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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2005, Official Report, column 21W, on the Holy See, how he intends to widen the pool of potential candidates as Head of Mission to the Holy See beyond the normal reservoir of candidates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Service; how and to whompersons interested may submit an application in support of their candidacy; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2005, Official Report, column 21W, on the Holy See, whether he has determined the appropriate level and form of staffing necessary to preserve a viable and effective embassy to the Holy See; and if he will make a statement. 
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how often the former Director General of the Punjabi Police, Mr K. P. S. Gill, has visited the UK since 1995; and what the duration of each visit was. 
I regret that I cannot provide this information, as it is not our practice to disclose details of individual entry clearance cases in a public forum. However, I will write to the hon. Member with further information.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Indian Government concerning their decision to end the UN moratorium on the death penalty. 
Mr. Alexander: The UK initiated a demarche with EU partners to the Government of India in June 2004 in relation to the death sentence passed on Mr. Dhananjoy Chatterjee. The UK supported a further EU demarche in August 2004 in relation to the same case. On each occasion the EU urged the Indian Government to maintain their de facto moratorium on the death penalty.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which (a) newspaper, (b) television and (c) radio, (i) journalists and (ii) editors Sir Richard Dearlove initiated meetings
21 Mar 2005 : Column 594W
following the war in Iraq during 1993 to discuss matters relating to (A) the conflict and (B) weapons of mass destruction; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 17 March 2005]: It is the Government's well-established practice not to provide, confirm or deny details of meetings or movements of any members of the UK Security and Intelligence Services, including the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Israel following statements by senior Israeli political figures that Israel is considering a pre-emptive military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. 
Mr. Rammell: We are in regular contact with the Israeli Authorities regarding the international community negotiations with Iran. We have not made any representations to Israel regarding reported plans for a pre-emptive military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel. The Israeli Government has denied such reports. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Mr. Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress made in addressing criticisms and recommendations contained in the report by the Council on Europe on UK implementation of its obligations as a signatory to the declaration of lesser-used and minority languages, with particular reference to Scottish Gaelic. 
Mr. Rammell: The UK Government welcomed the Council of Europe's report of 24 March 2004 on the implementation of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The report praises the UK for its efforts while also highlighting some areas for improvement.
The Scottish Executive has taken forward a number of Gaelic education initiatives which address the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts with regard to Gaelic. The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill is also progressing through the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive is actively engaged in discussions with all interested parties in connection with the future of Gaelic broadcasting.
Mr. Alexander: The UK is actively recruiting a human rights advisor for the British Embassy in Kathmandu. The role will be funded from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool and tasked with the job of formulating and implementing UK human rights policy and programmes in Nepal. Advertisements for the position will be issued soon.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Nepali authorities on retaining and not replacing the present human rights commissioners in post; and if he will make a statement on (a) treatment of the commissioners and (b) Government support for the commissioners. 
Mr. Alexander: The UK strongly supports the work of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nepal and has been part funding its operations from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool. We are deeply concerned about the future independence of the NHRC following the King's takeover of power on 1 February and our Ambassador raised our concerns directly with the King in an audience on 8 February. The UK Government believe that the reappointment of the current members of the NHRC, following the expiry of their tenure in May 2005, is the best way to ensure its continued effectiveness. The UK Government have informed the government of Nepal of this position and will continue to press for it.
There have been reports that one of the Commissioners, Sushil Pyakurel, has recently been barred from travelling outside the Kathmandu Valley on two occasions by the Security Forces, which is a source of great concern for the future of the NHRC. The UK intends to maintain its support for the Commissioners and will continue funding NHRC provided its independence and integrity is maintained.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, at the forthcoming meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the Government will press for a reinforcement of the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal to improve human rights monitoring; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The UK remains committed to monitoring and improving Nepal's human rights performance through a number of means, including the UN Commission for Human Rights. Last year the UK was closely involved in the 60th session of the UN Commission for Human Rights (CHR 60) and contributed significantly to the Chairman's statement. We remain equally engaged this year following the King's take over of power and suspension of fundamental rights on 1 February and are currently working with our international partners to seek the best way to take this forward at CHR 61.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of his meeting with Ambassador Sergio de Queiroz Duarte of Brazil, the Chairman of the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. 
Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not held a meeting with Ambassador Duarte, although Ambassador Duarte maintains regular contact with senior officials. The most recent meeting was in London on Friday 11 March when Ambassador John Freeman, Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, together with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Trade and Industry, held consultations with Ambassador Duarte on the forthcoming Review Conference.
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