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Mrs. Beckett: We have already implemented the proposals of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons for better explanatory material to be published with Bills, increased pre-legislative scrutiny and more freedom for standing committees. The House will have the opportunity to debate the Modernisation Committee's proposals for programming legislation in due course.
Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the visit to the United Kingdom of Professor Moshe Arens to raise funds for a college in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. 
Mr. Hain: Settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. We have repeatedly raised our concerns and objections with the Israeli Government.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the setting up of a checkpoint by Turkish troops at Strovilia in the Republic of Cyprus; and what discussions he has had about this with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 
Mr. Vaz: The UK regrets the setting up of a checkpoint in Strovilia and has made this clear to the Turkish Cypriots. This action is one of the measures taken by the Turkish Cypriots against UNFICYP, which we consider to be unjustified. But the matter is fundamentally for the UN to resolve, and we have given them our full support in their efforts to do so. We understand that despite the restrictions UNFICYP are still able to carry out their mandate and the people of Strovilia are able to travel freely.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's position regarding the dispute between Belize and Guatemala. 
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Mr. Battle: The UK fully supports Belize's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome the talks currently taking place between Belize and Guatemala under the auspices of the Organisation of American States. We welcome the agreement at their most recent meeting on 17-20 July to hold further talks on the dispute, to implement confidence building measures and to establish military to military contacts.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards the UN Settlement Plan for Western Sahara and the proposed referendum. 
Mr. Hain: We support fully the efforts of the United Nations to bring about a just, durable and agreed resolution to the Western Sahara dispute. The UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, James Baker, have reported fundamental differences between the two parties to the dispute--Morocco and the Polisario Front--on the provisions of the UN Settlement Plan and referendum. They are working to resolve these differences including the possibility of the parties agreeing a mutually acceptable political solution.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 13 July 2000, Official Report, column 652W, on diplomatic representation, in which countries (a) female ambassadors and high commissioners and (b) the female heads of subordinate posts represent the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Battle: The seventh report in this series, covering the period January-June 2000, was published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and
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Mr. Casale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the names of the diplomatic missions and international organisations in the United Kingdom which have outstanding balances of over £10,000 as at 4 April, in respect of National Non-Domestic Rates. 
Mr. Battle: Most diplomatic missions and International Organisations in the United Kingdom meet their obligations and pay the National Non-Domestic Rates requested from them. However, at 4 April 2000 the following missions owed over £10,000 in respect of National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR):
Seven additional Diplomatic Missions who owe £10,000 or more in respect of National Non-Domestic Rates have made arrangements with the Valuation Office Agency to clear the outstanding debts or who are awaiting instructions from their Governments have not been included in this list. The total amount outstanding from all Missions, including these exceptions, is £1,074,469.
Mr. Vaz: On 30 June, the OSCE adopted measures to improve its capability to respond more quickly and effectively to crises through the despatch of Rapid Expert Assistance and Co-operation Teams (REACT). The aim is for the OSCE to be able to deploy civilian personnel, with a range of conflict prevention and resolution skills tailored to the requirements of a particular crisis, anywhere in the OSCE area, when required. As part of this, the OSCE is to create an Operations Centre to plan and co-ordinate the rapid, as well as regular, deployment of international staff to OSCE missions. The success of this initiative, agreed at the Istanbul Summit, will depend on the commitment and will of OSCE participating states to provide the necessary personnel within the requisite timescale. In line with our current policy, the UK aims to provide about 10 per cent. of the OSCE's overall deployment of personnel in the field.
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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many unfilled vacancies for permanent staff his Department has; what percentage of staff positions in his Department are vacant; what the monthly cost would be to his Department of employing civil servants in these positions; how many and what percentage of staff his Department employs on a temporary basis through employment agencies; how much his Department paid employment agencies to supply temporary staff in each of the last 12 months; and how much he expects to pay employment agencies to supply temporary staff in each of the next 12 months. 
Mr. Hain: There are currently around 150 unfilled vacancies within the Department. This is 2.7 per cent. of the total number of staff positions in the Department. The monthly cost of filling these positions by civil servants would be £241,000. There are currently around 20 temporary staff employed throughout the Department, less than 0.5 per cent. of the total number of staff. The Department paid £971,657 to employment agencies in the year 1999-2000. In the financial year to date the Department has spent £221,146 out of a total allocation for the financial year of £838,096. Monthly figures for expenditure on temporary staff could be provided only at disproportionate costs.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with the Papal Nuncio the inclusion of the Pope's Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei in Clause 49 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill. 
Mr. Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is in regular contact with the Papal Nuncio on a range of issues. Any points he wished to raise concerning the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill, or any other matter, would be carefully noted, and, where appropriate, passed on to the relevant authorities.
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