HL Deb 02 November 2000 vol 618 c114WA
Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the annual report of the British-Russian Centre/British East-West Centre will be available. [HL4444]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Copies of the centres' annual report for Financial Year 1999–2000 were placed in the Library of the House last week. The centres received grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of £230,850 to support their activities in 1999–2000. In addition, the centres secured funding of £257,130 for direct expenditure on projects. The centres manage projects to promote and support the development of democratic institutions and the rule of law and society in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Activities last year included organisation of the UK team of OSCE observers to the Russian Duma elections, hosting a human rights seminar in Minsk, co-hosting a conference on the Russian economy and organising visits and lectures.

The FCO's Quinquennial Review of the centres in 1999 confirmed that the centres continued to make a valuable contribution to the strengthening of bilateral relations with Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The review's main recommendation was that the FCO's grant-in-aid should be spent on the project work of the centres and that membership activities should become self-financing. The centres have begun to implement this recommendation.