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Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he will make to the Belarusian Government concerning the convictions of Mikola Markevich and Pavel Mazheiko for libelling the President; what further action he has planned to ensure that human rights are respected in this case; what action the European Union will be taking; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The court decision to sentence Nikolai Markevich and Pavel Mozheiko to "restricted freedom" for defaming President Lukashenko is the latest example of the disregard for international standards of human rights in Belarus. Our ambassador at Minsk has already made clear our concerns about the case during informal discussions with the authorities there.
Representatives from our embassy in Minsk have, together with other like-minded partners (including from the EU, US & OSCE missions) regularly attended the trial. Both defendants have expressed their gratitude for this support, and made it clear that they believed it played a significant part in their not being sentenced to full custodial terms. Both of those concerned are expected to lodge an appeal in the next few days.
Mr. MacShane: The ambassadors for British business are selected to represent a wide cross-section of British commercial success. They are people who frequently go abroad on working visits and have a wealth of specialist knowledge backed up by excellent contacts. They include the chairmen and executives of multinationals as well as smaller concerns.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2002, Official Report, column 637W, how many official visits each business ambassador has undertaken, on what date and to which countries. 
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attend meetings of the Green Ministers' Committee; what the outcomes of meetings were for his Department's activities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: I am the FCO's Green Minister and attended meetings of the Cabinet sub-committee in February and March this year. I will attend future meetings whenever possible. The committee has helped the FCO and other Departments to consider how Government policies can best contribute to sustainable development.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his officials have had with HM Treasury as part of the spending review with regard to funding for the BBC World Service. 
Mr. MacShane: The BBC World Service's bid was submitted in February to HM Treasury in full, as part of the FCO's bid for additional funding in the Spending Review. Since then, my officials have been actively discussing the merits of the FCO's bid, including the BBC World Service, with Treasury officials. The BBC World Service has also made its own presentation to Treasury.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment the Government have made of the effect of the membership in the European Union of (a) Poland, (b) The Czech Republic, (c) Slovakia, (d) Estonia, (e) Latvia, (f) Lithuania, (g) Hungary, (h) Slovenia, (i) Cyprus and (j) Malta on the European Union's budget. 
Peter Hain: The Berlin European Council (March 1999) set a ceiling of 35 billion euro in payments for new member states for 200406. Based on its proposals for phasing in EU policies to new member states, the Commission estimates the cost to the EU budget of up to ten new member states acceding in 2004 to be 28 billion euro for the period 200406. This can be financed well within the ceiling on Own Resources (which will remain at 1.27 per cent. of GNP). The Commission's proposals remain the subject of negotiation and no estimate of the cost for individual applicants is given. The Government's view is that the final package must respect the overall financial ceilings agreed at Berlin.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the results of his discussions on Gibraltar with the Spanish Foreign Secretary on 26 June; what deadline exists for the negotiations with Spain on the future of Gibraltar; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and the Spanish Foreign Minister met informally in London on 26 June to continue discussions on Gibraltar. They had a friendly and constructive exchange of views. They agreed that we have made good progress since talks were restarted last year. The two Governments have found a considerable degree of consensus. They underlined their belief that it is sensible and right and in the interests of
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Mr. Straw: It is a long-standing practice of this Government and previous Administrations not to comment on the detail of confidential arrangements which might exist between the UK and the US for the UK's national security.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what mechanism exists to ensure that the exchange of information undertaken between (a) MI6 and (b) GCHQ and sister organisations within friendly countries, and to which Ministers do not have access, is conducted in a manner consistent with the national interest. 
Mr. Straw: Both SIS and GCHQ carry out their functions under the Intelligence Services Act (ISA) 1994. Section 2(2) and 4(2) of the ISA require that the Chief of the SIS and the Director of GCHQ put in place arrangements for ensuring that no information is obtained by SIS or GCHQ respectively and disclosed by them except in the interests of national security; for the purposes of the prevention and detection of serious crime; in the interests of economic well-being of the UK; or for the purpose of any criminal proceedings. The arrangements must also ensure that GCHQ and SIS do not take any action to further the interests of any United Kingdom political party. I am satisfied that the arrangements are in place to meet those requirements.
Ms Hewitt: A review of certain rules and procedures for the Exhibitions and Seminars Abroad (SESA) Scheme was concluded in March this year. This put forward a number of options for change which were subsequently refined into a set of recommendations. A wider ranging review of the needs of British Trade International's customers is currently under way. This is a strategic review to develop a simpler, more coherent and effective portfolio of services and it is sensible that the outcome of the work on SESA should now feed into this wider review. We shall not therefore be making significant changes to the SESA terms and conditions at this time, although one change is being made. This is the removal of the requirement for a minimum group size when groups of companies attend events with SESA support and therefore the removal of the need for a separate "niche" category for support.
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which organisations and outside bodies which were in receipt of grant in 199798 no longer are; what the annual saving is (i) individually and (ii) in aggregate; which organisations and outside bodies which were not in receipt of grant in 199798 now are; and what the annual cost is (A) individually and (B) in aggregate. 
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