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Assets (Corruption)

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since 1997 the United Kingdom has (a) deployed forfeiture-related mutual legal assistance experts to states whose assets have been secreted abroad to advise them on the form and substance of their legal assistance requests and (b) contributed to case-specific coordination task forces set up to work through responses to mutual legal assistance and forfeiture requests made by foreign states which are victim to large-scale corruption. [35399]

Ian Pearson: The Home Office is the UK's central authority for processing mutual legal assistance requests. The response to such requests can involve direct contact between asset recovery experts in the UK (from the Serious Fraud Office) and those overseas on an ad hoc basis. It would be inappropriate to reveal details of specific cases as this may prejudice the outcome of legal proceedings.

The UK has used its G8 presidency to encourage more strategic contact between asset recovery experts in the G8 and Africa. The Home Office has organised an asset recovery seminar, to be held in Abuja on 14 and 15 December 2005, which will bring together experts from ten African countries to discuss with G8 experts options for improving co-operation in this field.

The UK is also planning to pilot 'accelerated response teams' to assist the victim countries in making necessary mutual legal assistance requests and provide support, where required, on other matters connected to corruption investigations.

Commonwealth Summit

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the 2007 Commonwealth Summit will be held in Kampala if political unrest in Uganda continues. [35765]

Ian Pearson: The Commonwealth Secretariat will continue to monitor the situation in Uganda over the coming months. It will be for the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, in consultation with member states, to make a decision on whether the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting should be held in Kampala.

Convergence Fund

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the new flexibilities on timing of expenditure and the required level of match funding for the Structural Funds set out in his EU budgetary proposals on Monday 5 December would apply to Convergence Fund regions in the EU-15 in the same way as they apply to the EU-10. [37176]

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Mr. Douglas Alexander: Under the UK Presidency's proposals of 5 December, a number of changes were introduced to enhance the ability of the new member states to make more effective use of their allocations under the Structural and Cohesion Funds. Under these proposals, the changes would not apply to EU15 member states.

Departmental Costs

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) salary bill was and (b) administrative costs were for his Department in (i) each (A) nation and (B) region of the UK and (ii) London in 2004–05. [35866]

Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not identify its expenditure on salaries or administrative costs in the United Kingdom by nation or region.

Departmental Estate

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was paid by his Department in rent for properties in (a) total, (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK and (c) London in 2004–05. [35935]

Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) paid a total of £1,117,396 in rent for properties in the UK in the financial year 2004–05. All of these properties are in England. £94,000 was paid in rent for Wiston House, Steyning, Sussex and £1,023,396 for properties in London.

In addition, the FCO occupies part of a Home Office building in Croydon where the annual service charge in the financial year 2004–05 includes a rental element of £422,978, not included in the figure given above.

Departmental Policy

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the recently reported statements of Mockbul Ali, departmental Islamic issues adviser, on the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaal-e-Islami as pragmatic reformist liberal movements reflect his Department's policy; and if he will make a statement. [36078]

Dr. Howells: I understand my hon. Friend is referring to an article in the 5 December 2005 issue of the New Statesman that draws on leaked documents. My hon. Friend will be aware that the Government do not comment on such documents.

Departmental Staff

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State forForeign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many staff are employed by his Department in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; and if he will make a statement; [35899]

(2) how many and what proportion of each civil service grade in his Department is located in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; what the averagesalary is for each grade; and if he will make a statement; [35900]
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(3) what the value is of (a) pay supplements, (b) bonuses and (c) other incentive packages that are payable in his Department on the basis of geographic location; how many people are in receipt of each payment; and what the total cost to his Department of each payment was in 2004–05. [35901]

Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) employs approximately 6,000 UK based staff. At any one time, approximately 2,000 staff work in the FCO's buildings in London and about 1,200 at Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes. Until 31 March 2005 there were separate sets of pay scales for UK based staff working in London and overseas and for those in other parts of the UK. There were, however, no incentive payments as such. Since 1 April 2005 all staff have been on the same pay scale but there is a location allowance of £3,000 for staff working in London.

The average salary for each grade in the FCO for 2004–05, the latest figures available, are in the following table.

GradeAverage salary
Al London14,281
A2 London17,761
B3 London21,686
C4 London26,356
C5 London32,274
D6 London41,275
D7 London50,307
Al National12,388
A2 National14,751
B3 National18,629
C4 National24,659
C5 National31,712
D6 National38,857
D7 National44,955


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Eritrean Government to reconsider their decision to expel UN peacekeepers; if he will initiate urgent peace talks between the Eritrean and Ethiopian Governments; and if he will make a statement. [36932]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 6 December 2005]: We remain concerned about the continuing tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea over their disputed border. Most recently, my noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham) raised the border issue with the Ethiopian ambassador on 6 December, and with the Eritrean ambassador on 9 December. He will be visiting Addis Ababa on 17 December for further discussions with Prime Minister Meles on various issues including the border dispute. Lord Triesman also made clear, in a statement on 7 December, our condemnation of Eritrea's request to withdraw certain members of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).
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In our frequent contacts, at ministerial and senior official level, with representatives of Ethiopia and Eritrea, we regularly underline that there should be no return to war; that the decision of the Boundary Commission is final and binding, and must be implemented; and that they should engage in dialogue on all issues that divide them. We have also called on both parties to respond promptly and positively to the demands contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1640, which the UK supports fully.

Francophone Africa

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on UK diplomatic representation in francophone Africa. [35370]

Ian Pearson: The UK is represented as follows in those African countries where French is an official language.

We have resident embassies or high commissions in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Rwanda and Senegal. Cote d'lvoire is currently covered by our high commission in Ghana due to the security situation.

We have honorary consuls in Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Madagascar and Niger, a community liaison officer in Benin, and Liaison offices in Burundi and Mali. Our honorary consul slots in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea are temporarily vacant. We have no resident representation in the Central African Republic, Comoros and Togo.

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