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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Kuwait

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representation has been made by Her Majesty's Government to Iraq and to the United Nations regarding Kuwaiti and other third country nationals who have been missing since the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops; and if he will make a statement. [134002]

Mr. Hain: HMA Kuwait, as the British representative on the Tripartite Commission which, under ICRC chairmanship, seeks to account for the whereabouts of the Kuwaiti missing, called on Iraq to return to the Tripartite Commission process when he attended a consultation meeting of Commission members in Geneva on 21 June. I also take this opportunity to urge Iraq once again to re-engage with this process and finally to tell the truth about the whereabouts of those who have tragically been missing for so many years.

EU Publications

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many copies of the booklet "A Glossary of Eurosceptic Beliefs: An Expose of Misunderstanding" have been produced; and what is the target audience. [134193]

25 Oct 2000 : Column: 144W

Mr. Vaz: This publication was produced by the European Commission, not the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I therefore refer the hon. Member to the office of the European Commission in London.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what was the (a) budget line and (b) cost of producing the booklet entitled "A Glossary of Eurosceptic Beliefs: An Expose of Misunderstanding"; and if his Department was consulted thereon; [134194]

Mr. Vaz: We do not seek to influence the publications policy of the European Commission.

Private Sector Secondments

Dr. Brand: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the private sector companies from which secondments have been made to his Department since June 1997. [133872]

Mr. Battle: I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the question raised by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) on 29 June 2000, Official Report, column 581W, and to my letter of 5 July to the hon. Member for Bath, placed in the Libraries of the House, which set out a full updated list.

Since my answer, there have been a further five secondments to the Department from the following private sector companies:






Secondments and attachments are part of the Interchange Initiative which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the Civil Service and other organisations. Before an Interchange can occur all parties must be satisfied that no conflict of interest arises.

Cyprus

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department is holding with Mr. Denktash on reasons for the arrest of newspaper editor Mr. Semer Levent in Northern Cyprus. [133815]

Mr. Vaz: We and key European partners have made it clear to the Turkish Cypriots at various levels that Mr. Levent's arrest, and any other measures which restrict journalists' freedom of speech, raises questions about their respect for human rights. It is encouraging that all those involved have now been released from custody. We and our EU partners will continue to monitor the situation.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Sir David Hannay will hold discussions with Mr. Denktash on the arrests of trade union members in Northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. [133816]

25 Oct 2000 : Column: 145W

Mr. Vaz: As my hon. Friend will be aware, we monitor the situation in the north of Cyprus closely and we are not aware of any systematic harassment of trade union members. We understand that some trade union members were arrested in July but that these individuals were released shortly afterwards.

Immigration

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how long a person applying for entry clearance for settlement in (a) February, (b) March, (c) April, (d) May and (e) June can be expected to have to wait for an interview in each queue at each post in the Indian sub-continent; and what estimate he has made of the numbers of additional staff required in (i) Dhaka, (ii) Islamabad and (iii) New Delhi to bring waiting times down to the levels maintained at the British post in Colombo. [133845]

Mr. Vaz: The statistics for 2000 are as follows:

Waiting times in weeks on the last day of the month in 2000

Post/QueueFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune
Bombay
Q100000
Q266666
Q366666
Q466666
Calcutta(1)0002.90
Madras(1)118598
New Delhi
Q100000
Q28881012
Q38881012
Q48881012
Colombo(1)8971110
Dhaka
Q11616161616
Q22828282828
Q31616161616
Q45656444444
Islamabad
Q18.591065
Q23026.5262320.5
Q34135.533.53329
Q446.542403936
Karachi(1)99753

(1) Calcutta, Colombo, Karachi and Madras operate a single settlement queue

Notes:

Queue 1--Right of abode cases and Dependant Relatives over 65;

Queue 2--Spouses and Children under 18;

Queue 3--Fiance(e)s and Other First Time Applicants;

Queue 4--Re-applicants.


To determine the numbers of staff required in Dhaka, Islamabad and New Delhi to bring waiting times to the level in Colombo would require further operational reviews to be carried out at each post. Additional permanent staff have already been provided for Islamabad and Dhaka. Further increases are proposed for those posts and for New Delhi. All posts benefit from additional temporary staff during the busy summer season. These actions have brought queues 1, 2 and 4 in Islamabad to within agreed target times.

25 Oct 2000 : Column: 146W

Sierra Leone

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will (1) list those areas where the negotiators of the Lome Peace Accords requested advice from Her Majesty's Government; [134196]

Mr. Hain: Representatives of HMG, along with the other international observers helping to facilitate the Lome peace negotiations, were in close touch with the negotiators over all aspects of the draft agreement, in the interest of encouraging a successful conclusion. However the resulting agreement was a matter for the parties involved, not for HMG.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 19 July 2000, Official Report, column 186W, on Sierra Leone, if he will make a statement on the nature of the conflict between the Commission for the Management of Strategic Resources and existing Sierra Leonese Government ministries, with reference to related action by Her Majesty's Government. [134198]

Mr. Hain: We understand that the respective roles and functions of the Commission for the Management of Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development, the Ministry of Mines, and the Government of Sierra Leone itself has yet to be defined.

This was a matter for the respective bodies to work out. Our own policy was--and remains--to support the objective of the Lome Peace Agreement that the Government of Sierra Leone shall exercise full control over the exploitation of gold, diamonds and other natural resources for the benefit of all of the people of Sierra Leone.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy in respect of UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone. [134262]

Mr. Hain: We strongly support the UN's effort to help bring peace and stability to Sierra Leone. We remain ready under a Memorandum signed with the UN in 1999 to deploy a rapid reaction force of up to brigade size, based in the UK, in support of UN peacekeeping operations including that in Sierra Leone. Final decisions on deployment remain with the Government, but the speed and scale of the force's deployment in Freetown in May shows what is available. We are also meeting requests from the UN to fill key appointments in the UNAMSIL headquarters in Freetown, adding to the military observers already deployed.


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