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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the total cost has been of the Thurrock Development Corporation; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) when the chief executive of the Thurrock Development Corporation was appointed; when he took up his appointment; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) on what date the Thurrock Development Corporation opened an office in Thurrock; and what the reasons are for the delay in opening this office; 
(4) when he proposes to lay an Order transferring planning functions to the Thurrock Development Corporation; to what parliamentary procedure it will be subject; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) if he will make a statement on the progress made since its inception by the Thurrock Urban Development Corporation; what key decisions it has taken; and what the timetable is for its future work programme. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 July 2005]: The Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation was established in October 2003. Since then the Corporation has focussed on the development of its strategic plans and strategies with particular emphasis on corporate governance, business planning, regeneration, development control and spatial land use issues. The Corporation has also worked with local and regional partners with respect to the preparation of a broad programme of capital interventions, which will kick start the regeneration and growth of the area. Funding for the Corporation's first capital project (a regional RSPB Visitors Centre at Rainham Marshes) was announced in June 2005.
The appointment of the chief executive was announced by the Corporation on 14 October 2004. He took up the post on 18 October 2004. To 31 March 2005, the total cost of setting up the Corporation was £1,321,927. An Order making the Corporation the local planning authority for strategic development will be laid before Parliament shortly under the negative resolution procedure. The acute lack of office accommodation in
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Thurrock has prevented the Corporation from establishing itself in the Thurrock area. However the organisation will be moving to their new offices in Thurrock (Gateway House, Purfleet) at the beginning of August 2005.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will press the Afghan administration to take steps to prevent people associated with making substantial income from the narcotics trade in Afghanistan from participating in elections. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 19 July 2005]: The UK has suggested to the Joint Election Management Board (JEMB) and the UN that Parliamentary candidates be asked to make a specific statement confirming that they have no connections with the illegal drugs trade in Afghanistan.
Candidates for the Parliamentary and Provincial elections can only stand if they meet the criteria stipulated in article 85 of the Afghan Constitution, articles 14 and 15 of the Electoral Law or the JEMB regulations. The criteria include: being an Afghan citizen, having reached the required age, having resigned from his/her position as an electoral officer or senior government, security or justice official, not having been convicted of crimes against humanity or any other crime, not having been deprived of his/her civil rights by a court, not commanding or belonging to an unofficial armed group.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Italian counterpart on the development of the justice sector in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 19 July 2005]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary held talks with the Italian Foreign Minister on 19 July.
The UK supports Italy's role as lead nation for justice sector reform in Afghanistan. We welcome Italy's newly launched three year action plan which will focus on judicial capacity building and which aims to train 1,500 people.
As lead nation on counter narcotics the UK is working in support of the Afghan government's 2005 implementation plan, of which criminal justice is a key pillar.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Bills were sponsored by his Department in each Session since 1979. 
[pursuant to the reply, 18 July 2005, Official Report, c. 1368W]: I regret that the answer on 18 July 2005 was incomplete. The list of legislation for which the
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been responsible since 1997 should also have included the Landmines Act 1998.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK Government have been consulted by either party regarding Iran's proposed assistance with the training and upgrading of Iraq's armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Our understanding is that Iran will not be training Iraqi armed forces. On 12 July, the Iraqi Defence Minister, Sa'dun al-Dulaymi said, in response to a journalist's question about the Iranian Defence Minister's claims that Iraq had agreed to Iranian training of Iraqi troops, that this had not been discussed between Iran and Iraq, adding that we have 10 centres of training here in Iraq and we have the full capacity."
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the extension of the nationality and entry into Israel law (temporary order) prohibiting residents or citizens of Israel who are married to residents of the occupied territories from living in Israel with their spouses was rescinded or amended at the review on 31 May 2005 of the citizenship and entrance to Israel law; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: On 15 May 2005 the Israeli Cabinet approved an amendment to the nationality and entry into Israel law, allowing men over the age of 35 and women over 25 to apply for immigration in the framework of family re-unification. The amendment has not yet passed the Knesset. On 30 May 2005 the Knesset extended the validity of the current law for a further three months.
We are concerned about this law and its effects, and we have raised these concerns with the Israeli Government. We will continue to monitor the situation with regard to this law.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on the (a) apprehension, (b) imprisonment and (c) current restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for West Worcestershire (Sir Michael Spicer) on 18 July 2005, Official Report, column 1372W.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what his latest assessment is of the measures the Palestinian Authority is taking to prevent terror attacks being launched against Israel; 
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(2) what his assessment is of compliance by Hamas with the cease-fire commitment it agreed with the Palestinian Authority in Cairo in March. 
Dr. Howells: We are greatly concerned at the escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories since 12 July 2005. We note that the Palestinian Authority has taken some steps to prevent militants from firing rockets into Israel from Gaza. Palestinian security forces have suffered casualties in attempting to do so. We call upon the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and effective action to control the security situation and urge Israel to co-operate in this regard, including by showing maximum restraint.
Palestinian militants, including Hamas militants, have fired rockets and mortars at Israeli targets, and there have also been violent clashes between Hamas militants and Palestinian Authority security forces. This appears to be in contravention of the agreement on 17 March 2005 in Cairo made by Palestinian militant groups to extend a period of calm until the end of 2005. We urge all groups to end violence, and call on Hamas to renounce violence for good and enter the political process.
Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest assessment is of the progress made by the Palestinian Authority in implementing the recommendations of the European Commission's observation mission on democratic elections. 
Dr. Howells: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca Davies) on 6 July 2005, Official Report, column 487W.
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