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18 Mar 2003 : Column 725Wcontinued
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received from interest groups in Britain regarding the abuse of human rights in Iran; and what discussions he has had with the Iranian authorities on the matter. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly receives a wide range of representations about the human rights situation in Iran. My right hon. Friend and I make a point of raising human rights whenever we see our Iranian counterparts including at the recent meeting between my right hon. Friend and the Iranian Foreign Minister on 6 February.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to ensure that resolution 57/232 of the United Nations General Assembly on human rights in Iraq is fully implemented. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is not possible to work with the current Iraqi regime to ensure that resolutions such as this one are fully implemented. As and when this situation changes we will work with the international community to ensure that the human rights situation in Iraq is properly addressed.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 6 March 2003, Official Report, column 1191W, on UN Resolution 57/232, whether the UK Government is supporting the deployment of human rights monitors throughout Iraq. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Iran about the possibility of a war between the US, UK and Iraq. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have a regular dialogue with the Iranian Government on this and other regional issues. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the situation in Iraq with the Iranian Foreign Minister on a number of occasions, most recently on 6 February.
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Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many interviews the inspectors appointed under UNSCR 1441 have conducted with Iraqi scientists in locations outside of Iraq in conditions assuring confidentiality and safety for the scientists and their families. 
Mr. Rammell: Liberian involvement in Cote d'Ivoire has contributed significantly to instability in the west of the country. The nature of Liberian involvement is complex, with reports of Liberians fighting for both sides. Liberia is used as a base by rebels fighting in the West of Cote d'Ivoire, and there are large numbers of Liberian mercenaries fighting for both sides. We remain concerned at the ease with which armed groups move between the two countries. We are also concerned about the plight of over 40,000 Liberian refugees in the region.
While we do not have a full picture of the role played by the Liberian Government in Cote d'Ivoire it is clear that it continues to ignore UN Security Council demands by sponsoring armed groups in the region. Our objective remains to contain these activities by maintaining effective UN sanctions against Liberia.
Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what figures his Department has on the volume of heroin trafficked through Kosovo which was received in the United Kingdom in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and how many arrests have been made in Kosovo in respect of such trafficking. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Analysis of drug movement in Europe suggests that about 80 per cent. of the heroin reaching the United Kingdom is trafficked through the Balkans from its source in Afghanistan. We do not have figures on the volume of heroin trafficked through Kosovo to the UK.
Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UN sanctions against Liberia in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell: The UN imposed sanctions on Liberia as a result of the Liberian Government's complicity in fuelling the conflict in Sierra Leone. Liberia remains a serious threat to the stability of the sub-region. It has been involved in incursions into Guinea and is now
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being used as a base by rebels in Cote d'Ivoire. The sanctions are focused specifically on President Taylor and his ministers. We believe that they should be maintained until Liberia ends its efforts to destabilise the region.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps have been taken to implement the programme of action for nuclear disarmament that was signed up to in 2000; 
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence explained in answer to my hon. Friend's question of 5 March 2003, Official Report, column 1041W, the Government has taken substantial steps in fulfilment of its nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT. Since 2000 we have continued to make significant progress, including dismantling the UK's last Chevaline warhead in April 2002. We have supported Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones in Central Asia, South East Asia, and the Middle East. We also continue to press for negotiations to begin on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
The United Kingdom supports moves towards mutual, balanced and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons. We have always made clear that when we were satisfied with verifiable progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, we would ensure that our nuclear weapons were included in any negotiations.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government has taken to encourage (a) Israel, (b) India and (c) Pakistan to sign the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have regular dialogue on non-proliferation issues with all three states. The issue of their non-signature of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forms an integral part of that dialogue.
We also take all opportunities to urge Israel to resolve international concerns about its nuclear status by acceding to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state and have consistently supported resolutions in the United Nations calling for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
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Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the US administration has paid its budgetary contributions to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on time. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The United States is the largest financial contributor to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It usually pays its assessed contributions in two instalments, the first in April and the second in June. This amounts to a total of 14 million Euros, approximately 22 per cent. of the overall budget of the OPCW. Furthermore, towards the end of 2002 the US gave an additional voluntary contribution to the OPCW of US$2 million.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's expenditure on (a) translation and (b) interpreting services was in 2002; and how many companies were asked to tender for such work. 
Mr. Rammell: The FCO runs an in-house translation and interpreting service to meet the high level needs of the FCO, No. 10 and other Government Departments. It comprises a small number of in-house translators exercising quality control who supervise a large pool of experienced and trusted on-call translators and interpreters. For security reasons, this unit does not invite tenders for work in the open market. However, the pool translators and interpreters are self-employed, many operating as sole trader companies. Entry to the in-house team is via open competition, advertised periodically.
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