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the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction; and
the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
More recently, this year it has hosted discussions on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), nuclear disarmament, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, Negative Security Assurances, new types of Weapons of Mass Destruction, comprehensive disarmament and transparency and armaments. The UK continues to press for agreement at the CD to commence the immediate negotiation of an FMCT, without pre-conditions, which we believe is the next logical step towards nuclear disarmament.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to consult (a) interested non-governmental organisations, (b) security think-tanks and (c) appropriate academics in preparing the United Kingdom delegation for the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to be held in New York in Spring 2007. 
Dr. Howells: In preparation for the last Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2005, officials and Ministers from a number of Government Departments had discussions with interested non-governmental organisations, think-tanks and academics. We expect to have similar exchanges during this review cycle.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of the development of a new British nuclear deterrent on nuclear proliferation in (a) Asia, (b) Africa and (c) the Middle East. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK's decision to maintain its existing nuclear deterrent, while making a further20 per cent. cut in operationally available warheads, demonstrates our continued commitment to our obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). This sends a strong signal to others, including in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, to comply fully with their own NPT obligations.
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to the government of Israel on the resumption of the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenues. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development most recently raised our concerns with Israeli Foreign MinisterLivni and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Peres on13 November. We support the 13/14 November General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions that call on Israel to resume tax and custom revenue transfers immediately.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what events were (a) organised and (b) postponed under the Radical Middle Way roadshow initiative; and what the cost was in 2005-06. 
Mr. Hoon: Ministers and senior officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have had regular contact with counterparts in the German government on energy security during the Russian Presidency of the G8, notably in the context of EU discussions.
The Government was pleased that Russia chose to focus on global energy security as a key priority during its G8 Presidency. Together with EU partners, we took
the opportunity of the EU's meeting with President Putin in Lahti, Finland in October to discuss the importance of the key principles of stability, transparency and predictability in energy markets. We were pleased that President Putin reaffirmed Russia's commitment to these principles, agreed at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg in July, and which feature in the Energy Charter Treaty. Dialogue with Russia on energy issues continued at the EU/Russia summit on24 November.
Margaret Beckett: We fully support UN Security Council Resolution 1725 which was adopted unanimously on 6 December and authorises a protection and training mission in Somalia to be established by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she has taken to encourage the Sri Lankan Government to cease the indiscriminate bombing of civilians. 
Dr. Howells: We are concerned about the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. Although the full circumstances and effects are not yet clear, we understand that in recent weeks there have been credible reports of a number of instances where it appears that the actions of the Sri Lankan armed forces have resulted in a tragic loss of civilian lives in the north and east of the country. We have raised with and will continue to reiterate to the Sri Lankan Government our deep concern that their armed forces are not taking effective measures to safeguard civilians some of whom, as Internally Displaced Persons, have already been severely affected by the conflict. Following one such incident in November our High Commission in Colombo issued a statement making clear UK concern for the civilian victims of the conflict.
We call on the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to demonstrate, by their actions, their commitment to the 2002 Cease-Fire, to cease hostilities which are impacting heavily on civilian communities and to allow the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission access to affected areas.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to encourage the Sri Lankan Government to open the A9 road to the Jaffna Peninsular. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Mr. Thomas, gave to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) on 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 67W.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of United Nations reports that the Karuna Group in Sri Lanka is recruiting child soldiers; and what steps she is taking to seek to stop the practice. 
Dr. Howells: We are very concerned at recent reports that criticised parties to the Sri Lanka conflict including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Karuna faction for the recruitment and use of child soldiers. We deplore this practice: there can be no excuse for failing to observe such basic human rights. We fully support the UN Security Council Resolutions on children in armed conflict, including Resolution 1612 that set up a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the recruitment and use of child soldiers in a number of countries including Sri Lanka. We are actively involved in the Working Group on children and armed conflict at the UN. We also actively contribute to EU policy formation and implementation on this issue, including the recent Statement of the EU Presidency to the UN Human Rights Council, which raised detailed concerns about the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Sri Lanka. Bilaterally, we have and will continue to underline to the Sri Lankan authorities as well as to the LTTE the unacceptability of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in violation of applicable international law.
We understand that since these reports Colonel Karuna has contacted the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and given assurances the Karuna Group will work formally with the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to implement an action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children. We, and international partners, will be closely monitoring this initiative.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of Syria's compliance with UN Resolution 1701 in terms of its ceasing to arm Hezbollah. 
Dr. Howells: The UN Secretary-General on1 December, reported to the UN Security Council on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. He noted that the UN continues to receive reports of illegal arms smuggling across the Lebanese/Syrian border, but has been unable to verify these reports. We share the UN's concern over thesereports and have urged Syria to take steps to ensurefull compliance with UN Security CouncilResolution 1701.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will makea statement on progress on consideration of the recommendation by the European Commission to suspend eight chapters of the negotiations on the accession of Turkey to the EU. 
Mr. Hoon: The Commission's recommendation was discussed by EU ambassadors on 29 November and6 December and Ministers will discuss this issue at the General Affairs Council on 11 December. If required, further discussion may take place at the December European Council 14-15 December. We agree that Turkey must fulfil its obligations under the Ankara Agreement Protocol, but in our view the recommendation from the Commission is disappointingly tough. We have made our views clear to the Commission and other member states.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when HM High Commission Islamabad will review the applicationby Mrs. N. A., wife of Mr. M. M. of Aylesbury, (reference GV100/117618/DL) as described in the letter of 27 June from UK Visas to the hon. Member for Aylesbury. 
The review was completed on 16 October 2006. The Entry Clearance Manager at our High Commission in Islamabad was satisfied that the original decision to refuse entry clearance was consistent with the requirements of the Immigration Rules and should therefore stand. Appeal papers were despatched by our High Commission in Islamabad to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) on 12 December 2006. The AIT has scheduled an appeal hearing for4 January 2006.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will break down by main budget heading the budget line Advising Government Centrally on Publicity Matters and Associated Non Cash Items identified in the Cabinet Office annual report; and whether consultants were employed to work in this area of the Cabinet Offices work. 
advice provided to Departments, agencies and other publicly funded bodies to enable them to achieve maximum effectiveness and best value for money in their publicity programmes. This advice may be against the COI Trading Funds own commercial interests;
common good research conducted into the hard-to-reach target audiences to whom Government needs to communicate its policies and to inform about rights and benefits. The results of the research are shared across all Departments and agencies to enable them to target their communications in the most effective way; and
activities supporting the Regional Media Emergency Forums, which develop strategies for handling large-scale emergency incidents.
Hilary Armstrong: The amount of Special Payments made in 2005-06 can be found in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Resources Accounts 2005-06, copies of which are available in the Library for the reference of Members. These were for: an accident in the workplace; expenses incurred as a result of errors in the payroll process; errors made in the calculation or payment of pensions; purchase of land; and, cancellation fees/expenses incurred due to essential operational requirements.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the Answer of 28 November 2006, Official Report, column 594W, on departmental staff, if she will list the training courses available to Cabinet Office (a) staff and (b) ministers. 
Hilary Armstrong: Details of training courses available for staff are shown in the following list. All learning and development provision addresses the identified needs of staff to achieve continued development in line with Professional Skills for Government, and also ensures value for money.
Working in the Cabinet Office
New Starters reception
Effective performance management for managers
Effective performance management for non-managers
The Management Experience (management skills for first time managers)
Towards Better Leadership (management skills for senior managers)
Recruitment and selection Training
Module 1: Advertisement writing
Module 2: Sifting for interview
Module 3: Interviewing skills
The meaning and the message (giving and receiving feedback)
Executive Coaching (for Senior Civil Servants)
Trading Perspectives (Reverse mentoring scheme)
Access to all courses run by National School of Government.
IT skills (Excel, Word, Access and PowerPoint)
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