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26. Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation of the British Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects held at Guantanamo Bay. 
Peter Hain: Over the last decade we have contributed £350 million through the "Know How Fund" to provide technical assistance to the central European candidate countries. We now have "Action Plans" with all 13 candidates with a total budget of £1.8 million in the last financial year. The plans bring together the UK's practical assistance to the candidates across a range of activities involving other Whitehall Departments.
Since 1998, the UK has won involvement in over 100 Twinning projects, whereby experts are seconded as long-term Pre-Accession Advisers to candidate countries' ministries. This is the third highest number of any member state. The UK was the first member state to win involvement in projects in all 12 negotiating countries.
Peter Hain: Enlargement negotiations are progressing steadily and are on course to meet the timetable agreed at Gothenburg and confirmed at Laekento end negotiations in 2002 with the best-prepared countries, so that they can take part in the European Parliament elections in 2004.
Currently 10 of the 12 countries in negotiations have opened 29 chapters. Slovenia has closed 26 chapters, Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic and Lithuania have all closed 24, Slovakia and Latvia have both closed 23, Poland has closed 22 and Malta has closed 21. Bulgaria has opened 27 chapters and closed 14 while Romania has opened 22 and closed nine.
37. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent discussions he has had with his EU colleagues on the ratification of the Nice treaty. 
Peter Hain: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs meets his European counterparts regularly. These meetings discuss a range of subjects including the ratification of the treaty of Nice.
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38. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of China in relation to their record on human rights. 
Mr. MacShane: We regularly raise concerns about the human rights situation in China, including through the six-monthly UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with the Chinese Foreign Minister during his visit to the UK on 1619 January.
Mr. Bradshaw: In recent weeks there has been an EU Troika delegation visit to Burma and EU action over forced labour in Burma at the International Labour Organisation. The EU is preparing a resolution on Burma for adoption at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Burma will visit Burma 2224 April.
I remain gravely concerned about the overall situation in Burma. Although there has been some very modest political progress there in the past 16 months, we need to see early evidence of substantive change if confidence in the political process in Burma is to be maintained.
Mr. Bradshaw: Iran was among the wide range of issues discussed during my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's visit to Washington on 31 January and 1 February. He also discussed Iran in a telephone conversation with the US Secretary of State in March.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) capital and (b) revenue underspend in his Department is expected to be in the financial year 200102. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: All staff below the Senior Management Structure (equivalent to Senior Civil Service Staff) qualify for overtime or time off in lieu if they are required to work more than their conditioned hours at times of exceptional pressure. We do not encourage staff to work long hours but aim to reward them fairly when they do. All overtime must be approved in advance. Diplomatic Service staff serving overseas are not paid overtime but may be given time off in lieu when they work excessive hours, at management discretion.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what actions he is taking to improve the conditions of religious minorities in Laos; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Contacts between British Ministers and officials and their Lao counterparts are limited. But we raise concerns about human rights in Laos, including the conditions of religious minorities, when such meetings take place. When the Lao Deputy Foreign Minister visited the UK in June 2001 the FCO's Asia-Pacific Director told him that the treatment of Lao Christians was a matter of particular concern in the UK. There is no DFID country programme for Laos. But DIFD and the FCO provide some funding aimed at improving the overall quality of life of the Lao people, including religious minorities.
Mr. Bradshaw: Japan is a designated member of the IAEA Board of Governors and is thus recognised as being one of the nations most advanced in civil nuclear technology and applications. Japan is a member of the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as a non-nuclear weapon state, and it is thus treaty-bound not to pursue nuclear weapons programmes. Japan's constitution prohibits the development and use of nuclear weapons. It is active in the fields of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the use of smart card technology in his Department and in the areas for which it is responsible; and what discussions he has had with private companies about the use of smart card technology within his Department. 
Mr. MacShane: Smart card technology is not in use within the FCO at home or overseas. This is a technology being tracked for potential business benefit within the FCO, and informal discussions have been held with a number of technology companies.
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