HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 c846
18. Valerie Davey (Bristol, West)

What recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the USA about the International Criminal Court. [69594]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Denis MacShane)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had discussions with the United States Secretary of State on the ICC, resulting in United Nations Security Council resolution 1422, which was unanimously adopted on 12 July 2002 and which respects the statute of the court and allows the US to continue to participate in UN peacekeeping operations.

Valerie Davey

I welcome that reply, but there is a clear recognition that that is a compromise. May I ask the Minister whether there will be ongoing debate or dialogue with the United States so that we do not have another US stand-off position in a year's time?

Mr. MacShane

My hon. Friend is right. That is why the Foreign Secretary is continuing those discussions. The United States Senate, Congress and leadership have always been unwilling to sign up to the International Criminal Court. We continue to try hard to persuade them that an international rule of law in this area is the right way forward, and that will continue to be our position.

Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South)

I welcome the Minister's statement. Does he agree that this is sending a bad signal to other nations, especially when we bear it in mind that there is a fall-back position: the United States could take any action against any of its citizens? In that context, would it not be better to encourage the United States to join international law enforcement as well as international law keeping?

Mr. MacShane

The hon. Gentleman makes his point effectively. I would hope that every hon. Member, even those who voted against the Third Reading of the International Criminal Court Bill, now supports his position.

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