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Public Diplomacy Strategy Board

Public Diplomacy Board

Travel Advice Review Group

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UK India Round Table


Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role her Department has played in engaging the international community to provide additional support to the African Union force in Darfur; what progress has been made; and what contribution the UK has made to the provision of such support. [84213]

Margaret Beckett: The UK has played a leading role in supporting the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). We have committed £20 million for this financial year, bringing our total contribution to AMIS since its inception to £52 million. The money has provided vehicles, logistical support and other practical assistance.

We are also playing a leading role in efforts to secure further support for AMIS. We regularly lobby our EU and other international partners to provide additional assistance. The US, the EU and certain other donors have already made substantial contributions. We expect further pledges to be made at the forthcoming AMIS Donors Conference in Brussels on 18 July.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by how many international treaties the United Kingdom is bound; and if she will make a statement. [85390]

Mr. Hoon: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) treaty records, which began in 1835, list 6,826 bilateral and multilateral treaties to which the United Kingdom became party and which entered into force for the United Kingdom. The authoritative “Index of British Treaties”, published by HM Stationery Office in 1970, contains 1,498 such treaties for the period 1101 to 1835, thus giving a total of 8,324 treaties to-date.

This figure relates to treaties that have not been expressly terminated or otherwise recorded as no longer in force for the United Kingdom. FCO treaty records are held in electronic format and comprise both modern elements and information derived from 19th
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century records. The number of treaties stated above is the most accurate figure possible based on the finding-aids available.

UN Conference on Small Arms

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of why it was not possible to get an agreement on stricter controls at the UN Conference on Small Arms; what opportunities there are for revisiting this issue; and if she will make a statement. [86517]

Dr. Howells: It was very disappointing that the UN Small Arms Review Conference failed to agree an outcome document, particularly as the UK had succeeded in agreeing a consensus text on the need for work at the national, regional and global levels to strengthen transfer controls. Fortunately, as the achievement of a consensus text indicates, all countries now recognise the need to address the issue of transfer controls within the UN Programme of Action. Over 100 states at the Review Conference expressed support for strengthening transfer controls. The UK will continue to work with all states to build support for agreement on common guidelines for small arms and light weapons transfers, building on the progress made at regional level in the past three years under the UK’s Transfer Controls Initiative. The UK is also keen to work with Canada on its proposal for an informal meeting of states in 2007 focused on transfer controls.


BL755 Cluster Munition

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of (a) the failure rate of the BL755 cluster munition and (b) its reliability for use in combat situations; [83981]

(2) by what method his Department assesses BL755 failure rates; and if he will make a statement; [83982]

(3) whether the classified reports which support the Department's assessment of the failure rate for the BL755 cluster munition contain evidence derived from combat use; [83983]

(4) whether an assessment has been made of the failure rate for the BL755 cluster munition based solely on evidence from combat use. [83984]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 March 2006, Official Report, column 2515W, to my hon. Friend for Stroud (Mr. Drew).

Information on the failure rate of the BL755 cluster bomb used by the RAF is collected during regular in-service surveillance trials. These trials are carried out by the Design Organisation (Lockheed Martin UK Insys Ltd.) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

The results of these trials are used to confirm the reliability of the BL755 cluster bomb for operational use. Some analysis of the accuracy and performance of BL755 cluster bombs used during operations has been
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undertaken; however, the reliability of individual weapons was not specifically addressed as part of this analysis.

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the (a) Royal Navy, (b) Royal Air Force, (c) Army and (d) Defence Procurement Agency will meet the 2.5 per cent. reductions as part of the Ministry of Defence’s 2.5 per cent. departmental efficiency savings. [87042]

Des Browne: The Ministry of Defence’s 2.5 per cent. efficiency savings target equates to a total of £2.8 billion of annual efficiency gains across the department by the end of the three-year Spending Review 2004 period. A breakdown of how the MOD intends to achieve this target can be found in the MOD efficiency technical note, which is published on the Department’s website at

Gulf War Illnesses

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) former and (b) serving British soldiers have been diagnosed with Gulf war-related illnesses. [85951]

Mr. Watson: Information on all the illnesses reported by veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict while still serving is not held centrally, as the Ministry of Defence does not hold records of all medical conditions reported after an individual has left the services. The NHS is responsible for the health care of ex-service personnel but information on diagnoses does not differentiate Gulf veterans. For those Gulf veterans still serving, Defence Medical Services are responsible for providing treatment for all medical conditions. We do not, however, hold diagnostic information specific to the operations on which personnel were deployed.


Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) medium and (b) heavy lift helicopters are in service with the (i) Royal Air Force and (ii) Army, broken down by make. [85793]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 July 2006]: The numbers of medium and heavy lift helicopters, in service in the Forward Fleet as at May 2006, broken down by type, are given in the following table:

Medium Lift
Type Number in service

Puma HC1


Sea King Mk 3/3a


Merlin Mk 3


Heavy Lift
Type Number in service

Chinook Mk2/2a


All medium and heavy lift helicopters in service in the Forward Fleet are owned by the Joint Helicopter Command. There are no medium and heavy lift
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helicopters operated by the Army. In addition to the figures shown in the table, the Royal Navy operate 30 Sea King Mk 4 medium lift helicopters.


Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which occasions Ministers in his Department have (a) met the bereaved families of British soldiers killed in Iraq and (b) visited in hospital British soldiers wounded in Iraq. [86416]

Des Browne: Defence Ministers frequently visit members of the armed forces injured in Iraq. Since February, Defence Ministers have visited injured personnel on the following occasions:

Secretary of State:

Minister for the Armed Forces:

Minister for Defence Procurement:

Under Secretary of State:

For details of visits prior to those above, I refer the hon. Member to an answer given by my predecessor, the then Secretary of State for Defence, on 2 February 2005, Official Report, column 899W, to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart).

Relatives of personnel killed in Iraq have also met the Defence Secretary at a repatriation ceremony at RAF Lyneham on 8 February 2005 and at a Remembrance Service at Salisbury Cathedral on 20 May 2005. The Minister for the Armed Forces attended a repatriation ceremony on 18 May 2006 at RAF Brize Norton.

In addition to the specific visits identified above, Ministers have on numerous occasions visited personnel in Iraq and in the UK once they have returned from operational duty. On some of these
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occasions, Ministers will have met with personnel and their families. As it was not the main focus of these visits, the exact details have not been recorded.

Military Equipment

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the level of stocks of surplus clothing held by each of the armed forces was in each of the last five years. [85775]

Mr. Ingram: The armed forces hold sufficient stocks of clothing to meet their requirements as determined by Defence Planning Assumptions. Any surplus clothing (e.g. due to a change in the requirement) is disposed of through the Disposals Services Agency. Information on surplus clothing stock levels is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will reconsider the purchase of the armoured Pinzgauer vehicles on order for troops in Afghanistan; [82515]

(2) what the performance specifications are of the new patrol vehicle Vector; what type of vehicle it is; and how its armour protection compares with the (a) Snatch Land Rover and (b) RG-31; [82573]

(3) what assessment he has made of the level of protection afforded to troops by the (a) RG-31 vehicle and (b) Snatch Land Rover. [84311]

Des Browne: Vector is the name of the programme to buy a new, Pinzgauer based, protected patrol vehicle to supplement the current Land Rover Snatch vehicle. The programme is on contract for delivery of vehicles in 2007. The key performance requirements for Vector are improved mobility, payload and capacity compared to Snatch. We do not comment on levels of armour protection, as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of our armed forces.

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