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Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1205W, on whales, which other foreign Governments she intends to lobby before the 2007 International Whaling Commission meeting; (128620)

(2) on whaling, whether she has approached the Government of any foreign country which voted in favour of lifting the moratorium on whaling at the 2006 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting to lobby them to vote to maintain the international moratorium at the 2007 IWC meeting;

(3) which seven foreign Governments her Department has approached; which two expressed the intention of joining the International Whaling Commission and voting with the UK; what the intentions of the other five countries are; and if she will make a statement.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts continue to lobby in the run-up to the next International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in May. 17 countries have now been approached since the last IWC meeting in June 2006: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Guatemala, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Uruguay.

Croatia and Cyprus have now joined the IWC. Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Turkey have committed themselves to joining as soon as domestic legislative procedures allow. Guatemala is a member but is undecided whether it will participate this year. Uruguay is a lapsed member and has not made a decision about re-joining. Andorra and Liechtenstein will not join due to lack of administrative capacity. Other countries listed, apart from Mongolia, have yet to make a final decision on joining.

Mongolia is an IWC member which voted to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling at last year’s IWC meeting. The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not confirmed how it will vote this year, or if it will attend.

Future lobbying plans are under discussion.