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19 Jan 2004 : Column 967Wcontinued
Mr. Rammell: Expenditure on external consultants in general is reported annually in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Departmental Report, available in the Library of the House and on the FCO's website: www.fco.gov.uk. Expenditure specifically on management consultants is not categorised separately and could be established only at disproportionate cost.
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The vast majority of our expenditure on external consultants is associated with our major Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Estate Construction programmes. Consultants also advise on legal, financial and personnel issues and provide support in areas where we have skills shortages. Increasing expenditure over recent years is largely associated with the growth of our ICT programme which is being used to support change in the organisation.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his Department's procurement policy with regard to offshore IT and call centre outsourcing; whether his Department is outsourcing IT and call centre jobs to offshore companies; to which countries his Department has outsourced these jobs; how much his Department has spent on this outsourcing in each of the last two years; and how much has been budgeted for this purpose for the next two years. 
Mr. Rammell : Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) purchasing policy follows the Government's Public Purchasing Consolidated Guidelines which require the procurement of goods and services to be based on value for money and that they should be acquired by competition unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has received from Saudi Arabian officials concerning plans to attack British Airways flights (a) over Saudi Arabia and (b) with light aircraft registered in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: We liaise closely with the Saudi Government on security issues, including those relating to aviation security. Information received in confidence from the Saudi Government is exempt from disclosure under Exemption l(c) of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. We do not disclose the details of exchanges on security issues, as it is the longstanding practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence and security matters.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence has been collated by his Department on whether the Eritrean authorities are arming Sudanese rebels in the Darfur region; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made on the need for sunset clauses on legislative proposals brought forward by the European Commission. 
Mr. MacShane: The Government believe that review clauses and sunsetting should be included in European legislation where appropriate. The Cabinet Office Guide to Regulatory Impact Assessment asks those officials negotiating a Directive to consider getting a commitment to review in the text of the Directive itself, if it is not feasible or appropriate to have sunsetting. The Cabinet Office Guide to Regulatory Impact Assessment is available on the Cabinet Office website: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/scrutiny/ria-guidance.
Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. 
We attach great importance to the avoidance of conflict. We take every appropriate opportunity to convey to the Chinese Government and, through informal channels, to the Taiwanese Authorities our strong opposition to the use of force or to any action that raises cross-straits tensions.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the occasions since 1975 when the vote cast by the United Kingdom has been diametrically opposed to that of the United States in the UN Security Council; and what percentage of votes this represents. 
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11 August 1975: Application for membership for Democratic Republic of Vietnam
30 Sept 1975: Application for membership for Republic of South Vietnam
30 Sept 1975: Application for membership for Democratic Republic of Vietnam
8 Dec 1975: Situation in the Middle East
25 March 1976: Situation in occupied Arab territories
23 June 1976: Application for membership for Angola
15 Nov 1976: Application for membership for Socialist Republic of Vietnam
2 April 1982: Situation in occupied Arab territories
20 April 1982: Situation in occupied Arab territories
8 June 1982: Israeli invasion of Lebanon
26 June 1982: Israeli invasion of Lebanon
2 August 1983: Situation in occupied Arab territories
6 Sept 1984: Israeli occupation of Lebanon
30 Jan1986: Provocative acts in relation to Al Aqsa Mosque
1 Feb 1988: Situation in the occupied territories
15 April 1988: Situation in the occupied territories
10 May 1988: Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon
14 Dec 1988: Israeli raid on Lebanon
17 Feb 1989: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
9 June 1989: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
7 Nov 1989: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
31 May 1990: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
17 May 1995: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
7 March 1997: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
21 March 1997: Situation in the occupied Arab territories
30 June 2002: Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 Dec 2002: Situation in the Middle East
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the US Administration about the introduction of visa charges for British citizens who visit the United States of America. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There have been no recent changes to charges for US visas for British citizens. However, we are in close consultation with the US on the introduction of biometric travel documents, and how this will affect entry in to the United States for British passport holders after 26 October 2004.
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Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what measures the Government are taking to re-establish and support the Chadian-led peace negotiations following the breakdown of peace talks on Darfur, Western Sudan; 
Mr. Mullin: We remain extremely concerned at the humanitarian situation in Darfur. We are in contact with all parties, including the Government of Sudan at senior level, to press for the re-establishment of a ceasefire, preferably with international monitoring, which would permit humanitarian access to those in need and lead to talks about how the problems of Darfur can best be addressed.
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