but it has been discussed once since my hon. Friend last asked this question on 26 April 2001, Official Report, columns 33738W.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings he has held with the Government of Morocco concerning their occupation of the Western Sahara. 
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he expects the UN administration in the Western Sahara to name a date for a referendum on the future governance of the territory. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: The UK supported United Nations Security Council resolution 1359, which was passed unanimously on 29 June 2001. This reiterated full support for the on-going efforts of MINURSO to implement the settlement plan and the agreements by the parties to hold a free, fair and impartial referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
The resolution does, however, reaffirm the UN's commitment to assist the parties in achieving a just and lasting solution to the question of the Western Sahara. The personal envoy of the Secretary-General is currently engaged in an attempt to resolve the dispute. The special envoy is discussing with the parties the draft framework agreement (as set out in the United Nations Secretary-General's report of June 2001) which may offer a mutually agreed political solution to the dispute. He has also discussed with the Polisario their proposals to overcome the obstacles faced in the settlement plan.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the proposal of the Japanese Government to expand membership of the Security Council. 
Peter Hain: The UK is a strong advocate of Security Council reform, which is discussed at the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council Reform at the United Nations in New York. Since views differ widely on what the size and shape of the Security Council should be progress has been slow.
Like Japan and a number of other countries, we support enlargement of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership. We believe that a Council along these lines could provide an acceptable balance between retaining effectivness and making the Council more representative of the modern world.
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