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24 Nov 2005 : Column 2238W—continued



Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the political situation in Angola. [30725]

Ian Pearson: After three decades of civil war leading to a severe humanitarian crisis, Angola is currently in the process of formulating a new constitution and creating the structures and environment for the holding of democratic elections in 2006. The Government supports Angola in its transition to democracy. The Government is providing a £8.5 million development assistance programme to Angola which includes funding for a project to strengthen the capacity of electoral stakeholders, such as civil society and the media, and another to look at conflict management.

BBC (Foreign Language Broadcasts)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the BBC with regard to the ending of Central and Eastern European language radio broadcasts. [30670]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was consulted about the BBC World Service (BBCWS) proposals, including at the Annual Ministerial meeting which my noble Friend the
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Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Lord Triesman of Tottenham) chaired. I consented to the closures.

Closing some radio services is one part of a major reprioritisation. The resources released will be reinvested in line with BBCWS' overall future strategy, which includes new online services and Arabic TV. BBCWS believes these changes will lead to an increase in its global audience and impact.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on allegations of mistreatment of Christians in Xinjiang Province, China; and if he will make a statement. [30602]

Ian Pearson: We are aware of recent allegations of mistreatment of Christians in Xinjiang. Freedom of religious belief was a theme of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue on 24 October. The EU raised concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion and made clear its view that China's regulations are not compatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed and is working towards ratifying.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment
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he has made of Turkish Cypriot proposals to protect the environment and provide sustainability by directives controlling building in North Cyprus, with particular reference to protecting Greek Cypriot-owned land from development; and if he will make a statement. [31080]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Neither my right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary nor I have seen detailed proposals by the Turkish Cypriots to control building in north Cyprus, but we welcome any measures that will help to tackle the problem of environmental degradation. Effective protection of the environment in north Cyprus is in the interests of both communities and we strongly support action in this area.

However, the complex issues surrounding the question of property ownership in Cyprus remain an integral part of a comprehensive settlement and can only be fully addressed in this context. This government remains committed to pursuing such a settlement with both communities.

Departmental Finance

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the real terms percentage increase in allocated resources for his Department (a) was for the period 1997–98 to 2004–05 and (b) is estimated to be between 2005–06 and 2007–08 (i) for each period and (ii) for each year. [31042]

Mr. Straw: The real terms percentage increase in allocated resources for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is shown below:
Real terms percentage incrase(18)(a) 1997–98 to 2004–05

Allocated Resource (£ million)(19)1,144.41,131.01,209.21,274.61,439.61,657.71,708.41,797..3
(i) Year on Year increase4.
(ii) Increase for period 1997–98 to 2004–0533.7

(b) 2005–06 to 2007–08

Allocated Resource (£ million)(20)1,794.81,702.41,739.4
(i) Year on year increase000
(ii) Increase for period 2005–06
to 2007–08

(18)The figures have been deflated using the GDP deflators produced by HM Treasury on 28 September 2005, to calculate the real terms increases.
(19)The Allocated Resource" shown here is the final budget for the year approved by Parliament through the supply process, available in the House of Commons Library. Figures from 1997–98 to 2004–05 are not directly comparable because the basis of government accounting was changed in 2001–02 with the switch from cash accounting to resource accounting and budgeting. This overstates total resources in 2004–05 compared with 1997–98.
(20)The Allocated Resource" shown for 2005–06 is the Winter Supplementary Estimate which is currently being considered by Parliament. Figures for 2006–07 and 2007–08 are estimates based on the 2004 Spending Review outcome. 2006–07 and 2007–08 figures underestimate total FCO resources because they do not include the conflict prevention expenditure that is transferred between conflict prevention pool partners (FCO, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development) annually. £247.9m of conflict prevention expenditure is included in 2005–06 compared to only £74m in 2006–07 and in 2007–08.


Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to persuade the Ethiopian Government to implement the demarcation agreement on the border with Eritrea. [30657]

Ian Pearson: We have consistently urged the Ethiopian Government to accept the Boundary Commission's ruling and appoint Field Liaison Officers to work with the Commission on the demarcation of the border. Prime Minister Meles' initiative in November 2004 to accept the Boundary Commission's ruling in principle was a helpful step forward. We will continue to support international efforts aimed at securing full implementation of the ruling.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the number of British UN peacekeepers on duty on the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. [30298]

Ian Pearson: There are currently no British troops in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. We continue to work closely with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and with other Security Council members to support and improve peacekeeping capacity, including
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through training and capacity building initiatives within the UN organisation itself and with member states and regional organisations.

EU Energy Policy

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the common EU energy policy proposed by the Prime Minister at the Hampton Court informal summit. [31571]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out at the European Parliament on 26 October 2005, a common EU energy policy should focus not on new regulatory barriers but on obtaining a genuinely open energy market, on dialogue at a European level with key suppliers and on clean technologies, energy efficiency, and source diversification to meet the challenges of global warming. Work in several of these areas is already under way and will be discussed at the Energy council on 1 December 2005. The Commission will provide an interim report on follow-up to Hampton Court at the December European council with further discussion on the basis of full reports in 2006.

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