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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the nature was of the losses involved in the closure and sale of the San Salvador office; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my noble Friend, the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, gave my noble Friend, Lord Lamont of Lewick on 17 November 2004, Official Report, column 163.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Saudi Arabia concerning their Foreign Minister's call for a nuclear weapons free Middle East; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK and Saudi Arabia have both supported resolutions of the UN General Assembly calling for a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed Iran and Middle East security with Saudi interlocutors on many occasions, including when he met His Royal Highness Prince Saud on 17 January.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Spanish Government required salvage work on HMS Sussex to be halted; on what grounds; and what the response was of the UK Government. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Spanish authorities intervened on several occasions in January 2006 to prevent work at the site of what we believe could be the Sussex. Work was last carried out on the wreck site on 19 January 2006.
Spain believes that the wreck lies in Spanish waters, and that the company excavating the site on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, Odyssey Marine Exploration, should therefore seek permission from Spain to continue their work.
We believe that the wreck lies in international waters, and have made the Spanish Government aware of our views. We are currently working with the Government of Spain and Odyssey Marine Exploration to find a solution, and to allow work to proceed unhindered.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role officials from his Department have played in preparations for the forthcoming talks between the government of Sri Lanka and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Geneva on 2223 February to improve implementation of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement are being facilitated by the Government of Norway with co-operation from the Swiss authorities. We commend and fully support the facilitation role of Norway. I issued a statement on 26 January welcoming the two sides' agreement to talks, the first direct high level contacts since 2003. The text is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c =Page&cid=1007029391629&a=KArticle&aid= 1136908287836%20&year=2006&month=2006 0101&date=20060126. We have encouraged both sides to engage constructively in Geneva. We hope these talks will create the conditions necessary for more substantive discussions leading to a resolution of the conflict.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has
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made of the recent UN report on breaches of the arms embargo on Darfur; and what action he is taking in response. 
Ian Pearson: We welcome the thorough report by the Panel of Experts, established under UN Security Council Resolution 1591, and are concerned by its findings that all sides are guilty of breaching the arms embargo on Darfur. We strongly support the Panel's recommendations for modifying the arms embargo, including extending it to the whole of Sudan. During the ongoing discussions in the UN Sanctions Committee on Sudan, we are pressing for swift action on this and the Panel's other recommendations, including listing of individuals for targeted sanctions.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the progress which has been made towards incorporating the Sudanese People's Liberation Army into the Sudanese army. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) the parties agreed that the northern Sudanese armed forces and the southern Sudanese People's Liberation Army should remain separate during the interim period. However, the CPA also stipulates that joint integrated units of equal numbers from each side should be formed and deployed in four areas of the country. This process has started and some progress has been made. Many of the security-related elements of CPA implementation fall to the new Joint Defence Board (JDB) to implement. This board comprises senior commanders from the north and south, and was formed on 28 November 2005. We are pressing both parties to ensure that the JDB pushes forward with creation of the joint integrated units and to play their part in fully implementing their commitments under the CPA.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January, established a commission to demarcate the boundary of the disputed Abyei area. This commission, to which the UK provided an expert, presented its final report to the presidency of Sudan in July 2005.
The Misseriya tribe initially objected to the findings of the report, causing increased tension between it and another local tribethe Dinka. The situation in Abyei has been generally calm and a number of UN monitors are deployed to monitor the area.
Under the terms of the CPA, the commission's findings are final and binding. We are pressing the Government of National Unity urgently to implement the commission's recommendations. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, pressed the Sudanese Foreign Minister on this on 3 February in London. We will continue to do so.
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the US Administration regarding the potential for a UN peace-enforcement mission in Darfur; 
Ian Pearson: We welcome the African Union's (AU) decision at the 12 January Peace and Security Council (PSC) expressing support in principle to handing over its monitoring mission in Darfur (AMIS) to the UN. The PSC recommended that this decision be approved by AU Foreign Ministers before the end of the current AMIS mandate in March 2006. We have held numerous discussions on the potential handover of AMIS to the UN with the AU and international partners, including the US. We are pressing the AU to convene the Foreign Ministers meeting as soon as possible. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, also discussed the matter in some depth with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Dr. Lam Akol where they pressed him to ensure that the Government of Sudan provided their full cooperation with any transition between the two organisations.
Ian Pearson: On 12 January 2006, the African Union's Peace and Security Council (PSC) expressed support in principle to handing over its monitoring mission in Darfur (AMIS) to the UN. The PSC recommended that this decision be approved by the African Union (AU) Foreign Ministers before the end of the current AMIS mandate in March 2006. We are pressing the AU to take this decision as a matter of urgency. If the AU do agree to hand over to the UN, it is likely that the UN will require between six and 10 months to make the necessary arrangement to take over the mission.
The Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front, the main rebel grouping in Eastern Sudan, were scheduled to bring negotiations in Sirte, Libya, on 7 February 2006. The UK was invited to attend these talks as an observer and stood ready to assist the process where possible. On 6 February, the Eastern Front announced that they would not participate in these talks. We are in regular contact with the Eastern Front and the Government of Sudan and are pressing them to begin negotiations at the earliest opportunity.
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We continue to urge both sides to exercise restraint and to negotiate a political settlement within the framework of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Most recently my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, met the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Dr. Lam Akol, on 3 February. During this meeting they pressed Dr. Akol on the need to reach a swift agreement with the Eastern Front.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with other members of the United Nations on (a) funds available for the African Union Mission in Sudan and (b) plans for a United Nations Mission to take over from the AU; and what plans there are for joint working and cooperation between AU and UN forces. 
Ian Pearson: We are in regular discussions with international partners, the UN and the African Union (AU) on how to ensure ongoing funding for the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and how best to support any transition to a UN force.
The AU and UN plan an international pledging conference shortly to consider funding. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn, announced this week that the UK will contribute £20 million for the coming financial year, and we are urging other donors to make significant contributions as well. We are also pushing within the European Union for a replenishment as soon as possible of the EU African Peace Facility, which has been a core element of AMIS funding but cannot currently guarantee support beyond April.
We welcome the decision in principle by the AU Peace and Security Council on 12 January to hand over the peacekeeping mission in Sudan to the UN, and look forward to a final decision as soon as possible. We are in regular discussion with other UN members, the UN and the AU on how any transition would be managed and how international partners could assist, including planning and logistical support. We will continue to encourage the UN and AMIS to co-ordinate their work wherever possible.
There is currently no UN mandate covering peacekeeping operations in Darfur, where operations are being conducted by African Union personnel (AMIS) on the basis of an Memorandum of Understanding between the African Union (AU) and the Government of Sudan. The UK and other international partners recently participated in a joint assessment mission with the AU. This concluded that AMIS' current mandate is adequate, but is not clearly understood by commanders at all levels. We will continue to press the AU to interpret its mandate flexibly and robustly in order to provide the necessary degree of protection to civilians within its capabilities.
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