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British Forces (Gibraltar)

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with (a) his Spanish counterpart and (b) Spanish officials regarding the sovereign future of the Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar under the Brussels Process; and if he will make a statement. [53135]

Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not had any such discussions. As my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe told the House on 16 April 2002, Official Report, column 451, the United Kingdom will retain full control over the British military base in Gibraltar.

Sea Harriers

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if HMG (a) has entered into and (b) intends to enter into talks with the Indian Government concerning the sale of Royal Navy Sea Harriers to that country. [51018]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Richard Ottaway) on 29 April 2002, Official Report, columns 528–29W.

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost of the upgrade of the Sea Harrier fleet from FRS1 to FRS2 standard was. [53463]

Mr. Ingram: The total cost of upgrading the FRS1 Sea Harrier fleet of 33 aircraft to FRS2 standard, beginning in 1994, amounted to just under £466 million.

Asylum Seekers (Cyprus)

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many asylum seekers have entered the sovereign base areas in Cyprus in the last 12 months; how many remain; and what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on this issue. [52976]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Five asylum seekers have entered the Sovereign Base Areas since 29 April 2001, one of whom remains there. The current total of refugees and asylum seekers in the Sovereign Base Areas numbers 95 individuals from a total of 165 who have arrived since October 1998. The Sovereign Base Areas Administration applies the principles of the refugee convention when dealing with asylum seekers and acts in close cooperation with the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

Discussions between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Cyprus regarding the long term future of the Sovereign Base Area's refugees and asylum seekers, and the arrangements for handling new arrivals, are continuing.

Ministerial Visits

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Ministers in his Department visited United States Government military bases and establishments on United Kingdom territory between

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1 January 1997 and 1 January 1999; which Ministers were involved; what the date of each visit was; and which United States military facility was visited. [53359]

Dr. Moonie: There were no visits made available to the United States Visiting Forces in the UK by Ministers from my Department between 1 May 1997 and 1 January 1999. However, a number of Ministers visited RAF Fairford during the Royal International Air Tattoo in 1997 and 1998.

Naval Vessels

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to dispose of Type 23 frigates; and what discussions he has had with foreign Governments in respect of their future disposal. [52894]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 April 2002]: On current plans our Type 23 frigates will remain in service until around the middle of the next decade from which point they will be progressively withdrawn. No substantive or detailed discussions over Type 23 disposals have taken place with any potential foreign Government buyer.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to withdraw British forces from Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [52900]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 April 2002]: British military involvement in Kosovo will be decided in the light of the major review currently being undertaken by NATO of its operations in the Balkans. The review, entitled the Joint Operational Area Review, will be discussed by NATO Foreign Ministers in May 2002. We welcome the review and remain committed to maintaining a military contribution to NATO peacekeeping in the Balkans. The form that this contribution will take has yet to be decided.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the first Eurofighters will be delivered to the RAF; and when they will become operational. [52898]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Eurofighter delivery schedule is being reviewed by the four participating nations and the prime contractor EF GmbH. It would be wrong to speculate on the outcome of this review, but we do not expect to impinge on our plans to achieve full operational capability during the second half of the decade. The recent flights of Instrumented Production Airport were significant programme milestones.

Army Manpower

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by when (a) 45 Cd. RM and (b) I R Anglian will be relieved or replaced. [53051]

Mr. Hoon: Although there is a planning assumption of three months, the deployment of 45 Commando Royal Marines will last as long as it takes to deal with the continuing threat. If it becomes necessary to replace the Royal Marines in-theatre, that decision will have to be taken according to the circumstances on the ground. The

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1 Royal Anglian tour as part of the International Security Assistance Force began officially on 15 March 2002 and will probably last into June.

Defence Medical Services

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) consultants, (b) specialist registrars and (c) vocationally trained general practitioners have (i) joined the Defence Medical Services, (ii) completed training in the DMS and (iii) left the DMS in each of the last 10 years, broken down by specialty. [52989R]

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


Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which UK RAF airfields will experience increased air traffic volumes as a result of the closure of West Freugh airfield. [52560]

Dr. Moonie: The RAF airfields nearest to the West Freugh range are RAF Valley, RAF Leeming and RAF Leuchars. There may be some small increase in the use of these airfields by aircraft operating in support of trials at the West Freugh range; the extent of any increase will depend upon a number of factors, including weather conditions, required range time and fuel requirements.

Integrated Project Teams

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what review has been made of the National Audit Office report on its Department's integrated project teams; what time scale has been set for pursuing the recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [52265]

Dr. Moonie: All of the recommendations raised in NAO Report HC671 have been evaluated as part of a recent Stock-take Review of Smart Acquisition. They are being taken forward in the action plans that have been developed subsequently. The time scales for pursuing the individual recommendations vary, and will be kept under review.


Lakshmi Mittal

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether she was consulted before her Department approved the £45.7 million loan from the International Finance Corporation to Ispat Karmet; [43765]

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Clare Short: The decision to support the £45.7 million loan to Ispat Karmet from the International Finance Corporation in 1997; the £37.9 million loan to Ispat Karmet from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and the £2.3 million World bank equity and quasi-equity investment to Lakshmi Mittal from the World bank in May 2001 was taken solely by DFID departmental officials. As I have repeatedly made clear officials from my Department work to policies set out in our published strategies for the EBRD, World bank and other international development banks. These decisions were uncontroversial and therefore not referred to Ministers.

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