Previous Section Index Home Page

29 Nov 2005 : Column 299W—continued


Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made in the context of the UK Presidency of the European Union to the Libyan Authorities regarding the situation of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor; and if he will make a statement. [32371]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 November 2005]: On behalf of the EU, the UK Presidency issued a statement on 15 November 2005, noting the decision by the Libyan Supreme Court to delay its ruling on the death sentences on the Bulgarian and Palestinian medical staff, expressing our concern about their plight, and that we continue to support efforts to find a resolution, which is acceptable to both parties, to this difficult and longstanding issue. We are engaging with the Libyan and Bulgarian authorities to secure that outcome. At the same time, the UK is working with EU partners to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the HIV crisis in Benghazi, including through the EU HIV Action Plan.

Middle East

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the threat posed by Hezbollah to peace and stability in the middle east. [32409]

Ian Pearson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave today to my hon. Friend the member for Hartlepool (UIN 32395).

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK observers will be involved in the EU monitoring of the crossing between Egypt and Gaza at Rafah. [28961]

Dr. Howells: On 15 November, EU Special Representative Javier Solana, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn announced an Agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians on Movement and Access relating to the Gaza Strip. This Agreement will give the Palestinian people more freedom to move and to trade. The EU will act as an on-site Third Party at the Rafah (Gaza-Egypt) crossing and provide training and equipment to the Palestinians.

The UK is sending five personnel to the mission this week commencing (28 November). Members of our embassy in Tel Aviv and our Consulate General in Jerusalem are working directly with General Pistolese's team on the ground. In addition to this, we are providing funding and equipment to the Palestinians, including the provision of five armoured cars.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely impact on the (a) economic
29 Nov 2005 : Column 300W
situation and tourist industry of Bethlehem and (b) viability of a future Palestinian state of the creation by Israel of a new checkpoint at Rachel's Tomb. [31508]

Dr. Howells: Bethlehem is of unique religious and cultural significance to Christians. Restrictions on access and freedom of worship there are one of the many negative consequences of the Israeli restrictions on movement in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel has a right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks but it also has a duty to ensure the effect of its security measures on the Palestinian population are minimised. We will continue to raise this concern at all levels with the Israeli Government. In addition to this, we have seconded a senior British Army officer to the region to work with the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn's team to examine ways of improving freedom of movement in the West Bank.

Checkpoints and the barrier have a serious detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, including revenues from tourism, and in a few cases on the vision of a future Palestinian state.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Pakistan for (a) a fair trial for Younas Maish in the court of Lahore and (b) protection to be given to the advocate of the defendant and court officials. [32291]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We were concerned to learn about the apparent misuse of the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan in this case. We are following it closely and are discussing the case with the Government of Pakistan. We will continue to make representations as appropriate.

Public Service Agreement

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will publish a public service agreement delivery plan for 2004 public service agreement target number 3. [29943]

Dr. Howells: We do not intend to publish the spending review 04 public service agreement (PSA) delivery plan for 2005–08, as it is an internal business-planning tool. However, the Government regularly reports progress against PSA 3 in departmental annual and autumn performance reports. These reports are publicly available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and other relevant Departments' websites. Details of the measurement systems underpinning the target are published in the PSA 3 technical note, which is also publicly available on the FCO website at

Royal Family

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list official visits abroad by members of the Royal Family in the last 12 months; and what the itinerary was in each case. [32733]

Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 28 November 2005]: Details of visits overseas made by Members of the Royal Family appear daily in the Court Circular. Information is also available on the Royal websites at
29 Nov 2005 : Column 301W and under the diary links. Detailed information is also given in the annual report for The Grant-in-Aid for Royal Travel by Air and Rail which is part of the Royal Public Finances Annual Reports publication. The list my hon. Friend requests is given as follows:

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Prince of Wales

The Duke of York

The Earl of Wessex

The Princess Royal

29 Nov 2005 : Column 302W

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

The Duke of Kent

Next Section Index Home Page