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The Government have as their objective a further deepening of the UK-Guatemala relationship. The visit to Guatemala in September of an IPU delegation, led by the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry), made a helpful contribution to that objective.
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Mr. Hain: The Jewish community in Iran is represented, as are other minorities, by a member in the Majles, and Judaism is among the religions recognised by the Iranian Constitution. Jewish Iranians are free to run businesses and enjoy their own culture, although the right to hold public office is circumscribed.
However, we remain concerned at the sentencing of ten Jews and two Muslims on espionage charges. We and our EU partners have taken every appropriate opportunity to raise our concerns throughout the trial and the subsequent appeal about the nature of the proceedings. We hope that the Iranian Judiciary will show clemency.
25. Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government took to help secure the release of James Mawdesley from imprisonment in Burma. 
Mr. Battle: From the moment of his arrest, we gave James every consular assistance: we visited him 14 times and sent 64 diplomatic notes. We began calling for his release after he was beaten by prison guards in October.
Immediately following the UN Working Group's decision on 10 October that James was being held arbitrarily, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary demanded James' release. Baroness Scotland repeated this demand when she summoned the Burmese Ambassador the next day. Our Ambassador in Rangoon also made representations. The Burmese Ambassador came to inform me on 16 October that James was being released.
26. Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the French Government to discuss the EU's common foreign and security policies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has frequent contact with the French Government over CFSP--in formal discussions, telephonically and at multilateral meetings (e.g. GAC). Since the St. Malo summit, we co-operate particularly closely on European defence, Africa, Balkans and other areas. He will address the French National Assembly on 8 November.
27. Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the bilateral relations between the UK and Latvia; and what plans he has to visit Latvia. 
Mr. Vaz: Our bilateral relationship with Latvia is good. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told President Vike-Freiberga of Latvia on 26 October, during her recent visit to London, that the Baltic States were a priority for the United Kingdom and that he hoped to visit Latvia next year. I will make a visit to Latvia tomorrow.
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Mr. Vaz: We enjoy excellent relations with the Czech Republic. We are close NATO allies, and fully support the Czech application for EU membership. Trade and investment links are strong. The Czech Prime Minister called on my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister last month. I will be visiting Prague later this month with several ministerial colleagues.
30. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what communication he has had with the Iraqi Government as a result of the involvement of British citizens in the recent aeroplane hijack and hostage situation in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
31. 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 territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize. 
Mr. Battle: The United Kingdom continues to support Belize's Sovereignty and Territorial integrity and will continue to provide legal assistance in Belize's efforts to demarcate its land and maritime boundaries. We are pleased that constructive discussions between the two sides have taken place in the presence of the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States and that further talks are planned. We believe it essential that these discussions continue, and that there is early progress on confidence building measures. We continue to make our views clear to both sides.
Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is giving to (a) Belize and (b) Guatemala to resolve problems relating to their common border. 
33. Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on preparations for the revision of voting structures within the EU in the forthcoming treaty of Nice. 
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35. Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on preparations for the EU Council at Nice as regards changes to the relationships among the EU institutions. 
Mr. Vaz: The Intergovernmental Conference is about making the institutional reforms necessary to allow enlargement to proceed. The issues remain those set out at the beginning of the Conference; that is chiefly the size and composition of the Commission, the re-weighting of votes in the Council of Ministers, the extension of Qualified Majority Voting and closer co-operation between individual member states.
Mr. Hain: We remain extremely concerned about the conflict in Sri Lanka and the effect it is having on the civilian population. We call upon the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to cease hostilities and begin negotiations immediately.
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