10 Dec 10. Committees on Arms Export Controls – Announcement of First Evidence Session. Members from four select committees will be holding an oral evidence session as part of their inquiry into the UK’s Strategic Export Controls Annual Report for 2009 and related issues. The Committees will gather together on Monday 13 December to take evidence from Amnesty UK, Oxfam GB and Saferworld followed by a second panel of witnesses comprising defence manufacturers and exporters. This will be the first time that the Committees have met to take evidence as part of their current inquiry into strategic export controls announced, which was announced on 23 October.
Mr Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK
Martin Butcher, Oxfam GB
Mr Robert Parker, Saferworld
Representatives of Industry
Mr David Hayes, David Hayes Export Controls, Chairman of the Export Group for Aerospace and Defence (EGAD)
Mr Brinley Salzmann, AeroSpace, Defence and Security Group (ADS), Secretary of EGAD
Mrs Susan Griffiths, MBDA Missile Systems
Mr Barry Fletcher, Fletcher International Export Consultancy
08 Dec 10. Franco-British Defence Co-operation: Parliamentary Working Group. The four Parliamentary Defence Committees of France and the UK have set up an informal Parliamentary Working Group on bilateral Defence Co-operation. The first meeting of the Group was held in the French Senate on 8 Dec 10 with representatives of: the French Senate, the French National Assembly, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Group is to meet twice a year, alternately in France and in the UK. The selected two working themes for 2011 are: The transition in Afghanistan and Co-operation on drones.
Comment: The purpose of the Working Group is to keep track of bilateral Defence co-operation, studying
the implementation of the Treaties signed on 2 Nov 10 and discussing all Defence and security issues of
mutual interest. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/48, 13 Dec 10)
09 Dec 10. The Commonwealth: UK’s Relationship. The Foreign Secretary said (9 Dec 10) that the Government has “undertaken to strengthen the UK’s relationship with the Commonwealth and to ensure that the UK is closely involved in plans to reinvigorate this unique organisation”. The Foreign Office is to lead a co-ordinated, cross-Whitehall approach “to help the Commonwealth achieve its potential”.
Comment: The Foreign Secretary’s views are set out in a Written Statement which was published in Hansard for 9 Dec 10 (starting in Column 41WS). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/48, 13 Dec 10)
04 Dec 10. Bahrain: Visit by Defence Secretary. The Defence Secretary visited Bahrain (4/5 Dec 10) where he gave a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue 2010. Dr Fox stressed that the UK Government and the international community would not tolerate an Iranian nuclear capability. Among other engagements, the Defence Secretary visited HMS ENTERPRISE, which is working alongside the Omani Naval Survey Branch in the Gulf of Oman.
Comment: Dr Fox previously visited Bahrain on 24 May 10, on his way back from Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/48, 13 Dec 10)
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 09 Dec 2010
Afghanistan: Armed Forces
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many recruits there were to the Afghan National Army in each month of 2009 and 2010; 
(2) how many people left the Afghan National Army in each month of 2009 and 2010. 
Dr Fox [holding answer 2 December 2010]: We are making excellent progress on growing the Afghan National Security Forces and are currently ahead of schedule for meeting the target of 171,600 Afghan National Army by the end of 2011. Recruitment and retention are matters for the Government of Afghanistan but we will continue to work closely with them to help build their capacity and capab