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20 Apr 2006 : Column 775W—continued

Pension Service

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is the policy of the Pension Service to refuse to accept telephone call claims for pension credit from citizens advice bureaux' advisers on behalf of clients. [64503]

Mr. Timms: The Pension Service welcomes calls from Citizens Advice Bureaux and any third parties acting on behalf of our customers. Third party callers are expected to confirm their client's security identity and their authority to speak on the client's behalf. Once this has been confirmed, the application is taken as normal.


Colin Worton

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the police handling of the Colin Worton case. [63445]

Mr. Hanson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has reviewed Mr. Worton's case and taken account of the assessment made by the trial judge and the Police Ombudsman and has concluded that there is no evidence of serious default by the police. The Secretary of State has written to Mr. Worton advising him of the decision in his case.

Illegal Drugs

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2006, Official Report, column 778W, on illegal drugs, how many of those convicted for drug-related offences served custodial sentences. [59610]

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Mr. Hanson: The table provides the number of those convicted of drug-related offences who were sentenced to immediate custody from 2000 to 2003. Sentence data beyond 2003 are currently not available.

The Northern Ireland Office


Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will commission an independent review into the management and operation of IntertradeIreland. [58936]

Angela E. Smith: I am aware of recent anonymous allegations about the financial management and other matters in IntertradeIreland. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, in conjunction with the Southern co-sponsor Department and the Board of IntertradeIreland, has already initiated urgent inquiries into the issues raised in the letter.

Saville Report

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Saville Report will be published. [64300]

Mr. Hanson: The independent Bloody Sunday Inquiry has informed me that they are now engaged in compiling their final report. Due to the vast amount of evidence that must be considered this is a very time
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consuming process and it is difficult at this stage to be precise about when the report will be presented to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.


Acholi People

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to assist the Acholi people of Uganda who have been internally displaced and are living in camps. [64029]

Ian Pearson: The Acholi are one of the biggest communities affected by the long-running and brutal conflict in northern Uganda. In some of the affected districts over 90 per cent. of the population are displaced by the conflict and in total 1.7 million Ugandans are living in camps for internally displaced people.

The Ugandan Government have primary responsibility to protect its citizens and to deal with the conflict and its humanitarian consequences. The UK has helped lead international efforts to address the underlying causes of the problems in northern Uganda and to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected, including the Acholi.

Over the last 12 months we have provided over £20 million in humanitarian assistance; this includes £10.7 million to the World Food Programme to provide food and £6.8 million to support a UN inter-agency programme to address health problems in the camps. We have recently agreed to channel an additional £4.9 million over two years to the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) programmes covering water and sanitation and the provision of emergency requirements, such as shelter and protection.

Arab League Summit

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the outcome of the recent Arab League summit in Khartoum; and if he will make a statement. [64489]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Arab League summit took place in Khartoum on 28–29 March. The summit covered a wide range of issues but focussed on the situation in Darfur and the Middle East Peace Process.

We welcome the focus of the recent Arab League summit on the situation in Darfur. It is important that the Arab League and its member states do all they can, in co-ordination with the rest of the international community, to help resolve the conflict in Darfur. In particular, we call on them to use their influence to press the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements to reach a peace deal by the deadline of 30 April as set by the African Union.

The Arab League's re-endorsement of the Beirut Declaration at the Arab summit in Khartoum is also a welcome step. We look forward to working with the Arab League, Israel and the Palestinian Authority
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towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on a two state solution with Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side in peace.

Ascension Island

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he and (b) officials from his Department have had on the future of Ascension Island since 14 March 2006; and with whom the discussions were held. [63679]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not held discussions on the future of Ascension Island since 14 March 2006.

Officials in London have met with the following interlocutors to discuss a range of issues related to Ascension Island:

21 March 2006

22 March 2006

28 March 2006

29 March 2006

30 March 2006

The administrator on Ascension Island met the US base commander and his immediate superior from Patrick air force base on 4 April 2006.


Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the UK Government has made representations to the Government of Belarus in the past 12 months regarding oppression of people on the grounds of religious belief in that country. [63268]

Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer of 18 April 2006]: The Government continues to raise human rights issues with the Belarusian authorities, both bilaterally and together with EU partners. During the past 12 months we raised the case of one Protestant church on four separate occasions and restrictions on freedom of worship in general on at least 12 occasions. Freedom of worship was also referred to in a resolution critical of Belarus' human rights record sponsored by the EU at the April 2005 UN Commission on Human Rights. Our ambassador in Minsk also met with leaders of churches under pressure from the authorities to hear their concerns.
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