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15 Jul 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Gifting of equipment and matériel to the Afghan National Security Forces will generally be co-ordinated with ISAF. Thus far approval has been granted to gift various check points, logistic support bridges and some medical supplies. (Written Answer (WA), 15 Jul 13.)
The Foreign Secretary announced publication of the 29th progress report on development in Afghanistan since November 2010. (Written Statement, 16 Jul 13.)
A number of measures were put in place at Camp Bastion to conserve fuel stocks: one of these measures involved the short term reduction in the use of non-essential air conditioning. (WA, 16 Jul 13.)
31 Squadron RAF handed over to 12 (B) Squadron RAF as the Tornado Detachment at Kandahar Air Field on 14 Jul 13. (RAF, 17 Jul 13.) The UK will initially contribute around 90 of the 120 mentors at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy. The UK will maintain its current development assistance of £178m a year until 2017 as well as £70m a year until at least 2017 towards sustaining the ANSF. (House of Lords, 17 Jul 13.)
“Supporting economic growth is one of the three priority areas for DfID.s work in Afghanistan, alongside work to improve political stability and helping the State to deliver improved services.” (WA, 18 Jul 13.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary paid a two-day visit to Pakistan (17/18 Jul 13) in order to underline “the UK’s continued commitment to a deep, long-term and strategic relationship.” The Foreign Secretary’s visit followed one by the Prime Minister during which a £3,000m bilateral trade target for 2015 was announced. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/29, 22 Jul 13)
16 Jul 13. Syria: Chemical Weapons Protective Equipment. In a Written Statement (16 Jul 13), the Foreign Secretary said that the UK planned to equip the Syrian opposition with 5,000 escape hoods, nerve-agent pre-treatment tablets and chemical weapons detector paper. It is planned to make the gift on or after 3 Aug 13.
Comment: The gift of chemical weapons protective equipment is made against the intelligence that chemical weapons, including sarin, have been used by the Assad regime. Further details are listed in the above Written Statement. A Written Answer on 17 Jul 13, by the International Development Secretary, described the humanitarian situation in Syria as “catastrophic”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/29, 22 Jul 13)
16 Jul 13. Annual Report and Accounts 2012/13: Publication. The Defence Secretary published (16 Jul 13) the Annual Report and Accounts 2012/13, which “provides a comprehensive overview” of the MoD’s financial performance together with data on some specific areas of non-financial performance. These latter areas include ‘Operations and other Major Responsibilities’ and ‘Transforming and Delivering Defence.’
Comment: The Report is published as HC 38, for £38:75, and should be read in conjunction with a complementary statement from the National Audit Office (www.nao.org.uk/). Although the accounts have been qualified. (again), the grounds for disagreement appear to be largely technical. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/29, 22 Jul 13)
16 Jul 13. Mali: Continuing Support. A Foreign Office Minister said (16 Jul 13) that the UK continues to support wider international efforts to rebuild peace and stability in Mali. The UK is contributing 37 military personnel plus civilian human rights experts to the EU Training Mission for the Malian Armed Forces. Two Staff Officers have been seconded to the UN Peacekeeping Operation (MINUSMA), which deployed on 1 Jul 13. In 2013 so far, the UK has given £12m in aid to Mali for the provision of food, medicine and support to refugees.