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Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The UK Presidency tabled two discussions by Deputy Permanent Representatives to the EU on this issue in early July. Among other things, it was agreed to hold fewer, more focused debates and to limit the length of interventions by Council members. We think this has made Council meetings more efficient. These discussions were based on the guidelines set out in Annex IV of the Council Rules of Procedure, which were agreed by all member states in 2003 in preparation for the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 member states. The Rules of Procedures seek to focus Council meetings on the key decisions to be taken by Ministers.
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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) Ministers from EU member states and (b) European Commissioners (i) he and (ii) Ministers in his Department have met during the course of the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union to discuss the European Union's next financial perspective and the future of the UK's abatement; what discussions (A) he and (B) Ministers in his Department have held with each; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We have discussed the financial perspectives at ministerial and/or official level with each and every EU member state, the two accession states, Bulgaria and Romania, the European Commission and the European Parliament. We have made clear in all of these contacts that, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to his fellow EU Heads of Government on 20 October, we believe that agreement can and should be reached at the December Council. Our position on the abatement remains as set out by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister before the House on 20 June 2005, Official Report, columns 52325.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Government welcomed the proposals to create a European External Action Service (EEAS) designed to support the proposed new EU Foreign Minister role, as part of the Constitutional treaty. The Constitutional treaty proposed that the Service would be established by the Council, which is made up of member states, on the basis of a proposal by the EU Foreign Minister, and not by the Commission, although the Commission would have to give their consent to the proposals. As the hon. Member is aware, the future of the Constitutional treaty, and hence the possibility of an EU Foreign Minister, is uncertain following the June European Council. We do not believe that an EEAS, as envisaged in the treaty, can be introduced without treaty change.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Implementation of the EU's Counter-Terrorism Action Plan is a priority for the UK Presidency. The terrorist attacks in London on 7 July underlined the importance of this work. At the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council called by the UK Presidency on 13 July, member states renewed their commitment to fighting terrorism and agreed to bring forward deadlines in the Action Plan.
As a result of this renewed momentum, and building on the work of previous Presidencies, we are on course to make good progress in providing greater protection
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for EU citizens. To support the Action Plan, the UK Presidency also aims to review the EU's long-term counter-terrorism strategy before the end of the year.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the attack on Christians in Jatinulya, East Bekari, West Java; and what representations he has made to the Government in Indonesia regarding anti-religious violence there. 
Dr. Howells: We regularly raise treatment of religious minorities with the Indonesian Government, as part of our dialogue with them on human rights. We have urged them to encourage religious freedom, maintain law and order and promote reconciliation.
In September this year, President Yudhoyono stressed that the state guaranteed every citizen religious freedom and called on the police and members of the public to act to prevent violence against any faith. The President also asked his Minister of Religious Affairs to work with local governments to find a solution to the recent closures of churches, including those in West Java.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire (David Taylor), of 20 June 2005, Official Report, column 743W, on Malaysia, if he will make a statement on progress with the Government's review of their policy on the acceptance and wearing of foreign military medals by British citizens. 
The Cabinet Office Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, which is responsible for advising the Government on policy
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matters relating to the Honours System, will be considering a Foreign and Commonwealth Office paper on the accepting and wearing of non-British awards by British citizens at a meeting due to take place on 7 December.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates his Department informed the United States that (a) a substance believed to be ricin was discovered in an incident in the UK in 2003 and (b) that the substance was not ricin. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not inform the United States that a substance believed to be ricin was discovered in an incident in the UK in 2003, or that the substance subsequently was found not to be ricin.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the report prepared by officials from his Department following their visit to Zimbabwe in the summer. 
Dr. Howells: Due to the political climate in Zimbabwe, the meetings with some of the sources were conducted on the basis that their identities would not be revealed except in relation to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) proceedings. The AIT decided to make an order under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 by which those sources which had requested anonymity were protected, and accordingly the team's summary of their evidence was not made public. However, the team's evidence is noted in detail in the determination of the AIT, which can be viewed on the AIT website at http://www.ait.gov.uk/determinations.do