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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) parking and (b) other minor traffic violation fines incurred by diplomatic missions in (i) London and (ii) the UK in each of the last four years are outstanding. 
Mr. Straw: I shall issue a Written Statement, within this Parliamentary session, listing the number of outstanding parking and other minor traffic violation fines incurred by diplomatic missions based in the UK for 2004. In practice, because diplomatic missions are based mainly in London, these figures are provided by London borough councils. Details for the previous three years can be found in the Official Report as follows:
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in respect of which countries' diplomatic missions he has had (a) discussions, (b) meetings and (c) correspondence regarding a refusal to pay the congestion charge citing (i) Article 34 and (ii) Article 49 of the Vienna Convention. 
Prior to the introduction of the Congestion Charge, I had representations from the Danish and Spanish Embassies and corresponded with the Deans of the Americas, Arab, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Pacific Groups. Following the
26 Oct 2005 : Column 465W
introduction of the Congestion Charge in February 2003, I have had representations from the African Union Group, who also met with my officials, as well as correspondence with the Bulgarian, Swiss, German, Moroccan and US Embassies.
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has opened 10 and closed nine embassies and high commissions since 1997. The following table provides further details of these posts and the year in which they were either opened or closed. Like any well-run organisation, the FCO continues to move its resources flexibly, in line with UK interests.
|Mission opened||Mission closed|
|200102||Asmara, Bamako, Dushanbe, Kabul and Pyongyang|||
|200203||Chisinau, Conakry and Dili|||
|200304||||Bamako, Managua, San Salvador and Tegucigalpa|
|200506||||Antananarivo, Asuncion, Maseru, Mbabane and Nassau|
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) embassies and (b) high commissions have been (i) closed, (ii) contracted in respect of personnel and (iii) expanded in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 17 October 2005]: Like any well-run organisation the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) deploys its resources flexibly as priorities require in line with UK interests. The following embassies and high commissions have been closed in the last five years.
The size of UK missions overseas is determined by a range of factors including changes in demand for consular and visa services; reductions due to efficiency measures; and reprioritisations in line with changed UK priorities. Data are not held centrally for non-FCO staff, eg Ministry of Defence or the Department for International Development, in British missions overseas. The following embassies and High commissions are therefore those that have expanded or contracted FCO staff numbers in the last two years. Comparable data are not held centrally for earlier years.
|Bandar Seri Begawan||Expand||Contract|
|Dar es Salaam||Expand||Contract|
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