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Dr. Howells: Afghanistan has made significant political progress since 2001. Parliamentary and provincial elections were successfully held in September 2005. Parliament went into Session in December. Most Cabinet Ministers are approved and the budget endorsed. Afghan Government influence is increasing throughout the country with assistance from the International Security Assistance Force and the UN. As part of our efforts in southern Afghanistan, we are working to support Afghan-led reconstruction.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what average hourly rate was paid by her Department to each employment agency for staff employed through agencies in 2005-06. 
Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) uses various agencies under the National Framework for Temporary Staff. The majority are employed at grade A2 (administrative officer) level. Although rates between agencies vary depending on the assignment, the three agencies most commonly used by the FCO are charged an average hourly rate of £13.74 in 2005-06.
David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) administering and (b) effectiveness of the Antarctic Treaty in relation to environmental protection. 
Mr. Hoon: The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1991. By the commencement of the 29th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Edinburgh from 12 to 23 June 2006, all 28 consultative parties to the treaty, as well as 4 non-consultative parties, had ratified the Protocol. The United Kingdom ratified the Protocol on 25 April 1995.
The Protocol sets out a framework of stringent provisions for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment. Under the Protocol, all activities in Antarctica must be planned and their potential environmental impacts assessed and minimised.
The Committee for Environmental Protection meets annually in conjunction with the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, to administer the Protocol, thereafter providing advice and formulating recommendations on the protection of the Antarctic environment.
Mr. Hoon: The UK submitted a range of Working Papers to the 29 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, held in Edinburgh from 12 to 23 June 2006. Topics covered included guidelines for visitor sites in the Antarctic Peninsular region, wildlife awareness information, Marine Protected Areas, guidelines on the exchange of ballast water by vessels in the waters surrounding Antarctica and a summary of the UK- led environmental workshop to identify future environmental challenges in Antarctica, which preceded this meeting.
The UK has contributed robustly to discussions of wider Antarctic tourism, environmental, operational and scientific matters. The UK-drafted Edinburgh Declaration on Antarctica, published on 19 June, sets out the commitment of the Antarctic Treaty Parties to the development of polar science during the forthcoming International Polar Year 2007-2008.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Chinese and (b) Indian Governments on tackling climate change. 
Mr. McCartney: Following her appointment, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not yet had direct discussions with the Indian or Chinese Governments on tackling climate change. She looks forward to visiting both countries to discuss climate change and other issues of mutual interest in the coming months. I will be travelling to China from 10-17 July 2006 and will be raising climate change with my counterparts while there.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will play an increasing role in delivering the Governments international objectives on climate change. On 8 June, she announced the appointment of a special representative for climate change, John Ashton. His primary focus will be to build a stronger political foundation for international action on climate change, working to build consensus among key governmental and non-governmental actors in priority countries, including China and India.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 315W, on East Timor, to the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) by what date her Department expects to make a formal response to the recommendations that the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor made in its final report. 
Mr. McCartney: We do not intend to make a formal response to the report of the East Timorese Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. The document has been made public, but it is not yet clear whether the UN Secretary-General will ask the Security Council to consider the findings.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answers of 15 June 2006, Official Report, column 471W, on East Timor, whether her Department has urged Indonesias authorities to investigate crimes committed in East Timor in September 1999 by Indonesias Battalion 745, including (a) the murder of Sander Thoenes and (b) the attack on Jon Swain and his three companions in the last 12 months; and if she will raise those matters with Indonesias Foreign Minister at the earliest opportunity. 
Mr. McCartney: We have made no representations in the past 12 months to the Indonesian Government regarding investigation of specific crimes committed in East Timor in September 1999. The East Timorese Government have made it clear that, having achieved independence, they do not seek criminal justice or compensation for past human rights violations but rather prioritise the need for reconciliation with Indonesia. East Timor and Indonesia have jointly set up a Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) as the way in which they wish to promote reconciliation and deal with previous human rights violations by both sides. We will continue to monitor the work of the CTF.
Mr. McCartney: My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, spoke with Prime Minister Meles late last week and our ambassador in Addis Ababa spoke with the Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Minister in mid-June. We made clear to the Ethiopian Government our concerns about the current situation in Somalia and also that, with the UN, the UK regards the Transitional Federal Government as the legitimate Government of Somalia. The UK believes it is important that all states refrain from any actions that might destabilise the situation, respect Somalias borders and comply with the current UN arms embargo on Somalia. The international community, including regional states, should focus on promoting dialogue among the Somalia parties in support of the agreement reached between the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts in Khartoum on 22 June 2006.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department have had with (i) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and
(ii) Treasury officials regarding the proposals to reduce the proportion of the UK abatement in the agreement on the next EU financial perspective. 
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether her Department (a) has made and (b) plans to make representations to (i) the EU Commission, (ii) the EU Presidency and (iii) other member state Governments to seek agreement to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposals to reduce the proportion of the UK abatement in the agreement on the next EU financial perspective. 
Mr. Hoon: The Own Resources Mechanisms for the next Financial Perspective 2007-13, including the UK Abatement, were agreed unanimously by member states at the December 2005 European Council. Discussions are continuing in Brussels concerning the technical details for implementation of the December agreement. As is usual, these involve the European Commission, the EU Presidency and all member states. We are considering the draft texts of the new Own Resources Decision carefully to make sure that they accurately reflect the outcome of the December European Council, including the agreement that the UK Abatement should remain.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will reiterate their policy on self-determination for the Falkland Islands following the Argentine Governments pressing of their claim to the islands at the recent Organisation of American States annual assembly. 
Mr. Hoon: The permanent observer of the United Kingdom to the Organisation of American States (OAS) wrote to the chair of the General Assembly of the OAS on 6 June reiterating that the Government have no doubts about their sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Falkland Islanders so wish. The principle of self-determination underlies the Governments position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to her Answer of 20 June 2006, Official Report, column 1720W, on family planning, if she will make it her policy (a) not to recognise abortion as a method of family planning and (b) not to support abortion in reproductive health assistance; and if she will make a statement. 
DFID does not promote abortion as a method of family planning. However, we recognise that if a woman decides she cannot go through with a pregnancy, she needs to be able to access services that are safe, as well as family planning services. This is in line with the consensus agreed by the International Conference for Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994.
Globally, 137 million couples who say they would like to use family planning do not have adequate access to modern contraception, with an estimated 87 million unintentional pregnancies as a result. DFID support for sexual and reproductive health is to enable women and men to exercise informed and safe choices in matters of childbearing and to provide a comprehensive range of information and services that can help to save women's lives and to reduce the need for abortion.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will keep a separate record of the amount spent annually by her Department on alcohol for hospitality purposes. 
Mr. Hoon: Government Hospitality, part of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Services, an Executive agency of the FCO, maintains separate records of its spend on alcohol annually. Government Hospitality is responsible for official hospitality at ministerial level across Whitehall. Maintaining separate central records of total annual spend on alcohol for hospitality purposes across the FCO as a whole and UK missions overseas would, however, incur disproportionate costs.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many infraction proceedings for breach of EU (a) legislation and (b) treaties were outstanding against the United Kingdom at each formal stage notified to Government at the end of each calendar year since 1990; and how many were outstanding against the Governments of Scotland and Wales in each year since devolution. 
A table setting out the number of infraction proceedings brought against the UK at each formal stage in the calendar years stated is as follows. The records kept by the Government concerning reasoned opinions only started during 1998, which means that the figure for 1998 is incomplete, and the records concerning cases before the court are only available since 1997. To provide details before these dates, to break down the figures in respect of legislation and treaties or to provide figures for outstanding cases at the end of each calendar year
would incur disproportionate cost. Infraction proceedings are brought against the UK not the devolved Administrations.
|Article 226||Article 228|
|Reasoned opinions||Court applications||Reasoned opinions||Court applications|
|n/a = not available|
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total UK expenditure towards support in training, equipping and deploying of military and protective services and border personnel in Iraq was in each year since 2003. 
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