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21 Nov 2006 : Column 64Wcontinued
We regularly discuss the progress of democratic reforms and human rights in Russia with the Russian authorities, including freedom of the media. The 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights sets out some of our major concerns about human rights, democracy and rule of law in Russia. It details a number of occasions when FCO Ministers have raised these issues with the Russian Government over the last 12 months. The report is available on the FCO website at
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the killing of journalists in Russia has been raised at the Council of Europe. 
Mr. Hoon: The Council of Europes Committee of Ministers discussed the death of Anna Politkovskaya on 25 October 2006. Media freedom, including journalists safety, is a recurrent issue considered by the Council. It is an important element in delivering the Council of Europes aim of defending human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to discuss Russo-Georgian relations with her Russian counterpart. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no immediate plans to hold discussions with her Russian counterpart, but I will be discussing my recent visit to the South Caucasus region, including Georgia, with the Russian Ambassador at the end of this month.
We maintain regular dialogue with the Russian and Georgian authorities at all levels in which we express our hope that they will take early action to reduce tensions and that Russia will lift its economic measures against Georgia.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects for progress on the recently signed peace deal for the East of Sudan; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We welcome the conclusion of the Peace Agreement on eastern Sudan between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front in Asmara on 14 October. We hope that the agreement will form the basis for lasting peace and security in eastern Sudan. The agreement is the first step towards reconstruction and development in the region, and includes pledges of approximately US$600 million for this end. We call on the parties to continue to work together to ensure that the agreement is fully implemented.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what visa arrangements have been granted by the UK to Salah Ghosh, head of the Sudanese National Intelligence Service, over the last 12 months; and on what dates he has been admitted to the UK. 
Mr. McCartney: Over the past 12 months General Salah Abdallah (also known as Al Ghosh), Head of Sudanese Intelligence/Security Service, has been granted two single entry visas to the UK. He travelled to the UK in March and August 2006.
On both occasions General Salah came to the UK for urgent medical treatment. While he was here he discussed Darfur with UK officials. He is an influential member of the Sudanese Government and it therefore makes sense to raise matters of concern with him. At present he is not subject to any UN or EU sanctions or travel restrictions.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make it her policy to offer not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system in return for the Government of (a) North Korea and (b) Iran discontinuing their nuclear weapons programmes; and if she will make a statement. 
Iran and North Korea signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapon states. Development of nuclear weapons programmes would be in direct contravention of their legal obligations under the NPT not to acquire
or seek to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We continue to call on them to respect these obligations and abandon their weapons programmes. In contrast, the UK is recognised under the NPT as a nuclear weapon state. Ministers are considering the issues involved in the question of whether or not to replace the Trident system but final decisions have yet to be taken.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why EU sanctions against Uzbekistan were omitted from the list of sanctions regimes in the written ministerial statement of 6 November 2006, Official Report, columns 27-8WS, on sanctions regimes. 
Mr. McCartney: We regret that Uzbekistan was inadvertently omitted from the written ministerial statement issued by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East on 6 November 2006, Official Report, columns 27-28WS. At the time the statement was submitted the EUs sanctions against Uzbekistan were under review. Subsequently, the EU agreed to extend the arms embargo for a further 12 months and the visa ban for a further six months, and to review these measures in three months time. A revised written ministerial statement reflecting UK implementation of the Uzbekistan sanctions was issued on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 43WS.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was of his recent visit to Malaysia; what the name was of each official who accompanied him; and in what category of travel class he and his delegation travelled. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: Details of the cost of overseas travel undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more is published annually. Information for 2005-06 was published on Monday 24 July 2006. Copies of the lists are available in the Library for the reference of Members. Information for 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the financial year.
All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Library for the reference of Members. All official travel is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code, a copy of which is also available in the Library for the reference of Members. It is not Government practice to name individual civil servants.
Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the occasions since he has held his present office when he has used (a) rail services, (b) the London Underground, (c) tram or light railway services and (d) buses in connection with his ministerial duties. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: I frequently travel by public transport when undertaking my ministerial duties. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the guidance in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the Government's policy is on meeting the educational needs of the most academically gifted children in Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: All schools seek to meet the needs of all their pupils, including challenging and stretching the most able, and may obtain assistance from statutory/voluntary organisations that offer specific support for talented and gifted children.
The extended schools programme provides an opportunity to further enhance provision for pupils.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) interim and (b) full antisocial behaviour orders have been obtained by agencies in Northern Ireland in each district council area since inception. 
Mr. Hanson: The relevant authorities have notified the Northern Ireland Office of 29 antisocial behaviour orders being granted in Northern Ireland.
|Number of orders|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects (a) to receive and (b) to publish the Bain Report into the schools estate in Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: Professor Bain and his colleagues in the review team are currently working on their report on the Strategic Review of Education in Northern Ireland. I expect to receive the report in December and for it to be published shortly afterwards.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why a strategy and development plan for Newry City has not been included in the draft planning policy statement 5 on retaining town centres and commercial leisure developments. 
David Cairns: Draft PPS 5 has been the subject of public consultation, the results of which are being analysed. While it is not the purpose of draft PPS 5 to set out a strategy or development plan for any settlement, the position of Newry has been raised in the consultation and will be considered.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the expenditure of the Education and Skills Authority in its first 12 months of operation; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The Education and Skills Authority is planned to come into operation from 1 April 2008. Work is continuing on the development of the roles, responsibilities and functions of the ESA and the budget will be determined, in due course, in the light of decisions on these matters and of the outcome of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funds were allocated to each of the higher and further education colleges in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
Maria Eagle: The information requested is as follows
|DEL grants and education contracts per audited accounts|
|Year ended 31 July:|
|College||2001||2002||2003||2004||( 1) 2005|
|(1) The analysis for the year ended 31 July 2005 represents 15 colleges only, as the accounts for Fermanagh College are not yet finalised.|
(1) The Hotel and Catering College was amalgamated with the University of Ulster in 2002 and therefore not included in the overall FE funding totals from 2002-03 onwards.
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