|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on consistency in the wording of the question in each country's referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many companies have been invited to tender for (a) interpretation and translation services and (b) interpretation equipment provision for EU presidency meetings hosted by the UK; and what the value of each tender is. 
Mr. MacShane: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 31 January 2005, Official Report, column 716W. Since then, we have issued no further invitations to tender for interpretation services, translation services or equipment provision for FCO-run UK EU presidency events. Other Government Departments are responsible for arranging these services for their own presidency events.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the UK lawyer based in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq first became aware of allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib and other US detention facilities. 
Mr. MacShane: The UK lawyers based in the Coalition Provisional Authority building in Baghdad first became aware of allegations of mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib and other US detention facilities in February 2004, by which time the US authorities had already begun detailed investigations.
Mr. MacShane: The direct local resource cost of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operations in Iraq for financial years 200203 and 200304 was £0.349 million and £5.465 million respectively. Direct local resource costs for financial year 200405 are estimated to be around £13 million.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he included the text of the full advice from the Attorney-General on the war in Iraq with the correspondence he sent to his ministerial colleagues in advance of the debate on 18 March 2003. 
Mr. MacShane: No. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to ministerial colleagues and Members of Parliament on 17 March 2003 enclosing, among other things, a copy of his letter to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the same date setting out the legal basis for the use of force. This included the Attorney General's Parliamentary Answer and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office paper entitled Iraq: Legal Basis for the Use of Force."
Mr. MacShane [holding answer 17 March 2005]: The international community has been united in calling for Syria to withdraw its troops and intelligence personnel from Lebanon in compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559. My noble Friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, visited Lebanon on 2425 February. In her discussions with Lebanese Foreign Minister Hammoud, she made it clear that we expect Syrian withdrawal to be complete and rapid, so that Lebanon can hold free and fair elections to its National Assembly without foreign influence or interference. My noble Friend also emphasised the importance of a full and transparent investigation into Mr. Rafic Hariri's assassination in Beirut on 14 February. The UK stands ready to assist the Lebanese Government in preparing for fully democratic elections.
Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the security situation in Lebanon since the start of the withdrawal of Syrian military forces. 
The withdrawal of Syrian troops to the Beka'a Valley in Lebanon and back to Syria is a first step in the implementation on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559. Since the start of the withdrawal, the security situation has remained calm, as can be seen by the large-scale peaceful rallies that have been taking place in Beirut. So far, the Lebanese security forces have shown themselves to be capable of filling the security role left by the departing Syrian troops.
22 Mar 2005 : Column 800W
Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of progress made by the Palestinian Authority in reform of its security apparatus. 
Mr. MacShane: We have worked closely with the Palestinian Authority (PA) on reform of their security apparatus. The London Meeting on 1 March 2005 was aimed at supporting the PA in its plans to build the institutions needed to underpin a future viable Palestinian state. At the meeting, PA President Abu Mazen promised 100 per cent. effort" on security, and set out detailed plans in this area, along with plans for governance reform and economic development. On security specifically, the early signs have been good and on 16 March 2005 Israel handed Jericho over to PA security control. It is imperative that the PA's efforts continue. We will continue to work with the parties and the international community to support the Palestinian Authority.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will encourage the Palestinian Authority to take steps to ensure that Christian Arabs are not driven out of the territories by the activities of extremists. 
Mr. MacShane: We are not aware of Christian Arabs being driven out of the territories by the activities of Palestinian extremists. However, we do call upon the Palestinian Authority to continue with reforms, especially security reform, so that it can ensure Palestinian law and order and take effective action against rejectionist and extremist violence.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the instructions he gave to the UK ambassador to the UN in relation to UK policy on Rwanda in the months prior to the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. 
Mr. Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) commitment not to discriminate unfairly on the grounds of religion or belief is set out clearly in our equal opportunities policy. This states:
All FCO staff are entitled to be treated with respect. No staff should be exposed to unfair discrimination, including harassment, bullying or victimisation on any grounds, particularly gender, family status, race, disability, religion, faith or sexual orientation."
The FCO does not have a specific policy on the wearing of clothing or items associated with particular religions. This includes the kirpan. However, in line with our equal opportunities policy, all employees are free to practice their religion.
The FCO has taken a number of steps to address discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. These include: diversity training for all staff, diversity objectives for all staff, provision of prayer rooms, and flexible working which enables staff to pray during religious festivals.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|