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Israel

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what account Her Majesty's Government have taken, in connection with imports from Israel under preferences, of public communications by the Government of Israel stating that Israel issues certificates of origin according to its own definition of territoriality. [130178]

Mr. Vaz: The European Commission is responsible for enforcing the trade provisions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, under which Israel exports goods to the EU. The UK is currently participating in a Commission-led verification exercise in respect of goods imported from Israel. In this context the UK is aware of the communications made by the Israelis.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures that do not rely on Israel's co-operation the Government have taken as a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to ensure (a) that neither Britain's nor the European Community's own resources accrue to the benefit of Israel's illegal settlements and (b) that Israel's application of its own definition of territoriality in respect of its trade agreements with the EC does not persist under the EC-Israel Association Agreement that has just come into effect. [130179]

Mr. Vaz: The UK is not aware of any circumstances in which the UK or the EU's resources might accrue to the benefit of Israel's illegal settlements.

The European Commission will continue to enforce the trade provisions of the new EU-Israel Association Agreement and is currently conducting a verification exercise to confirm the origin of certain products exported from Israel.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps Britain has taken to ensure that the European Community ensures that Israel conducts its preferential trade relations with the Community in a manner that accords with its agreements with the EC and with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 in respect of products from settlements located in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. [130197]

Mr. Vaz: The UK is participating in a European Community wide verification exercise initiated by the European Commission to confirm the origin of certain products exported from Israel.

Zimbabwe

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom observers were accredited by the Zimbabwe authorities as election monitors. [130432]

Mr. Hain: No Britons were accredited by the Zimbabwe authorities as election observers, but there were Britons on the administrative staff of both the EU and the Commonwealth observer missions.

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Diamond Imports (Sierra Leone)

Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the introduction of a United Nations embargo on the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone. [130797]

Mr. Hain: The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1306(2000) on 5 July which prohibits the direct or indirect import of all rough diamonds from Sierra Leone to the territory of member states. The resolution also decides that rough diamonds controlled by the Government of Sierra Leone through a Certificate of Origin regime shall be exempt from the measures when the UN Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone has reported to the Council that an effective regime is fully in operation.

Britain played a leading role in promoting resolution 1306 in the UN Security Council. Diamonds are at the heart of the tragedy in Sierra Leone and this resolution sends a powerful signal about the need to end the trade in conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone.

The embargo on Sierra Leone rough diamonds is established for an initial period of 18 months. At the end of this period the Security Council will review the situation in Sierra Leone, including the extent of the Government's authority over the diamond-producing areas, in order to decide whether to extend the restrictions for a further period, and if necessary, to modify them or adopt further measures.

The embargo is implemented in the UK by means of an amendment to the Open General Import Licence. Orders in Council under the United Nations Act 1946 will be made to implement the restrictions in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.

Strategic Export Controls

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Government's response to the Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees' report (HC 225) on the 1997 and 1998 Annual reports on Strategic Export Controls will be published. [130973]

Mr. Hain: We will publish the response to the Committees' Report (HC 225) on Friday 14 July. It will be published as a Command Paper at 12.00 pm and copies will be available in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office in the House of Lords.

Diplomatic Representation

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those British ambassadors and high commissioners who are (a) women and (b) members of an ethnic minority; and if he will express the number in each category as a percentage of the total number of ambassadors and high commissioners. [130401]

Mr. Hain: Out of a total of 144 Ambassadors and High Commissioners currently seven (4.9 per cent.) are women. A further seven women are head of subordinate posts.

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There are currently no Ambassadors or High Commissioners who have declared themselves to be of a minority ethnic origin.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list for each British embassy or high commission the (a) staff numbers, (b) salary costs and (c) running costs for the financial years (i) 1997-98, (ii) 1998-99, (iii) 1999-2000 and the projected levels for (iv) 2000-01 and (v) 2001-02. [130122]

Mr. Hain: Much of the information requested by the hon. Member is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The remainder of the information will take some time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member shortly with the information. Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Drugs Control

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs where the UN Drugs Control Programme field trials using Fusarium Oxysporum have been conducted. [130452]

Mr. Battle: UNDCP research into Fusarium Oxysporum, including field testing, has been conducted at a US Government research station in Hawaii.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) which UN-sponsored fungal herbicide field trial projects his Department supports to combat (a) coca, (b) opium and (c) marijuana; [130453]

Mr. Battle: The UNDCP research into Fusarium Oxysporum is fully funded by the United States. Her Majesty's Government were not approached for funding of this research.

UNDCP research into the viability of Pleospora Papaveracea, a naturally occurring fungus, as a control agent specific to opium poppy, is supported in part by UK funding, from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, of £100,000 which was granted in 1997. The UK is not funding UNDCP research into any other fungal herbicides.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with members of the UN Drugs Control Programme concerning the criteria used to decide where field trials of fungal herbicides to combat coca, opium and marijuana crops take place. [130456]

Mr. Battle: The decision on where field trials are held is made by the UNDCP and the authorities of the country where the trials are to take place. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have not had discussions with UNDCP on this issue.

However, we have made it clear that if research into Pleospora Papaveracea showed it to be harmful to the environment, the UK would withdraw support and press for closure of the research programme.

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EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Sure Start

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he plans to authorise a further round of local Sure Start programmes. [130726]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and I have today invited applications to set up a Sure Start programme in each of the following 65 districts in England:

















































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We have placed a copy of the guidance for this application round in the Library.

These 65 applications are in addition to 59 trailblazer areas, which are now delivering services to children and families, and a further 70 second wave areas, which have now submitted their plans and are on course to start delivering services from the autumn.


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