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Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK contribution is to the fund provided by the European Union to the Iraqi Government; and if she will make a statement. (75069)

On 22 May 2006, the European Commission announced its intention to allocate €200 million to Iraq for 2006 to build the capacity of Iraqi Ministries and institutions, to assist the constitutional review process, and to promote good governance and the rule of law. This new contribution comes on top of the €518 million provided between 2003 and 2005. The UK share of these contributions is 17.5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts about the setting up of a European Commission presence in Baghdad; and if she will make a statement. (75144)

At the 2 November 2004 General Affairs and External Relations Council, EU Foreign Ministers invited the Commission to enhance as appropriate, and with due regard to security, its presence in Baghdad. The Commission intends to open an office soon, which will be based initially in the British embassy in Baghdad. My officials are in close contact with the Commission to finalise the details.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK's role is in restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure; and if she will make a statement. (78905)

UK-sponsored experts and advisers have worked alongside Iraqi, US and World Bank colleagues to help Iraq consider its options to restore its oil infrastructure. UK Trade and Industry has played a role through a UK-Iraq Joint Board on Learning in the Oil Sector. This aims to help repair some of the skill and knowledge gaps in the sector, including the training of English language trainers for the oil industry.

The Government stand ready to further assist the Government of Iraq to restore its energy sector as required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what technical assistance the UK is giving to the development of the judicial system and the training of judges in Iraq. (78907)

The United Kingdom offers a wide range of support to the Iraqi justice system, including:

training over 260 Iraqi judges, prosecutors, lawyers and justice department officials in human rights, international humanitarian law and independence of the judiciary. This has included training Iraqi trainers to implement humanitarian law training in Iraq;

contribution to an international fund that meets the cost of international advisers to the Iraqi High Tribunal, recruited by the tribunal to provide advice on international law in the trial of Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime;

supporting the development of judicial networks, in particular of young lawyers, in association with the Iraqi Bar Association;

offering support and assistance to help ensure the Central Criminal Court of Iraq has the capacity to uphold the Rule of Law.

The United Kingdom also supports the European Union’s integrated Rule of Law Mission, training senior officials from Iraq’s judicial, police and correctional services in the UK. The courses expose participants to UK working practices, methods of cooperation across the Rule of Law sector, and the importance of an overall approach which integrates respect for human rights.