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21 Oct 2002 : Column 33Wcontinued
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research she has commissioned (a) on the effect of allowing children to gamble and (b) on the effect of lifting the ban on gambling by credit card. 
Mr. Caborn: My Department has commissioned no such research; but the gambling industry's charitable trust will be considering priorities for research in the light of the strategy which it is now developing.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will include sustainability as a criteria to be considered during the application process for funding from the Community Fund for public buildings. 
Mr. Caborn: Directions issued to the Community Fund under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 include sustainability as a criterion to be considered during the application process for public buildings.
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commitments and obligations made by Russia on acceding to the Council of Europe in 1996 remain outstanding. 
Mr. MacShane: The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) takes responsibility for monitoring accession obligations and commitments, and appoints Rapporteurs for that purpose. The Rapporteurs on Russia made an extremely comprehensive report to the April session of PACE which is available on the PACE website; http://assembly.coe.int. HMG agreed with the report's conclusions.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan has reduced the production there of opium; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: After the fall of the Taliban the Afghan Interim Administration adopted a tough line on drugs: in January they introduced a ban on drugs production, trafficking and processing, and in April implemented a compensated eradication programme. The Afghan authorities estimate that approximately 16,500 hectares of poppy fields were destroyed. This equates to 76 tonnes of heroin, which is approximately three times the UK's annual consumption and worth around #5 billion at UK street level prices. But poppies continue to be cultivated.
Eradication alone will not solve Afghanistan's drug problem. The sustained elimination of opium poppy cultivation will require long-term international support for the building up of Afghan drug law enforcement and the provision of licit livelihoods for poppy farmers.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will refer the question of Gibraltar's constitutional standing to the International Court of Justice. 
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what grounds he holds the integration of Gibraltar into the UK to be in contravention of the Treaty of Utrecht. 
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countries for the rejected plutonium MOX nuclear fuel returned to Sellafield from Japan in July to September; and which (a) made representations to United Kingdom embassies and (b) direct to her Majesty's Government opposing the shipment and objecting to the shipment, entering their territorial waters. 
Mr. MacShane: The shipment of MOX returned from Japan, which arrived at Sellafield in September 2002, did not pass through the territorial waters of any States, save those of Japan and the UK. Vanuatu, South Africa, Mauritius and Chile made representations to United Kingdom Embassies. New Zealand made a representation to Her Majesty's Government through its High Commission in London. The Pacific Islands Forum troika made representations to a UK delegation. Ireland expressed some concerns through Ministerial statements, press releases and in discussions with the British Embassy in Dublin.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom nationals are working for the United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission; and if he will list their qualifications. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: As far as we are aware, there are seven UK nationals working full-time for UNMOVIC. Additionally, one UK national is currently working on a short-term contract to deliver a training package for potential UNMOVIC inspectors.
All UNMOVIC staff are UN employees and are recruited directly by the UN. UNMOVIC are under no obligation to inform us of their intention to employ UK nationals, or to divulge the qualifications of any staff that they employ.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the involvement of Pakistan's ISI in terrorism in Kashmir; if he has raised with President Masharraf concerns with regard to ISI's alleged involvement in terrorism; and what reports he has received implicating Pakistan's ISI in terrorism elsewhere than in Kashmir; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: In his speech of 10 June to Parliament, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary referred to the link between ISID and certain terrorist organisations. We are encouraged by the banning of five such terrorist organisations in Pakistan. Our concerns about cross-border infiltration have been raised regularly with the Pakistanis, including during the Foreign Secretary's 1920 July visit to Islamabad and when he met Pakistani Foreign Minister Inam ul-Haq on 16 September in the margins of the UN General
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Assembly. The Pakistanis have reassured us that President Musharraf's pledge that there will be no movement across the Line of Control still stands and the Pakistani Army are doing all they can to stop infiltration. A permanent end to cross-border infiltration and terrorism in Kashmir are critical to a sustained and substantive dialogue leading towards a lasting settlement of the Kashmir issue.
We welcome the recent announcements by both India and Pakistan of the phased withdrawal of a significant number of troops from the International Border. We hope that his will be followed by further de-escalatory steps and a resumption of dialogue.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK is working closely with Afghan and international partners, in particular the Americans, to help establish an effective and democratically accountable national army, and with the Germans to create a national police force.
To date, five battalions of Afghan troops have been trained, one by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) when under UK leadership, three by the US and one by the French. Further battalions are under training. The UK is also contributing to the German-led national police force reform programme which is training over 1,500 recruits in the newly rebuilt Police Academy.
Work is progressing with the Afghan Transitional Administration to agree the structure of the Afghan police, army and border forces under democratically controlled security institutions. The UK is contributing to this process with a #5.7m project to assist with the creation of the office of the National Security Adviser.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The security situation in Afghanistan outside Kabul remains unstable. There are occasional outbreaks of fighting between different Afghan groups, while the absence of effective law and order forces means that little is being done to combat crime.
A secure environment in Afghanistan is key to extending the rule of the Transitional Administration, to enabling humanitarian aid to be delivered and to allowing reconstruction work to continue. The UK continues to work closely with the United Nations and other interested states to help develop effective and democratically accountable Afghan security and law and order forces under Transitional Administration control.
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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the most recent assessment is of the total area of land in Afghanistan under cultivation for poppies in each of the past 12 years; and what changes have occurred in the past year for which figures are available. 
Mr. MacShane: The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention has reported Afghanistan's opium poppy cultivation as follows: 199041,300; 199150,800; 199249,300; 199358,300; 199471,470; 199553,759; 199656,824; 199758,416; 199863,674; 199990,583; 200082,171; 20017,606 (areas in hectares). The results of the 2002 survey have not yet been published.
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