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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the level of violence in Colombia, with particular reference to that directed against trade unionists. 
Mr. Hoon: We remain very concerned about the situation faced by civil society, including trade unionists, in Colombia, While the situation clearly remains unacceptable, we feel that some progress has been made. Figures for 2005 show that the numbers of murders, kidnappings, displacements and massacres are generally decreasing from those of 2004. But more needs to be done. We keep the human rights situation in the country under constant review, frequently raising specific human rights cases with the Colombian authorities, We regularly meet UK and Colombian trade unionists and other civil society groups, in the UK and Colombia, to hear their views and discuss how the Government can best support them.
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, met a British trade union delegation on 6 March to discuss their recent visit to Colombia and hear their concerns about human rights. He also discussed the issue with the Colombian Foreign Minister in the fringes of the EU/Latin America and the Caribbean summit on 12 May. In February we also funded a working visit to the UK by eight senior Colombian trade unionists to demonstrate our support to civil society in Colombia and to the important role it has to play in helping find solutions to Colombia's many problems.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list the Government's requests for surveillance information from the European Union Satellite Centre in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Hoon: In the last five years the UK has requested the European Union Satellite Centre to provide analysis of earth imagery for five national tasks, all in 2003. Three of these related to arms control tasking in Asia and the Middle East, and two concerned humanitarian and rescue tasking in Africa. These taskings took place before the costs of such national requests became recoverable from the member state. These national taskings should be distinguished from UK proposals for the EU to task the Satellite
Centre in support of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. These proposals comprised five arms control tasks across the Middle East and Asia, one imagery analysis request in the Middle East and geospatial information in preparation for the G8 meeting in Gleneagles.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of the surveillance information requested from the European Union Satellite Centre in respect of the G8 summit at Gleneagles was. 
Mr. Hoon: The European Union Satellite Centre has estimated the costs of information for the G8 summit at Gleneagles, including data acquisition and analysis time, at €40,000. This was paid from the Satellite Centre's annual budget, to which member states contribute.
Mr. Hoon: The European Union Satellite Centre produces a variety of products including two-dimensional analysis of satellite imagery and three-dimensional computer models created through the combination of information from maps and earth imagery. All products requested by the European Union from the Satellite Centre in support of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy are copied to the UK and all other member states, These are stored by the UK and contribute to the pool of information available to aid decision making on subjects including humanitarian and disaster response, arms control, border monitoring and environmental issues.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much is allocated to (a) the running costs of and (b) buying information from the European Union Satellite Centre. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK's contribution to the European Union Satellite Centre is approximately 17 per cent. of the annual running costs. This year the UK contribution will be €1.8 million. This annual funding covers the costs of tasks delegated to the Satellite Centre by unanimous EU agreement. The UK receives copies of the information provided in response to these tasks at no additional cost. It has not made any national requests since 2004, when charging for additional information requests for national use was introduced.
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I attended the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) on 15 May. The council discussed
preparations for the June European council and a range of foreign policy issues, including the latest developments in the Western Balkans, Nepal, Africa, Iran, the Middle East Peace Process and Iraq. Defence Ministers met separately to discuss the European Defence Agency, Capabilities and EU Force for the Democratic Republic for Congo. My right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary represented the UK. In joint session Foreign and Defence Ministers discussed emergency and crisis response, civil-military co-operation and security sector reform in the Western Balkans.
Dr. Howells: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 8 May, no-one has the intention to take military action against Iran. The international community is determined that Iran should comply with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and the Security Council. To that end, we are all pursuing a diplomatic process and we are working hard to make sure it succeeds.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the rate of unemployment in (a) Al Basrah, (b) Al Muthanna, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Maysan provinces in Iraq. 
The Iraqi Central Office for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT) is responsible for producing official statistics on the unemployment rate and has conducted three Labour Force Surveys since 2003. The latest November 2005 survey, reports an unemployment rate of 18 per cent. across Iraq (not including the Kurdish Regional Government or Al Anbar province). Unemployment rates for individual provinces are not published by COSIT or any other organisation.
It is important to note that there has been considerable debate over Iraqi employment statistics, and widely differing unemployment rates have been reported. One report from the Brookings Institution (Iraq Index, April 2006) at http://www.brookings.edu/iraqindex estimates the current unemployment rate to be between 25 and 40 per cent. The use of different definitions of unemployment may account for some of this variation. For example, Iraqi data has traditionally counted only those working 15 hours or more per week as employed, whereas the International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers anyone working 1 hour or more per week to be employed.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the authorities in Jamaica on (a) tackling homophobia and (b) police attitudes to and treatment of gay people. 
During his visit to Jamaica on 25 April, the Under-Secretary of State for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas), made the case for repeal of legislation on buggery and spoke out against the use of homophobic lyrics in popular music. There has been no recent discussion on police attitudes to homosexuality.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at which meetings of the Council of the European Union the United Kingdom will be represented by the Minister for Europe. 
Dr. Howells: We share President Musharrafs concern about the Talibanisation of Waziristan. The Pakistani Taliban have at various times taken control of parts of Waziristan, including the town of Miramshah, but not for extended periods. The Government of Pakistan currently has over 80,000 troops deployed in the region, who are engaged in almost daily skirmishes with al-Qaeda and Taliban elements. We take the threat posed by the Taliban very seriously and continue to work closely with the Government of Pakistan to try to contain it. This is important not just for stability in Waziristan, but also to help reduce the risk to British forces deployed in Southern Afghanistan. The exact strength of the Pakistani Taliban is difficult to assess.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2006, Official Report, columns. 522-3W, on the Palestinian Authority, if she will make a statement on the discussions regarding the development of a mechanism for the payment of aid to the Palestinian Authority, which took place at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 15 May. 
Dr. Howells: At the 15 May General Affairs and External Relations Council, the EU accepted the task from the Quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) to develop a temporary international mechanism to direct and supervise delivery of assistance to the Palestinian people. We believe the mechanism should be set up as a matter of urgency. The European Commission will consult international financial institutions, and key partners and donors, to establish the mechanism as soon as possible. The UK has played a leading role in establishing the mechanism and will continue to offer assistance.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2006, Official Report, column 55W, on rendition, since what date the Government have expected a state to seek permission for each individual rendition flight through UK airspace and UK air bases, including overseas territories. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 88W, and to my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary's (Mr. Straw) written ministerial statement of 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-38WS. The expectation that a State will seek permission reflects an aspect of the principle of State sovereignty over territory, which is a longstanding principle of international law. The findings of the review of the Government's files back to 1997, which were summarised in the then Foreign Secretary's written ministerial statement, demonstrate that this has been a consistent requirement; that it has been made clear to the United States authorities; and that they have sought such permission.
Dr. Howells: We are deeply concerned at the recent upturn in violence in Sri Lanka, notably the suicide bombing of the army headquarters in Colombo on25 April and the attack at sea on a troop-carrying vessel on 11 May. These Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacks are a clear violation of the Cease-fire Agreement, break the commitment they made at talks in Geneva in February, and threaten prospects for peace. There is no excuse for terrorism. The LTTE is a proscribed organisation in Britain and is likely also to be listed by the EU as a terrorist organisation.
But the background to the violence in Sri Lanka is complex and we are also very concerned by reports of killings of civilians and the continued atrocities committed by armed groups. It is essential that the Government of Sri Lanka also live up to its responsibilities in preventing such groups from operating.
We continue to believe that dialogue is the only way to achieve a negotiated settlement to the internal conflict in Sri Lanka. Violence cannot solve internal differences nor bring sustainable peace. All sides need to exercise restraint and act in a constructive and patient way. We fully support the Norwegian facilitated peace talks and will continue to work for a settlement that takes full account of the legitimate demands of all communities within a democratic and stable Sri Lanka.
Dr. Howells: We are concerned at the upturn in violence in Sri Lanka. Recent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam attacks on army headquarters and a troop carrying vessel are a serious violation of the Ceasefire Agreement and threaten prospects for peace. At the same time, we are concerned by killings of civilians and atrocities committed by armed groups. We look to the Government of Sri Lanka to prevent such groups from operating and to bring those responsible to justice. We fully support the Norwegian facilitated peace process and will work towards a settlement that takes full account of the legitimate concerns of all communities in Sri Lanka.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago on investigating and prosecuting unlawful police killings. 
Mr. Hoon: The law and order situation in Trinidad and Tobago has been deteriorating for some time and the Government acknowledge that the police response has been inadequate in various respects. Our concerns about both the human rights aspects and also the safety of UK citizens, especially in Tobago, are well known to the authorities. Most recently my noble and learned Friend the Minister of State for Criminal Justice and Offender Management, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, discussed Criminal and Judicial reform with Prime Minister Patrick Manning and senior ministers in Port of Spain on 3 May. These and other problems will continue to feature in our ongoing security dialogue with the leadership and security agencies in Trinidad and Tobago.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in negotiations with the Turkish Government in developing a system of documentation which would permit people in possession of UK-issued temporary travel documents to travel from Turkey to the UK. 
Mr. Hoon: We are yet to identify a long term solution to the problem of suitable documentation which would permit the travel of the small number of
individuals in Turkey who would otherwise be granted entry to the UK but have no passport on which to travel. We continue to engage with the Turkish authorities on individual cases.
Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the following comments made by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, (Dr. Howells) in the House on 8 March 2006, Official Report, columns 307-311WH:
"The relationship between the United Kingdom and Venezuela is an active one. We work effectively together in several fields, including crime, counter-narcotics and energy. We have an important commercial relationship... It is the third biggest market for the UK in Latin America. ... our policy remains to seek constructive engagement with Venezuela. We have much to gain from working together".
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