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Ian Pearson: I assume my hon. Friend is referring to imports by Iraq of anthrax from the United States. There was widespread media coverage in 1991 of the findings of the United Nations Special Commission's (UNSCOM) first inspection of Iraq's biological weapons capability. A number of pathogens were handed over to UNSCOM inspectors which had been sourced from the American type culture collection. These included Bacillis anthracis.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Government officials had (a) direct contact and (b) contact via other parties with the Italian national Rocco Martino between 1999 and September 2002; and whether Government officials (i) met and (ii) had contact via other parties with Nicolo Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence, between 2001 and 2003. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent in each year from 1st May 1997 on ministerial travel, broken down by (a) provision and running costs of vehicular transport, (b) first class travel by rail, (c) standard class travel by rail, (d) first class travel by air, (e) club or equivalent class travel by air and (f) economy class travel by air. 
Since 1999 this Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Information for 199798 was included in the 1999 list. The overall cost of Minister's visits for the years 199596 and 199697 was provided with the 2001 list. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House.
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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list, for each year since 1995, the number of flights, including helicopter flights, taken by Ministers within his Department for UK and overseas visits; on how many occasions (a) charter flights were used and (b) first and club class tickets were obtained; and if he will indicate who accompanied the Ministers on each trip. 
Mr. Straw: Since 1999 this Government has published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Information for 199798 was included in the 1999 list. The overall cost of Minister's visits for the years 199596 and 199697 was provided with the 2001 list. The list shows the number of officials who accompanied me where non-scheduled travel was used. Information on those who accompanied Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers on all trips since 1995 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Government has also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost was of amending his travel arrangements and returning from Moscow in order to vote in the House on 9 November; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: No. The British Ambassador to Nepal has not been recalled. The Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently given agreement to the appointment of the present Ambassador's successor, in line with standard practice. The new Ambassador will take up his posting when the present Ambassador completes his tour of duty in June 2006. We will announce the name of the new Ambassador in due course.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 31 October 2005, Official Report, columns 75354W, on non-proliferation, what his policy is on whether future projects providing indirect support to the consolidation, secure custody and elimination of special nuclear materials should continue to be financed using Community instruments in the Financial Perspective 20072013. 
We believe that there should be provision to fund such projects from the Community budget under the next Financial Perspective. We are currently discussing with the Commission a draft of a new
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Instrument for Nuclear Assistance which we would propose should provide the basis for funding such projects in the next Financial Perspective.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 31 October 2005, Official Report, columns 75354W, on non-proliferation, whether he expects the Nuclear Safety Instrument in the financial perspective 20072013 to enable all existing projects funded by the European Commission that are supportive of nuclear non-proliferation activities to continue at their current levels. 
Mr. Straw: Funding for the Instrument for Nuclear Assistance will need to be agreed as part of the overall funding package agreed for the EU's next financial perspective. The UK, along with five other member states (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden), believes that the Union's priorities can be funded by a budget stabilised at one per cent. of EU Gross National Income (GNI). The instrument will be funded out of the external actions " heading of the EC budget. We would prefer to see no growth under this heading. We will want funding for the instrument for nuclear assistance to be consistent with this, but also to provide sufficient resources to allow the commission to make a significant contribution towards achieving the EU's nuclear non-proliferation objectives, including those related to the Global Partnership.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of regulation of private (a) military and (b) security companies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: In late 2004 I requested a review by officials of the options for the regulation of the overseas operations of private military and security companies registered in or operating from the United Kingdom. The aim was to follow up on the Green Paper of 2002, Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation", and to respond to the increase in the activities of private military and security companies in areas of conflict overseas. The review was completed in June 2005.I am currently seeking views from ministerial colleagues on the options for regulation. The Government will keep Parliament fully informed of their proposals in this area.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many retired officers were employed in overseas postings in each year since 1990; and if he will make a statement. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not have a cadre of retired officers. We currently employ 66 individuals overseas in receipt of a civil service pension on a fee-paid basis, mainly to carry out specialised activities in the areas of security and visa operations. Under civil service pensions rules, such individuals have their pensions abated so that their total remuneration will not exceed their previous salary. The records of previous individual employment history are not held in a form that would provide information on
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earlier years or give details of how many individuals may have taken some kind of official retirement. This information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
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