|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
25 Jan 2007 : Column 1946Wcontinued
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are deployed on UN peacekeeping missions; and where they are deployed. 
Mr. Ingram: At 8 January 2007, some 290 service personnel were deployed on UN operations abroad.
The vast majority of those deployed were deployed in Cyprus. Other locations include Georgia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost was to his Department of the 2006 Veterans day event. 
Derek Twigg: The cost of Veterans day 2006 to the Departments Veterans budget was £406,000. This does not include the costs associated with the deployment of bands, display teams, catering units and other service assets which played a part in the national and local events; these costs cannot be separately identified but the involvement was not large-scale.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to her EU counterparts about the decision of the EU to classify the Abu Sayyaf group as a terrorist organisation. 
Dr. Howells: Abu Sayyaf was listed as an entity belonging to or associated with al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden or the Taliban by the Committee of the UN Security Council charged with the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on 6 October 2001. UN member states are obliged to implement a world-wide asset freeze against all groups designated as terrorist organisations by the UN Security Council. Once a terrorist entity is added to the 1267 list we do not make specific representations to EU partners regarding their listing in the EU, as these groups are automatically added to the EUs list of terrorist organisations. This process was followed in the case of Abu Sayyaf.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2007, Official Report, column 586W, on Afghanistan, what payments have been made personally to Engineer Daud, former Governor of Helmand Province, by the UK Government; and for what purpose. 
Dr. Howells: The UK has made one payment to former Governor of Helmand Province, Engineer Daud, of US$10,000. These funds were used as part of a quick impact project (QIP) helping to support local government capacity building through a shura (local council) initiative in Musa Qala.
QIPs are delivering sustainable short-term development results in Helmand, helping provide a platform for longer-term development activities throughout the province. The UK has allocated US$9 million this financial year to fund QIPs in the province. Working closely with Afghan authorities, the UK has implemented over 100 projects in Helmand. These include provision of emergency humanitarian assistance to drought victims, reconstruction work on flood defences and major irrigation systems, and the construction of new classrooms for Lashkar Gah's boys and girls schools.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects elections to be held in Bangladesh. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) on 22 January 2007, Official Report, columns 1448-49W, in which I stated that the Government continue to urge a constructive dialogue to find an early and democratic political solution acceptable to the people of Bangladesh.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on recent tension in the Bolivian state of Cochabamba. 
Mr. Hoon: We receive regular reports from our Embassy in La Paz on the recent tension in Cochabamba and we continue to monitor events closely with our EU partners. We have also updated our travel advice regularly to reflect the situation. On 16 January 2007, the EU presidency issued a statement noting the EUs concern over the recent violence and loss of life, and calling for all parties to resolve their differences in a spirit of tolerance and dialogue.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make representations to her Chinese counterpart on the recent Chinese missile tests. 
Mr. McCartney: On 18 January officials from our embassy in Beijing made representations to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the missile test, expressing concern about the lack of international consultation before the test was conducted and the possible impact of debris from the test on other objects in space.
The UK also expressed concern that the development of this technology and the manner in which this test was conducted is inconsistent with the spirit of Chinas statements to the UN and other bodies on the military use of space. As part of our regular dialogue on international issues, we will continue to work to encourage China to play a constructive role in the international community.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of progress in the clearance of cluster munitions from affected areas in Lebanon; what recent representations she has made to the Government of Israel to assist in the clearance of these munitions; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: According to the UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre south Lebanon (UNMACC), a total of 95,304 cluster bombs have been cleared by UNMACC teams, UN Interim Force in Lebanon teams, and the Lebanese armed forces.
We continue to be concerned about levels of unexploded ordnance and cluster munitions in south Lebanon. We have called on Israel to make a public statement about their use of cluster munitions and have discussed the issue with the Government of Israel, the Government of Lebanon and human rights organisations. The Israeli defence forces have launched an inquiry into the use of cluster munitions during the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah between 12 July and 14 August last year, including on the chain of command between in ordering their use. This inquiry is ongoing and its findings will be made public once the investigation has concluded.
In response to the dangers posed by unexploded cluster bombs in Lebanon, the Department of International Development has this year committed a total of £2.8 million to the Mines Advisory Group and the UN Mine Action Service for clearing unexploded ordnance. I announced £l million of this during my visit to Lebanon in December 2006.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made towards securing an international agreement on the explosive remnants of war with a particular focus on cluster munitions; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: A Group of Government Experts (GGE) is working within the framework of the convention on certain conventional weapons (CCW) on the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions. This work is an essential preliminary step before any future negotiations that might lead to a new legally binding protocol. The UK played a leading role in pushing for this GGE and will work to ensure it is focused on producing practical results. The UK also played a leading role in securing Protocol V of the CCW on Explosive Remnants of War, which came into force in November 2006. The UK is in the process of ratifying this protocol.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many letters to her Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old. 
Margaret Beckett: There are no letters sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by hon. Members during the session 2005-06 that remain unanswered.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many letters were received by her Department from hon. Members in each of the last 12 months; how many such letters were responded to within (a) 10 and (b) 20 days of receipt; how many were answered after 20 days from the date of receipt; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to hon. Members Peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 75-78WS. Information relating to 2006 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of expenditure by her Department in each of the Government Office regions in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hoon: Chapter 7 of the annual Treasury publication Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) details expenditure on services in the regions and countries of the United Kingdom.
Identifiable spending in each region of England by Government Department for 2004-05 (latest available data) is contained within table 7.19 of the 2006 edition of PESA.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much programme expenditure sponsored by her Department was spent via each of the Government Offices for the regions in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not sponsor any programme expenditure spent by any of the Government Offices for the regions.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her Departments expenditure on foreign travel, including accommodation, was in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2005-06. 
Mr. Hoon: With regard to ministerial travel, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1808W.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office spent approximately £28.9 million on foreign travel by officials in 1996-97. The figure for 2005-06 was approximately £63.2 million. These amounts include expenditure on transfer and leave journeys of UK-based staff posted to British missions overseas and their dependants as well as for duty visits overseas by officials.
Because we do not retain detailed records of expenditure from as long ago as 1996-97, and because of differences between the accounting systems in use then and now, it is not possible to give a complete explanation for the increase in expenditure. Reasons include:
global inflation over a period of nine years and its impact on the cost of travel;
the redesign of our overseas network so that more staff are posted in the Far East and Asia at the expense of posts in Europe, with higher travel costs; and
the large increase in numbers of staff travelling to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The figure for 2005-06 also includes £12.9 million for Consular crisis expenditure for which there was no equivalent in 1996-97.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates Ministers in her Department made official visits to the London boroughs of (a) Tower Hamlets, (b) Newham and (c) Waltham Forest in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Howells: I visited Tower Hamlets on 16 February 2006 as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Muslim outreach initiative. There are no other records of FCO Ministers making official visits to Tower Hamlets, Newham or Waltham Forest, although records have not been kept for the full period in question.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1509W, on EU fines, on how many occasions the UK was fined by the European Commission in each of the last five years; and how much this amounted to in each year. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK has never been fined by the European Commission as it does not have the power to impose fines on member states. The European Court of Justice is the only EU institution with the power to impose fines on member states for non-compliance, with European law.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will issue a White Paper on the future of the EU in advance of any negotiations arising from the German presidencys declared intention to revive discussions on the EU Constitutional Treaty. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government do not intend to issue such a White Paper in advance of discussions on the future of the Constitutional Treaty at the European Council in June. However, the Government will shortly publish a White Paper on the German presidency, which includes its approach to future of Europe discussions. I also published a written ministerial statement on 5 December 2006. The Governments approach to forthcoming discussions on the future of the EU is also set out in my written ministerial statement on 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 10-11WS.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has received on Indonesian military and police operations in the Puncak Jaya region of West Papua, Indonesia. 
Mr. McCartney: The operation was raised by the noble Baroness Rawlings in another place during a short debate on Papua on 8 January 2007, Official Report, columns 100-01. I have also subsequently received letters from TAPOL (the Indonesian Human Rights Campaign), and two hon. Members.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the recent displacement of West Papuan civilians caused by Indonesian military and police operations in the Puncak Jaya region of West Papua. 
Mr. McCartney: We have received reports of an ongoing police operation supported by members of the armed forces in the Puncak Jaya region of Papua, to investigate the killing of two army officers by suspected Free Papua Movement fighters in early December 2006. The area is extremely isolated, and it is hard to obtain verifiable information. Our embassy in Jakarta has sought clarification from the Indonesian authorities and continues to monitor the situation. However, it is realistic to assume that some civilians have fled the area and have become internally displaced following the start of the most recent operation.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has made to the Indonesian government on Indonesian military and police operations in the Puncak Jaya region of West Papua. 
Mr. McCartney: Our embassy in Jakarta has sought clarification from the Indonesian authorities on the ongoing police operation supported by members of the armed forces in Puncak Jaya. The British defence attaché in Jakarta was informed that the purpose of the operation was to investigate the killing of two army officers. The embassy has also contacted members of non-governmental organisations and religious groups in Papua to seek further information.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|