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The political opposition faces significant impediments to its ability to operate freely in Azerbaijan. We have made our concerns known to the Government of Azerbaijan on a number of occasions, including during and after the 2005 parliamentary elections and during 2006.
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made a statement on the elections in Bangladesh on 11 January before the State of Emergency was declared. This is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
It is unfortunate that circumstances have subsequently arisen in which a State of Emergency has been declared. We urge that the full processes of democracy and civil rights be restored to the Bangladeshi people promptly. We broadly welcome the potential opportunity for conditions to be established which are conducive to credible and participative elections. We are monitoring developments closely.
Mr. Hoon: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contacted the Bermuda Regiment directly and the Regiment has provided the following information: There are 13 female soldiers in the Bermuda Regiment:
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken towards an equipment replacement programme for the Royal Bermuda Regiment; and if she will make a statement. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the establishment strength of the Bermuda Regiment is, broken down by (a) full-time officers and soldiers, indicating those seconded from other regiments and units, (b) part-time officers and soldiers and (c) conscripts. 
|(1 )1 x Loan Service Personnel. (2 )2 x Loan Service Personnel.|
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of conscripts to the Bermuda Regiment did not respond to their conscription call-up in each year since 2000. 
Mr. Hoon: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contacted the Bermuda Regiment directly and the Regiment has provided the following information: The proportion for the years in question are:
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments estimate is of the size of the acquis communautaire of the European Union in (a) pages, (b) words and (c) number of pieces of legislation. 
Mr. Hoon: The acquis communautaire consists of the principles, practices, policies, obligations, objectives and legal and other acts that have been agreed or have developed over the years by the EU and the European Communities. These include, in particular, the EU treaties in their entirety, as well as all existing EU legislation and Court of Justice judgments.
Given that the acquis inevitably evolves over time, it is not possible to give the exact figures requested. However, within the ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey, the acquis consists of 35 chapters covering the key topics.
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Mr. Hoon: The Commission and the Council Secretariat have confirmed to us that neither has done any preparatory work on the External Action Service since the opening of the period of reflection in June 2005.
During the UK presidency (July-December 2005), and at the request of some member states, we held informal bilateral discussions at a working level on the External Action Service. However, no work was taken forward because of a lack of consensus on how and whether to proceed and on whether there was any legal basis for such work. There has since been no attempt to reopen the issue among the member states.
The External Action Service is an element of the constitutional treaty. At present there is no consensus among EU Governments on the future of the constitutional treaty. The German presidency has been asked by EU leaders to present a report to the European Council in June on possible next steps following consultation with all EU Governments. I set out the Governments approach in my written ministerial statement of 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 10-11WS.
Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to persuade the Government of Gibraltar (a) to reform the age of consent for male homosexual acts and (b) to combat discrimination on grounds of race, disability and sexual orientation on the island. 
Mr. Hoon: Gibraltars new Constitution, which came into effect on 2 January 2007, represents several years of dialogue between the Government and the Government of Gibraltar on these and a wide range of other issues. Section 14.3 of the new Constitution covers all forms of discrimination.
The Equal Opportunities Ordinance 2006 was passed by the Gibraltar House of Assembly on 8 December 2006. The Ordinance repeals and re-enacts the Equal Opportunities Ordinance 2004 to transpose into the law of Gibraltar Council Directive 2002/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions, and to transpose into the law of Gibraltar the provisions on age and disability discrimination in Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.
This legislation strengthens existing provisions on race, disability and sexual orientation. Furthermore, the Citizens Advice Bureau was, on 11 May 2006, given responsibility for the promotion of equal treatment on the grounds of sex and race by Legal Notice 58 of 2006.
Dr. Howells: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes are of serious concern. Iran has continued its uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities in defiance of the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. As successive reports by the IAEA's Director-General have made clear, Iran's co-operation with the IAEA remains inadequate. Iran has not yet chosen to engage seriously with the generous proposals made by the E3+3 (France, Germany, UK + China, Russia, US) for a negotiated solution.
Iran's failure to address international concerns, and to take the steps that would enable negotiations to begin on a long-term solution, left the Security Council no choice but to adopt a further Resolution on 23 December 2006. This imposes targeted and proportionate measures against Iran's most sensitive nuclear and missile activities. The Director-General of the IAEA will report by 21 February on Iran's compliance. If Iran has not by then complied, the Security Council has agreed to impose further measures; the Council has also said that it will suspend the implementation of measures if and for as long as Iran suspends all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has made to the decision by the Malawi High Court to refuse permission for Malawis Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha to travel to the UK for medical treatment; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: Justice Mclean Kamwambe of the High Court of Malawi ruled on 9 January that it would not be in the interest of justice to let Vice-President Chilumpha travel to the UK. Chilumpha is currently on bail. Bail conditions are a matter for the Malawian courts. We are aware that there is the possibility of an appeal and continue to monitor the situation closely.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals for action to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the declared nuclear weapons states her Department is preparing for the Government to present to the Preparatory Committee meeting in May of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are strongly committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The UK is determined to make every effort to ensure that this review cycle results in a positive and substantive final document. We will work with allies and EU partners at the May 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee to lay the groundwork for this. We have already made a contribution by announcing, in the White Paper on the Future of the UK's Nuclear Deterrent, a further 20 per cent. cut in our warhead stockpile.
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