§ Mr. Connarty
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of the General Affairs and External Relations Council held on 14 to 15 June; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. MacShane
The information is as follows:Outcome of the 14 June 2004 General Affairs and External Relations Council
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I represented the UK at the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) in Luxembourg on 14 June 2004.1330W
Conclusions were agreed on Iraq, Middle East Peace Process, Western Balkans, ESDP, WMD, Afghanistan, European Neighbourhood Policy, Moldova, Sudan, and the Africa/Great Lakes region.
General affairs session
Progress of work in other council configurations
The Council took note of a progress report from the Presidency on work under way in other Council configurations since the last report on 17 May (Education Youth and Culture Council, Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, Agriculture and Fisheries Council).
Preparation for the 17 and 18 June European council
The Council worked on the draft Conclusions for the 17 and 18 June European Council meeting in Brussels. These covered issues such as: EU enlargement; EU financial perspective for the 2007–13 period; and external relations issues, including Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
External relations session
Ministers welcomed the medium term strategy on Iraq, which had been prepared jointly by High Representative Solana and the Commission. Partners underlined the need to engage with the new Iraq Authorities as well as with Iraq's neighbours and also stressed the importance of Iraqi ownership of the transition process.
Ministers discussed the issue of ASEM enlargement. The Council agreed that the EU would continue to work closely with its Asian partners to try and secure a decision on enlargement before the 8 to 9 October Hanoi Summit. The Council also agreed to postpone two ASEM senior officials meetings scheduled for this summer.
Middle East peace process
Partners discussed current plans for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza but debate was limited as more detailed discussion was expected by Heads of Government at the European Council later that week.
The GAERC took place in parallel to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors meeting on the Iranian nuclear programme. The Council reiterated earlier calls for Iran to co-operate proactively with the IAEA, with a view to resolving all outstanding concerns in relation to its nuclear programme. Ministers also repeated their full support for the work of the IAEA and for the efforts of its Director General, Dr. El Baradei.
The Council discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, including the first round of the Serbian presidential elections. Conclusions were agreed on Serbia and Montenegro; Kosovo; the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe; and European Partnerships.
The Council approved Conclusions on ESDP, which covered issues such as ESDP support in Africa, the Georgia Rule of Law mission, and preparation for the operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.1331W
EU strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
High Representative Solana gave a short summary of work to date and the Council agreed draft Conclusions.
Any other business
Ministers also discussed the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the situation in Nepal.