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17 Sept 2003 : Column 746W—continued

Defence Exhibition

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilian security personnel and (b) armed services personnel his Department assigned to the Defence Systems Equipment International Exhibition in London; and if he will make a statement. [129692]

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Mr. Ingram: The security arrangements for Defence Systems Equipment International, including the assignment of civilian security personnel, were the responsibility of the exhibition organisers (Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd.). 31 Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers were deployed to the exhibition site, with an additional small marine unit of 12 MDP officers being present at the request of the Metropolitan police.

Ministry of Defence civilian and armed forces personnel attended the event in an official capacity, but details are not held centrally.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which foreign delegations attending the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in September the Government paid for (a) travel, (b) accommodation and (c) hospitality; and if he will make a statement. [129775]

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the country delegations (a) invited to and (b) attending the Defence Systems Equipment International Exhibition in London; what role his Department had in formulating the list of invited countries; and if he will make a statement. [129693]

Mr. Ingram: Most of the funding for the attendance of official overseas defence delegations at the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition was provided by the exhibition organisers and defence companies.

However, in addition, the official overseas delegations that attended the exhibition as guests of Her Majesty's Government accepted some contribution from the Ministry of Defence towards their visit for travel, accommodation and/or hospitality.

The MOD Defence Export Services Organisation prepares a list of countries to receive official invitations to the exhibition, taking into consideration current marketing campaigns and longer-term prospects for business with the countries concerned. The list is then passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for consideration. Throughout the process, political issues, arms embargoes and current international relations imperatives are also considered, as is the cost involved in hosting the delegations.

Of the 62 countries invited to attend the exhibition as guests of HMG, 56 accepted. The list of countries invited to attend is as listed, with the countries that declined highlighted in italic.

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The exhibition organisers, Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd. have also invited country delegations. Their invitees are military/Government personnel who are below ministerial or chief of staff level, as well as industrial visitors, and invitations are extended to reflect the requirements made by exhibitors as well as London based embassies, in consultation with United Kingdom defence attaches based overseas.

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At the outset of the invitation process Spearhead may take advice from MOD about the attendance of particular countries or exhibitors. However, provided they act responsibly and within the law, Spearhead is not obliged to take that advice. Requests for release of information on the delegations invited by the organisers should be directed to the company.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department was of the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition at the Excel Centre on 9 to 12 September; how many departmental staff were present; and if he will make a statement on the purpose of hosting arms sales fairs. [130293]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) on 20 May 2003, Official Report, columns 677–78W. The final cost remains to be established, but we do not expect it to exceed the estimated figure.

Ministry of Defence staff attended the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition as part of their normal duties and to gain greater understanding of defence industrial capabilities around the world. This was at the discretion of line managers and no central record of attendance is held.

The purpose of defence exhibitions is to bring together purchasers and suppliers of defence equipment and services. DSEi enables the United Kingdom defence industry to demonstrate its capabilities to potential overseas customers and provides an opportunity for those responsible for the defence of their countries to see the range of equipment and services available to meet their legitimate requirements. Formal invitations to DSEi do not imply that Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to issue export licences for the supply of all or any of the equipment displayed, and all export licence applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

Export Controls

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the US State Department on (a) the use of extraterritorial export control legislation and (b) the need to have strict end-user controls on arms shipments, to reduce threats to military personnel. [130182]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 September 2003]: A range of issues have been discussed with the United States Government in the context of the negotiations, concluded earlier this year, on a text for an unclassified waiver from the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations. These have included consideration of extraterritorial control in relation to the export of strategically controlled goods, but not specifically of end-user controls. The national security of the United Kingdom and its allies is considered at the time an application for a licence to export is made, under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate (a) the length of time in training that British army units require before deployment in Iraq and (b) the ratio of deployed personnel to total personnel absorbed by operations in Iraq. [130278]

Mr. Ingram: The duration of pre-deployment training for military forces deploying on operations depends on two factors: firstly, the existing level of training, which is closely aligned to readiness, and, secondly, the operational task the force is required to undertake. The amount of pre-deployment training required is therefore dictated by the extent to which the troops need to raise their military capability, and it is not meaningful to specify set periods of time.

As at 11 September there were approximately 10,000 British servicemen and women in the Gulf region. Following the deployment of the balance of the forces announced by the Secretary of State on 8 September this figure will shortly rise to approximately 10,500. Beyond this it is not possible to quantify accurately the total number of people within the Department whose work touches on current operations in Iraq. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken by the Government to ensure that an effective trial-or-release system for Iraqi prisoners is operating in Iraq. [130347]

Mr. Hoon: The Coalition is working with the Iraqi people to establish a fair and just legal system, and estimates that some 100 courts are now in operation across the country.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the results of the inquiry into the al Majarr al Kabir incident will be published; and if he will make a statement. [123420]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 4 July 2003]: The Ministry of Defence is determined to do all we can to establish the facts, and to bring to account those responsible for the deaths of the six RMP soldiers killed so tragically in Iraq in June. It is not possible to say how long this investigation will take.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 8 September 2003, Official Report, column 46W, on civil servants working in Iraq, if he will report on a weekly basis how many civil servants are searching for weapons of mass destruction. [130770]

Mr. Ingram: The number of civilian staff working for the Iraq Survey Group on a weekly basis is as follows:

Week endingNumber of staff
13 June2
20 June6
27 June7
4 July7
11 July7
18 July15
25 July15
1 August15
8 August15
15 August18
22 August19
29 August19
5 September19
12 September19

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