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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): On 6 April 1995, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, we agreed with the other P4 members (USA, Russia, France) Positive and Negative Security Assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These assurances imply responsibilities which we take very seriously. They were welcomed by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 984.
The NPT Review and Extension Conference agreed to adopt a set of Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. This states inter alia that "further steps should be considered to assure non-nuclear-weapon States party to the Treaty against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. These steps could take the form of an internationally legally binding instrument".
We have been concerned for some time about reports that Israel may have a nuclear weapons programme. We continue to urge Israel to allay international suspicions and accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We continue to be deeply concerned about reports of abuses in certain Chinese state orphanages. We believe that conditions in Chinese state orphanages vary, as do the quality and number of staff. We do not however have unrestricted access to Chinese orphanages and our investigations are inevitably incomplete.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We remain to be convinced of the present regime's commitment to restore civilian democratic rule. Basic human rights, such as freedom of speech, association and political activity are still not permitted. Both we and our EU and other partners continue to press for a credible timetable for a return to democracy.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We continue to follow closely events in Kenya in such areas as democracy, good government, human rights and economic reform. We note that in some respects there has been good progress while in other areas there are still grounds for concern. We are in touch with the Kenyan authorities and other aid donors about the implications for aid policies.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We remain concerned about the continuing conflict in Liberia and its impact on the civilian population. The recent summit in Abuja failed to agree on a cease-fire or Council of State and the arms embargo continues to be flouted. Nevertheless we shall continue to support the efforts of the UN and regional leaders to find a peaceful solution.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are concerned about the political situation in Algeria and about human rights abuses in the country. We deplore the appalling violence on both sides. We call for a wider dialogue involving all those who reject violence with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the Algerian crisis and holding elections on an agreed basis. We welcome the Algerian Government's efforts to pursue economic reform and supported the granting in May of an IMF Extended Financing Facility for the country.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Viscount Astor): Visual Arts UK is a year-long celebration of the visual arts which will take place in the North of England in 1996. It is part of a wider Arts Council led initiative, Arts 2000, which aims to celebrate a different art form in a different part of the UK in each year between 1992 and 2000. The project is supported financially by the Arts Council, Northern Arts Board and a wide range of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the region. Her Majesty's Government applauds the
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): Recruitment to the Civil Service is a matter for individual departments, although they must comply with certain centrally-prescribed rules; for example that, with limited exceptions, recruitment should be on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Just under 20,000 people were recruited to permanent posts in the Home Civil Service in the year ending 31 March 1995.
There are five types of short-term temporary appointments in use in the Civil Service. Departments and agencies use these appointments where there is a management need to employ people for a short period rather than make a permanent appointment.
Short Notice, Standby, and Recurring Temporary Appointments involve appointees making themselves available for short periods of work that arise, or have been scheduled. There are varying degrees of length and commitment as to the period of employment between these types of appointment.