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17 Dec 2002 : Column 752Wcontinued
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if UK citizens, regardless of domicile within the UK, have the same status and rights when held in prisons located in England; 
Beverley Hughes: Details of race discrimination claims brought against the Home Office are not maintained centrally. However, the Treasury Solicitor's Department maintains a record of claims against the Home Office in which it is involved. It is not likely that there is a significant number of such cases in which the Treasury Solicitor's Department is not involved, and therefore the statistics from that office represent the most accurate estimate of claims against the Home Office. The table shows the number of race discrimination cases brought against the Home Office, including Her Majesty's Prison Service and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, in the last three years, in which there was Treasury Solicitor's Department involvement:
|Year||Number of race discrimination cases|
(19) Up to and including 10 December 2002
17 Dec 2002 : Column 753W
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration was given to requiring redundant concrete from the former Department of Environment building in Marsham Street to be transported to Dagenham by water. 
Beverley Hughes: Arrangements for removal of redundant concrete from the former Department of Environment building in Marsham Street are the responsibility of the contractor, Annes Gate Property Plc (AGP), dealing with the demolition and then, on this site, construction of the new Home Office headquarters building. AGP, whose arrangements were approved under the planning permission given by Westminster city council, have commented that the current waste disposal routing via the road network, instead of by barge, is more environmentally compatible. The waste is loaded into the transport vehicles once only and is then transported to the recycling centre approximately six miles from the site. This procedure is much less complicated and involves much less loading and re-loading of waste than transportation by water. Moreover, currently there are no recycling centres with the capacity that AGP require situated along the river.
Beverley Hughes: The Home Office plays a key role in the delivery of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy. One of the key long term aims of the strategy is to narrow the gap between the most deprived areas and the rest of the country. The Home Office intends to meet this aim through the activities and programmes it is putting in place to meet its own floor target to:
vehicle crime by 30 per cent from 199899 to 2004
domestic burglary by 25 per cent from 199899 to 2005
robbery in the 10 Street Crime Initiative areas by 14 per cent from 19992000 to 2005; and maintain that level".
17 Dec 2002 : Column 754W
Beverley Hughes: Visa regimes are maintained only where they contribute to effective immigration control. The visa regime has proved effective in reducing the numbers of inadmissible passengers travelling to the UK from Slovakia. Following Slovakia's accession to the EU in 2004, all categories of Slovak nationals will enjoy rights of free movement and will not require a visa to come to the UK. In the meantime, the visa regime on Slovak nationals, as with all visa regimes, will be kept under review and will be lifted when we consider that the threat to our immigration control is at an acceptable level.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding his Department provided to Woodhill Prison in (a) 200102, (b) 200001 and (c) 19992000 to ensure prison health services meet the targets set jointly with Milton Keynes PCT in their health action plan. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on links between the Al-Qaeda terrorist group and representatives of the Iraqi regime. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Chaytor) on 10 December, 2002, Official Report, column 143. We believe that there are Al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq. We do not know their links to the Iraqi regime. Obviously in the circumstances it is difficult to establish this issue with clarity.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the (a) countries of origin and (b) background of the alleged Al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the terrorist attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The terrorists who carried out the 11 September attacks were from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Lebanon. They were all male, ranged in ages from 20 to 33, and came from a variety of social backgrounds. Of the 19, the majority had links with Al-Qaeda. A senior Bin Laden associate claimed to have trained some of the hijackers in Afghanistan.
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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Arabic-speaking arms control and disarmament experts he has (a) on his staff and (b) on secondment to his Department. 
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what commitments the UK has made to the protection of the Belize state border; what level of co-operation there is between UK and local security forces; and what discussions have taken place with Belizian authorities regarding border protection. 
Mr. MacShane: Our commitment to Belize is to consult internationally in the event of a threat to Belize's security and to play an appropriate part in any response. This has been the UK's position since the withdrawal of the British garrison from Belize in 1994. We have a close relationship with the Belize Defence Force. The Ministry of Defence maintains an important jungle training school in Belize. The Governments of Belize and Guatemala are working closely under the auspices of the Organisation of America States (OAS) both to settle their long-standing territorial dispute and to agree on measures to build confidence on the border. We strongly support the OAS process.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which countries the UK has a border guarantee agreement; what proposals there are to extend these treaties; and what commitments the Government have made to the preservation of democracy in those countries. 
Mr. Straw: 127 bilateral treaties have been identified which refer to boundaries or borders to which the United Kingdom is or has been a party, concluded with 30 separate bilateral partners. Any obligation to guarantee an international border could only be determined by reference to each individual treaty.
The United Kingdom has an historical and abiding interest in the maintenance of internationally-recognised and agreed borders, and is committed to the promotion of democracy and international stability.
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