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Immigration (Subcontinent)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applicants are awaiting interview for entry into the UK as permanent settlers at British High Commission offices in (a) Pakistan, (b) India and (c) Sri Lanka. [146498]

Mr. Vaz: The number of applicants awaiting settlement interviews fluctuates during the year in response to seasonal pressures. The following figures give the numbers at the end of December 2000 in the countries concerned. The posts at Islamabad, Bombay and New Delhi divide settlement applications into four interview queues. The queue groupings are:

Plan Colombia

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterparts concerning their decision not to demand human rights certification in exchange for the aid package, Plan Colombia. [147256]

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Mr. Battle: Human rights have been central to all of our discussions on Colombia, including the international meetings held last year in London, Madrid and Bogota, in which US officials also participated.

In waiving the formal human rights conditions linked to the disbursement of US aid for Colombia on 22 August 2000, President Clinton stressed that the US would press the Colombian authorities to make progress on human rights in all of the areas identified by Congress. We will continue the discussion with the new US Administration.


Superintendent Burrows

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library the text of the speech by RUC Superintendent Colin Burrows on the Northern Ireland perspective on non-lethal weapons delivered to the Jane's Defence Review conference in Glasgow on 5 and 6 December 2000. [146517]

Mr. Ingram: Superintendent Burrows delivered a multi-media presentation entitled "Operationalising Non- Lethality--a Northern Ireland Perspective" to an invited audience in Edinburgh, without the aid of typewritten notes. Details of Superintendent Burrows' presentation may become available when the organisers publish an account of the conference.

Diwali Celebrations

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many invitations the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) accepted and from whom to attend Diwali celebrations in 2000. [147293]

Dr. Reid: The answer is none.

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what purpose the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) instructed his Private Secretary to inquire about the progress of the passport application of Mr. Hinduja. [147284]

Dr. Reid: This is a matter for the review set up under Sir Anthony Hammond QC.

Departmental Surveys

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list for (a) 1992-93, (b) 1993-94, (c) 1994-95, (d) 1995-96, (e) 1996-97, (f) 1997-98, (g) 1998-99, (h) 1999-2000 and (i) 2000-01, (I) his Department's total spending on quantitative and qualitative surveys of policy issues by focus groups, opinion polling, task forces or other means and (II) the cost of each individual project. [146586]

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Mr. Ingram: The Northern Ireland Office accounts structure does not record expenditure in a way that would allow spending on quantitative and qualitative surveys on any issue to be easily identified.

This information could be provided by a manual exercise only at a disproportionate cost.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the reduction in the numbers of full-time RUC Reserve officers for each year from 1997 to 2000; and how many are scheduled to leave in each year from 2001 to 2004. [144692]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the numerical strength of the full-time Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve from 31 December 1996 to 31 December 2000.

YearStrengthGain/loss (year on year)
31 December 19962,929--
31 December 19972,982+53
31 December 19982,936-46
31 December 19992,719-217
31 December 20002,555-164

It is not possible to be definitive on the number of officers scheduled to leave between years 2001 and 2004 as this is dependent on a number of factors, including officers applying for renewal and the extension of contracts etc. However, 249 officers are eligible to apply to leave under the RUC Voluntary Severance Scheme in year 1 and year 2. I can confirm that under the Scheme 15 officers will leave during year 1.

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary have served in (a) Bosnia and (b) Kosovo; if they were given advice about depleted uranium; if they have served in locations identified as sites subject to a presence of depleted uranium; what health checks will be provided for these police officers; and if he will make a statement. [145931]

Mr. Ingram: From April 1999, a total of 12 officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary have served in Bosnia including five officers currently serving in the area. From November 1999, a total of 108 RUC officers have served in Kosovo including 64 officers still on attachment.

Although not specific to depleted uranium, all officers were briefed before their deployment about the dangers of approaching or coming into contact with abandoned military vehicles or ordnance, damaged or abandoned buildings. Adherence to this advice will have helped eliminate potential sources of contamination. RUC officers have served in a number of regions but thus far not in areas causing concern. As a matter of course, all officers receive full medical screening before deployment and on completion of their attachment. Blood tests will identify any anomalies suggestive of leukaemia or related conditions.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary is liaising with all relevant agencies concerning the situation and will undertake any additional screening considered necessary.