HC Deb 27 November 2003 vol 415 c421W
Mr. Pope

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what talks he has had with his counterparts in(a) Syria and (b) Iran regarding human rights in those countries.[140934]

Mr. Rammell

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary makes a point of raising our grave concerns about both countries' human rights record whenever he is able to. In 2003 he has done so with his Iranian counterpart on 6 February, 29 June and 24 September. He has not met the Syrian Foreign Minister this year. But we regularly raise human rights concerns with Syria, both bilaterally and in conjunction with EU partners. I spoke of Syria's human rights failings in a Syria adjournment debate on 2 July and my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Mike O'Brien) raised the issue with President Bashar al-Assad during his visit to Damascus on 5 March.

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