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All these projects commenced in 2004. We are unable to provide figures for 2003, as prior to this date expenditure on equipping Iraqi security forces came from the UK forces general budget for Iraq, and to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any deportations have (a) taken place and (b) are being considered under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Lebanon to facilitate deportation of persons suspected of activities associated with terrorism; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 29 June 2006]: No deportations have so far taken place to Lebanon under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We do not comment on whether deportations are currently being considered under the MOU.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 1000W, on ministerial visits (accommodation), if she will keep a central record of the (a) number, (b) standard of hotel used and (c) cost of overnight stays for (i) civil servants, (ii) special advisers and (iii) Ministers. 
Mr. Hoon: There are clear guidelines in place for all Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff, special advisers and Ministers concerning overnight accommodation when travelling on business at public expense, whether in the UK or overseas. These rates are also used by staff from other Whitehall Departments and by parliamentary Select Committees. Staff are reminded of the need to ensure they obtain value for money at all times.
Mr. Hoon: Like other former Soviet Union members, Moldova has had to create an independent judiciary system from scratch. While there has been some progress, the Government share the assessments by the European Commission and the Council of Europe that there is still much to do. We continue to take every opportunity to remind the authorities in Chisinau that this is essential for closer integration with the EU states, and to urge and assist them to adopt the necessary legislation as required by the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Moldova.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will urge the
authorities of the Peoples Republic of China to bring the detained British journalist Mr. Ching Cheong to a fair and public trial as soon as possible; and if she will request the Chinese authorities to ensure that (a) the trial is held in public and (b) Mr. Ching has legal representation. 
Mr. McCartney: Although Mr. Ching Cheong holds a British National Overseas (BN(O)) passport he did not use this passport to enter China and he is deemed by the Chinese authorities to be a Chinese national. We have made representations, through our embassy in Beijing and our consulate in Guangzhou, to the Chinese authorities in respect of Mr. Chings case and we will continue to do so at every appropriate opportunity. We have serious and long-standing concerns over the use of arbitrary detention in China, inadequate fair trial guarantees and the treatment of prisoners, and we make these concerns known to the Chinese authorities. However, as Mr. Ching has been charged with espionage, while he will have legal representation, his trial will take place in a closed session in accordance with current Chinese law.
Dr. Howells: Under the terms of the Cease-Fire Agreement the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was established to monitor the cease-fire and investigate and record violations by either side. It has done so since 2002. We continue to support fully the important work of the SLMM as ceasefire monitors and the Norwegian Government as facilitators of the peace process. In relation to the SLMM, we completely endorse the view that its members are appointed as ceasefire monitors and not as representatives of their countries.
We welcome the recent statements of commitment by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the Ceasefire Agreement. In that respect we urge all parties to the ceasefire to co-operate with the SLMM and urge the LTTE and the Government to return to face-to face talks so they can discuss concerns about the cease-fire and work towards a lasting peace agreement.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will assess the implications for the Sri Lankan peace process in light of the recent increase in violence in the country. 
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many student visas have been issued for students to study in the UK in each of the last eight years, broken down by country of origin. 
Dr. Howells: The hon. Member can find this information in UKvisas' annual published statistics, which are available in the Library of the House. From 2001-02 the relevant statistics are in the section entitled Part 2: Visa Demand and Outcome of Applications. Before this, the figures are under Other categories and DNA.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in identifying a monitoring body in accordance with the UK-Lebanon Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the deportation of persons associated with terrorism. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what stabilisation measures for Timor-Leste are being considered under the Rapid Reaction Mechanism set out in the European Council Presidency Conclusions of 15 and 16 June. 
Mr. McCartney: The European Commission will send a fact-finding mission to East Timor shortly. It will then be in a position to consider the measures available under the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). We will remain in regular contact with the Commission as this work progresses. Council Regulation 381/2001 provides details of the full range of measures available under the RRM. The full text of the regulation can be found at the following website: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2001/l 057/1_05720010227en00050009.pdf.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her (a) European and (b) US counterparts regarding the agreement of the mandate of a new UN mission to Timor-Leste; and what the outcomes were of those discussions. 
Mr. McCartney: We are liaising closely with our US counterparts regarding the mandate of a new UN mission to East Timor. We have also been in touch with various European partners, including Portugal, Germany and France. A number of discussions have taken place, both bilaterally and within the UN Security Council. We all agree that the UN has a continuing role to play in assisting the Government of East Timor in the lead-up to the national elections in 2007, particularly in light of recent unrest. The current UN Mission's mandate has been extended until 20 August 2006 while the UN Secretary-General prepares further recommendations on the mandate and structure of the new mission.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her officials have made of the attempt in June 2006 to loot the offices of the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Timor-Leste; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: During the height of the recent civil unrest in East Timor, the grounds of the building housing the Commission of Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) were broken into. Thirty-two motorbikes were stolen from the compound, but there is no evidence to suggest that there was any attempt to break into the CAVR offices themselves.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her officials have made of the looting in May 2006 of files held by the Serious Crimes Unit in Dili, Timor-Leste; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The prosecutor general, who is the legal custodian of the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) files, has told our ambassador in Dili that approximately 5-10 per cent. of the SCU case files are missing. However, a full digital copy of all SCU files is held by the UN.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support her Department plans to offer to the United Nations investigation into recent violence in Timor-Leste; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The United Kingdom supported UN Security Council Resolution 1690 (2006), which welcomes the initiative of the UN Secretary-General to ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the lead in establishing an independent Special Inquiry Commission to review the recent unrest in East Timor. We have not received any specific requests for assistance, but will follow the work of the High Commissioner closely.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) information her Department provides and (b) grants it makes available for the purpose of advising gap year students on personal safety issues when travelling overseas. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has run the travel safety campaign, Know Before You Go, since 2001. Its aim is to help British travellers prepare for their trips and stay safe while they're abroad.
Gap year students are one of the key target groups for this campaign: they are both less likely to prepare for their trips and more likely to get into trouble while away. We work closely with partners from the travel industry and related groups to promote the FCO's travel website (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) and call centre (0845 850 4849) which give detailed travel safety information on specific countries as well as important general tips.
the publication and distribution of 500,000 copies of a Travel Safe Guide jointly produced with Lonely Planet. This is being
distributed through partners including Millets, Snow and Rock, Ellis Brigham (adventure travel shops) and through the Lonely Planet website, so as to reach the target audience;
a sixth-form schools tour conducted by the FCO's Consular Communications Team jointly with a number of noted travel writers, including Simon Calder of the Independent;
FCO Student Ambassadors in 15 universities across the UK. Articles placed in university publications by the student Ambassadors have reached 467,000 students over the past year. We will be appointing new students in new universities over the course of the coming year;
a dedicated FCO gap year website (www.gogapyear.com) which will be re-launched in July this year with many new features.
The Department has close working relationships with a number of organisations promoting the safety of gap year travellers. We do not make any direct grants for this activity, preferring to work through partnerships with relevant organisationsfor example, promoting each other's information materials, co-branding.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her assessment is of the (a) loss of lives, (b) destruction of property and (c) threat to security in Uganda as a result of the demonstrations in the wake of the arrest of Dr. Besigye on 14 November 2005; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The UK, on behalf of the EU, issued a statement on 18 November 2005 expressing deep concern at the events following the arrest of Dr. Besigye on 14 November 2005. In the two days following the arrest there was rioting, vandalism and looting in the streets and 57 suspects were arrested, but later released. Five Government cars and two telephone kiosks were set ablaze.
In the statement, the EU said that it was particularly concerned about the use of live ammunition by the Ugandan Police on 14 November 2005, which resulted in the tragic death of one person and injuries to six others. The EU also called on Dr. Besigyes party, the Forum for Democratic Change, to
encourage people to avoid violence and confrontation and to respect the Law and Constitution.
The full text of the statement can be found at the following website: http://www.eu2005.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1107293561746&a=KArticle&aid=1131976425734&date=2005-l1-18
I visited Morocco on 6-7 June and raised the issue of Western Sahara. That included human rights. I have urged Morocco to respect human rights in the Territory, for instance in my speech at Chatham House on 22 June.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of (a) bank branches and (b) independent retail shops which closed in (i) Nottingham, South and (ii) the East Midlands in 2005-06. 
VAT deregistrations in retail in 2004 for the parliamentary constituency of Nottingham, South and the Government office region of the East Midlands are shown in the following table. For comparison, registrations are also given.
|Nottingham South||East Midlands|
|(1) Retail comprises Standard Industrial Classification 52.|
VAT registration and deregistration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that deregister may not have closed. In the retail sector 63 per cent. of enterprises in the UK (200,000 out of 320,000) were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.
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