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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the outbreaks of violence in eastern villages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
Ian Pearson: We remain concerned by the level of violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Many Congolese and foreign armed groups continue to prey on the local population. Poorly-paid and indisciplined Congolese army soldiers are part of the problem.
Rwandan Hutu rebels continue to perpetrate serious human rights abuses in the Kivu provinces. We continue to press the Congolese and Rwandan Governments to work together with MONUC towards disarming these groups.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Ethiopian Government on recent events in Addis Ababa; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: On 8 June 2005 my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Lord Triesman of Tottenham made a statement stressing the Government's alarm at the reported loss of life and calling on all parties to take responsibility, reach consensus on the investigation of complaints about the electoral process and respect constitutionally established law. We welcome the fact that the Government and Opposition have since then signed an agreement on the investigation of complaints. A copy of the statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website: www.fco.gov.uk/policy/news/press-releases.
Ministers have spoken to Prime Minister Meles to express concern about the events. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development
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(Hilary Benn) also discussed this further with Prime Minister Meles and Opposition Leaders in Addis on 15 June. He urged all parties to show a firm commitment to the National Election Board and to the constitutional process so that the election process can be concluded. He called on Prime Minister Meles to follow due legal process for those who have been detained, to allow immediate access for their families and the Red Cross and to hold a full investigation into the shootings.
It is vital that all parties now stand by and implement the declaration relating to the review and investigation of election complaints, which they have signed and committed to. The Prime Minister and the leaders of the Opposition Parties in Ethiopia owe it to the people of Ethiopia to ensure that the democratic process is completed peacefully and successfully.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 136W, on Hamas, what discussions his Department held with (a) the Conflicts Forum and (b) members of the Conflicts Forum between the death of Yasser Arafat and 1 March. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has had no discussions with the Conflicts Forum or with members of the Conflict Forum about Hamas between the death of Yasser Arafat and 1 March 2005. However, on 14 June, FCO Research Analysts met Beverley Milton-Edwards (Queens University Belfast and Conflicts Forum) to hear about the Forum's past activity.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 136W, on Hamas, on what date in February he authorised contacts with Hamas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 136W, on Hamas, which senior Hamas official the deputy consul-general in Jerusalem was seated next to at President Abbas's inauguration in January. 
The deputy consul-general, acting as charge" d'affaires, sat next to Hassan Youssef, a senior Hamas leader, at President Abbas's inauguration. They did not engage in substantive conversation.
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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 136W, on Hamas, on what dates his officials had discussions with (a) the Palestinian Authority and (b) Israel concerning the seating arrangements of British officials at President Abbas's inauguration in January; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: There were no discussions with either the Palestinians or Israelis about seating arrangements for President Abbas' inauguration. Seating arrangements were not preparedthey were carried out as people arrived on the day under chaotic conditions.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the (a) financial, (b) technical and (c) manpower support offered by the Government to the Iraqi archaeological services in the Multi-National Division South East area of operations since Operation TELIC I; and what further measures are planned. 
Dr. Howells: The Government take very seriously the need to respect Iraq's cultural heritage. As United Nations Security Council resolution 1546 (June 2004) stressed, all parties need to respect and protect Iraq's archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage.
The Government's support has been for the Iraqi Ministry of Culture who have national responsibility for cultural heritage in Iraq. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular contact with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport spoke with the former Iraqi Minister of Culture on 26 January and is kept closely informed of key cultural issues in Iraq.
In early 2005 the Government funded a capacity-building visit to the UK by three Iraqi interns from the Ministry of Culture. They received training on site management techniques and museology and were based at the British Museum. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will give careful consideration to any further proposals designed to help the cultural reconstruction of Iraq.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have received in relation to the killing of Iraqis in the Kasra-wa-Atah district of north Baghdad on 5 May. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Israel on attacks by the Israeli Defence Force which have impacted on Palestinian police officers. 
We have raised with the Israeli Government the importance of facilitating Palestinian efforts to deliver effective policing, and we have made representations where Israel Defence Force (IDF) actions have affected Palestinian authority operations. In extreme cases IDF actions have led to the deaths of policemen. We call for both sides to maintain the period of calm and increased co-operation between the Israeli Government and Palestinian authority.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the UK will press the EU to take measures under Article 79 of the EU/Israel Association Agreement to enforce the human rights conditions of the Agreement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We do not plan to call on the EU to take measures under Article 79 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The Government believe that, as a friend of Israel and the Palestinians, we can best exert influence and encourage both sides to take the steps needed for progress through close engagement. We, and our EU partners, regularly call on both sides to meet their roadmap commitments; for the Palestinians this includes taking effective action against terrorism and for the Israelis a freeze on all settlement activity and the easing of restrictions on the movement of persons and goods. We do not believe, however, that punitive measures would bring the parties any nearer to a peaceful resolution.
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