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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Talent's refit will commence; and how long it will last. [49747]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Talent's refit is planned to start in spring 2003 and will last until early 2006.

Cadet Forces

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many cadets there are in (a) maintained schools and (b) independent school detachments; [50523]

Dr. Moonie: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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Sea Harriers

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Harrier GR7 has a gun capability; and if it is planned that Harrier GR9/A will have a gun capability. [49752]

Mr. Ingram: The Harrier GR7 does not have a gun capability, and we have no plans to give a gun capability to the GR9/A.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sorties were flown by (a) Harrier GR7 and (b) Sea Harrier in operations over Sierra Leone in 2000. [49751]

Mr. Ingram: Between 11 May 2000 and 6 June 2000 inclusive, Harrier GR7 and Sea Harrier flew 147 and 134 sorties respectively, while deployed in support of operations in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the integration work on Sea Harrier for ASRAAM has been completed; and at what cost. [49763]

Mr. Ingram: The work to integrate Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) on Sea Harrier has been terminated in the light of the recent decision to withdraw the aircraft from service by 2006 which is earlier than originally planned.

Expenditure on the ASRAAM integration programme did not exceed £1.2 million.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Harrier GR7 will be operational with (a) Brimstone and (b) Storm Shadow. [49754]

Mr. Ingram: Following the upgrade of Harrier GR7 to GR9 standard, it is intended that the Brimstone anti-armour weapon will enter operational service on it in 2006.

We do not currently intend to integrate Stormshadow on to Harrier GR9. The operation of Harrier GR9 from the CVS with Stormshadow will not be practical, due to the size and weight of the missile. In addition, it is not currently considered to be cost effective to integrate Stormshadow on to Harrier GR9 solely for land-based operations; this capability will be provided by Tornado GR4.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received from the Indian Government about the purchase of Fleet Air Arm Sea Harriers. [49761]

Dr. Moonie: Officials within the Ministry of Defence have received inquiries from representatives of the Government of India regarding the future availability of surplus Fleet Air Arm Sea Harriers. As part of its marketing strategy for the sale of these aircraft, the Disposal Services Agency will follow up all expressions of interests accordingly, subject, of course, to the normal export controls.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what modifications need to be made to the Harrier GR7 for sustained operations at sea. [49753]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 March 2002, Official Report, column 1166–67W.

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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on future plans for British military involvement in the Balkans. [50003]

Mr. Ingram: NATO is currently undertaking a major review of its operations in the Balkans, entitled the "Joint Operational Area Review", the outcome of which will be discussed by NATO Foreign Ministers in May 2002. We welcome the review and remain committed to maintaining the military contribution to NATO peacekeeping in the Balkans. No decisions have been taken regarding the form that British military involvement will take following implementation of the review's findings.


Press Office

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost of running the Department's press office was in (a) 1996–97 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. [46805]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The total cost of running FCO's News Department in 2000–01 was £1,746,000. Comparable information for 1996–97 is not held as new costing software was introduced during the course of that year. The total cost for 1995–96 was £971,000 and for 1997–98 was £1,342,000.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 610, if he will place in the Library copies of the evidence possessed by Her Majesty's Government in respect of the status of programmes aimed at developing weapons of mass destruction respectively by (a) the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, (b) Iraq, (c) Libya and (d) Syria. [48252]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 16 April 2002, Official Report, columns 861–62W.

Sunset Clauses

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Bills introduced by his Department in the last five years have contained sunset clauses; and what plans he has for the future use of such clauses. [49615]

Mr. Straw: None.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in how many cases in the last six months the high commission in Uganda has refused to see people who had interviews; how entry clearance officers at that high commission handle appointments; and if he will make a statement. [48893]

Mr. Bradshaw: In response to the events of 11 September, and in the light of the specific security situation in Uganda, access to the visa section at the British high commission premises can only be granted to

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people who hold satisfactory evidence of their identity. I regret the need for this requirement but it is temporary, for the safety of our staff and members of the public and is necessary and proportionate in response to the perceived threat.

Satisfactory identity documents are:

No record has been kept of the numbers of people who had appointments and who have not been able to enter the high commission. However, many of the applicants affected are relatives seeking family reunion with refugees who have settled in the UK, and others.

Around 360 family reunion cases are outstanding in Kampala. Few of these applicants appear with satisfactory evidence establishing their identity or relationship with the sponsor in the UK and they have to be referred to the Directorate of Refugees or UNHCR.

Following necessary inquiries with the Home Office, applicants who hold satisfactory documents of identity are offered the next available date for interview. In cases involving couples with children, if after the interview the applicant has still not been able to satisfy the entry clearance officer about the claimed relationship, DNA testing may be offered to avoid unnecessary refusal. Priority will be granted to applicants in cases involving genuine compassionate circumstances. Applicants unable to attend pre-arranged appointments as a result of the restrictions currently in place will be afforded priority consideration once the restrictions have been lifted.

The security situation is kept under review and further announcements will be made if and when it changes.

Military Plutonium

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress made in respect of each of the three disposition projects for surplus military plutonium in Russia agreed in the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy non- Proliferation Working Group. [49492]

Mr. Bradshaw: The European Union Joint Action for surplus weapons-grade plutonium in Russia involves seven projects in all.

In the first project, 'Safety Regulations', Gosatomnadzor of Russia (GAN) is to establish new safety regulations covering the use of surplus weapons-grade plutonium as mixed oxide fuel in Russia. Of the total budget of 500,000 euros, contracts have been signed for 300,000 euros, and draft contracts to the value of 200,000 are being discussed, with signatures expected in May this year.

In the second project, on a trial use of mixed oxide fuel, preliminary steps have been taken towards the loading of three lead test assemblies in a pressurised water reactor at Balakovo. Of a total budget of 1,300,000 euros, a contract has been signed for 5,000 euros, and the remaining contracts are under discussion.

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The third project is a study into the transport and storage of surplus weapons-grade plutonium in Russia, with a budget of 200,000 euros. Contracts are being prepared and should be placed around September this year.

In the fourth project, a study of future high temperature reactors and ex-weapons plutonium disposition in Russia (in particular particle coated fuel burn rates), contracts are being prepared and should be signed around September this year. The budget for this project is 300,000 euros.

The fifth project is a continuation of work on 'Safety Regulations'. In total, the EU Joint Action will finance the preparation of 12 to 16 regulatory documents. The budget is 1,300,000 euros. Draft contracts are being discussed for around 500,000 euros, and signatures are due in June.

The sixth project is a continuation of the trial of mixed oxide fuel, with a budget of 1,500,000 euros. No contracts have yet been placed but all are due to be signed before June 2003.

A seventh and final project, on 'Immobilisation', awaits progress in bilateral discussions currently taking place between Russia and Germany.

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