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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her Department's timetable is for setting out its initial views on the Commission's White Paper on European Communication Policy published on 1 February 2006. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government presented its broad approach to the European Commission's White Paper on European Communication Policy in its explanatory memorandum dated 10 March 2006. This memorandum summarises the most important points of the White Paper and sets out the Government's initial response. Officials have also given the Government's initial views on the White Paper at working level in Brussels. A formal response to the White Paper will be given by the Government before the end of the consultation period in July.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what written submission the UK Government (a) has made and (b) plans to make in advance of discussions on a European Constitution at the Council of Ministers Meeting on 27th May. 
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether proposals were tabled by the British EU presidency for consideration by the European Council that council meetings should be held in public. 
Mr. Hoon: A copy of the UK proposals on transparency was sent to the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Select European Union Committee in November 2005. The Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees were informed of the agreed Council conclusions on increased transparency under cover of an explanatory memorandum in January 2006.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will publish prior to the June 2006 European Council her Departments evaluation of UK activities during the period of reflection, setting out the extent to which they have achieved the stated objectives of (a) generating broad debate and (b) building consensus around the future direction of the EU. 
Mr. Hoon: The process of generating a broad debate and building consensus around the future direction of the EU is ongoing, including work in the House and more broadly in the public domain. The European Commissions recent report A Citizens Agenda for Europe shows that the Commission and the EU are increasingly focused on the priorities that the UK has been promoting, namely delivering real benefits in areas that matter to citizens.
Internal evaluation of the cost effectiveness of all activities is continuing. We have no plans to publish a formal evaluation of UK activities beyond the response given to the presidency and General Secretariat of the Council in response to their questionnaire. A copy of the questionnaire and the UK response will be placed in the Library of the House on 15 June.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the EU's External Relations budget line was spent on European Security and Defence Policy initiatives in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hoon: In 2005, the most recent period for which complete figures are available, approximately 1 per cent. (€57 million) of the External Actions budget line was spent on activities carried out under European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). In addition to ESDP, the External Actions budget line covered: aid, development assistance to non-EU countries, such as Balkan states and Latin America, reconstruction in Iraq, combating poverty-related diseases, the fight against drugs and regional programmes including reconstruction efforts in the tsunami hit areas.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether European Security and Defence Policy initiatives are financed exclusively from the Common Foreign and Security Policy budget line. 
Mr. Hoon: Common costs, e.g. salary for Heads of Mission, office space and equipment, of civilian European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) activities are paid for from the Common Foreign Security Policy budget which is part of the overall European Commission budget. Military ESDP initiatives are funded through the intergovernmental ATHENA mechanism, a facility set up to enable EU member states to contribute on a gross domestic product key towards common financing of certain aspects of EU operations with military and defence implications, such as incremental costs for, deployable or fixed, head quarters for EU-led operations, capital expenditure on communications equipment. Other costs for military ESDP operations lie where they fall on participating member states.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations into flights to, from and over the UK in connection with the practice of extraordinary rendition the UK plans to make in response to the recommendations of the Council of Europe's interim assessment. 
Mr. McCartney: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary to the hon. Member for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Gauke) on 17 March 2006, Official Report, column 2531W.
The BBC World Service already provides a dedicated radio and online vernacular language service in Farsi. In October 2005, it announced its intention to also explore the development of a Farsi TV service as part of its 2010 strategy for a tri-media presence in its priority languages. BBC World Service is currently assessing the costs and benefits of launching such a service and will present its findings to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mr. Hoon: The Governments primary objective for the UK-France summit will be to further improve co-operation across a range of policy areas. These include energy, climate change, Africa/development, defence, foreign policy, Europe, immigration, counter-terrorism, education and consular co-operation. Agreements reached will be detailed in a summit communiqué.
We will also aim to produce a declaration on the defence relationship reaffirming the British and French Governments commitment to work together, both bilaterally and within EU, NATO and UN frameworks. The focus here will be threats and challenges to our security and defence and to that of our allies and partners.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department has taken to ensure that the stocktaking exercise of the progress of national debates on the future of the EU to be prepared by the Austrian EU presidency at the June 2006 European Council takes account of the views of the British people. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government believe that, at the June European Council and beyond, Europe needs to focus on the policies that deliver real benefits to its citizens, and on the economic reforms needed to make the EU competitive in today's global economy, rather than institutional issues.
citizens tend to consider institutional questions abstract and complex and to show more interest in concrete policies affecting their daily life, such as employment, environment or energy.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Minister for Europe's meeting with the chief Minister of Gibraltar on 22 May 2006 resulted in an agreement to publish the preamble to the Constitution prior to a referendum being held; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: At our meeting on 22 May 2006, I agreed with the Chief Minister that we should take account of the concerns of the people of Gibraltar and publish the preamble to the Constitution prior to the referendum. Officials are now taking this forward. We will make a further announcement once the final text is settled.
Mr. McCartney: The political and security situation in Guinea is worrying. Economic stagnation and uncertainty over the transition from the current regime leaves the potential for conflict. The withdrawal of opposition and civil society from national social dialogue is also of concern, and reduces the prospects of a constitutional transition of power. A ministerial reshuffle took place on 30 May and we will be monitoring the progress of this new team.
We are engaging with EU and the Economic Community of West African states partners to open a better dialogue with the political and military authorities in Guinea. At the International Contact Group Meeting on the Mano River Basin in Vienna on 23 May, the UK welcomed the regional focus on contingency planning and agreed the need for further EU engagement, including organising a seminar series in Guinea on democratic culture.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list the individuals who are not UK citizens who were awarded honours in the period 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2003; and what (a) the date of announcement, (b) the honour concerned and (c) the reason for the award was in each case. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 18 May 2006]: As the information requested is lengthy, I will arrange for the information to be placed in the Library, and will send a copy directly to the hon. Member.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of staff employed at UK posts in India are from scheduled castes; and what recruitment policies are followed for local staff. 
Dr. Howells: The Human Resources Section of our high commission in New Delhi does not hold records of the caste of locally employed staff at our diplomatic missions in India. They are working on the initial stages of a diversity agenda for local staff.
Dr. Howells: Although the issue of religious intolerance in India is a matter for the Indian Government, we raise issues of attacks on or discrimination against religious minorities in response to legitimate UK public and parliamentary interest. Our high commission in New Delhi monitors such issues, with staff making regular calls on the appropriate Indian authorities.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received on whether Iran has acquired BM-25 missiles from North Korea; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of which countries supply arms to the Iranian armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: Iran has traditionally sourced defence equipment from a broad range of supplier states. Iran's last return to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, in 1998, lists Russia as their main supplier of major conventional arms platforms and equipment. More recent estimates by a variety of independent researchers indicate that the great majority of Iranian arms imports continue to come from Russia. Policy on the export of such equipment from the United Kingdom to Iran was set out in the written answers from the then Foreign Secretary (Lord Hurd) to the then hon. Member for Finchley (Hartley Booth) on 1 March 1993, Official Report, column 8, and the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Central (Tony Lloyd) to my hon. Friend the then Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Andy King) on 28 January 1998, Official Report, columns 273-74, respectively.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Russian counterparts regarding its proposed sale of Tor tactical surface-to-air missiles to Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: We are in close touch with Russia about Iran in our bilateral contacts, as part of the E3/EU and through the EU. We have made clear our concerns about their arms sales to Iran on a number of occasions. The Government take a close interest in all reports of arms transfers to and from countries whose current activities are of concern and monitors the situation closely.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the degree of Iranian reliance on support from outside nations for the development and continuance of its nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: Iran remains reliant on Russia to complete the civil nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Russia is also contracted to supply fuel for the reactor for 10 years, and has offered to continue supply for the lifetime of the reactor if the Iranians so choose.
We do not believe Iran is capable of completing the research reactor moderated by heavy water under construction at Arak without external assistance, and are not aware of any country which is prepared to provide such assistance.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department have had with United States officials on the offer by Iran in May 2003 of direct talks with the United States. 
Margaret Beckett: As the US announced at the time, between 2001 and 2003, officials from the US and Iran had occasional direct contact through what was known as the Geneva process to discuss practical matters regarding Afghanistan initially and then Iraq. Then as now, British Ministers and officials discussed Iran very frequently with their US counterparts.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes to the access of IAEA inspectors to nuclear sites in Iran have taken place since January; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: As reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Board of Governors on 27 February 2006, Iran informed the Agency on 6 February 2006 that it would suspend its voluntary implementation of the provisions of the Additional Protocol pending its ratification. It therefore requested that
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