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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the results of discussions with the Colombian Foreign Secretary were following her recent visit to the UK, with particular regard to the ongoing investigation into Colombian paramilitary organisations' links with (a) Colombian parliamentarians and (b) Senator Alvaro Araujo; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, met Colombian Foreign Minister Araujo on her recent visit to UK. Although the specific issues of investigations into Colombian paramilitary organisations' links with Colombian parliamentarians and Senator Alvaro Araujo were not raised, the two ministers discussed issues of bilateral importance such as the peace process, justice and peace law, counter-narcotics cooperation, President Uribe's plans for his second term and EU/Community of Andean Nations Association agreements. It was a positive first meeting in which both sides agreed to maintain and build on the close bilateral working relationship.
UK policy towards Colombia is one of constructive engagement. We support the efforts of President Uribe to tackle the interconnected problems of internal armed conflict, illegal drugs trade and human rights abuses. In this meeting, and in our regular dealings with the Colombian authorities, we impress on them the importance of respect for human rights and
international humanitarian law. We will continue to monitor the issue of the alleged links between paramilitaries and parliamentarians in Colombia closely.
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make it her policy to seek the establishment of a truth and reconciliation process in Cyprus by the EU or the Council of Europe. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government believe that a fair, viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem is most likely to be achieved through a UN-led settlement process fully supported by both communities. The Annan plan provided for an independent, impartial reconciliation committee to promote understanding, tolerance and mutual respect between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Although the elements of any future plan will need to be agreed by both communities, it is likely that any comprehensive settlement would include a reconciliation process.
We welcome the agreement of the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to the proposals put forward by the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, on 15 November 2006. These are designed to lead to a resumption of comprehensive settlement negotiations. With other members of the UN Security Council, we have urged both sides now to now show the flexibility and courage required to grasp the opportunity which this agreement presents. We will continue to offer all support as necessary in the coming months.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the Turkish Cypriot decision to open Ledra Street in central Nicosia; if she will call on the Greek Cypriot Administration to demolish the wall on their territory without precondition; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK welcomes all steps that help increase contact and trust between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Opening a new crossing point at Ledra Street would have just such a beneficial effect. We welcome the Turkish Cypriot initiative to dismantle the bridge, and hope that this move will soon be followed by other practical steps leading to the full opening of the crossing point and fresh momentum in the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Mr. McCartney: The Tripartite Mechanism between the African Union (AU), UN and Government of Sudan was established to take forward planning for UN support to the AU and a joint AU/UN force, as agreed at Addis Ababa on 16 November 2006.
Following considerable international pressure, including from the UK, President Bashir has now accepted UN support for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and has allowed the first UN military personnel into Darfur. We have been pressing the UN and AU to implement the Addis Ababa package.
Our ambassador in Addis Ababa spoke to AU Peace and Security Commissioner Djinnet on 17 January to press on these points. On 18 January my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She pressed for progress in all areas, including in deploying UN support to AMIS and planning for the joint AU-UN force. She urged the Secretary-General to engage AU chairperson Konare directly, ahead of the AU summit at the end of January.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to (a) the United Nations and (b) the Sudanese government on the implementation of a no-fly zone over the Darfur region. 
Mr. McCartney: We utterly condemn all aerial bombardment in Darfur by the government of Sudan. We continue to make clear to the government that this action violates UN Security Council Resolution 1591 and must stop immediately. The government of Sudan has committed to renewing its political dialogue with the rebels. If it becomes clear that Sudan is determined not to cooperate, we will consider, with Security Council partners and the UN Secretariat, all measures which may help improve the situation in Darfur. A no-fly zone would be one of the options available for the international community to consider.
Mr. McCartney: Negotiations are ongoing between the government and army of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Laurent Nkunda to try and resolve the political and security crisis in North Kivu province. Several points must be addressed before any deal can be considered final. Broad agreement has been reached that troops currently serving under Nkunda will come under the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) central command in the future. We are urging the Congolese Government to resolve this in a way that avoids causing further suffering to the population of north Kivu.
We continually press the Congolese authorities to accelerate the process of reforming the security sector and to ensure that FARDC troops and militias are prevented from continuing to abuse civilians in a climate of impunity.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment her Department has made of the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. McCartney: Following last years historic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the political landscape is still taking shape. Although a President, Prime Minister and Parliament are in place, negotiations are continuing on the size and make-up of the new Government.
Once all institutions are in place the government needs to focus on security, poverty reduction, good governance, security sector reform and human rights. President Kabila promised action on all these fronts in his inauguration speech on 6 December 2006.
The UK will be in the DRC for the long haul supporting the DRC in consolidating its new peace and rebuilding the country. We have underlined the need for political and legal space for opposition parties, and that the government must be responsible, transparent and respect human rights.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether her Department (a) has provided and (b) is planning to provide assistance to the EU Border Agency in its border security duties. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK strongly supports the EU Border Agency (Frontex). Through the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence, the Government have provided input to Frontex in relation to finance, to operational planning and training, as well as participating in a number of Frontex operations, including in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. The Government look to participate in Frontex operational activity where we see value in doing so.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she had on the EU Border Agency at the recent meeting of European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK is represented at Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Councils by Ministers from the Home Office and the Department of Constitutional Affairs. The JHA Informal Meeting on 15-16 January 2007 was attended by my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, right hon. Baroness Ashton of Upholland, and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Nationality, Citizenship and Immigration (Joan Ryan). The EU Border Agency was discussed briefly in the context of EU migration policy, but it was not a formal item on the agenda.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals from the presidency of the European Union she expects to be placed before the expected meetings of the (a) Heads of Government and (b) Foreign Affairs Councils of the European Union during each of the EU presidencies in 2007. 
Mr. Hoon: The German Government have published a programme for their presidency that details the areas that they intend to cover. An 18-month programme for the three successive German, Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies has also been published for the first time. Both of these documents are available at the following website:
A White Paper on Prospects for the EU in 2007 and an Explanatory Memorandum regarding the 18-month programme will be laid in the House shortly, and will give more details of the Governments approach.
The spring European Council in March is likely to focus on climate and energy security and the Better Regulation agenda. There will also be discussion regarding the single market and economic reform, as well as a range of other issues. In June, the presidency will present a report to the European Council assessing the state of discussions on the future of Europe, according to the conclusions of the June 2006 European Council. Portugal is expected to continue this work under its presidency. The Portuguese will also focus on other priorities at the December European Council in line with the 18-month programme. Further details will be made available in the White Paper on Prospects for the EU in 2007.
The German presidency will build on the work agreed under previous presidencies to ensure that the EUs policies and actions on external relations are focused, effective and coherent. The programme at the General Affairs and External Relations Councils will in part be dependent on external developments, but we anticipate that a broad range of foreign policy issues will be discussed, including Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. Portugal will continue this approach under its presidency. Further details will be made available in the White Paper on Prospects for the EU in 2007.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the provisional dates for 2007 are of the Heads of Government Council Meetings of the European Union. 
Mr. Hoon: Under the German presidency, the spring European Council will take place in Brussels on 8 and 9 March, with the June European Council due to take place on 21 and 22 June. An Informal Meeting of Heads of State and Government will also take place in Berlin on 25 March, to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome. The Portuguese presidency is set to host an Informal Meeting of Heads and Government on 18 and 19 October, with the December European Council due to take place on 13 and 14 December.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many European Direct centres have been opened; where each is located; and how much in public funds has been committed to each one. 
Mr. Hoon: 25 Europe Direct centres have opened across the UK hosted in a range of organisations including Libraries, Chambers of Commerce and Local Government Offices. The European Commission part fund the centres up to 50 per cent. with the remainder coming from the contractual partner itself, which is in all cases necessarily a public-sector or not-for-profit entity. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not committed any funds to the Europe Direct Centres, but has helped to raise the profile of their launches and provided input to training events.
The location of the centres and the amount funded by the Commission in Financial Year 2006-07 for each one are as follows: Plymouth (€24,000), Eastleigh (€24,000), London (€23,996.62), Coventry (€24,000), Llangollen (€24,000), Cardiff (€24,000), Durham (€12,000), Luton (€24,000), Newton (€23,981.50), Camarthen (€24,000), Paignton (€24,000), Leeds (€23,999.73), Gloucester (€24,000), Belfast - two Centres (€23,330 and €24,000), Wrexham (€23,417), Ashford - three Centres (€24,000 each), Derry (€17,000), Highlands and Islands (€21,397), Edinburgh - two Centres (€24,000 each), North and Western Lancashire (€24,000) and Ballygawley in Co Tyrone (€12,000).
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which executive agencies are the responsibility of her Department; what the function is of each agency; and what the budget was of each agency in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Which contributes to the Government's strategic priorities by delivering conferences on key international themes, bringing together decision-makers and opinion-formers from around the world to address the most pressing global issues. Wilton Park's financial target is to cover its running costs through raising conference and commercial income. The target turnover in 2006-07 is £4 million.
Became an Executive Agency of the FCO on 1 April 2006 and has yet to submit its first set of financial statements. It was set up in 1999 to provide the FCO with co-ordinated support services on a global basis in support of the FCOs worldwide objectives. As part of the modernisation of Government, FCO Services now offers its services to a wider customer base including other Government Departments. FCO Services forecasts a turnover of around £120 million per annum with the FCO being its main customer and with wider market customers accounting for an ever increasing share of revenues.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs where her Department publishes information about Government auctions which it arranges or to which it contributes in (a) Blackpool, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West; and when the next such auction will take place in each area. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Ministry of Defence on the use of the Royal Navy in tackling people smuggling and illegal immigration in (a) the Canary Islands and (b) the Mediterranean. 
Mr. Hoon: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have met with officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to discuss the influx of migrants in the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. Discussion focused on the functioning of Frontex (the EU Border Agency) and its role in co-ordinating EU operations around the Canaries and Malta.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures she is taking to promote the employment within (a) her Department and (b) public sector bodies for whom she has responsibility of people with mental illnesses in line with the advice and codes of practice produced by the Disability Rights Commission. 
Mr. Hoon: Under the Disability Equality Duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the related public sector bodies are required to publish and implement Disability Equality Schemes. These set out how the FCO carry out the Disability Equality Duty, monitor, and report on progress. This includes the arrangements for gathering information on the effect of policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of disabled employees, including those with mental health issues, and making use of that information.
As part of the disability equality scheme the FCO operates a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants. Candidates with mental health issues who are classified as disabled as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 and who meet the minimum criteria in the job specification at the shortlisting stage, are guaranteed an invitation to the next stage of assessment. To ensure fairness throughout the selection process the FCO works closely with an independent disability adviser to guarantee that reasonable adjustments are made.
The FCO is an accredited user of the Government's two ticks disability symbol, which denotes organisations which have a positive attitude towards disabled people. This is included on all recruitment advertising to encourage applications from disabled candidates, including those with mental health issues. To promote careers with the FCO, it has undertaken advertising with publications which directly target disabled individuals including Able, Target and Hobsons.
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