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Ian Pearson: We understand that Rwanda has not granted asylum to Laurent Nkunda. Our information is that he has been dismissed from the Congolese army but remains in North Kivu province, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We have encouraged the DRC authorities, in conjunction with the UN peacekeeping force, to apprehend Nkunda as soon as possible in connection with atrocities committed by units under his command in Bukavu in June 2004 and subsequently. The Congolese authorities are in the process of issuing an international arrest warrant for Nkunda so that he can be arrested if he surfaces outside the DRC.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Sri Lanka on its proposals on the conversion of Buddhists to other religions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: I have not had any recent discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka on this subject. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is closely monitoring the introduction of legislation seeking to prevent unethical conversions". Both the Government of Sri Lanka and the National Heritage Party (JHU) have published such legislation. However, the Government legislation has not been formally tabled in Parliament and the JHU legislation has made limited progress through the legislative process. On 4 October, the JHU called for the second reading of a separate Bill to amend the constitution by declaring Buddhism the state religion, but this debate was not heard.
The British high commission in Sri Lanka maintains a regular dialogue on this subject with political leaders, religious groups and other diplomatic missions. Our view is that legislation in this area is inappropriate and that inter-community and inter-religious dialogue is the most constructive way to promote tolerance and co-operation. The British high commissioner in Colombo raised the issue when he met the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, on 20 September.
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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK Government have made to the Government of Sudan in response to reports by the African Union that (a) Sudanese Government security forces have attacked refugee camps near compounds that house AU troops in the Tawilla district of Darfur and (b) attacks have included Government helicopter gunships. 
Ian Pearson: We await the results of the African Union's (AU) investigation into these incidents. The UK has issued EU Presidency statements condemning recent incidents in Darfur. My noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman) visited the Sudan from 5 to 8 October and raised the security situation in Sudan with the Government of Sudan.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made with deploying to Darfur the military personnel and civilian personnel authorised by the African Union Peace and Security Council on 28 April; whether he expects the African Union to meet its target deployment force by spring 2006; and what support is being provided by the United Nations Mission in Sudan to the African Union. 
Ian Pearson: The African Union (AU) have deployed a total of 5,581 military and civilian personnel and 908 civilian police as part of the AU Mission in Sudan's (AMIS) current expansion to over 7,700 personnel. Under current planning, the AU expect to deploy this full force size by the end of October, although this date may be delayed due to other commitments in troop contributing countries, especially for civilian police.
The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) liaises closely with AMIS, through the AU Commission Chairperson's Special Representative in Sudan, meetings with the AU in Addis Ababa, through its constant presence and increasing joint activities on the ground in Darfur such as training in policing and operational planning. UNMIS has a liaison staff permanently deployed to the AMIS Headquarters in ElFasher to ensure this support is closely co-ordinated. Additionally, the UN Assistance Cell to the AU, based in Addis Ababa, helps support the AU in planning and providing technical advice for AMIS and works closely with other partners to facilitate the AU Commission's efforts to secure required resources and other support needs for AMIS.
Deployment of the UN peace support mission to Sudan (UNMIS) is continuing, with 2,742 military personnel deployed on 5 October, with a further 475 expected to arrive by 12 October. Deployment has been slower than expected due to the rainy season and delays from troop contributing countries. The UN currently expects full deployment of the mandated 10,000 military personnel and up to 715 civilian police by the end of November.
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Ian Pearson: We hold regular discussions with the African Union (AU) at all levels. Our embassies in Addis Ababa and Khartoum hold regular meetings with the AU, and we have UK observers at the current AU-led Abuja peace talks. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) and my noble Friend the Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman) discussed Sudan with AU Chairperson Konare during their visit to the AU summit in July. They also held discussions with AU representatives during their visits to Sudan in June and October respectively.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Sudan on whether it is adhering to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 
Ian Pearson: We regularly raise with the Government of Sudan the need to respect human rights and abide by international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We hold these discussions both bilaterally and through multilateral forums such as the EU-Sudan Human Rights dialogue.
We continue to stress to the Government of Sudan the importance of fully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the new Interim National Constitution, which make explicit provisions for the protection of human rights. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman) did so most recently during his visit to Sudan 58 October.
Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had one letter from a noble Lord about the closure of the British high commission in Mbabane, Swaziland. We are now represented in Swaziland by an honorary consul in Mbabane. Our high commissioner in Pretoria, right hon. Paul Boateng, will be accredited as non-resident high commissioner to Swaziland.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the constitutional amendment presented to the Ugandan Parliament that would enable President Museveni to rule for life; and if he will make a statement. 
The Ugandan Parliament voted on the third reading of the Constitutional Amendment Bill on 18 August. The vote was 222 in favour, 37 against and 2abstentions. The Bill then received presidential assent on 26 September and is now in force. The Bill included
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a number of proposals, one of which was to lift the limit of two five year terms for any one President. The issue of lifting the limit on presidential tenure, like other proposed changes to the constitution, was for Ugandans to decide. Our concern was that any changes to the constitution should be made constitutionally and democratically and should carry the confidence of the Ugandan people.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) recent military spending by Uganda and (b) the purposes for which the weaponry acquired is to be used; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: We and other donors endorsed the Ugandan Government's 200405 budget on the basis that allocations for defence were acceptable and affordable in the context of Uganda's development. The current defence budget is just over 2 per cent. of GDP (UGS. 347 billion (US$ 198 million)) and is in line with the Government of Uganda's expenditure in other sectors.
The Government of Uganda established the Joint Defence Sector Working Group, where donor countries work with the Ugandan Government to discuss implementation of the UK-funded Defence Review, completed at the beginning of 2004. In addition, the Government periodically holds confidential discussions with the Ugandan Government on the classified elements of the defence budget.
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