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The FCO also participates in the Cabinet Office summer placement scheme, which offers disabled undergraduate students a six-week placement within selected FCO departments and we will be hosting five candidates in July 2007.

The public sector bodies sponsored by the department that are subject to these requirements are responsible for publishing and implementing their own disability equality schemes.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to invite (a) the President and (b) other Ministers from Moldova to visit the UK; and if she will make a statement. [117062]

Mr. Hoon: The UK enjoys a constructive relationship with Moldova and welcomes opportunities for further co-operation. Over the last year, we have welcomed many high profile visitors from Moldova to the UK, including Ministers and parliamentarians. The Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Dr. Marian Lupu, visited the UK in February for meetings with Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. Valeriu Ostalep, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration visited the UK in July 2006, and the Minister of Defence, Valeriu Plesca, visited the UK in September 2006, meeting with, among others, the Minister of State, my noble Friend Lord Drayson. I met the First Deputy Prime Minister, Mrs Zinaida Grecianii, on her visit to the UK in November. We continue to look for upcoming opportunities for inward visits from Moldova.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which non-departmental public bodies are sponsored by her Department; what the function is of each body; and what the annual budget of each body was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [116773]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for the following non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs):

Details of the remit, Government funding and gross expenditure of public bodies sponsored by the FCO can be found in the Cabinet Office publication ‘Public Bodies 2006’, copies of which are available in the Library of the House and which can also be found on the following website:

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The function and budget of each body for the financial year 2006-07 is as follows:

Executive NDPBs

British Association for Central and Eastern Europe

British Council

Great Britain-China Centre

Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Westminster Foundation for Democracy

Other Bodies funded from within the FCO’s resources:

Advisory NDPBs

Diplomatic Service Appeal Board

The Government Hospitality Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine

Wilton Park Academic Council

Tribunal NDPBs

Foreign Compensation Commission

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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the removal from office of the Speaker of the Somali Parliament on the prospect for a stable, self-governing and democratic Somalia. [110747]

Mr. McCartney: The position of Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament is a matter for the parliament’s MPs. The Speaker was impeached by a parliamentary vote. 183 MPs voted in favour of removing the Speaker, eight voted against and one abstained. The President of the transitional federal government (TFG) must sign into effect the impeachment. Those voting in favour of the impeachment included members of the Speaker’s own clan.

A stable, self-governing and democratic Somalia can only be delivered in the long term by the success of the transitional federal institutions (TFI), including the TFG. The TFG was formed in 2004 out of the Nairobi peace process which brought together leaders from across Somali society to agree the transitional federal charter. This included agreement to a constitutional process eventually leading to elections. All major clans are represented in the TFG, which is recognised by the international community.

We are pressing the TFG to be inclusive and reach out to all Somalis in seeking a lasting and peaceful solution for Somalia; and urge the TFI to work together for the same objective.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to (a) the African Union, (b) Ethiopia, (c) Tanzania and (d) Kenya on the deployment of international peacekeepers to Somalia. [110710]

Mr. McCartney: We are working closely with our international partners on this issue. John Sawers, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Director-General Political, represented the UK at the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia in Nairobi on 5 January. Other members of the ICG include the African Union (AU), Tanzania and Kenya, in its role as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. In its communiqué, the ICG expressed an urgent need for funding to facilitate the deployment of a stabilisation force in Somalia, as envisaged in UN Security Council Resolution 1725. It welcomed Uganda's offer to be part of this force.

Since the ICG meeting we have had a range of discussions with our international partners on the deployment of an international force to Somalia. These include discussions between: my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Kikwete of Tanzania; my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia; our high commissioner in Nairobi and Foreign Minister Tuju of Kenya; and our ambassador in Addis Ababa and Said Djinnit of the AU’s Commission for Peace and Security.

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Sri Lanka

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) recent developments in the conflict in Sri Lanka and (b) the impact of the conflict on civilians. [117375]

Dr. Howells: The UK is deeply concerned about the increasing violence in Sri Lanka and its impact on the civilian population. At least 80 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the year. Over 200,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began in April 2006.

Both the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam must cease military action and implement the agreements they had reached to reduce the violence. Recent incidents demonstrate that neither side is protecting the civilian population. We urge them to return to the negotiating table in order to prevent a further deterioration of the security situation and the needless loss of more lives.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects of the Lord’s Resistance Army taking part in forthcoming peace talks in Uganda; and what steps she is taking to help bring about a peaceful resolution to hostilities in Uganda. [110709]

Mr. McCartney: The mediation process in Juba, southern Sudan, between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Government is clearly very fragile. The announcement by the LRA on 12 January that they will not return to Juba is disappointing. The Ugandan Government and the talks mediator, Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar, have confirmed that they wish to resume discussions in Juba and the LRA need to do so as well.

We have provided financial support to the talks process and continue to urge all parties to demonstrate a strong commitment to finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict, which will allow the communities of northern Uganda to start rebuilding their lives.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to (a) China, (b) France, (c) the Russian Federation, (d) the United States, (e) Belgium, (f) the Republic of the Congo, (g) Ghana, (h) Indonesia, (i) Italy, (j) Panama, (k) Peru, (l) Qatar, (m) Slovakia and (n) South Africa on (i) Operation Muguta, (ii) economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and (iii) other actions against Zimbabwe. [110714]

Mr. McCartney: United Nations Security Council partners are aware of our position on Zimbabwe. We stay in close contact with those countries which particularly share our interest in encouraging the Government of Zimbabwe to reverse its course and
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restore democracy, the rule of law, and full human rights, such as South Africa, the United States and EU partners.

We are concerned that Operation Muguta is further disrupting Zimbabwe's already fragile food security. Despite good rainfall last year, Zimbabwe has again failed to produce sufficient grain to meet the food needs of its people, as a result of poor agricultural policies and continuing mismanagement of the economy. The Department for International Development has just contributed an additional £3 million to the World Food programme for its operations in Zimbabwe.

On the subject of economic sanctions, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, on 2 November 2006, Official Report, column 668W.


Airline Passenger Duty

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what consultations were held with the travel industry before the announcement of the recent increase in air passenger duty; [116911]

(2) what representations he has received from the travel industry on the effect of the recent increase in air passenger duty on the industry; and if he will make a statement. [116912]

John Healey: The Treasury routinely meets with stakeholder groups as part of the policy development process. However the Treasury also balances openness with the need to maintain the confidentiality of tax proposals under consideration for the Chancellor’s Budget and pre-Budget reports.

The decision to increase rates was taken after careful consideration of all environmental, social and economic factors, including the impact on the travel industry of an increase.

The Chancellor received a number of representations from the travel industry following his 6 December pre-Budget report announcement and Ministers and officials have met with industry representatives to discuss these.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue air passenger duty was raised in each of the last 10 years. [117127]

John Healey: Information on revenue raised by air passenger duty can be found in Table 1 and Table 2 of the HM Revenue and Customs ‘Air Passenger Duty Bulletin’ on the HM Revenue and Customs website:

Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many grandparents with primary responsibility for bringing up their grandchildren are in receipt of (a) child benefit and (b) child tax credits; and if he will make a statement. [110667]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available.

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Children and Young People Discussion Paper

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many full-time equivalent staff in his Department worked to produce the Policy Review on Children and Young People Discussion Paper he published on 9 January; [110775]

(2) what the cost to the public purse was of producing the Policy Review on Children and Young People Discussion Paper published on 9 January. [110776]

Ed Balls: There are eight full-time equivalent Treasury staff directly supporting the Review of Children and Young People. They undertake a wide variety of roles, in addition to the production of the discussion paper on 9 January, to ensure the Review is underpinned by robust analysis to inform the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. The printing cost of the discussion paper was £7,000.

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