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Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response has been made by the Government of Burundi to the request by the United Nations Security Council that it should stop its policy of forced regroupment into recruitment camps. [101522]

Clare Short [holding answer 14 December 1999]: Following an open debate on Burundi in the UN Security Council on 12 November, a Presidential statement was issued calling on the Government of Burundi to "halt the policy of forced regroupment and allow the affected people to return to their homes, with full and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the process".

In response to this and other international pressure, on 13 November the Government of Burundi made a statement to the international community on the "organisation of protective settlements for rural populations". The statement justified the policy of regroupment as necessary for security reasons. There is no specific commitment to reversing the policy although the Government of Burundi claims that

More recently, in a statement to the press on 3 December, UN Security Council members repeated their concern at the policy of forced regroupment.

I am placing a copy of the Government of Burundi statement in the House of Commons Library.

Kosovo (Economic Costs)

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate she has made of

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the economic cost of the Kosovo war to (a) Bulgaria and (b) Romania; and how much development assistance is planned for those countries from her budget for 1999-2000 and 2000-01. [102642]

Clare Short: We have not made estimates. The IMF has estimated the output in the six most affected countries of the region, including Bulgaria and Romania, has been reduced by 2 per cent. in 1999, and that budget and current account deficits have been significantly increased. The international community has pledged a total of $1,372 million to bridge Bulgaria and Romania's estimated funding gaps in 1999.

We have budgeted a total of £8 million for Bulgaria and £12 million for Romania, in bilateral assistance, over 1999-2000 and 2000-01. We also provide our share of multilateral aid to both countries through the EU and the International Financial Institutions.

Nicaragua/Honduras (Reconstruction)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms are in place to monitor funds pledged for reconstruction in (a) Nicaragua and (b) Honduras. [102817]

Clare Short: The Consultative Group meeting for the Reconstruction and Transformation of Central America in Stockholm agreed that a group of five major donor countries, (Germany, Canada, the United States, Sweden and Spain), would be set up to monitor the process of reconstruction and transformation in Central America.

The five countries met for the first time in September and drew up a proposal for a permanent dialogue with the governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, (and El Salvador and Guatemala).

Their remit is to negotiate and agree with the affected countries a system of follow up and support. The affected countries will provide progress reports on their reconstruction programmes.

The aim of the group is to reduce the social and ecological vulnerability of the region; improve transparency; consolidate democracy and good governance; promote respect for human rights; coordinate donor efforts; and intensify efforts to reduce the external debt burden.

Representatives from each of the five major donor countries and each of the four affected Central American countries will meet on a frequent basis to ensure that all conditions are adhered to. They will be reporting back to the next Consultative Group meetings to be held in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua in the week beginning 7 February 2000. Britain will be represented at these meetings.


Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid has been provided to (a) Indian-controlled Kashmir and (b) Azad Kashmir since May 1997. [102978]

Clare Short: Since May 1997, we have provided £650,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for their humanitarian assistance programme in Jammu and Kashmir and £132,500 to the Save the Children Fund

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to support their work there. In addition, about £19,000 has been provided under the Small Grants Scheme to help equip a maternity hospital in Anantnag.

Azad Kashmir has received no direct Department for International Development (DFID) assistance during the period in question, but it has benefited from our support for Pakistan's Social Action Programme. Prior to the military coup in Pakistan, we were in preliminary discussions with the Azad Kashmiri and Pakistani authorities about possible direct support for elementary education in the area. Those discussions were suspended when our bilateral assistance to the Pakistan Government was frozen on 15 October. We are also willing to consider assistance for victims in Azad Kashmir of the conflict in the region, if a suitable channel for our funds could be identified.

Tariff-free Products

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to her oral answer of 8 December 1999, Official Report, column 811, which products will be excluded when the EU offers tariff-free access for essentially all products to the least developed countries. [102995]

Clare Short: The EU has not yet decided which products will be excluded from its offer of duty free access for essentially all exports from developing countries. The UK has called for duty free access for all imports for the least developed. We will be pressing for minimum exceptions to the EU scheme.

Ministerial Visit (United States)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what meetings she held with members and officials of the United States Government during her visits to the United States on 4-6 October 1998 and 10-11 December 1998; who was present from the US Government at each meeting; and what was the date and location of each meeting. [103048]

Clare Short: The purpose of my visit to Washington was to attend the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank on 2 October 1998. I attended a G8 Development Ministers' meeting at the World Bank Headquarters, at which Brian Atwood, then USAID Administrator was present.

The purpose of my visit to New York on 10-11 November was to deliver a speech on the future of the United Nations to an audience of permanent representatives and others concerned with the work of the UN. I did not hold any meetings with officials of the United States Government.

Humanitarian Relief

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what guidance her Department gives to British companies wishing to donate their products or services to assist in the provision of humanitarian relief organised by charities. [103594]

Clare Short: We advise such companies to get in touch with the Disasters Emergency Committee, a joint body of 15 of the leading British Non-Governmental Organisation concerned with humanitarian relief.

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Sub-equatorial Africa

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much British bilateral aid was given to the Governments in sub-equatorial Africa over the past five years; how much of that money is not accounted for; and if she will make a statement. [103198]

Clare Short: Total UK expenditure to sub-equatorial Africa 1 over the last five years is shown in the table:

£ million

(28) This covers the following countries--Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda and Comoros.

Over this period, a total of £7,000 could not be properly accounted for.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was paid to the British Council for managing DFID contracts in sub-equatorial Africa over the past five years; and if she will make a statement. [103197]

Clare Short: The value of contracts awarded to the British Council, in sub Saharan Africa, since 1 April 1996 (the earliest date for which reliable figures are available), is £64,027,377. These contracts cover a variety of services including management. Disaggregated figures for contracts limited to management functions could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people are employed to monitor British bilateral aid given to Governments in sub-equatorial Africa over the past five years; and if she will make a statement. [103196]

Clare Short: During the past five years, the Department for International Development employed the following numbers of UK based administrative staff in our regional offices in Harare, Pretoria and Nairobi.

    1996: 34

    1997: 34

    1998: 36

    1999: 45.

These staff are engaged on a wide range of administrative activities, ranging from policy formulation to the oversight of programme and project management, including expenditure monitoring.

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