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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sudan regarding the bombing of Bahr al Ghazal in southern Sudan. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are deeply concerned at these further reports of civilian casualties. In June the Government of Sudan made a public statement announcing that they had brought a halt to aerial bombings. Shortly afterwards, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) launched a major offensive in Bahr al Ghazal, and the Government of Sudan in turn resumed aerial bombings. We immediately prompted an EU statement expressing our concern at the renewed military activity by the SPLA, and at the Government of Sudan's resumption of aerial bombings. We urged both sides to immediately stop hostilities in order to create an environment conducive to negotiations and to engage in a continuous and sustained negotiation towards a just and lasting political settlement.
Mr. Bradshaw: We have invited Dr. John Garang to visit London. Until he is able to visit London, we shall continue to keep in contact with him and the SPLM/A through our Embassy in Khartoum and our High Commission in Nairobi. The pursuit of peace in Sudan
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Peter Hain: Government, industry and NGO representatives in the Kimberley Process are currently meeting in Angola to refine proposals for the establishment of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. At the last meeting (Twickenham, 11 to 13 September) members agreed in principle on key elements for the scheme. We hope to build on this agreement in Angola, and forge a consensus in time for the ministerial meeting in Botswana scheduled for the end of November. The proposal will go forward to the UN General Assembly before the end of the year. The UK is continuing its key role in the Process and remains committed to the goal of curbing the flow of conflict diamonds.
Mr. Bradshaw: We have been disappointed with progress made by the Inter-governmental Authority Development (IGAD) initiative. At the time of the last IGAD summit in Nairobi on 2 June, the Sudan People's Liberation Army launched a major offensive in southern Sudan. Accordingly, neither party was willing to show flexibility on a ceasefire or the negotiations. We were encouraged, however, with the agreement by both parties to appoint permanent negotiating teams. These teams have now been established and should allow for more sustained and accelerated negotiations to take place. We are currently looking at further ways to invigorate the peace process. The sponsors of the Egyptian-Libyan initiative have submitted to the parties a plan for negotiating a peace settlement. As far as we are aware there has not yet been a round table discussion attended by all sides to deliberate the plan.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial contribution he made to the preparation and running of the UN World Conference against Racism; and if he will rank the UK contribution against that of other UN member states (a) according to size of contribution and (b) according to proportion of GNP. 
Peter Hain: The total contribution made by the Government to the holding of the UN World Conference against Racism was £485,000. This contribution included financial and practical support to the Conference
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Secretariat (the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights); to the South African NGO SANGOCO co-ordinating the holding of the Conference NGO Forum; and to other relevant bodies to encourage the widest possible participation on the Conference and its preparatory meeting by civil society.
There are no data available on total contributions made by other UN member states to the World Conference process. Therefore it has not been possible to draw any direct comparisons. In terms of financial contributions to the Conference Secretariat (ie excluding practical support to the Secretariat and funding for non-Secretariat activities), the UK contribution of £100,000 was the 12th largest received from a UN member state. In addition, the European Union contributed US $2,613,859 to the Secretariat in support of the preparation and running of the conference.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the draft text of the biological weapons protocol; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had a brief discussion on the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) with the US Secretary of State, in Washington, on 24 October. The United States has not changed its position since it announced its decision, on 25 July, in Geneva, that it could not support the draft protocol and that it could not be made acceptable by further amendment. The United States has, however, made it clear that it remains committed to strengthening the BWC. The United Kingdom is continuing to work with states parties to ensure that multilateral negotiations resume at an early stage, following the 5th Review Conference in Geneva (19 November to 7 December). The United Kingdom remains committed to strengthening the convention by means of effective investigation and enforcement.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he is offering to schools who have arranged visits for pupils to Egypt and neighbouring countries. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice, which is broad based and applies to all travellers, on the basis of the information we receive from our staff on the ground. The advice is kept under constant review. The advice is practical and up to date. It presents the facts to allow travellers to make their own decisions about travel. We are not currently advising against travel to Egypt and neighbouring countries.
Following the terrorist attacks in the US and subsequent military action in Afghanistan, we have been alerting British nationals that there may be heightened tension overseas. We are consequently advising all travellers to
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maintain a high level of vigilance and avoid situations where there might be tension. However, apart from the countries in our "don't go" list, we are not currently aware of specific threat to British nationals.
Peter Hain: We consider that the commission's proposed Single Sky package offers the best way of reducing delays and improving safety, and is essential for improving the use and management of EU airspace. Spain insisted that Gibraltar airport be suspended from the scope of application of the Single Sky legislative measures. Given the importance which the UK attaches to the initiative, we reluctantly agreed that clauses suspending the application of the measure to Gibraltar airport will be inserted when the proposal is considered by the Council.
Suspending Gibraltar airport in this way from the Commission's proposed measures will have no practical impact on the operation of Gibraltar airport, since the focus of the Commission's proposal is on the organisation and use of the upper airspace and on the management of Europe's air traffic service providers.
We made clear to both Spain and the Commission that our agreement on Single Sky was conditional upon the Commission itself bringing forward a proposal which did not contain the suspension clauses, and on a Council and Commission minutes statement, making clear that suspension does not in any way prejudice the application of the EC Treaty to Gibraltar. Our agreement was also without prejudice to Council discussion of future aviation proposals.
We have agreed a similar formula with regard to the Commission's proposal for a Regulation on aviation security. The Spanish Government made clear that they would not agree to the measure unless Gibraltar airport was suspended. Given the crucial importance of this measure for the EU's wider counter-terrorism agenda, we were not prepared to see progress delayed. Again, we are confident that suspension will have no practical impact on the operation of Gibraltar airport. The main purpose of the proposal is to require member states to enforce ECAC standards of security. We, and the Government of Gibraltar, can still ensure, through separate measures, that Gibraltar airport is subject to at least as high a degree of monitoring and control as other Community airports, without a requirement to do so in Community law.
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