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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons a letter and documents relating to a request under section 7(1) of the Data Protection Act 1996 despatched by special delivery on 14 March 2006 and received by his Department at 1 pm on 15 March 2006 was not processed by the Information Management Group until 20 March 2006; which date will be used for the purposes of the 40 day statutory period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: The letter and documents in question were received by Information Management Group at 9.40 am on 15 March after forwarding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office post room. They were not actioned until 20 March, three working days later, owing to the absence of the addressee. The date used for the purposes of the 40 day statutory period will be 15 March.
Dr. Howells: We regularly raise human rights issues with the Egyptian Government. Our embassy in Cairo last raised the issue of torture with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 December 2005, during discussions on the National Council for Human Rights report.
Setting and monitoring targets for energy reduction, among other environmental issues, through an externally certified Environmental Management System, in line with the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate;
Applying the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, which includes forecast energy consumption, to new builds and major refurbishments; actively encouraging staff and contractors to follow good practice in using energy efficiently and effectively, for example, through an Energy and Recycling Campaign in February 2006;
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the entertainment budget was for the British ambassador to the Holy See in each year since 1983; and what allowances the British ambassador to the Holy See was given in each year. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Heads of mission are usually paid an accountable allowance, known as Frais, to cover the costs of official entertainment and other representational expenditure, including costs of running a residence which are not paid direct from public funds. The Frais budget for our ambassador to the Holy See for each of the past five years was as follows:
The current ambassador, who was appointed through open competition, does not receive Frais, but rather will be able to draw on an allowance of £36,000 for the year 200607. That sum, which is higher than the amount of Frais paid in previous years, reflects the shift to out-source catering and should be seen in the context of savings made from employing fewer full-time permanent domestic staff.
An officer posted as ambassador to the Holy See receives the same allowances as an officer of a similar grade posted elsewhere overseas to compensate for the additional costs of living and working overseas.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the amount of oil and gas being flared off in (i) Iraq and (ii) Kuwait and (b) its impact on global carbon emissions; what representations the Government have made on this issue to the (A) Iraqi and (B) Kuwaiti authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The latest estimate from the US Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO) in Baghdad for the amount of gas flared in Iraq is 770 million standard cubic feet per day for the south and 20 million standard cubic feet for the north.
IRMO has a project under way which aims to increase the amount of liquefied petroleum gas produced in southern Iraq from 1,000 to 3,000 tonnes per day. This will decrease the amount of gas flared in the south, as well as more than doubling the capture of dry gas for use in power stations from 200 million cubic feet (mcf) to 450 mcf.
The UK seeks to support the Iraqi government in developing an integrated and sustainable energy strategy and we look forward to engaging with the incoming Iraqi Government in taking this forward.
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Such a strategy will address the linkages between Iraq's oil and gas sectors, as well as associated sectors such as electricity and oil refining. Measures to reduce the amount of gas flared are likely to be a key component of this policy.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he received that led him to believe that the incoming Palestinian government would not honour the terms of the Ramallah Agreement regarding the imprisonment of the six prisoners in Jericho prison; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: The Palestinian Authority had consistently failed to meet its obligations under the Ramallah Agreement, despite frequent requests from UK and US officials. There was no evidence that the incoming government planned to rectify this situation. On the contrary, since the 25 January Palestinian Legislative Council elections, Hamas officials had called for the release of Ahmad Sa'adat. Other factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), of which Sa'adat is the General Secretary, had also repeatedly called for his release. President Abbas had offered to release Sa'adat on condition that the PFLP absolve him of responsibility for the consequences. We therefore had no reason to believe that the incoming Palestinian government would deal with the issue of non-compliance with the agreement, and we had good reason to believe that the incoming government intended to release one or more of the prisoners in contravention of the agreement.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Ramallah Agreement laid down (a) terms and (b) processes for a termination of the US/UK Jericho Monitoring Mission; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: The monitoring arrangements entered into by the UK and the US were with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We regularly reported to both governments about the mission as specified in the Ramallah Agreement. While the Ramallah Agreement did not lay down the exact terms and process for the termination of the UK/US Jericho Monitoring Mission, we were obliged to inform both parties when we were considering terminating our part in the agreement.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment was made of the likely action by the government of Israel in making the decision to withdraw British and US monitors from the prison in Jericho; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We assessed that if UK and US monitors withdrew from the prison Israel might attempt to secure the six detainees potentially resulting in Palestinian casualties. On 10 March the UK and US Ambassadors in Tel Aviv urged Israel to exercise restraint if the monitors had to withdraw. We also gave the Palestinian Authority every opportunity to undertake the measures necessary to avoid us having to take this action. However, ultimately the safety of our personnel had to take precedence.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government regards as the status of the six prisoners held in Jericho prison under the terms of the Ramallah Agreement; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: The Ramallah Agreement states that the arrangements within it are without prejudice to the stated position of the parties concerned on the current and future legal status of the six detainees, and that final resolution of the issue is for agreement between the two parties. We believe that this remains the case. For now the prisoners remain in Israeli custody.
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