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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many video conferencing units are
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installed in (a) the Department and (b) each agency of the Department; what percentage of offices have these facilities in each case; and what plans there are to increase the number. 
The Department has an ongoing Videoconferencing project and this is due to install a new system in the Air Accident Investigation Branch, Farnborough, early in 2005 increasing the buildings covered to 87.5 per cent. Building coverage is therefore almost complete and further plans will focus upon new technology and accessibility to promote and increase usage of the systems.
|Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency||13|
|Driving Standards Agency||6|
|Maritime and Coastguard Agency||1|
|Vehicle Certification Agency||1|
|Vehicle and Operator Services Agency||11|
|Traffic Area Network Offices||(16)6|
The DfT agencies have concentrated their videoconferencing units at headquarters and area office level. In total there are 70 buildings classified as offices on the Agency estate (there are 1,114 sites in total) and videoconferencing is present in 49 of these, representing 70 per cent. coverage.
Mr. Alexander: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) policy is that no staff should be exposed to unfair discrimination on any grounds. The FCO wants to draw on the very best of Britain's diverse society by creating and maintaining an inclusive environment, and drawing upon each individual's personal background and experience to help achieve its objectives.
We have also introduced in recent years flexibility for junior/clerical grades and below to retire at age 65 and for others including middle-management grades to retire at age 63.
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We are reviewing our practices and procedures in the light of forthcoming age discrimination legislation to ensure that we will continue to follow best practice and operate within the spirit and letter of law.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between the Government and Angola regarding the security situation in the province of Cabinda. 
Mr. Mullin: Our Honorary Consul based in Johor Bahru, where Mr. King is detained, and our Kuala Lumpur-based Deputy High Commissioner have both visited Mr. King in detention. We are also in touch with Mr. King's wife and his lawyers about his case.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to renew the December 1966 Agreement with the United States regarding the use of the British Indian Ocean Territory for defence purposes. 
Mr. Rammell: Under the initial agreement of December 1966 between the UK and the US on the use of BIOT, the whole Territory is to remain available for the defence needs of the two countries for an initial period of 50 years from 1966, and thereafter for a further period of 20 years unless either party has given prior notice to terminate it. The question of renewal therefore does not arise at the present time.
Burundi is relatively stable, although some areas remain insecure and there is a risk of a return to violence. All political parties worked for a peaceful extension of the transitional period and in November 2004 accepted the draft constitution. These are positive
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steps towards longer-term peace and stability. A referendum on the constitution is due to be held on 22 December. We encourage all parties in the country to continue to work constructively towards elections next year.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of political and economic relations between China and Zimbabwe; and what discussions have taken place between the UK Government and China regarding the Mugabe regime. 
Mr. Mullin: We are concerned by reports that the Zimbabwean Government plans to import significant amounts of military equipment, including some from China. Given the deteriorating state of the economy this is yet further indication that the Zimbabwean Government has little concern for the welfare of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Mr. MacShane: The Government remains strongly committed to achieving a Cyprus settlement. We continue to believe that the Annan Plan represents the only realistic basis for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution. We accept that the Greek Cypriots have genuine concerns about the plan in its current form and hope that the Greek Cypriots will come forward with proposals to move the process forward. If we believe the proposals are reasonable and have a realistic chance of success, we will encourage the UN Secretary General to re-engage and put all our resources and influence behind finding a solution on the basis of the Annan Plan that is acceptable to all sides.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) new builds, (b) demolition rebuilds and (c) private finance initiative projects in his Department for each of the last two years. 
Mr. Rammell: The estimated cost of new builds, including conversion works and fit-out costs, was £20,524,000 in financial year (FY) 200203 and £24,508,000 in FY 200304. No demolition rebuilds or private finance initiative projects were undertaken during this period.
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