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18 Jan 2006 : Column 1434W—continued

EU Staff

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time staff are employed by the (i) European Commission, (ii) Council of Ministers, (iii) European Parliament and (iv) agencies of the EU. [40954]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I am placing in the Library of the House a table from the Bulletin Statistique, Le Personnel de la Commission, Commission Europe"enne, Direction Ge"ne"rale du Personnel et de 1'Administration, Direction Personnel et Carrie"re, January 2006, p. 4 giving the number of full-time employees of the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and agencies of the European Union as at January 2006. The figures for part-time employees of these institutions were not available at the time of answering this question. They have been requested and will be sent to the hon. Member separately, and placed in the Library of the House.

EU-Morocco Fishing Agreement

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made in relation to the EU-Morocco fishing agreement; and what discussions he has had with representatives of the Saharawi people on the agreement. [41425]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made no representations about the EU/Morocco fishing agreement. Nor has he met with representatives of the Saharawi people. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have, however, met representatives of the Frente Polisario and discussed this issue with them.

Global Opportunities Fund

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 14 December 2005, Official Report, columns 2064–66W, on the Global Opportunities Fund, if he will list the countries where his Department has supported democracy building projects under the Global Opportunities Fund in each of the last three years; and how much financial support was provided to each country. [41809]

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Dr. Howells: We support a broad range of projects that underpin the development of democracy, including addressing issues such as freedom of expression and the development of civil society. Details of projects under the Global Opportunities Fund (GOF) programmes in 2003–04 and 2004–05 are set out in the GOF Annual Reports (Command Papers 6413 and 6665 published in December 2004 and October 2005 respectively).

In 2005–06, GOF projects relating to these areas are being undertaken in the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Colombia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam and Yemen. Financial out-turns for the projects in these countries are not yet available.

In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office makes a grant-in-aid through the GOF to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to support work on these issues. Details of the countries in which they undertook projects in 2003–04 and 2004–05 are set out in WFD's Annual Reviews, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. In 2005–06, WFD is supporting projects in the following countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burma, Balkans, Belarus, Caucasus, Central Eastern Europe, Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Israel, Kenya, Kosovo, Lesotho, Lithuania, Morocco, Moldova, Middle East and North Africa, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, Palestine, Romania, Russia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, Tanzania, Ukraine, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Financial out-turns for projects in these countries are also not yet available.

International Whaling Commission

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken by the Government since the 2005 International Whaling Commission (IWC) to secure a debt amnesty in the IWC which would permit the participation of Costa Rica, Kenya and Uruguay. [41812]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

The UK initiated the recommendation adopted at last years International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting (IWC57), which asked the IWC Secretariat to explore the financial implications for the IWC of a debt amnesty and to produce proposals. Any document which the Secretariat produces in respect of this Recommendation will have to be considered by the next meeting of the IWC. Proposals for changes to the IWC's Financial Regulation would (if made) not come into effect until after they had been agreed by IWC58 and cannot therefore affect the position of those countries who, but for outstanding debt, might attend IWC58 and seek to exercise voting rights at that meeting.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the United Kingdom Government are taking to check Japan's progress towards obtaining a majority bloc at the International Whaling Commission; and if he will make a statement. [41813]

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Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

The UK Government continues to urge other conservation minded countries to join the International Whaling Commission (IWC). I have recently written to seven conservation minded countries urging them to join the IWC in time for this years annual IWC meeting. I and my fellow Ministers also raise the issue of the IWC with our international counterparts at every suitable opportunity.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the release of (a) Dr. Huda Ammash, (b) Mrs. Rihab Taha and (c) other high-ranking Iraqi detainees in Iraq in December 2005; whether each remains free; and for what reasons each was initially detained. [42950]

Dr. Howells: Certain individuals detained as a threat to security under UN Security Council Resolution 1546, including Dr. Huda Ammash and Mrs. Rihab Taha, were released from custody in December 2005. Any further action against them is a matter for the Iraqi authorities.


Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding his Department has provided for projects in Jordan in each of the last five years; and how much such funding is planned for the 2005–06 financial year. [41179]

Dr. Howells: The funding below was for projects funded by the Global Opportunities Fund, the Global Conflict Prevention Pool and the Directorate Programme Budget. In addition we contributed towards EU funding for Jordan of which €243 million was provided between 2003–04. Under the EU's National Indicative Programme for the period 2005–06, €110 million of new commitments is foreseen for Jordan. €60 million have been already committed in 2005. The priorities include assisting Jordan to take forward its political, social and economic commitments in its European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.

The Department for International Development have also contributed funding for Jordan in the time period requested in the question.
Amount (£)


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on human rights in Kazakhstan. [42718]

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Mr. Douglas Alexander: We welcome the progress that the Government of Kazakhstan has made on human rights and democratic reform since independence. This includes a moratorium on the death penalty, progress on prison reform including reduction of the number of persons in detention and the introduction of public monitoring of places of detention, and, most recently in December 2005, ratification of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

But there is still some way to go. Political pluralism has been affected negatively by legislation, which restricts freedom of expression, association and assembly. The powers of the Parliament and Government and the independence of the judiciary could be further enhanced to introduce checks and balances into the system of administration. In December 2005, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights International Observation Mission noted that despite some administrative improvements, the presidential elections did not meet international standards.

Wherever possible we look to work with the Kazakh authorities to improve the human rights situation. We have funded projects aimed at improving the conditions in prisons, preventing torture in places of detention and encouraging the abolition of the death penalty. We have an on-going dialogue with the Government of Kazakhstan on transparency issues and are working closely with non-governmental organisations on this too. We also stand ready to work with President Nazarbayev on his programme of democratic reforms.

When he met Foreign Minister Tokayev following the presentation of his credentials on 9 January, our newly accredited ambassador to Kazakhstan, Paul Brummell, assured the Foreign Minister of the readiness of the British Government to work with Kazakhstan across this agenda.

We will continue to raise, both bilaterally and with our EU partners, the importance of respect for human rights and good governance in Kazakhstan and look for opportunities to provide suitable assistance.

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