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5 Dec 2005 : Column 1024W—continued


Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made in negotiations with Argentina over air-links to the Falkland Islands. [34121]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: We would like to see an agreement on further flights between the Falklands and mainland South America but this must be on terms acceptable to all sides. So far we have not reached an agreed basis for starting discussion.

British Embassy (Moscow)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of running the British embassy in Moscow in each year since 2002. [33365]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: From the budget devolved annually to the British embassy in Moscow, the following has been spent on its running costs during each financial year (FY) since 2002:

Financial yearAmount

Departmental Research

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what research projects commissioned by his Department are being undertaken; and what the publication arrangements are in each case. [32995]

Ian Pearson: Definitive information on commissioning of research projects is not held centrally and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost. However, I am not aware of any external organisations at present commissioned to carry out research projects on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Departmental Tendering Policy

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on including (a) ethical and (b) environmental factors in tenders for services. [33332]

Ian Pearson: Tendering procedures for the award of contracts by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office adhere to strict guidelines embodying not only the EU procurement directives and UK legislation, but also the Department's own code of ethics. Robust measures forthe evaluation process are in place which ensure not only the equal treatment of all tenders, but also the transparency and impartiality of the process.
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Specific environmental factors can be a criterion and this is considered on a case-by-case basis. However, the Department requires as a minimum that all services are provided in accordance with the Department's environmental policy, which is to conserve energy, water and other resources, reduce waste and phase out the use of ozone depleting substances and minimise the release of greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds and other substances damaging to health and the environment. All written work, including reports, in connection with the contract shall, unless otherwise specified, be produced on recycled paper containing at least 80 per cent. post consumer waste and used on both sides where appropriate.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Government of Egypt on the human rights and welfare of the Baha'i community; [33452]

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the forthcoming computerisation of identity cards in Egypt and the potential exclusion of the Baha'i community upon the rights of the Baha'i community; [33453]

(3) what representations he has received on the impact of the forthcoming computerisation of identity cards in Egypt upon (a) the human rights, (b) the access to basic services and (c) the access to employment of the Baha'i community. [33459]

Dr. Howells: New Egyptian identity cards require citizens to associate themselves with one of only three religions: Islam, Judaism or Christianity. Egyptian citizens of other religions will not be entitled to an identity card, and may therefore suffer from lack of access to public services.

The Egyptian constitution states that all Egyptian citizens should be treated equally, regardless of religion. It is therefore important that provision is made for all Egyptian citizens to receive identity cards.

The UK, along with Australia, the USA, Canada and Ireland, took part in a demarche on the Egyptian Government in December 2004 on the topic of identity
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cards. We plan to raise our concerns again with the Egyptian Government before the end of the year.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received representations from the Baha'i community, Egyptian and international human rights organisations and people that have converted from Islam to Christianity on the impact the new identity cards will have.

EU-Israel Association Agreement

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, at the Association Council EU-Israel meeting to be held in Brussels on 12 December, the UK presidency will call for Israel to consult the EU by a set date on its compliance with the human rights obligations of the EU-Israel Association Agreement; and if he will make a statement. [33300]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The EU maintains a regular dialogue with Israel on human rights within the framework and structure of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. We last raised human rights with Israel at the EU-Israel Political Dialogue and Cooperation subcommittee, which met for the first time on 21 November 2005 and proposed the creation of a new working group on human rights. We will agree with other EU member states what issues to raise in advance of the forthcoming EU-Israel Association Council.

European Court of Human Rights

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) petitions were received and (b) cases were dealt with by the European Court of Human Rights in the last five years for which figures are available; and how many and what percentage of each total related to each Council of Europe member state. [33724]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The following table provides a list of how many petitions have been received and how many cases have been dealt with by the European Court of Human Rights during the 5 year period 2000–04. The figures also relate to those for each member state of the Council of Europe, excluding Monaco, who only joined the Council of Europe in October 2004.
StateApplications lodged 2000–04Percentage of applications lodgedCases dealt with 2000–04(39)Percentage of cases dealt with
Bosnia and Herzegovina3700.209460.062
Czech Republic3,8092.1471,5042.016
San Marino170.010210.028
Serbia and Montenegro6940.39100
Slovenia1 ,2600.7104500.603
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia4800.2711560.209
United Kingdom7,3714.1553,5034.695

(39)Cases in this column include: applications declared inadmissible or struck out; and judgments.

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