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Iran: EU External Relations

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts in advance of the forthcoming Council of Ministers meeting on the delisting of the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran from the EU terror list following the judgement of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities on 4 December 2008. (249291)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: We have discussed the CFI judgment and the current review of the EU list of terrorist organisations with EU partners.

We have made clear that we believe the Council should respect the judgment of the Court of First Instance annulling the listing of the PMOI when conducting its review

We expect a decision on a new list by the end of January.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs following the recent decision of the Court of First Instance, if he will make it his policy to vote against the continued inclusion of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran on the EU blacklist. (243666)

[holding answer 17 December 2008]: We have made clear our view that EU member states must respect the Court of First Instance's judgment annulling the listing of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran in the current review of the EU list of terrorist organisations. The review continues and a decision on the new list will be taken before the end of the month.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the decision by Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from Somalia on (a) the security situation in Somalia and (b) the continued operations of African Union forces in Somalia. (243875)

The Djibouti Agreement envisaged the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia as part of a process leading to a more broadly accepted government within the country. Ethiopian troops have now left Mogadishu and are beginning their withdrawal from Baidoa, the current seat of the Somali parliament.

Somali security forces supportive of the Djibouti process have taken over security posts vacated by Ethiopian troops. Together with African Union troops (AMISOM), they have ensured that the security situation has not deteriorated following Ethiopian withdrawal. Somali leaders in Mogadishu have called for a cessation of fighting and many displaced people have returned to the city.

The African Union has agreed to continue AMISOM's deployment in Somalia until 19 March 2009, and has requested additional financial and logistical support to continue its mission beyond this date. UN Security Council Resolution 1863 of 16 January 2009 addresses ways to provide this support.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in deploying a police component to the African Union force in Somalia; and if he will make a statement. (243877)

No African Union member state has so far contributed a police component to the African Union Mission in Somalia. The African Union force in Somalia currently consists of approximately 3,500 troops from Uganda and Burundi. This number may be reinforced by additional troops from African countries, up to the mandated number of 8,000 troops.