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Indian Ocean (Response)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the implementation of the recommendations of the October 2005 report, Joint Findings on lessons to be learned from the handling of the response to the Indian Ocean. [52967]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The joint National Audit Office (NAO)/Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) report makes a number of helpful recommendations. The FCO will be implementing all of these.

As the NAO acknowledge, much has been done since the Tsunami. International SOS and British Red Cross Society now deploy as part of all Rapid Deployment Teams (RDT) where there is operational need; they did so in our response to both the bombings in Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurricane Wilma. We now have a fully trained RDT based in Hong Kong. A North American RDT will be ready for this year's hurricane season. We have improved call handling arrangements with the police; strengthened co-ordination arrangements with
 
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other government departments; and have introduced extensive crisis training for all heads of posts and out-of-hours duty officers overseas.

International Organisations/Bilateral Treaties

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the (a) international organisations of which the UK is a member and (b) bilateral treaties under which the UK has obligations. [51886]

Dr. Howells: Comprehensive lists of both the international organisations of which the UK is a member, and bilateral treaties under which the UK has obligations, are not centrally held, and to draw up such lists would incur disproportionate costs. However, a list of orders made under section 1 of the International Organisations Act 1968 can be found in the notes to section 1 in Halsbury's Statutes, Volume 10, which is held in the Library of the House. This list shows the international organisations of which the UK is a member on which privileges and immunities have been granted under the Act.

There are many thousands of treaties under which the UK may have obligations. Lists of some, though not all, bilateral extradition and civil procedure conventions, together with the full texts of a range of bilateral treaties on Investment Promotion and Protection, Transfer of Prisoners, Enforcement of Judgements and Mutual Legal Assistance can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website's treaty pages: http://www.fco.gov.uk/treaty. Additionally, since January 2002, the full text of every treaty published as a Command Paper has been placed on the FCO's treaty webpages on the day it is published and laid before Parliament.

Iran

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of which groups (a) advocating and (b) engaging in terrorist acts are receiving financial support from Iran. [48755]

Dr. Howells: We believe that Iran funds and has strong connections to Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and that it provides financial support to Hamas. We continue to investigate Iran's links to extremist groups in Iraq.

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of how far Iran is from acquiring technologies necessary for the production of a nuclear weapon. [54212]

Dr. Howells: According to Iran's latest declarations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the only method of fissile material production Iran is now pursuing is centrifuge enrichment and the associated production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) feed material by uranium conversion. In August 2005 Iran began large scale conversion activities. In February 2006 Iran resumed centrifuge enrichment on a small scale, and announced its intention to pursue commercial scale enrichment activities. If Iran were to master centrifuge enrichment technologies, it would be in a
 
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position to produce high enriched uranium suitable for use in nuclear weapons. We assess that it has not yet done so.

The IAEA has reported that Iran has in its possession a document describing the procedures for the reduction of UF6 to uranium metal in small quantities, and the casting of enriched and depleted uranium metal into hemispheres, which can be used as nuclear weapon components. Iran has not so far explained satisfactorily its possession of this document. Information has also been made available to the IAEA concerning possible Iranian work on the design of a missile re-entry vehicle which could have a military nuclear dimension. Iran has refused to discuss this information with the IAEA.

Iraq

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what deals to supply armaments to authorities in Iraq since March 2003 the Government has received reports of; whether any of the (a) dealers and (b) brokers involved (i) are from the UK and (ii) have UK connections; and if he will make a statement. [53290]

Dr. Howells: All goods on the UK Military List require a licence to be exported from the UK under the Export Control Act 2002. Trade controls implemented under this Act (in March 2004 and May 2004) have also made trafficking and brokering in military equipment between overseas countries a licensable activity where any part of the activity takes place in the UK. The Government has also implemented extraterritorial controls (i.e. applying to the activities of UK persons anywhere in the world, as well as to activities carried out within the UK by persons of any nationality). These controls cover any act calculated to promote the supply or delivery of military goods from an overseas country to destinations subject to non-binding UN sanctions and full scope EU, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or UK arms embargoes. This includes Iraq.

General trade sanctions against Iraq were revoked by the UN Security Council resolution 1483 (22 May 2003), implemented in UK legislation on 14 June 2003 by the Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2003 [S.I. 2003/1519]. The embargo on arms and related material was retained, with exemptions. All licences granted for exports to Iraq fall within the exemptions to the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council resolutions 1483 (22 May 2003) and 1546 (8 June 2004), because they were required by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the Government of Iraq or the Multinational Force to serve the purpose of the resolutions.

Details of all licences approved by the Government for the export of military equipment to Iraq are contained within the Annual and Quarterly Reports on UK Strategic Export Controls. Copies are available at www.fco.gov.uk or from the Library of the House. Information on licences issued to specific entities cannot be placed in the public domain owing to commercial confidentiality. However, the Government provides the House's Quadripartite Committee on Strategic Export Controls with a confidential report containing enhanced
 
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licensing information on Iraq to enable them comprehensively to scrutinise Government licensing decisions.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of private security companies contracted to his Department and operating in Iraq, between April 2003 and December 2005. [54290]

Dr. Howells: The total contractual costs of private security companies contracted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and operating in Iraq, between April 2003 and December 2005, was £110,342,718.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of (a) securing and (b) setting up the British Embassy buildings and compounds in (i) Baghdad and (ii) Basrah following the handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis; and what the cost was of securing the office for the UK representation in Kirkuk. [54294]

Mr. Straw: Work to create our present Embassy and Consulate-General facilities in Baghdad and Basra respectively began under the Coalition Provisional Authority and is now nearing completion at an estimated total capital cost of £55 million, of which approximately 20 per cent. can be attributed to the capital costs of security works and installations. In Kirkuk the UK representative is located on the US compound, where office accommodation is provided at no capital cost.

Kashmir

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings he has had with (a) Pakistan and (b) India on promoting the self-determination of the people of Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. [52871]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed Kashmir with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to India in September 2005. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also discussed the situation in Kashmir with Indian and Pakistani counterparts during his visit to both countries in February 2005. Officials also regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with Indian and Pakistani Ministers and officials. The Government fully support the ongoing Composite Dialogue between India and Pakistan, which includes the issue of Kashmir. We will continue to urge both countries to seek a lasting resolution to their dispute over Kashmir, which takes into account the wishes of the people of Kashmir. As a friend of both countries, we stand ready to consider any requests for assistance that they might make.


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