'CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF USAMA BIN LADEN'S ROLE IN 11 SEPTEMBER TERRORIST ATTACKS' - JACK STRAW
The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, made a statement on 13 December about the video, released by the US authorities, that ‘provides conclusive evidence of Usama bin Laden and Al Qa’ida’s role in the 11 September terrorist attacks’. ‘This totally vindicates the action that we, the US and the international coalition have taken in Afghanistan’, he said, ‘we will not stop until all of our objectives have been met’.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JACK STRAW CONDEMNS INDIAN PARLIAMENT ATTACK
The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, today condemned the attack on the Indian Parliament. ‘Terrorism wherever it occurs is unacceptable. I unreservedly condemn those responsible for this attack on the heart of Indian democracy’, he said.
‘GIVING WOMEN A VOICE’ IN AFGHANISTAN
In a parliamentary debate on the situation of women in Afghanistan, on 13 December, FCO Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said that ‘one of the most appalling features of the Taliban regime has been its treatment of women’. He highlighted the fact that women are now playing a major part in the work to rebuild Afghanistan, both politically and socially, and urged that ‘the international community should consult the women of Afghanistan about their priorities’. Mr Bradshaw focused on the improvements that are already taking place in the lives of Afghan women and stressed his hope that ‘the voice of women will have a major role in shaping’ the future of Afghanistan.
A CAREFUL AND MATURE APPROACH TO ZIMBABWE
In a Parliamentary debate on Zimbabwe, on 12 December, FCO Minister, Baroness Amos, emphasised the importance of international consensus as ‘the best route to a resolution of Zimbabwe's crisis’. Looking in particular at the issues of land reform, sanctions and the forth-coming elections in Zimbabwe, she said that the debate should now focus on ‘how the international community can best achieve a change in direction’ and pledged commitment to ‘a democratic, stable and prosperous Zimbabwe’ in the future.
ENTRY CLEARANCE INDEPENDENT MONITOR’S ANNUAL REPORT
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office published the eighth Annual Report by the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance on 13 December. Minister of State, Ben Bradshaw said: ‘I very much welcome the Report which acknowledges the high standards of our entry clearance operation overseas and the Government’s commitment to ensuring that it continues to operate fairly and professionally’.
‘RELAUNCHING THE DIALOGUE ON GIBRALTAR’
Speaking at a debate on Gibraltar in the House of Lords on 12 December, FCO Minister of State, Baroness Symons, said that a new opportunity existed, '...to resolve historic tensions and forge a new relationship between Gibraltar and Spain, (and) to allow the people of Gibraltar to look forward with confidence to a better and more secure future.' Calling for new thinking on the subject from all sides, she said that a rational and open-minded attitude was necessary to strike the best deal for the community of interests involved.
HIGHLY SKILLED PEOPLE GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE TO THE UK
Talented people with exceptional skills, abilities or experience will be able to apply to come to the UK to seek work under the new Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), Home Office Minister Lord Rooker announced today. From January 2002, applications will be assessed on a points-based system of qualifications and experience.
THE HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANT PROGRAMME
Angela Eagle, Home Office Minister today responded to a Parliament Question concerning the decision to enable highly skilled individuals to come to the UK to seek employment. The programme, she said, would 'attract highly mobile people with the special talents that are required in a modern economy'.
CHANGE OF HIGH COMMISSIONER TO YAOUNDE - RICHARD WILDASH
Richard Wildash has been appointed High Commissioner to Yaounde in succession to Peter Boon who will be retiring from the Diplomatic Service. Mr Wildash will take up his new appointment in June 2002.
JACK STRAW APPOINTS NEW GOVERNOR OF THE WESTMINSTER FOUNDATION FOR DEMOCRACY
The Foreign Secretary has appointed Gisela Stuart MP to serve as a Governor on the Board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
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