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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many United Kingdom soldiers were deployed overseas on (a) peacekeeping missions and (b) active service operations in each year since 1997; and how many United Kingdom soldiers are expected to return from such missions by 1 September. 
Dr. Moonie: I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many mine countermeasures vessels are operational. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 July 2002]: Of 22 Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels, 19 were operational on 16 July 2002. Of the remainder, one is undergoing a refit, one is at Extended Readiness in her base port, and one is undergoing post-build trials prior to entering fleet service.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Ministers in his Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; when and where each meeting took place; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government Departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 20 June 2002, Official Report, column 53334W, by the Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Peter Hain).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the overseas trips on departmental business that have been undertaken in each of the last five years by officials in his Department; and what the (a) cost, (b) purpose and (c) result was in each case. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The FCO's expenditure on overseas trips on departmental business was £9 million in 199798, £10.3 million in 199899, £9.5 million in 19992000, £9.7 million in 200001 and £10.9 million in 200102. This expenditure covered travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. Detailed information about individual trips is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. All such trips are undertaken in support of our foreign policy objectives and the results are collectively reported to Parliament in the FCO's departmental report. All overseas travel by officials in the FCO is undertaken in accordance with the principles set out
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in chapter 8 of the Civil Service Management Code, and the detailed rules and guidance set out in the FCO's Code of Management.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what scrutiny has taken place of spending on the programme for supporting and improving protected reserves agreed between the European Union and the Botswanian Government; and with what results. 
Mr. MacShane: No money has yet been disbursed under the EU programme. A steering committee will meet once a quarter to monitor expenditure when the programme has begun. The programme will also be subject to a mid-term review after two-and-a-half years and an end of project review after five years.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are for developing a market access initiative for all least developed countries at the G8 level. 
Mr. MacShane: The G8 Action Plan for Africa includes commitments on market access for least developed African countries. These reaffirm pledges made at the United Nations' Third Conference for least developed countries in Brussels in May last year, and reiterated in the context of the Doha development agenda of multilateral trade negotiations. We are keen to see action by other G8 countries to open their markets to LDCs, matching that taken by the EU in its February 2001 "Everything but Arms Initiative". Acting on the Kananaskis commitment to African LDCs would be an important step in this direction.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are for taking forward the commitments made at the G8 summit to support African peace keeping capacity building. 
Mr. MacShane: With its African partners, the G8 intends to deliver a joint plan, by 2003, for the development of African capability to undertake peace support operations (PSO), including at the regional level. This will involve improving co-ordination of existing donor peacekeeping training programmes, especially those of the UK, US and France in West Africa and elsewhere. Joint donor missions will be carried out to assess the logistical and training needs of sub-regional organisations like ECOWAS and SADC to improve, where possible, their capacity. Plans are already well advanced for the co-ordination of G8 support to the establishment of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. Bilaterally, the UK is already expanding the capacity of its PSO training programmes in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa and considering how best to provide regional PSO training support in Southern Africa.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library the crash investigation report into Thai Airways flight TG261; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The crash investigation report into Thai Airways flight TG261 has not yet been finalised but we are expecting this to issue shortly. Once it has been published and we have received a copy I will be happy to place one in the Library.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when (a) he last met and (b) plans next to meet representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand in relation to the British nationals killed in the crash of Thai Airways flight TG261 at Surat Thani in 1998; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw), raised the interest of families of British victims in the 1998 Surat Thani crash report with Pracha Guna-Kasem, Chief Adviser to the Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart when he visited Thailand in December 2001. The British Embassy in Bangkok has raised and will continue to raise this matter regularly with the Thai authorities. The most recent contact was on 17 July.
Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the President of Kenya's proposal to change the law allowing an extension of his presidential term; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 17 July. 2002]: On 11 July a KANU spokesman announced that the party would wait to see whether the constitutional commissioners could deliver a draft constitutional Bill by September, before taking any decision on an extension of Parliament or the Presidential term.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Turkish Government with regard to the political situation in Turkey; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: We have regular discussions with the Turkish Government and are following developments in the Turkish political scene with interest.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will press the Pakistani authorities to commute the death sentence passed on Mr. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 18 July 2002]: I spoke to the Pakistani High Commissioner about Mr. Sheikh the day that the sentence was announced. I reminded him of our opposition to the death sentence under all circumstances, and made clear our hope that the Pakistanis would consider commuting the sentence to one of imprisonment.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what EU funding, which is
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not available to the people of Gibraltar, will be made available in the event of an agreement to share the sovereignty of Gibraltar between the United Kingdom and Spain. 
Peter Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) on 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 614W.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the next round of talks under the terms of the Brussels Process will take place. 
Peter Hain: We hope to hold further discussions in the autumn.
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