Tag Archives: HM Government

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News story: Joint statement: India-UK Defence Partnership

Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley and Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP set out a shared vision for the India-UK Defence Partnership.

At the invitation of Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley, the Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP visited India for the India-UK Strategic Defence Dialogue during 11-14 April 2017. The visit reaffirmed and consolidated UK-India defence cooperation in the framework of the Defence and International Security Partnership, agreed in November 2015, and the subsequent Joint Statement between the governments of India and the UK in November 2016.

This enduring defence partnership will encompass not only cooperation in defence industry but also stronger military to military engagement, including training and advanced joint exercises.

The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness the complementary strengths of both nations in defence manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in both home and shared export markets.

The Defence Ministers will also continue to consult and co-ordinate policies across a range of global security challenges, especially those intended to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism, in pursuit of their shared goal of a more secure world.

An Enhanced Defence Partnership

Based on the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) and building on existing Defence Consultative Group (DCG) mechanisms, both sides will explore additional areas for institutional engagement.

The Ministers agreed to further strengthen their naval and maritime interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through the bilateral technical agreement to exchange information to track terrorist and pirate vessels, a key deliverable of the DISP. The two Ministers also agreed to further develop cooperation between the UK Hydrographic Office and the Indian Navy Hydrographic Office.

India and the UK will endeavour to build a range of Capability Partnerships focussing on varied aspects of military effectiveness such as specialised training interactions and exchange of best practices in the following areas: Counter Terrorism (CT), Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (CIED), Air Force Training, Air Total Safety, Aircraft Carriers, Maritime Safety, Shipbuilding and UN Peacekeeping. Efforts are already underway with exchanges of subject matter experts to discuss air safety collaboration and future CT requirements. The Ministers tasked the relevant Executive Steering Groups (ESGs) to finalise proposals for consideration at the next DCG meeting scheduled later this year. As India and UK continue to transform and modernise their defence structures with a shared desire to maximise the efficiencies and operational benefits of establishing joint force structures, the two Ministers agreed to sharing relevant experience in this domain.

Defence Industry

Whilst acknowledging the progress being made, the two Ministers recognised the potential for further cooperation in defence manufacturing between UK and Indian companies under the ‘Make in India’ framework.

Minister Jaitley welcomed the UK’s interest in manufacturing in India as evidenced through recent announcements including the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Bharat Dynamics Ltd and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems and efforts to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

To further encourage and facilitate cooperation between UK and Indian companies, the two Ministers agreed to extend the current Defence Equipment Cooperation MOU and work towards early completion of an expanded MOU that will provide a platform for UK and Indian industries to collaborate on and support transfer of technology on projects in areas of mutual interest.

The two Ministers welcomed measures to ensure life cycle support and sustenance of UK-origin defence platforms used by India, which may include setting up joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements.

The UK and India will encourage interactions between the Indian Army Design Bureau and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)/Army Capability Branch through their Defence Equipment Sub-Group.

The UK and India will explore establishing a secure communications method in order to share classified material. The two countries will also consider upgrading their bilateral General Security Arrangement.

Science and Technology

The two Ministers recognised the need for stronger R&D cooperation, including access to defence R&D training, to enable new and vibrant technology partnerships across the defence domain.

They noted recent progress made on Defence Science and Technology collaboration with the signing of the Phase 2 follow-on research Collaborative Project agreement on Human Sciences, signed at Aero India 2017.

Conclusion

The above commitments will better enable the UK and India to meet the evolving threats and challenges that face democracies in the 21st century. Both countries recognised their shared perspectives on the regional and international security situation and agreed to maintain their close interaction in this regard.

Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP thanked Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and looked forward to a return visit by the Minister of Defence to the UK.

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Speech: “Fear of the worst outcome should not restrain us from pursuing the best, which is a peaceful, just and stable Haiti.”

The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2350 today.

It is a good demonstration of how the UN should be sustaining peace through selecting the right tools at the right time for the right ends. As we argued on Tuesday, the Haiti of today is not the Haiti of 2004. It is a country on a trajectory towards greater stability. Peacekeeping troops performing a stabilisation role are no longer the right tool in Haiti. This resolution brings MINUSTAH to a close, and I welcome that. And we thank all of the troops, and all of the troop-contributing countries, for their service to MINUSTAH.

The United Nations holds other tools that are required for today’s Haiti. UN police units are still needed to uphold the security achieved to date – though ensuring that Haiti’s national police are able to perform this role themselves must now be the UN’s primary focus. Support for Haiti’s security capacities will not, alone, sustain peace in the country. As history has told us time and time again, it is the rule of law and the protection of human rights – not the capacity to use force – that delivers long-term stability. It is welcome that this resolution launches a new peace operation, MINUJUSTH, with sufficient mandate and authorisation to work towards these very ends.

Ultimately, however, the new mission has one overarching objective, which should be to work tirelessly to establish the conditions for its own redundancy. MINUJUSTH should be working towards a careful exit through the phased handover of responsibilities to the Haitian government and greater reliance on the tools of the UN country team. I’m glad that an exit plan will be developed from the very start of its deployment.

Haiti is still fragile. It needs the UN’s support, through a new peace operation in the short-term and the use of other UN tools soon after that. We can never have an absolute guarantee of continued stability in any context. The experience of peacekeeping withdraws in Haiti’s recent past loom large. But fear of the worst outcome should not restrain us from pursuing the best, which is a peaceful, just and stable Haiti standing proudly on her own two feet.

Thank you.

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Speech: “The Great Lakes region continues to face many challenges.”

Thank you, Madam President, for convening this important meeting, and also for maintaining this Council’s focus on conflict prevention in Africa. I join others in thanking Special Envoy Said Djinnit for his briefing. But also for the critical role that you play in making preventative diplomacy active. And also for the role that you play in including women in peace processes as Sweden and others have said.

Said, as you and others have made clear today, the Great Lakes region continues to face many challenges.

In response, it’s clear that a structured approach to regional stability is needed. We support work to reform and reinvigorate the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. It needs active engagement from its members and guarantors to have high impact. And that impact, as we’ve heard, is vital.

Today I personally want to focus on two countries in the region; the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. As we heard last month, the situation in DRC remains deeply troubling. I pay tribute to CENCO for their mediation efforts. But it is up to the government and the opposition to deliver the 31st of December Agreement in letter and in spirit, with purposeful speed.

What we’ve actually seen is stalling, and obfuscation, particularly by the government. This is not only hindering implementation of the agreement, but it is distracting attention from the real prize that is at stake; peaceful and credible elections to take place this year, enabling the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history.

Sadly, the obstacles to this goal go beyond inertia. The appointment of a new Prime Minister by President Kabila last week was an active step, and I agree with France it is a worrying one. It went against both the spirit and the letter of the Agreement. This appointment will not help to restore the broad national consensus that lies at the heart of the Agreement.

Until that consensus is built, the uncertainty of DRC’s politics risks being mirrored in the security situation, which continues to deteriorate. We are particularly concerned about the increase in violence and reports of atrocities in the Kasaii region. This underlines the importance of MINUSCO, and the joint human rights office, investigating violations and abuses of human rights and international law. Those who commit human rights violations will be held to account.

We are also concerned about the ongoing threat from armed groups, including the resurgence of the M23 in Eastern DRC and reiterate the need for dialogue, not just a military effort, in order to tackle armed groups. The resumption of talks between the Government of DRC and the M23 is vital, as is the implementation of the Nairobi declarations and repatriation of M23 and FLDR rebels. We support the Special Envoy in his efforts to make progress on these issues.

The presence of SPLA-IO elements in Eastern DRC is destabilising. We welcome efforts by SRSG Sidikou, as well as the SRSG, to find a solution and their engagement with regional partners. We need to find a regional solution urgently to avoid exacerbating tensions in fragile local communities. We ask that the Secretariat keep the Council updated.

Turning to the concerning situation in Burundi; the regime claims that normality is returning to the country. It is not. A climate of fear persists as disappearances, arbitrary arrests and killings continue almost daily. The government still shows no sign of acting in the interests of its people, and seems to be concerned only with clinging on to power. Moves by President Nkurunziza to enable him to remain in power for a fourth term, and possibly beyond, risk bringing the country to the brink once again. The government’s refusal to engage with the international community is especially worrying. And some of the language and activity of the Imbonerakure, as others have said earlier in this session, is truly horrific.

Here, in this open session, I call on the government of Burundi to participate fully in the talks being led by former-President Mkapa. These talks, which must be open and sincere as France has said, remain the best hope of resolving the crisis peacefully. We urge the government to enable implementation of resolution 2303, that this Council passed, and to allow the OHCHR to conduct its work without hindrance and to cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry, which was mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. I agree with Egypt and Sweden that the Peacebuilding Commission has an important role to play in all of this.

Madam President,

We know how difficult it is to bring peace and stability to a country or a region after conflict. But we also know that it can be done, and that there is nothing inevitable about the future. The governments of DRC and Burundi can step back from their current course, they can take decisions in the interests of their people, and they can avoid bloodshed and instability in this very fragile region.

It is the duty of all countries in this Council to support that course and to do all we can to implement our own resolutions. Given the significance that Ethiopia has already talked about in terms of the wider strategic posture of this region, it is really important that we all do our best right now.

Thank you.

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Speech: “Russia has chosen to protect the perpetrators of these attacks rather than work with the rest of the international community to condemn them.”

Thank you Madam President.

The conflict that has ravaged Syria has lasted for more than six years. For the people of Syria that must feel like an eternity. Here in this chamber we only get so many moments to act. Only so many moments to show them that hope is not dead; for the world to unite in condemnation of war crimes. Today was one of those moments.

What happened in Khan Sheikhoun last week was the worst of human acts. UK scientists have now analysed samples obtained from Khan Sheikhoun. And these samples have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance. We therefore share the US assessment that it is highly likely that the regime was responsible for a sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

We recognise the need for a thorough, swift, independent investigation. Russia’s Foreign Minister has this afternoon also called for such an investigation. Yet Russia has vetoed a resolution that would support that investigation. Their messages are mixed, their aims confused. The OPCW fact finding mission, and the Syrian people, need our political support – something that we should have been able to give as a Security Council. The UK will continue to give this support, and regardless of today’s votes the work of the OPCW will continue.

We’ve once again encountered a Russian veto, the 8th time that Russia has used its veto to protect the Syrian regime. This one is even more regrettable given that Russia was the architect of the 2013 agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons programme, an initiative that has demonstrably failed.

Russia cannot now possibly claim that it opposes the use of chemical weapons. Russia has seen the same pictures that we all saw just days ago in this chamber. How could anyone look at the faces of lifeless children and choose to veto a resolution condemning those deaths?

It is indefensible that Russia has chosen to protect the perpetrators of these attacks rather than work with the rest of the international community to condemn them.

When those images and videos were broadcast across screens around the world, my team received a message from another child. From Bana Alabed, the 7 year old Syrian girl from Aleppo, who, with the help of her mother, has given the world a window into the conflict through Twitter.

The message she sent was simple: “You can make a difference. Demand justice for the children.” She is one voice, but one that echoes the views of millions of Syrians. “Demand justice for the children” – the heartbreaking truth is that a little girl’s plea will not be heard in this Chamber. Not today.

But regardless of the veto today, trust these words: we will hold the regime to account. We will continue to work with our international partners to put an end to any use of chemical weapons and to seek justice for all the victims of these heinous chemical attacks. We will gather in the OPCW in The Hague tomorrow to discuss how best to support a credible international investigation that establishes who was responsible and paves the way to hold the culprits to account.

The catastrophe in Syria is not the way it has to be. Yesterday Foreign Ministers from the G7 and key Regional Countries came together in Italy to discuss how to move forward from last week’s tragedy. They gave strong support to Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Moscow today to discuss how Russia could work with the international community to end the tragedy of the war in Syria.

Russia has the sort of influence over the regime that could bring to an end the regime’s use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs and could lead to a real ceasefire that then leads to the resumption of serious political negotiations on a political transition. Those Foreign Ministers indicated that if Russia took these steps, the international [community] would be ready to work with Russia to bring peace to Syria, defeat Da’esh and terrorism, and reconstruct Syria.

So this is the choice Moscow has in front of it. The world now waits to see if Russia will respond to the G7 and assume its responsibilities as a Permanent Member of the Security Council to help put a stop to the Asad regime’s use of chemical weapons and to work with the international community to bring this tragedy to an end.

Thank you.

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News story: Money saving deal for schools’ printers

DfE recommends a deal that makes buying printers easier and saves schools money. The first schools to use the new buying framework saved more than 40% on their previous contract prices.

The deal is one of many in the schools’ buying strategy that aim to make buying easier and offer the best value for schools.

This is a single-supplier deal for Canon UK products. Canon has made the ordering process simple with easy-to-use search and comparison tools. After registering schools have only to choose their preferred device and, if required, select any additional items offered. Canon has a dedicated schools help desk.

Schools do not have to obtain 3 quotes when using the deal as this was done during the framework competition process. Schools needing to check whether this deal meets their local procurement rules should contact us: Schools.ICTSUPPORT@education.gov.uk.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS), Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) and YPO Framework for Multifunctional Devices (MFDs) jointly created the framework (RM3781).

The framework has 2 ‘lots’ (deals) which may be of interest to schools:

Lot 1: ‘Print equipment’ described above.

Lot 2: ‘Multifunctional devices’ may also be of interest to schools. It has multiple suppliers so the school must run a further competition. This lot may appeal to schools working in collaboration, or to a multi-academy trust running an aggregation for their schools, as there is potential for further price reductions due to higher device volumes.

Comments from some schools who have already used the deal:

Ross Bowell at Wimborne Academy Trust:

We are using the new CCS framework across our trust for our MFD requirements.

Lot 1 works very well for small schools such as ours with straightforward printing and scanning needs.

We have seen lower black and white print costs but when we tested the total life costs including colour printing and lease costs against other frameworks and suppliers we found the CCS route to be the best value.

The customer support from Canon has been excellent to date and considerably better than our experience on the previous CCS framework.

Nicola Hall at Walnut Tree Walk Primary School:

I thought the process was very straightforward – so straightforward I had to check what I was doing was correct!

Much easier to understand and see what our payments would be.

The prices were amazing in comparison to what we were paying, so pleasantly surprised.

Best deal by far.

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