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Mr. Llwyd: I know of the hon. Lady's great interest in the problems of the Kurds and similar situations worldwide. She may be interested to learn that last year a rally was held in Bala against the Ilisu dam, and it was well attended by Kurdish people. I am pleased to say that the proposal for the dam has now been shelved.
Ann Clwyd: I played a role in getting that project shelved, so I have taken an interest in it. The Kurdish-Welsh link is an interesting one. Many Kurds were trained in Cardiff, Bangor or Swansea, or at the North Wales institute, and they have built up links with the Welsh. I mention the four Turkish Kurdish MPs because the European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that the legal proceedings against themLeyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Doganwere unfair and called for compensation and damages to be paid to them. Despite all our efforts, they remain in prison. That is an absolute scandal, and we should put more pressure on the Turkish authorities to release them.
The four MPs were imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. Leyla Zana was imprisoned because, as she took the oath in the Turkish Parliament, she wore the traditional Kurdish colours of red, yellow and green in her headband. Her colleagues wore handkerchiefs in their pockets in the same colours. As she took her oath, there were cries of "Separatist", "Traitor", "Arrest her" and even "Hang her".
The Turks have much to learn from us in Wales on how two linguistic communities can live side by side in harmony, using both languages and with television channels and radio stations for both. Welsh language broadcasting no longer causes much trouble, in the days of satellite television which gives people a choice. We are an example of how to achieve the harmony that could also be achieved in Turkey. That country is an applicant for membership of the EU, but a Turkish truck driver has recently been sentenced to three years in prison for listening to a cassette of Kurdish music. Such persecution should not be tolerated without protest by those of us in the EU, especially in Wales, where we know that it is possible to co-exist and use both languages.
I know that many people in Wales take a great interest in the fate of Leyla Zana. When I visited her last year, I was told that I could not take her any letters, but I took her a birthday card in Welsh which the prison authorities allowed through. She was pleased to receive the card because it was her birthday on the day that I visited her. She should not be in prison and the Turks should either give her a fresh trial or release her.
Some two weeks ago I visited Jenin, where I met a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was based in Geneva, but he came from Bangor. For three days, he had been waiting at the entrance of the refugee camp in Jenin, hoping to be allowed in to use his skills. He was not able to do so, because the Israelis prevented international organisations, including the ICRC, from gaining access to the camp and its civilian inhabitants.
It is an outrage that the United Nations has been refused permission to send a committee of investigation into Jenin, where we suspect that many violations of humanitarian law took place. It undermines the authority of the UN and the Secretary-General. Our Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister have tried hard behind the scenes and the Security Council will meet yet again to decide on a resolution.
Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy): I intended to concentrate my remarks on tourism, but I realised that the hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) had decided likewise. I must have made the wrong decision.
Mr. Llwyd: Indeed. However, I shall speak mostly about tourism so I wish to declare an interest. My daughter, Catrin, is a professional actress and she appears in the television advert for the Wales Tourist Board, which several hon. Members have mentioned. As a family, we are doing our bit. However, I shall be brief and I shall not take half as much time as some other hon. Members, because I know that others wish to speak.
The report that we are discussing refers to three main areasthe marketing of Wales as a destination for tourism, Welsh representation in governance at UK and EU level, and the marketing of Welsh trading interests in creative industries.
The report is a good one. The responses from the Assembly and the Government are heartening in parts, although disappointing here and there. We must see how the process develops. As the Secretary of State said, we are in the immediate post-devolution period. We are all trying to see how everything fits in. Clearly, it behoves us to work together to increase Wales's potential as a tourist destination. I am sure that that is why we are here today.
It is interesting to compare the responses. The Assembly seems to agree with the report's conclusion that more needs to be done to promote Wales, whereas the UK Government seem more satisfied with the present situation. Certain witnesses from the British Tourist Authority thought that the appropriate number of visitors to Wales could be calculated as a proportion of its population. That is a bizarre idea.
I say this with great respect to the BTA, but it is easy to sell holidays based in London, Stratford and Edinburgh. The hon. Member for Clwyd, South (Mr. Jones), the Chairman of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs, has already made that point. Wales is fitted in almost as, "By the way, how about a few days in Wales?" It is obvious that people who have been up to Edinburgh and back down to London do not want to cross into Wales. A conflict of interest is therefore bound to exist.
However, I am not whingeing. The English Tourism Council is entitled to market England abroad by itself, and through the BTA. Wales is therefore placed at a bit of a disadvantage. The report tries to tackle such matters. I am
In its response, the Assembly agrees that Wales's profile is too low. It outlines what it has done to raise it, and some good progress has been made. For example, Wales is due to host some high-profile events, with the Ryder cup golf tournament being held there in 2008. The FA cup final is being held in Cardiff on SaturdayI shall be there to do my bit, although I am not sure yet which team to supportand we must not forget the rugby world cup tournament. Rugby is a painful subject just now in Wales, so I shall not refer to it further today.
The Secretary of State spoke about liaison with the motor regions of Europe. High-profile visits have been made recently to the National Assembly for Wales by the Taoiseach, President Pujol of Catalonia, and the vice-premier of China. However, many of Wales's key overseas markets remain unaware of the realities of foot and mouth, either through misinformation or misunderstanding.
Many people in the USand I say this with respectthink that one cannot eat meat safely in Wales or the rest of the UK because of foot and mouth. That is clearly nonsense, but I regret to say that that impression is still abroad. In addition, the horrific events of 11 September have had a significant impact on Wales's largest tourism market.
I am glad to say that the budget for the WTB for 200102 rose by 30 per cent. The total is still a quarter of that for the tourist board in the Irish Republic, but we are getting there: we cannot expect to complete the journey overnight.
The WTB is due to receive objective 1 money for a couple of projects. Reference has been made to the creation of Cymru'n Creu, a body to co-ordinate raising Wales's profile abroad. The Assembly states that it
When the Under-Secretary of State for Wales winds up the debate, I hope that he will say what is happening with Cymru'n Creu, and what further developments there have been. If he cannot do so today, I hope that he will write to me.
A sub-committee has been established in the National Assembly which is called "Wales in the World." Not much has been heard of it so far, and I should be grateful if the Under Secretary told us what he knows about it. The debate is important, and the committee has a role to play in keeping it going. As the hon. Member for Ribble Valley said, it is to be hoped that the papers for today will not be packed away and forgotten about. I see no reason why Members of Parliament should not try to assist the committee by feeding it information.
I fail to see the logic of that assertion, which makes no sense at all. What is the population of Stratford-on-Avon? What percentage of all visitors go there? The Government's response is based on a strange assumption.
The main point is that there is a need to relaunch a rural tourism strategy. We must not allow the current malaise in rural areas, which stems from the knock-on problems from foot and mouth, to persist. Very often, the agricultural community and the tourist sector are inextricably linked. Some people are therefore liable to have suffered a double whammy: those who have tried to diversify into tourism have been hit not once, but twice.
Farm-based tourism has been hit, but it remains a growth area. It needs to be developed. The events of the past couple of years should not deter us from the taskand the challengeof ensuring that farm-based tourism in Wales is brought up to speed. However, that has to be done fairly swiftly, as we are on the verge of the reform of the common agricultural policy.
Wales could also be well placed to profit from green tourism. Diversification will make it possible for such tourism to expand in Wales. We need to make sure that Wales makes full use of its great natural assets.
I take issue with the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik), who referred to the number of acres in Wales devoted to farming. Farmers are the custodians of the landscape. If their custodianship were not careful, no part of rural Wales would be considered a tourist attraction. However, if I misunderstood him, I should be happy to allow him to intervene.