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Ian Pearson: Improving human rights is key to making Africa successful. That means tackling firmly any abuses, strengthening democratic governance, and addressing the causes of human rights problems, such as conflict and poverty. Africans are taking increasing responsibility for this. We are committed to helping them.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told this House on 1 November, he set out the work programme for the UK presidency in detail in White Paper Cmnd 6611 presented to this House on 30 June.
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
EU Foreign Ministers had substantive discussions on the EU budget for 200713 at the General Affairs and External Relations Councils on 7 and 21 November. On the basis of these, and other bilateral consultations, we will table comprehensive proposals in early December, and work towards
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agreement at the European Council on 1516 December. Significant changes will be needed to the proposals tabled in June if we are to reach agreement.
Ian Pearson: Lord Triesman discussed human rights and migration with Dion Ngute, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on 24 November. Lord Triesman met the Cameroon high commissioner on 9 November on the issue of migration.
17. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Israeli security fence in combating terrorism. 
Ian Pearson: The number of terrorist and other attacks has fallen in 2005 relative to previous years. A number of factors were responsible, including the barrier. But where, for example, the barrier separates Palestinians from Palestinians we do not believe the route is designed exclusively for security purposes. We continue to urge the Israeli Government to route the barrier on or behind the Green Line.
Ian Pearson: The World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Hong Kong, in less than two weeks time, is vital to successfully concluding the current trade round. Many countries are arguing that too little progress has been made and ambitions for the ministerial conference should be lowered. But the Doha round is an opportunity to tackle some of the most fundamental injustices at the heart of world trade. We must not lower our ambitions.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The recent meeting between United States Cuba Transition Coordinator, Caleb McCarry, and officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was an introductory meeting to discuss the breadth of US and UK/EU policy towards Cuba.
Ministers and officials continue to have a wide range of contacts on Cuba. This is in line with the EU's longstanding policy of constructive engagement in pursuit of a peaceful transition to a pluralist democracy.
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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) Officials and (b) Ministers the United States Cuba Transition Co-ordinator met when in London recently; and on what dates. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: On 7 November 2005, the United States Cuba Transition Co-ordinator Caleb McCarry attended a meeting with Officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, chaired by the Deputy Head of the Latin America and Caribbean Department. He did not meet any Ministers during his visit.
Ian Pearson: Zimbabwe's record is appalling. This year it has denied 700,000 vulnerable Zimbabweans, adequate housing in mass destructions, manipulated elections and continued its assault on unions, civil society and media.
We continue to press for a return to democratic governance. We raise our concerns directly with the Government, maintain EU sanctions on those responsible for human rights abuses, and have put Zimbabwe on the Security Council agenda.
22. Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to President Museveni of Uganda following the arrest of the opposition leader Dr. Besigye; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development met President Museveni on 23 November to press for a transparent and fair civilian trial for Dr. Besigye. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also expressed his concerns directly to President Museveni at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East would pose a serious threat to regional peace and stability. We remain deeply concerned about the intentions of Iran's nuclear programme. We have called on Iran to resume negotiations on long-term arrangements that would provide objective guarantees that its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: During the last month, senior officials have been in frequent contact with their Indian opposite numbers over Iran's nuclear programme. We welcome India's support in encouraging Iran to meet the requests made by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and to resume talks about a long-term solution on an acceptable basis.
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