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Pakistan

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Pakistan concerning the timetable for the return to democracy. [129592]

Mr. Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Love) on 27 June 2000, Official Report, columns 446-47W.

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his role in formulating the first draft of the Charter of Fundamental Rights at the start of the German Presidency of the Council of Ministers; and if he will deposit the text of that draft in the Library. [129821]

Mr. Vaz: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend for Gateshead, East and Washington, West (Ms Quin) (the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office) gave him on 17 June 1999, Official Report, column 226W.

10 Jul 2000 : Column: 391W

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he first was informed of the interest shown by the German Presidency of the Council of Ministers in the formulation of a Charter of Fundamental Rights. [129922]

Mr. Vaz: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 6 December 1999, Official Report, column 405W.

India

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Indian Government concerning the recent violence against Christians in India. [129661]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 7 July 2000]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns over attacks on religious minorities with the Indian Home Minister, L. K. Advani, during this visit to London in June. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also discussed freedom of religion with the Indian Minister for External Affairs, Jaswant Singh, during his visit to India in April. We will continue to make our concerns known.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of attacks on Christians and their places of worship in (a) Uttar Pradesh, (b) Andhra Pradesh, (c) Karnataka and (d) Goa in India. [129520]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 7 July 2000]: We are aware of attacks on Christians in India, including the murder of a Brother George Kuzhikandham in Uttar Pradesh and the bomb attacks on churches in Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh in June. We regularly raise our concerns over incidents of religious intolerance with the Indian Government. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the Bill in Uttar Pradesh introducing restrictions on the use and construction of places of worship in India; and what representations he has made to the Indian Government. [129710]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 7 July 2000]: We are aware of the Uttar Pradesh Religious Places Bill. Although we have not discussed the Bill with the Indian Government, we have regularly raised our concerns over incidents of religious intolerance in India. The Indian authorities can be in no doubt about our commitment to freedom of religion and the rights of minorities.

Security and Defence Policy

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Council's legal opinion on whether the Cologne and Helsinki councils' decisions regarding security and defence policy require treaty amendments. [129924]

Mr. Vaz: The Presidency report to the Feira European Council on strengthening the common European security and defence policy took note of the opinion of the Council Legal Service. The Government joined other member states in adopting the report by consensus at the Feira European Council. The issue of Treaty change will continue to be examined between the Feira and Nice European Councils.

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Currency Transactions

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the 24 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Social Development, with particular reference to the conclusions concerning the possible taxation of international currency transactions. [129286]

Mr. Hain: The Special Session of the General Assembly, following up the World Summit for Social Development, protected the commitments made by governments in Copenhagen five years ago and identified some new, forward-looking initiatives. One such initiative is an analysis of proposals for developing new and innovative sources of funding for social development.

EU Accession

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited each of the states currently engaged in accession negotiations with the EU. [129781]

Mr. Vaz: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last visited the following countries currently engaged in accession negotiations on the dates shown:

CountryDate
Bulgaria19-20 October 1998
Czech Republic27-28 November 1997
Estonia26 July 1999
Hungary26 November 1997
Poland28 November 1997
Romania21-22 October 1998
Slovakia6 March 2000
Slovenia23 November 1998

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also visited Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership, on 18-19 November 1999. He plans to visit Hungary on 25 July and the Czech Republic on 26 July. Of the other countries in negotiation for EU membership, I myself have just returned from a visit to Malta on 5-6 July and plan to visit Latvia and Lithuania in the autumn. I have also visited Hungary on 18-19 October and Poland on 19-20 October last year.

Animal Experiments

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to consult British embassies about animal experimentation overseas. [129780]

Mr. Hain: Our Embassies continue to monitor the development of science policy in their host countries. I have no plans to consult Embassies about animal experimentation overseas.

Euro (Leaked Telegram)

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Ministers in his Department were informed of the leaking of the telegram from the British Ambassador to Japan on the Government's euro policy; and if he will take steps to establish how this document was made public. [129442]

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Mr. Battle: Ministers were first informed of the leak in the late afternoon of Monday 3 July. An inquiry is under way.

Financial Bodies

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the total cost to public funds so far of Her Majesty's Government participation in the (a) Financial Action Task Force and (b) Financial Stability Forum. [126755]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

Her Majesty's Government have, since 1997, paid £75,429.87 in subscription towards the UK's membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The subscription for 2000 is approximately £25,000. Information for previous years is not readily available. FATF meetings are attended by officials from HM Treasury, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, HM Customs and Excise and the Financial Services Authority. Details of costs incurred from travel and accommodation resulting from participating at FATF meetings could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Costs incurred by Her Majesty's Government to date in participating in the Financial Stability Forum, consisting of travel costs, accommodation costs, and subsistence are £23,677.59. These costs were incurred in attending the three meetings of the Financial Stability Forum, and also through HM Treasury's participation in the Financial Stability Forum's working group on Offshore Centres.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Roads and Highways SSA

Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the standard spending assessment relating to roads and other highways for each English county for (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99, (d) 1999-2000 and (e) 2000-01 (i) in total cash terms and (ii) as a percentage of the standard spending assessment; and if he will make a statement. [125719]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The information has been placed in the Library.

GMOs

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the current contracts between his Department and the Central Science Laboratory that are connected with GMOs. [128066]

Mr. Meacher: The Department does not as such have any contracts with the Central Science Laboratory because they are an Agency of Government and Government

10 Jul 2000 : Column: 394W

cannot enforce a contract with themselves. CSL are, however, currently working for my Department on three projects:






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