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Middle East

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has received from the EU Commissioner for External Relations regarding the outcome of her recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories; and if she will make a statement. (81730)

I have had no specific discussions with EU Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner regarding the outcome of her visit, but we have remained in close contact with the European Commission on a number of issues relating to her visit, such as the temporary international mechanism.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 1003W, on the Middle East, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of existing security arrangements in the Gulf; and if she will make a statement. (84141)

Security of the Gulf is vital to our interests. We support a number of initiatives in the region, such as the International Institute of Strategic Studies' regional “Gulf Dialogue”. Cabinet level delegations have attended the two conferences in Bahrain in 2004 and 2005. If any initiative is to be successful, leadership must come from the region.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations she is undertaking to ascertain whether military equipment or components supplied directly or indirectly from the UK are being used by Israel in the military action it has been taking inside Lebanon since 12 July. (86592)

In common with all of our diplomatic posts, our Embassy in Tel Aviv monitors local developments closely and notes any information which comes to light that military equipment supplied by the UK has been used in a manner inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. The Government will take this into consideration when assessing any future export licence applications. The Government may also revoke relevant licence(s) and ask the authorities in the country concerned to investigate.

All export licence applications from the UK are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria, taking full account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application.