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House of Commons statement on sanctions

[Hansard 15 March, 1999: Written Answers]
Sanctions Policy

Ms Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs what the Government's policy is on sanctions; and if he will make
a statement. [77194]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: The Government have recently completed a wide-ranging
review of its sanctions policy. All Whitehall Departments with an interest
in sanctions were involved in the review. 

As a result, the Government have decided to launch a new policy of better
targeted "smarter" sanctions. This will sharpen the focus and
effectiveness of sanctions whilst trying to minimise their impact on
ordinary people, including children, and on our own commercial and
economic interests. 

Apart from the threat of or use of force, which will remain essential in
the more extreme cases, sanctions are the only coercive measure available
to the international community to respond to challenges to international
peace and security. The review concluded that they will remain an
important tool of our foreign policy. 

The review also concluded, however, that better targeting would be likely
to enhance the effectiveness of international sanctions and minimise the
risk of harm to ordinary people. A range of sanctions, of varying type and
severity, is available and different measures may be selected depending on
particular circumstances.  Comprehensive sanctions should be reserved for
cases where the objective is to isolate and contain a very serious

15 Mar 1999 : Column: 516

The review concluded that although the circumstances in which sanctions
are imposed vary from case to case, there are a number of broad principles
that should normally be followed. Sanctions should: 
be targeted to hit the regime, rather than ordinary people.
 include exemptions to minimise the humanitarian impact on innocent
 have clear objectives, including well-defined and realistic demands
against which compliance can be judged, and a clear exit strategy. 
 have effective arrangements for implementation and enforcement by all
states, especially be neighbouring countries. 
 avoid unnecessary adverse impact on UK economic and commercial

The review also agreed a revised set of inter-Departmental procedures for
the efficient imposition, amendment, and lifting of sanctions, as well as
for their enforcement and monitoring. These will further improve
co-ordination between Whitehall Departments on sanctions issues. 

I shall keep the House informed of current sanctions and their scope on a
yearly basis. All new sanctions or any amendments to existing sanctions
will be announced at the time. We shall shortly be laying in the Library
of the House a list of all sanctions imposed by the UK. An updated version
will be laid in the Library annually (or more frequently if policy changes
require a revision).

Colin Rowat
King's College                                                 
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219

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