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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the case of Linda Orams and the extent to which judgments of the civil courts in Cyprus are enforceable in the United Kingdom. 
Through our travel advice, website www.fco.gov.uk and in response to queries, we explain the unique circumstances in Cyprus and strongly advise potential purchasers of property to seek independent qualified legal advice. We also explain that the non-recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and the possibility of a future political settlement in Cyprus could have significant practical or financial implications for those considering buying property in the north.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Egypt regarding the kidnapping of Egyptian Christian girls and women for forced conversion to Islam; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell: Our embassy in Cairo took part in a joint demarche with our EU partners in December 2004 on issues of difficulty faced by converts in obtaining ID cards. As part of that demarche, our embassy also raised the issue of religious persecution, with particular reference to the alleged case of abduction of a Coptic Priest's wife in Beheira.
The British Government are committed to promoting tolerance and mutual respect between religions. Although the majority of people in Egypt are Muslim, there is a large Christian minority who are free to practise their own religion. We are aware that there are isolated incidents of violence against the Coptic Christian community in Egypt and where appropriate, along with EU partners and others, we raise our concerns about these incidents with the Egyptian authorities. We also discuss these incidents with the Coptic Church in Egypt.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he made during negotiations on the European Constitution on (a) combating fraud and (b) whistleblowing; and if he will make a statement on his policy towards implementing European Convention document 844/03, Systems of Mismanagement, as a basis for reform of the anti-fraud system. 
Mr. MacShane: 85 per cent. of the EU budget is spent and distributed by Ministries of EU member states who are responsible for accusations of fraud. The Government have taken a lead in urging the Commission to put in place mechanisms to expose fraud and during discussions in the convention and negotiations for the new treaty insisted that the Treaty preserves existing arrangements for tackling fraud and protecting whistle-blowers, including Eurojust, the Court of Auditors, and instruments such as the European Communities Staff Regulations, as amended in May 2004, which provide that an official shall not suffer any prejudicial effects from making a disclosure in accordance with the Regulations. The Government are not making further comments on the numerous papers submitted by organisations and individuals to the secretariat of the convention.
The Government frequently encourages the Commission and other member states, in line with their Treaty obligations, to take effective anti-fraud measures to protect the EU budgets.
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The Court again found irregularities" in the accounts, which prevented it from certifying the accounts completely. However the Court noted that 80 per cent. of the irregularities relate to accounting practices in some member states including the UK, not in those of the Commission, and also emphasised that the irregularities do not reflect the level of fraud.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the European Commission on the fair treatment of whistleblowers within the European Community institutions. 
Mr. MacShane: As I informed the hon. Member in my written answers of 10 and 13 January 2005, Official Report, columns 13W and 643W, the Government believe that a measure of protection should be offered to employees making such disclosures in good faith. We therefore took an active part in formulating the European Communities Staff Regulations, of May 2004, which provide that an official shall not suffer any prejudicial effects from making a disclosure in accordance with the Regulations. We consider this a comparable measure of protection to that enjoyed by UK officials in Crown Service.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the cases being investigated by OLAF pertaining to illegal exports to Iraq referred to on page 125 of the Court of Auditors annual report for 2003. 
The European Court of Auditors cannot provide a greater level of specific information to the outside world than is provided in its adopted reports. This is in order to protect the professional relationship between auditor and auditee. It would also be inappropriate to comment until OLAF have completed their investigations.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2005, Official Report, columns 102021W, on the European Constitution, if he will publish the minutes of meetings held with European Commission officials pertaining to the provision of information relating to the constitutional treaty for the European Union. 
Mr. Rammell: Our policy towards Iran, like that of the European Union, is one of constructive but critical engagement. We maintain a robust dialogue on issues of concern such as Iran's nuclear programme, human rights record, approach to the fight against terrorism and attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process. Where possible we aim to support reform in Iran.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his (a) European Union and (b) US counterparts with regard to the negotiation of a new Trade and Co-operation Agreement with Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the European Union's approach to the draft EU/Iran Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) with his EU counterparts on many occasions, including at the General Affairs and External Relations Council meetings on 22 November and 13 December 2004. He often discusses policy towards Iran with US interlocutors.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to assist the interim Iraqi Government in encouraging the Sunni minority to participate in the forthcoming elections in Iraq. 
Mr. Rammell: Throughout the transitional period we have worked closely with the Iraqi Interim Government, and a wide cross-section of Iraqis, to encourage the broadest participation in the elections. Officials met regularly with representatives from all Iraq's communities. We have also encouraged countries in the region to use their influence to highlight the benefits to all Iraqis of participation in the elections.
Mr. MacShane: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said publicly, the Government acknowledge and accept the conclusion of the Iraq survey group that Iraq did not possess stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the time of the recent conflict.
About 30 nations currently contribute around 175,000 troop to the UN-mandated Multi-National Force in Iraq (MNF-I). UK and US contributions have been augmented over the election period. The MNF works closely with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). As the capacity and capability of the ISF improves, the need for MNF support will
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gradually decrease. Several MNF-I partners have time-bound mandates: some of these may be renewed, other countries may prefer to switch their focus to, for example, the NATO Training Mission.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking (a) to encourage a satisfactory outcome to the strike by Basra rail workers and (b) to seek the safe return of the kidnapped rail workers. 
Mr. Rammell: Our consulate in Basra is investigating media reports of a strike by Basra rail workers. However, this is a matter for the Iraqi Interim Government. The kidnappings of rail workers is deplorable. I strongly condemn these horrific attacks which target those Iraqis who are working hard for their country. Such attacks are aimed at depriving the Iraqi people of the peaceful and democratic future they deserve.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with the Interim Iraqi Government on the subject of the recent abuse suffered by Iraqi trade unionists, with particular reference to trade unionists in the Basra area. 
The Government attaches importance to developing trade unions and civil society. The transitional administrative law makes provision for the right of all Iraqis to join unions. At least 12 national trade unions have already been established. We are working with the Department for International Development on capacity building of Iraqi trade unions through their Civil Society Fund together with Unison and the International Centre for Trade Union Rights.
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