Previous Section Index Home Page

18 Jan 2006 : Column 1431W—continued

Departmental Vehicles

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cars are (a) owned and (b) leased by his Department; what models the cars are; what type of petrol each model requires; and what the fuel efficiency is of each model. [41356]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) vehicle fleet is split between the home fleet, operated by FCO Services, and the overseas fleet operated by overseas posts. The overseas fleet comprises 1400 vehicles, most of which are owned by the FCO. Approximately 15 are leased locally. The fleet comprises a mixture of protected and soft skin vehicles. 225 vehicles in the overseas fleet are designated as 'flag' cars for use by heads of posts.

Forty percent. of the overseas fleet vehicles are manufactured by Land Rover, Jaguar or Ford. The remaining vehicles, which were purchased on the basis of being best suited to local climatic conditions, were obtained from a variety of manufacturers.

The type of fuel used overseas is based upon local availability and local conditions in the region concerned. However, this is primarily unleaded petrol, unless diesel is easily available and cheaper.

Each overseas post is responsible for monitoring fuel consumption and efficiency.

Since the acquisition and running of vehicles in the overseas fleet is the responsibility of individual posts and detailed records are not held centrally, to obtain the detailed information requested would incur disproportionate costs.

The FCO's home fleet comprises 12 vehicles, which are based in King Charles Street, London, and at Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. These vehicles were purchased by the FCO outright. The Hanslope Park fleet of four Ford Galaxies are all diesel (1.9cc) and achieve 42mpg. The Central London fleet comprises two Ford Galaxies of which one is a petrol vehicle (2.3cc) achieving 28mpg, and one diesel (1.9cc) achieving 42mpg;

Four Vauxhall Omegas—of which two are petrol/dual fuel (2.2cc) vehicles achieving 29mpg, and two petrol (2.0cc) achieving 31 mpg; and two Rover 75 V6 petrol (2.0cc) achieving 29mpg.

Dr. Vanunu

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Israel regarding (a) nuclear weapons and (b) Dr. Vanunu. [41927]

18 Jan 2006 : Column 1432W

Dr. Howells: The Government take appropriate opportunities to discuss all aspects of non-proliferation with representatives of the Israeli Government. We have, on a number of occasions, called on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and to conclude a full scope safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The United Kingdom strongly supports the establishment of a zone free from all Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, including through the EU Barcelona Process. The Barcelona Declaration of 1995 includes a call on all states in the region to pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.

Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv last raised the restrictions on Mr. Vanunu on 6 September 2005 to note our concern that the restrictions imposed on Mr. Vanunu had been extended. My noble Friend the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister responsible for our relations with the Middle East, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, initially raised our concerns about the restrictions imposed upon Mr. Vanunu with the Israeli Charge following his release in April 2004. We recognise that Israel has a right to protect its national security but we are concerned that the restrictions may be excessive. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv have since been in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the decision to extend the length of time these restrictions will apply for Mr. Vanunu.

Embassies and Consulates

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the potential savings which would result from combining UK embassies and consulates with those of other English speaking countries. [41408]

Mr. Straw: None. Nor could any such estimate be produced without incurring disproportionate costs.


Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place to ensure that part of the UN peacekeeping force is allowed to remain in Eritrea. [43066]

Dr. Howells: The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) provides a vital stabilising factor in the border dispute between the two countries. The restrictions placed on UNMEE by Eritrea are wholly unacceptable. We have worked with United Nations Security Council partners to press Eritrea to reverse these restrictions. In particular, we supported the adoption of Security Council resolution 1640 (2005) demanding that all restrictions be lifted and that both Eritrea and Ethiopia take action to reduce tension by returning troops to previous positions. The resolution repeated the Security Council's call on both parties to ensure the implementation of the decision of the Ethiopia/Eritrea Boundary Commission. Most recently, the Security Council met on 9 January to review compliance with UNSCR 1640 and UNMEE's
18 Jan 2006 : Column 1433W
continued ability to operate. The Council has agreed that UNMEE should retain its present functions and configuration while concerted efforts are made to address the wider border dispute. We are working closely with the United States and other interested parties to engage Eritrea and Ethiopia in these efforts. We continue to keep the situation under close review.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the EU (a) Joint Committee (EEC-Vietnam), (b) Joint Committee (EEC-Central America), (c) Joint Committee (EEC-Mexico) and (d) EEC-Mercosur Joint Advisory Committee have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who was presiding over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provisions were made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. [38795]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The EC-Vietnam Joint Commission met on 5 October 2005. The presidency was represented by officials from the British Embassy in Hanoi. There have been no meetings of the EC Joint Committees on Central America, Mexico and Mercosur during the UK presidency.

The UK Government takes into account the views and interests of the devolved administrations when formulating the UK's policy position on all EU and international issues which touch upon devolved matters. Provision for attendance at EU meetings by Ministers and officials of the devolved administrations is set out in paragraphs 4.12–15 of the Concordat on Co-ordination of European Union Policy Issues part of the Memorandum of Understanding between devolved Ministers and the UK Government. A copy of which is available at: Ministers from the devolved administrations have attended and do attend Councils, by agreement with the lead Whitehall Minister.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) formal and (b) informal EU Council of Minister meetings attended by UK Government delegations there have been since 1 July 1999; how many were led by Scottish Government Ministers; and what the (i) date and (ii) subjects of each meeting was. [39219]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: To find the date and subject of every formal or informal EU Council of Ministers meeting held since 1 July 1999 which a UK delegation attended would incur disproportionate costs. I refer the hon. Member to the website of the Council of Ministers at where he should find much of the information he seeks.

Scottish interests are represented at all EU Council meetings by the UK delegation. On certain occasions Scottish Executive Ministers also attend EU Council meetings, as part of the UK delegation, at the discretion of the lead UK Minister. This happened most recently at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in December, which Scottish Executive Minister Ross Finnie
18 Jan 2006 : Column 1434W
attended. The Scottish Executive is also consulted on any matters of devolved interest likely to be raised at Council meetings.

Scottish Executive Ministers have attended EU Council meetings on 74 occasions since 1999. Detailed attendance can be found at:

During this time Scottish Executive Ministers have led the UK delegation on three occasions:
8 June 2000EducationNicol Stephen
12 February 2001EducationNicol Stephen
4 June 2001HealthSusan Deacon

Next Section Index Home Page