|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and Bolivia regarding its claim on the Atacama corridor in Chile, to secure sovereign maritime access for Bolivian natural gas. 
Mr. Rammell: We are deeply concerned about religious freedom in China, monitor the situation closely and regularly raise our concerns about this issue, including the treatment of Christians with the Chinese.
At the latest round of the UK China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Beijing on 22 November 2004, we raised our concern that the prohibition of some religious groups and the restrictions and harassment of others undermines freedom of religious belief in China.
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1394W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will intercede in the case of Father Zhang Rongliang a church leader arrested in Henan province to seek his release. 
Mr. Rammell: The British embassy in Beijing contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 4 December 2004 to raise the case of Father Zhang Rongliang and register concerns about his health. We have also been in touch with the Dutch Presidency. We are making further enquiries about the circumstances of his arrest.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy towards the maintenance of the EU arms embargo against the People's Republic of China; and what representations he has received from (a) the People's Republic of China, (b) businesses, (c) Chinese organisations campaigning for democracy in China and (d) other EU countries and institutions, on this issue. 
Mr. MacShane: The Government support the decision of the European Council in December 2003 to review the EU Arms Embargo on China. This review is on-goingit was last discussed by EU Foreign Ministers at the 13 December General Affairs and External Relations Council. The Government do not wish to exclude any options for the review, nor to pre-empt the conclusion of the review.
In recent contacts with representatives of Her Majesty's Government, Chinese Ministers have expressed an interest in the review of the embargo. The Chinese Foreign Minister has raised the subject with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I am unaware of any representations to him from business or Chinese NGOs on this question.The Government continue to implement the Arms Embargo as set out by the then Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the late Derek Fatchett, in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker) on 3 June 1998.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the major trade deals between China and African countries of which the Government is aware; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. MacShane: The Government do not comprehensively track trade deals between China and African states. But overall trade between China and Africa is becoming very significant, up from $2 billion for two-way trade in 1999 to $20 billion in 2003. We also value the contribution made to the Commission for Africa by the Chinese National People's Congress Standing Committee member Ji Peiding.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of (a) in-house canteen and (b) other catering services provided by his Department in each of the last two years. 
The 200304 costs appear to be higher than the previous year, but these were significantly impacted by additional costs incurred during an expansion project on an existing catering facility. This project had the effect of temporarily reducing the level of business the contractor could carry out at the facility, and so a higher cost was incurred for the duration of the works.
Additional costs have been incurred in complying with the recommendations of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Food Procurement Initiative, promoting the, often, more expensive organic and sustainably grown produce. This is an on-going programme.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the equipment leasing arrangements entered into by his Department in each of the last two years; and what the cost is to public funds in each case. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether non-EU nationals employed in residences of UK ambassadors and high commissioners throughout the world are required (a) to be entitled to work permits in the UK
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1396W
and (b) to have work permits in relation to the country in which the ambassadors, and high commissioners, residences are located; and if he will make a statement. 
The position of residence staff who are not nationals of the country in which they are appointed reflect that country's immigration rules and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Domestic staff of a head of mission who are employed by the sending state and who are notified to the receiving state's Foreign Ministry may, under Article 37(3) of the Vienna Convention, enjoy the same privileges and immunity as service staff of the Mission. In the UK, for example, individuals in this category would be granted 'exempt' from entry clearance. Domestic staff who are the private employees of a Head of Mission would have to apply and pay for a 'domestic' entry clearance, but would not require a work permit.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his recruitment policy is for staff who (a) prepare food, (b) serve food and fulfil other related hospitality and reception duties and (c) perform cleaning duties at the residences of ambassadors and high commissioners; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 16 December 2004]: Residence staff are normally recruited in-country and, to the extent compatible with local law, enjoy the same terms and conditions as the local staff of the Mission. Operational considerations may sometimes justify the employment of British citizens or third country nationals.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|