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Parental Leave Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) financial costs and (b) benefits to his Department of the Parental Leave Directive. [42478]

Mr. Bradshaw: No central records are kept of parental leave taken and so no estimates are readily available of the likely financial costs to the FCO of the introduction of the Parental Leave Directive. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to assisting its employees to achieve a better balance between home and work life. The entitlement to parental leave is another element of this.

West Bank

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aid will be given to help rebuild settlements destroyed on the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. [43220]

Mr. Bradshaw: Through our bilateral aid programme, the European Union and UNWRA we support the short term needs of the Palestinian Authority. It is also critical to address our long-term goal of Palestinian nation building in parallel. The aim of our development assistance programme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is to help develop the building blocks which will support the creation of a viable Palestinian state. We aim to provide a broad range of technical assistance designed to promote peace, stability and economic and social development. UK bilateral assistance is planned at £14 million this year. In 2001 the UK contributed £25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to support vulnerable Palestinian refugee communities. The Government have no specific plans to give aid to rebuild Palestinian towns in the West Bank.


Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel about Palestinian child detainees held in Israeli prisons and detention centres. [43484]

Mr. Bradshaw: Our embassy in Tel Aviv has raised with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs the case of Sausan Abu Turki, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl arrested in late 2001 for allegedly attacking an Israel Defence Force officer, whom we understand the Israeli authorities continue to hold without charge. The embassy also supports the efforts of human rights NGOs and the EU in raising specific cases of alleged abuse against minors by the Israeli authorities.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the role of the United Nations in securing peace in Israel. [43554]

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Mr. Bradshaw: United Nations Security Resolutions 242 and 338 remain the basis for a just and lasting settlement in the middle east. We welcome the adoption of UNSCR 1397 on 12 March which sets out the vision of two states within secure and recognised borders. It demands an immediate cessation of all acts of violence and calls on both leaders to co-operate in the implementation of the Tenet plan and Mitchell Committee recommendations with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement.

We support the efforts of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN Special Co-ordinator Terje Rod Larsen.


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times officials from his Department have had contact with Iraqi Government officials in (a) the last month, (b) the last three months and (c) the last six months. [44292]

Mr. Bradshaw: During the periods specified, there have been (a) 0 (b) 3 and (c) 5 meetings between officials from my Department and Iraqi Government officials.

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has received linking Iraq to the New York terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. [44293]

Mr. Bradshaw: As we have consistently made clear, we have no reason to believe Iraq was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, we share the concern of all responsible members of the international community about Iraq's support for terrorism and its development of weapons of mass destruction.

Belize and Guatemala

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on negotiations between Belize and Guatemala to resolve their territorial dispute. [45325]

Mr. MacShane: The Governments of Belize and Guatemala are working closely under the auspices of the Organisation of American States (OAS), to negotiate a settlement to their long standing territorial dispute. Two facilitators appointed by Belize and Guatemala, aim to present recommendations for an agreed settlement to both Governments shortly.

We firmly support the OAS-facilitated process. We very much hope that Belize and Guatemala will be able to agree a settlement this year. Such an agreement would have great significance for both countries and the region more widely. We are in close touch with both countries and are actively helping the facilitators to secure a final and lasting settlement to the dispute.

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 776–77W, on stolen equipment, whether the computer equipment stolen from his Department was (a) new and unused and (b) used; and what was the nature of the data stored on such items in each case. [42640]

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Mr. Straw: Further to the answer of 22 January, I can confirm that, with the exception of the boxed PC, monitor and keyboard stolen on 22 May 2001, and the seven monitors stolen on 10 January 2002, which were all new and unused items, the remaining items were all used.

As stated in the answer on 6 February 2002 by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Official Report, column 948W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell), data held on the used equipment was of an unclassified nature, and no security breaches occurred as a result of the thefts.

Jamal Uddin

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions British officials had with Jamal Uddin in Kabul prior to his detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by the US military authorities. [44320]

Mr. Bradshaw: The British Embassy in Kabul spoke to Jamal Uddin in Kandahar by telephone on 16 January about his movement from Kandahar to Kabul. In the event, before Mr. Uddin could travel to Kabul, he was detained by US forces in Kandahar on approximately 25 January and subsequently moved to Guantanamo Bay on 11 February where he was seen by British officials on 26 February.

British Overseas Territories

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when (a) he, (b) other Ministers and (c) a member of the Royal Family last officially visited each of the British Overseas Territories. [44049]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Secretary of State has not visited any of the Overseas Territories. Visits to the Overseas Territories by other Foreign Office Ministers and by members of the Royal Family over the last two years were as follows:

Visits by Ministers

Territory VisitorDate of visit
Visits by Ministers
Cayman IslandsBaroness ScotlandJuly/August 2000
AnguillaBaroness ScotlandSeptember 2000
British Virgin IslandsBaroness ScotlandSeptember 2000
British Antarctic TerritoryBaroness ScotlandJanuary 2001
Falkland IslandsJohn BattleFebruary 2001
GibraltarPeter HainSeptember 2001
MontserratBaroness AmosDecember 2001
Turks and Caicos IslandsBaroness AmosDecember 2001
Visits by members of the Royal Family
British Virgin IslandsDuke of YorkMarch 2000
MontserratDuke of YorkMarch 2000
AnguillaDuke of YorkMarch 2000
Turks and Caicos IslandsDuke of YorkMarch 2000
Cayman IslandsDuke of YorkMarch 2000
BermudaPrincess RoyalApril 2001

For visits prior to this I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) to my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) on 7 June 2000, Official Report, columns 293–94W.

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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have been held between the Government and (a) the EU and (b) individual member states of the EU, on the relationship between Gibraltar and Spain. [43431]

Peter Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the Presidency Conclusions from the Barcelona European Council on 15–16 March (copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House) in which the European Council:

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