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Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects the Security Council to consider the proposed UN stabilisation force in Lebanon; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We welcome the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701. The resolutions objectives are clear: to bring about a full cessation of hostilities; to create the space for an urgent humanitarian relief effort; and to begin a process leading to a permanent ceasefire and a durable peace.
Urgent work is under way to strengthen the UN force in Lebanon as quickly as possible, to carry out the range of important new tasks set out in UNSCR 1701. The force will need to be built up from around 2,000 at present to a maximum of 15,000. This is the responsibility of the UN, which will need to work quickly with potential troop providers to build up the force and agree operational plans.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment had been made prior to 12 July of progress towards the general disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militia in Lebanon in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1559. 
Margaret Beckett: In his report of 26 April 2006 to the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 noted that the Government of Lebanon had taken measures to limit the existence of Palestinian arms outside the refugee camps, but more remained to be done. The UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy also recorded that there had been no noticeable change in the operational status and capabilities of Hezbollah.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the names are of the (a) Lebanese and (b) non-Lebanese militias within Lebanon that must be disarmed in accordance with Resolution 1559. 
Margaret Beckett: UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1559 does not specify individual militias within Lebanon. In his report to the Security Council on 8 October 2004, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Implementation of UNSCR 1559 identified the most significant remaining armed group in Lebanon as Hezbollah. He also referred to the need to disarm the Palestinian armed groups in Lebanon.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the most recent assessment prior to 12 July was of (a) the size and active strength of the Hezbollah militia and (b) progress towards its disarmament. 
Margaret Beckett: Prior to 12 July, the Ministry of Defence assessed that Hezbollahs military wing comprised some 1,000 full time personnel, augmented by reservists in times of crisis, and possessed as many as 13,000 rockets.
the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) calling for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory, and strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government have not yet been fully implemented.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the last discussion prior to 12 July took place between her Department and the government of Lebanon regarding the disarmament of Hezbollah in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1559; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: There is regular and close contact between the UK and the Government of Lebanon, including discussions about the disarmament of Hezbollah in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1559. The subject was discussed when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fuad Siniora, on 9 May this year. The UK supports full implementation of UNSCR 1559, including the disarmament of Hezbollah and the efforts of the Lebanese Government to assert its sovereignty and authority throughout its territories.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the extent of Hezbollah involvement in terrorist activity was last reviewed; and what the finding of the review were. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government are keeping Hezbollahs activities under constant and active review. We have condemned Hezbollahs recent actions. Hezbollahs External Security Organisation has been a proscribed organisation in the UK since 2001. As the Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) told the House on 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 490, the list of proscribed organisations is kept under constant review.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will arrange for a copy of the most recent report of the UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the implementation of UNSCR 1559 to be placed in the Library. 
Margaret Beckett: A copy of the April 2006 report from the UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the implementation of UN Security-Council Resolution 1559 will be placed in the Library of the House. I will also arrange for officials to send a copy of the report to the right hon. Member.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what form of support the UK Government have provided to the Government of Lebanon over the last five years to the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory; and if she will make a statement. 
The UK played a leading role in passing UN Security Council Resolution 1559 in September 2004. This called for withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and supported the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory. Since Syrian troops withdrew in April 2005, we have been giving practical assistance to the Lebanese Government to
help it assert its authority over its territory. This has included sending UK experts to advise on security sector reform, training courses for the Lebanese security forces and a visit by a UK military team to review equipment requirements for the Lebanese armed forces in its new role.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment had been made prior to 12 July 2006 of progress towards the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1559; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: When the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 presented his report to the Security Council on 26 April 2006 he concluded that the Government of Lebanon still did not fully exert control over all Lebanese territory. He noted that
the primary factors impeding the extension of Lebanese Government control over all of Lebanon's territory are the existence of armed groups outside the control of the Lebanese Government and uncertainty over the exact boundaries of the Lebanese territory. Timely implementation of tangible measures towards the disarming and disbanding of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and towards the delineation of the border between the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon will be an important step towards the extension of the Government's control over all its territory.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which countries the Government have held discussions on the possibility of a new United Nations force for Lebanon; and with which other countries discussions are planned. 
Mr. Hoon: There are ongoing meetings in New York on details of the new United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. A number of countries have indicated a willingness to contribute. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has spoken to UN Secretary General Annan as well as his Lebanese, French and Italian counterparts. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has also been in regular touch with her US and Egyptian counterparts.
During the visit to the region of the Minister of State for the Middle East, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells), on 22 to 24 July, he discussed this with his Lebanese, Israeli and Jordanian interlocutors. More recently my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed this matter with the French Foreign Minister.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has received regarding the setting up of a reconstruction fund for Lebanon; and if she will make a statement. 
We will play our full part in the humanitarian and reconstruction effort. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been in direct touch with Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora about ways in which the UK can support the recovery effort, including through providing emergency bridging to help the flow
of assistance. During his visit to Beirut on 15 August, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development announced an additional £6 million of humanitarian assistance, bringing the total contribution to £12.5 million. UK funding has so far helped to provide and deliver food, water, health, hygiene, other essential supplies and mine-clearing activities.
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary continues to be engaged with developments in the Middle East and will travel to the region soon. On 21 July my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, visited Cyprus to see British evacuation operations and meet British nationals who have been evacuated from Lebanon. On 22-24 July the Minister of State for the Middle East, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) visited the region. On 22 July he met with Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora and Lebanese Foreign Minister Salloukh and others. On 23 July he met Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Livni to raise our concerns about the situation. On 24 July, he also visited Amman meeting with Jordanian Prime Minister Bakhit and his Royal Highness Prince Faisal.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister intends to visit the region, in particular Israel and Palestine, over the coming period, and will consult those there and of course members of the Quartet on the best way forward. Our priority must be to create the conditions for an early resumption of negotiations based on the Quartet Roadmap. Negotiation is the only viable way to bring peace and prosperity to the people throughout the Middle East.
Dr. Howells: Ministers have regular dialogues with ministerial colleagues in the Scottish Executive, discussing a wide range of issues of mutual interest. It is not our practice to disclose details of such meetings.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the UK Government have had with (a) the Nigerian Government and (b) the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Committee on the transparency of the forthcoming Nigerian presidential elections. 
Our high commission in Abuja regularly discusses preparations for elections in 2007 with the Nigerian Government. We are also working
closely with Nigerias Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure elections are peaceful and as transparent as possible. Most recently, officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development discussed election preparations with the chairman of INEC in London on 11 July.
Mr. McCartney: The Governments contribution to external monitoring of elections in Nigeria next year will principally be through the EUs Election Observation Mission. We plan to send observers as part of this mission.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what administrative functions for which her Department is responsible are outsourced overseas; and what assessment she has made of the merits of outsourcing further such functions overseas. 
Some customer-facing aspects of our overseas visa operation are outsourced to commercial partners in several countries. This provides applicants with more convenient locations at which to apply and has eliminated queues and attendant security problems at our diplomatic missions. Precise details vary from country to country and are set out in commercial service level agreements. Local partners receive applications with supporting documents which are sent on to visa sections in diplomatic posts. Under no circumstances do they assess applications or advise on likely outcomes. We are considering further expansion of this activity through a public contract procurement process.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) questionnaires, (b) statistical inquiries and (c) investigations have been carried out wholly or partly at public expense on behalf of or by her Department or public bodies for which she is responsible in each year since 1997; and what the (i) nature, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost was of each. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2006, Official Report, column
2152W, on the Royal visit (USA), what elements made up the other reimbursements to the household totalling £8,497.45 referred to in the answer. 
Margaret Beckett: The elements of the other reimbursements to the household totalling £8,497.45 referred to in the reply I gave my hon. Friend on 22 June 2006, Official Report, column 2152W, are made up as follows:
Hotel room charges
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the extent to which the Russian Federation is complying with the provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK, with other G7 members, has encouraged Russia to move forward during its G8 Presidency and ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, of which it is already a signatory and applies on a provisional basis.
The UK is concerned that the proposed Russian Gas Export law would appear to contradict several of the major provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty, including the provisions on Transit. Through the EU, we continue to work with Russia towards an agreed text for the Transit Protocol while at the same time emphasising to Russia the importance of open, transparent, efficient and competitive markets at all stages of the energy supply chain as the key to global energy security.
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