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The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): The Afghan and UK Governments are signing a 10-year development partnership arrangement at an international conference on Afghanistan in London on 31 January and 1 February 2006. At the conference the Afghan Government will launch the Afghanistan Compact (a framework for the international community's engagement in Afghanistan over the next five years) and its interim national development strategy.
The purpose of the development partnership arrangement is to reaffirm the UK Government's long-term commitment to the Afghan Government's development plans, and set out the nature of this arrangement. Afghanistan has achieved good progress since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 under a Government committed to reducing poverty. But as a new democracy, emerging from conflict and constrained by weak capacity, low revenue and a dominant narcotics industry, Afghanistan risks regressing without long-term commitment from the international community. We hope a 10-year DPA will help build the Afghan Government's confidence and further strengthen its commitment to reducing poverty.
The DPA covers only UK commitments on international development assistance provided through the Department for International Development (DFID). The DPA also transparently sets out Afghan Government commitments needed for DFID to continue with substantial long-term development support. These include commitments on reducing poverty and the Millennium Development Goals; respecting human rights and other relevant international obligations; and strengthening financial management and accountability, which reduces the risk of funds being misused through weak administration or corruption. The DPA specifies what each Government will commit to, and what happens if the Afghan Government are in breach of a commitment. These commitments should help to strengthen the Afghan Government's planning and budgeting through more effective delivery and use of aid, resulting in greater impact on poverty. Through the DPA, the UK Government are outlining an indicative financial commitment of £330 million from DFID for 200609, as part of a larger UK
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spend in Afghanistan expected at around £500 million in total over a period of three years. DFID is committing to give the Afghan Government aid figures on a three-year rolling basis in future years to increase funding predictability; and to channel at least 50 per cent. of its funding through the Government's budget, in order to strengthen state capacity and institutions.
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. David Hanson): Along with Lord Rooker, I have deposited copies of the Annual Report and Financial Statements of Ilex URC Ltd. for the year ended 31 March 2005 incorporating the auditor's report in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. David Hanson): The Government have received a report from the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland on the Compensation Agency in Northern Ireland. The report has been published today.
The Government welcome this report, which recognises the important service provided by the Compensation Agency. It comments favourably on the work being done in creating the balance between a strong performance culture and the needs of staff in a changing environment.
The Minister for Energy (Malcolm Wicks):
The Department will be placing the figures for the United Kingdom's stocks of civil plutonium and uranium as at 31 December 2004 in the Libraries of both Houses. In accordance with our commitment under the "Guidelines for the Management of Plutonium," we have also sent the
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figures to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will circulate them to member states. The figures will be available on the Department's and the IAEA's websites.
The figures show that stocks of unirradiated plutonium in the UK totalled 102.7 tonnes at the end of 2004. Changes from the corresponding figures for 2003
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are a consequence of continuing reprocessing operations (e.g. as reflected in the increased quantity of "unirradiated separated plutonium in product stores at reprocessing plants"). The decrease in the civil depleted, natural and low enriched uranium figures reflects the change in requirements for these materials at fuel fabrication plants and reactors.