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Middle East

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work her Department is undertaking to examine economic aspects of the Middle East peace process. (102768)

We remain concerned at the economic situation in the Occupied Territories. The economic aspect of the peace process is important. We continue to call upon both parties to implement the Agreement on Movement and Access and the dismantling of checkpoints and roadblocks. We are also working closely with HM Treasury to take work forward to improve the economic situation. I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary, gave to him on 1 November 2006, Official Report, column 541W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) she and (b) members of her Department have had with (i) the United Nations Secretary General and (ii) his representatives on proposals to resolve the status of the Shebaa Farms area in accordance with UNSCR 1701; and if she will make a statement. (103503)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have had wide ranging discussions with the UN Secretary-General and other UN officials about the situation in Lebanon, including the Shebaa Farms.

The UK supports UN Security Council Resolutions 1680 and 1701 which call for action by Lebanon and Syria to delineate their common border, especially where the border is uncertain or disputed.

The UN has confirmed that they are working to establish the cartographic, legal and political implications of a Lebanese proposal to place the Shebaa Farms under UN jurisdiction until border delineation and Lebanese sovereignty over them are fully settled.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her assessment is of progress made in the formation of (a) a Palestinian unity government and (b) commitment to the Quartet principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel and commitment to previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. (103504)

We welcome Palestinian President Abbas' continuing efforts to form a new government. We will look at the programme of any government closely. We want to see a Palestinian government with which we can do business. It must be based upon the three Quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) principles: renunciation of violence; recognition of Israel; and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap. We remain concerned that neither the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, nor Hamas as a movement, has committed to these principles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the publications available on the history of Israel's nuclear programme referred to in the answer of 2 May 2006 to question reference 68592 on the Middle East include all relevant documentation from the UK Government; and if she will make a statement. (103635)

I can confirm that the publications available on the history of the Israel's nuclear programme, referred to in my written answer to my hon. Friend on 8 May, Official Report, column 54W, include declassified files from the Government from the 1950s and the 1960s, which are now held at the Public Records Office at Kew.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) Israel and (b) Syria on the future of the Golan Heights. (104251)

None. The roadmap remains the internationally endorsed route to a settlement of all three tracks of the Middle East Peace Process. It makes clear that issues such as the Golan Heights are for negotiation. Building momentum on the Palestinian-track in Phase I should lead to progress on all other tracks in Phases II and III. We are fully prepared to support this process, but it is essential that Syria works to support it too and not seek to undermine it by pursuing policies which reduce rather than increase the prospects of peace.