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Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which casino operators officials from her Department met in 2005-06; whether the Department for Trade and Industry provided papers for the meetings; and if she will make such papers available along with the minutes and agendas of the meetings. 
On 18 July 2005, the Consul-General and a member of his staff met Mr. Rob Goldstein, President of the Venetian, in Las Vegas.
On 23 August 2005, the Consul-General in Los Angeles met Mr. Peter George, Senior Vice President, International Development of Harrahs Entertainment Inc.
On 20 February 2006, the Consul-General in Los Angeles attended a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims in Las Vegas. During this event, the Consul-General had a brief discussion with Mr. Gary Loveman, chief executive officer of Harrahs Entertainment Inc.
The Department of Trade and Industry did not provide any papers in advance of these meetings and due to commercial confidentiality we are not in a position to make the minutes and documents publicly available.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has received on the position of the Dalits in India; if she will make representations to the Indian Government on the upholding of the Indian constitution with regard to treatment of the Dalits; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our high commission in New Delhi are in contact with a range of civil society organisations in the UK and in India and regularly receive representations on issues relating to minority rights in India, including the position of Dalits.
Officials at the high commission also have regular discussions on minority rights, including Dalit rights, with the Government of India at central and state level. They have held discussions with national level bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (Dalits) and Scheduled Tribes and the National Commission for Minorities, most recently in June 2006.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials from her Department are based in (a) Israel and (b) the Occupied Palestinian Territories on a(i) temporary and (ii) permanent basis; and what the length of service in each location is of each official. 
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions Ministers and officials from her Department have had with Ministers and officials from the Department for International Development on development assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and if she will list the Ministers and officials involved in each case. 
Dr. Howells: Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development Ministers and officials, both in London and in Jerusalem, have a continuous dialogue on development assistance in the Occupied Territories. However, it is not our policy to provide details of all such meetings.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was incurred in outstanding parking and other traffic violation fines in each of the last five years by embassy staff on official duties in each country where her Departments employees are deployed in the Diplomatic Service. 
Mr. Hoon: We do not hold records centrally on any parking or traffic violations incurred by UK diplomatic staff overseas and this could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. All Government staff based overseas are required to maintain the UKs reputation for high standards of behaviour and respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state.
The Government welcome the resumption of discussions in the World Trade Organisation Working Groups in Geneva since mid-November. This is a positive development, and it is important that all WTO members capitalise on the new momentum. The Government's priority is to encourage WTO members to show additional flexibility and commitment during the window of opportunity to deliver real progress towards an ambitious, pro-development outcome to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
The independence of the judiciary is a stated priority for the Government of Ethiopia. Along with other partners, we are working to support
the reform of the justice sector in Ethiopia and discuss these issues with Government officials in the Ministry of Justice whenever appropriate.
Mr. McCartney: The election in May 2005 marked a step change in the democratisation process in Ethiopia. The degree of political freedom and debate in the run- up to the election was unprecedented. We were disturbed that subsequent disputes over the election results led to civil unrest and violence, widespread arrests and allegations of human rights abuses. The main opposition leaders and some civil society representatives remain in detention facing serious charges including genocide and treason. Since the election there has been a closing down of political space for the opposition, the independent media and civil society.
We continue to encourage both the Government and opposition to move forward with the democratisation process and to work towards political reconciliation. We have a regular dialogue with the Government on governance and human rights issues and the Government are now beginning to take steps to create space for opposition parties to contribute and participate in the House of Peoples Representatives. We continue to urge the Government to open up the political space and encourage open debate with all parts of society.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the treatment of Supreme Court President Teshale Aberra by the Government of Ethiopia. 
Mr. McCartney: Teshale Aberra, the Oromia region Supreme Court President made allegations about his treatment by the Ethiopian authorities. We have no information to confirm such reports, but we continue to urge the Government of Ethiopia to comply with international human rights standards and respect individual human rights.
The legal position on the size of the European Commission after 2009 is clear. The provisions are set out in the Protocol on enlargementof the European Union adopted at Nice. The Protocol requires that following the accession of the 27th member state, the number of Commissioners shall,
from the date on which the first Commission takes up its duties (i.e. 2009), be less than the number of member states.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the UK has had with the United Arab Emirates on extradition agreements; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK negotiated an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the summer. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary signed the treaty with the Emirati Minister of Justice at Lancaster House on 6 December.
The UAE is a key partner for the UK in particularin work on financial crimeincluding VAT fraud, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism. This package of measures will enhance our ability to work in close co-operation with the UAE on these important issues.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of whether the practice of extraordinary rendition complies with British obligations under (a) the Human Rights Act 1998 and (b) the UN Convention on Torture. 
Dr. Howells: The terms rendition or extraordinary rendition are currently used to describe informal transfers of individuals in a wide range of circumstances. In this context, our policy on the use of UK airports or airspace is clear and fully compliant with our legal obligations. We have not facilitated, and will not facilitate the transfer of individuals through the UK to places where there are substantial grounds to believe they would face a real risk of torture. Nor would we assist another state in doing so were it to put us in breach of UK laws or our international obligations.
The European Parliament (EP) report is still in draft and we are studying its contents. We have co-operated fully with the EPs inquiry, including through a meeting between a delegation from the Temporary Committee on the Alleged Use of
European Countries for the Transport and Illegal Detention of Prisoners with my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe. As we have made clear on a number of occasions, most notably in the written ministerial statement by my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary on 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-38WS, we have found no evidence of detainees being rendered through the UK or Overseas Territories since11 September 2001.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the release of UK citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay; and if she will make a statement. 
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of India about (a) the status of and (b) human rights abuses against the Dalit community. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with the Government of India about the status of, or human rights abuses against the Dalit community. However, officials at our high commission in New Delhi have had discussions on a range of issues relating to minorities, including Dalits and Dalit rights, with the National Minorities Commission, most recently in June.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions (a) her Department and (b) the Intelligence Service have had with Salah Abdallah Gosh on Islamic terrorism; 
Mr. McCartney: General Salah Abdallah Ghosh is head of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services, the functions of which include counter-terrorism. UK officials have periodically discussed counter-terrorism with him.
The UK strongly supported UN Security Council Resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICCs investigation is ongoing. It is for the ICC to decide who should be held accountable for crimes against humanity and other crimes within its purview.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further confidence building measures are planned in respect of Kashmir; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We welcome the continued dialogue between India and Pakistan over all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. In contacts with the Governments of India and Pakistan, we have encouraged them to continue efforts to build trust and confidence and improve the lives of ordinary Kashmiris.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the draft report by Baroness Nicholson MEP for the European Parliament on Kashmir. 
Dr. Howells: The European Parliament is currently engaged in its own internal procedures in preparation of a report on the situation in Kashmir. I think it would be premature to comment at this stage. I look forward to reading the final report when it is issued in spring 2007.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of General Musharraf's four-point solution to achieve peace in Kashmir; what representations she has made to the Governments of (a) India and (b) Pakistan on the proposal; what reports she has received from the (i) British high commission in New Delhi and (ii) British high commission in Pakistan on the proposal; and what steps she plans to take to help achieve a peaceful resolution in Kashmir. 
Dr. Howells: I have read with interest President Musharrafs recent press interviews on Kashmir and India-Pakistan relations. The UK continues to urge both India and Pakistan to seek a lasting resolution to the issue of Kashmir, which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. I have not spoken to the Governments of Pakistan or India on President Musharrafs latest press statement.
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