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24 May 2006 : Column 1858W—continued

Charles Munyaneza

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 769W, on Charles Munyaneza, what progress has been made in the investigation of allegations against Mr. Munyaneza. [72658]

Dr. Howells: Officials from the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate War Crimes Unit are investigating the allegations against Mr. Munyaneza. Once the facts are fully established, consideration will be given to the appropriate course of action. We would not wish anyone suspected of genocide in Rwanda to enjoy impunity in the UK.

China

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the Government have allocated for a British pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010; and from what budgets such funding will come. [72406]


24 May 2006 : Column 1859W

Dr. Howells: We are considering the Chinese Government’s formal invitation to participate in the Shanghai Expo 2010. As part of that process we are looking at how UK participation might be funded and we are discussing this with a wide range of possible stakeholders including Government Departments, other parts of the public sector, and many private sector companies.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response the UK Government have made to the Chinese government's undertaking to the UN Human Rights Council; how the proposals made are to be monitored; what the timescale is for their implementation; what assessment she has made of the likely impact of their implementation on Tibetans; and if she will make a statement. [72962]

Dr. Howells: China made voluntary pledges on human rights prior to its election to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The HRC is mandated within one year of its first session to set up a system of ‘universal periodic review’ to assess the fulfilment by each state of its human rights obligations and commitments. The detail of this system of review is not yet determined. However, the Government will expect every member of the HRC, including China, to act fully in accordance with the high standards set by the UN General Assembly resolution which established the HRC, and to take very seriously the responsibility that they will have for the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. We will continue to look for appropriate opportunities to raise our concerns about human rights abuses in China and Tibet with the Chinese authorities.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government has made representations to the Chinese government to disclose the whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima; and if she will make a statement. [72964]

Dr. Howells: The Government last raised the case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima at the last rounds of the UK- and EU-China Dialogues in June 2005 and October 2005. We requested that the Chinese authorities allow a private visit to him by an agreed international observer, and provide information on his religious instruction. Officials from our Embassy in Beijing, on a visit to Tibet with the Foreign Affairs Committee in May 2006, requested information on the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima from the Tibetan Autonomous Region local government. We will continue to raise this case in future contacts with the Chinese government.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her most recent assessment is of (a) the situation and (b) stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and if she will make a statement. [72809]

Dr. Howells: The security situation remains fragile in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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(DRC). Civilians continue to suffer abuses by armed groups, including ill disciplined elements within the Congolese army (FARDC).

The UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) continues to conduct operations to disarm militias and to disrupt the activities of foreign armed groups. We commend the combined efforts of MONUC and the FARDC which resulted in the detention of two prominent militia leaders, Kyunga Matanga and Innocent Kahina, in the last week. We continue to urge regional governments to work together to disarm these groups.

The DRC peace process remains a UK priority and we are committed to promoting forthcoming democratic elections and encouraging the new government to take an inclusive and representative approach.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [72810]

Dr. Howells: Foreign engagements for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers are kept under constant review. It is not our practice to announce such visits until they are firm. Because of the unpredictable nature of world events, final decisions on overseas visits are often not possible until very shortly before the day of travel.

Departmental Staff

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date Mr Mockbul Ali (a) left the Department in 2005 and (b) was re-appointed to her Department; and in what capacity he was re-employed. [72418]

Dr. Howells: It is not Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) policy to comment publicly on individual members of staff. Appointments to the FCO are made in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code. Information on the code canbe found at the following website: www.civilservicecommissioners.gov.uk.

EU Finance

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the value was of each of the fortnightly transfer payments made into the budgets of the institutions of the European Union in 2005. [66128]

Ed Balls: I have been asked to reply.

The figure for the UK’s gross contribution, after taking account of the abatement, to the EC Budget in 2005 is shown in Table 3 (page 46) of the “European Community Finances” White Paper which was laid before Parliament earlier today (Cm 6770). The
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individual payments which the UK made twice per month to the EC Budget in 2005 sum to this figure.

EU-Morocco Agreement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her voting intentions are at the European Council on the EU-Morocco Agreement; what assessment she has made of the (a) wishes of the Saharawi people and (b) the financial benefits to the Moroccan Army relating to the agreement; and if she will make a statement. [73076]

Dr. Howells: The UK will vote in favour of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(Mr. Bradshaw) on 2 May 2006, Official Report, column 1315W, and 4 May 2006, Official Report, column 1731W.

European Entitlement Card

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is her Department's policy to support the introduction of a European entitlement card. [71875]

Mr. Hoon: There are at present no proposals before Council for the introduction of a European entitlement card.

European Union

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list policy areas in which the Government are involved in discussions about (a) the extension of European Union competences and (b) the removal of the UK's veto. [72703]

Mr. Hoon: There are no discussions of formal proposals under way about the extension of EU competencies or the removal of the UK's veto.

Information Technology

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) originally estimated, (b) most recently estimated and (c) outturn cost was in each of the five largest information technology contracts agreed with outside suppliers over the last five years. [71790]

Mr. Hoon: The information requested is provided in the table.


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£ million
Contract Original estimate Most recent estimate Outturn

Future Firecrest—Hewlett Packard

183.5

187.5

(1,2)21 .3

Prism—Cap Gemini Ernst and Young

53.1

78

(1,2)58.4

Focus—Fujitsu Consulting

10.5

(3)

7.5

FCO Website Internet Project—Logica CMG

6.5

12.2

(1,2)11.7

Biometric Passports—3M UK Plc

6.5

6.5

(1)

(1) Not yet known. (2) Spent so far. (3) Contract ended March 2003.

Iraq

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have been consulted on proposed reform of police and paramilitaries in Baghdad; what this proposed reform comprises; and if she will make a statement. [72965]

Dr. Howells: The UK takes a close interest in all efforts to reform the police in Iraq. We are aware of the intent by the Iraqi government to reform police structures in Baghdad and we will engage with them on this as their plans develop.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response the Government have made to the statement by Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr that the Facility Protection Service set up by the Americans to guard official buildings was responsible for killings; and if she will make a statement. [72966]

Dr. Howells: We are aware of allegations of sectarian and criminal abuses being carried out by various parts of the Iraqi security forces, including the Facilities Protection Service. We condemn any acts of abuse and we have raised our concerns with the Iraqi Authorities at the highest levels.

Israel

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the compatibility of Israel’s Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 2003 with obligations not to discriminate under the human rights clauses of the Israel-EU Trade Association Agreement. [73071]

Dr. Howells: We have concerns that Israel’s Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 2003 will continue to have a detrimental effect on the right to family life for Israeli-Arabs. We will be raising our concerns with the Israeli Government at the next appropriate opportunity.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the recent
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ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court in relation to the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 2003 will be considered by the EU authorities as part of the human rights monitoring of the EU-Israel Trade Association Agreement. [73077]

Dr. Howells: Human rights, including minority rights, will be discussed at the EU-Israel Working Group on Human Rights which will meet in June 2006.

Leased Military Bases

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 196W, on RAF Wideawake, (1) how many military bases leased to the US Administration worldwide by the UK (a) are and (b) are not subject to rent or charges; [71472]

(2) if she will list the UK military bases worldwide which are leased to the military of other countries for which the UK (a) collects and (b) does not collect rent or charges. [71473]

Mr. Watson: I have been asked to reply.

The Ministry of Defence does not lease UK military bases worldwide to any other country. The subject of rent charged does not therefore apply.

However, the US Government uses the Ascension Islands under the terms of the Bahamas Agreement. They also use the island of Diego Garcia under the terms of Exchanges of Notes in 1966 and 1976.

The presence of the United States Visiting Forces in the UK is governed by the NATO Status of Forces Agreement 1951 and additional confidential arrangements.

Military Technology (Belarus/Iran)

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether she has received representations regarding the possible sale of Russian military technology by Belarus to Iran; and if she will make a statement. [69196]

Dr. Howells: No representations have been received on the possible sale of Russian military technology by Belarus to Iran. The Government take a close interest in jail reports of arms transfers to and from countries whose current activities give rise to issues of potential concern and monitors the situation closely.

Miza Tahir Hussain

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to the authorities in Pakistan to commute the death sentence on Mr. Miza Tahir Hussain; and if she will make a statement. [68935]

Dr. Howells: The Government are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, and it is our policy to always make representations against the use of the
24 May 2006 : Column 1864W
death penalty and its imposition on British nationals at whatever stage and level is judged appropriate.

We have made a number of high level representations to the Pakistani Government on behalf of Mr. Hussain, at both senior official and Ministerial level. On behalf of my right. hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the whole Government, my right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has written to President Musharraf to request that he commute Mr. Hussain's death sentence to an appropriate term of imprisonment.

In addition to these representations, Consular staff both in Pakistan and in London continue to do all they can to support Mr. Hussain. Staff at the our High Commission in Islamabad visit him regularly, most recently on 17 May 2006, and have remained in close contact with Mr. Hussain's family. Staff in London have also followed the case closely and have been in contact with Mr. Hussain's family here.

We will continue to offer our full support toMr. Hussain and his family. We very much hope our representations will be successful.

Pensions

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what percentage of staff in her Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pension. [73034]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have 3 per cent. of staff making additional voluntary contributions per month: 193 officers out of a headcount of 6,117. The following is a breakdown of the different schemes:

Number

Equitable Life

52

Scottish Widows

116

Standard Life

25

Total

193



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