Monday 22 June 2015
Gifting of Equipment to the Kurdish Regional Government
I am laying a departmental minute today concerning the gifting of military equipment to the Government of Iraq (GOI), including the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). This is at the request of the KRG.
The UK is providing extensive support to the GOI in the continuing fight against ISIL, with the gifting of equipment forming a significant part of this. Previously, HMG has gifted 50 tonnes of non-lethal support, 40 heavy machine guns and nearly half a million rounds of ammunition to the Kurdish Peshmerga. The latest equipment to be gifted to the Peshmerga consists of additional medical supplies. The supplies will consist of items such as tourniquets, bandage kits and dressings for wounds and will fill a significant gap in their resources, leading to the preservation of life and proper treatment of injuries sustained in combat.
It is estimated that the total cost of the equipment will be approximately £600,000, although this may change dependent on the need of the KRG.
The informal G6 group of Ministers of the Interior from the six largest European Union countries held its most recent meeting in Dresden on 1 and 2 June 2015. Representatives of the United States of America and the European Commission attended for part of the meeting.
The summit was chaired by the German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere and I represented the United Kingdom. The other participating states were represented by Jorge Fernandez Diaz (Spain), Teresa Piotrowska (Poland), Bernard Cazeneuve (France), and Filippo Bubbico (Italy). The USA was represented by Alejandro Mayorkas (Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security) and Loretta Lynch (US Attorney General). The European Commission was represented by Dimitris Avramopoulos (Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship).
The first two sessions took place on 1 June. The first consisted of a discussion on the upcoming JHA Council and organised crime, with a focus on burglary and vehicle theft. On the latter, the hosts explained that both crimes are on the increase in Germany and are often committed simultaneously by organised gangs who move around Europe. A number of other countries have experienced the same problem. In the UK car crime and burglary are falling. The second session was a discussion on co-operation on migration and refugee policy with third countries. The Commission set out its proposals. In the ensuing discussion, G6 members exchanged views on the scale of the problem facing EU, the scale of the response needed and the importance of member states fulfilling their obligations under the Dublin regulation.
On Tuesday 2 June, the third session covered Islamist terrorism with a focus on current developments and the prevention of radicalisation. Germany, along with other G6 countries, has seen large numbers of residents leave to fight in Syria or Iraq. A number of those have subsequently returned and discussion focused on how best to prevent member state nationals leaving their home countries and how best the movements of foreign fighters can be monitored. The fourth session was a discussion on international co-operation on cyber-crime. As technology progresses and cloud computing grows, cyber-crime is becoming an increasingly borderless crime. The G6 members discussed how best we are able to co-operate to address the problem and considered the implementation of the Budapest convention on cyber-crime.
In my interventions, I outlined the large amount of work the UK is doing to address the current migratory pressures including supporting regional protection programmes, the deployment of UK vessels in the Mediterranean and our work to disrupt the groups carrying out organised immigration crime. In that context, I reiterated the UK’s opposition to mandatory burden sharing at EU level. During the session on organised crime I highlighted the opportunities that are offered by the proactive use of the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SISII) to identify lost and stolen vehicles. When discussing the prevention of radicalisation I highlighted the need for the G6 countries to challenge the ISIL narrative and disprove the claims ISIL make. I also stressed the need for the passenger name record (PNR) directive to allow member states to share information about the passenger movements, including those of foreign fighters, and the importance of allowing the collection of data on flights within the European Union. At the final session on cyber-crime I reiterated the UK’s support for the implementation of the Budapest convention and the need for international co-operation given the international nature of the crime.
I announced at the meeting that the next G6 will take place in the UK in November 2015.