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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The Sherman report concludes that there is sufficient credible evidence to suggest that it is more likely than not that the journalists who died at Balibo on 16th October 1975 were killed by members of an attacking force under Indonesian officers consisting of Indonesian irregular troops and anti-Fretilin East Timorese, in circumstances of continuing fighting. In the light of this conclusion we have contacted the Australian and Indonesian Governments to indicate our continued close interest in this matter. We have also told the Indonesian Government that we await with interest their response to the Australian request for their views on how to seek further clarification, within Indonesia, of the events surrounding the deaths, as suggested by Mr. Sherman, with a view to establishing the full truth of what went on. Pending that response it would be premature to address the possibilities proposed by the noble Lord.
Why their uncertainty about the fisheries round Rockall, which represent 0.2 per cent. of Scottish catches, has remained undetected as "complicated" until now, despite their statements over the years that they accepted these parts of the UN Law of the Sea as international customary law; and which department of state has raised them at this late stage.
In what ways UK fishery limits currently fail to coincide with the UN Law of the Sea provisions.
What amendment of the Scottish fishery limits could not be secured by Order in Council under Section 1(2) the Fishery Limits Act 1976; and, if any, what has delayed such action.
Whether, in view of the provisions of the convention establishing the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and of the European Union's common fisheries policy relating to these areas, they have consulted with ICES or with DG XIV of the European Commission.
With what national bodies and industries in the maritime field which have collaborated with them since 1974 in negotiating the UNCLOS texts they have consulted over their decisions not to accede in time to nominate to or vote for the Law of the Sea Tribunal, and what has been the reaction to their decision.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: In the light of a number of continuing uncertainties in the situation with regard to fisheries issues, the Government have concluded that now is not an appropriate time to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The timing of accession remains under review and Parliament will be informed as soon as the Government have taken a decision. The candidate for the Law of the Sea Tribunal nominated by Her Majesty's Government has also been nominated by France, and therefore remains eligible. Her Majesty's Government strongly support his candidacy.
Measuring British fishery limits from Rockall is believed to be inconsistent with the convention's provision that rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone. Any amendment to British fishery limits can be made by Order in Council under Section 1(2) of the Fishery Limits Act 1976.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): A copy of the code of practice has been deposited in the Library today, together with a list of signatories. The Association of Art and Antique Dealers (formerly the London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association) has not signed the code. However, the association is a member of CINOA (Confederation Internationale des Negociants en Oeuvres d'Art), which has a similar code of practice. I have placed a copy in the Library.
Lord Inglewood: It is for the members of the United Kingdom antiquities trade to monitor those members who have subscribed to the voluntary code of practice and to apply any appropriate sanctions for infraction of the code. This is an internal matter for the trade, and not one in which the Government are involved.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Whether it is appropriate to do so, international political considerations are taken into account, along with all other relevant factors, in our procurement decision-making process. These are geared to providing the necessary equipment which offers the best overall value for money for our Armed Forces. Her Majesty's Government will continue to promote on a regular basis the need for a visible two-way street in defence trade between the UK and the US, and in particular the need for reciprocal market access, giving UK industry a fair chance to compete for US requirements.
Earl Howe: Government-to-government arrangements for US funded work performed by the UK are called letters of offer and acceptance (LOAs). Since the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries in December 1985, 27 such LOAs have been awarded, amounting to a total value of 115 million dollars, with the work being carried out by UK industry and the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. The purpose of two arrangements is classified; the remainder are as follows:
Since 1985, over 80 direct contracts have been awarded to UK firms and universities. Details of these are a matter for the parties concerned.
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