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24 May 2007 : Column 1486W—continued

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she received from other states party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the preparatory committee meeting for the next review conference of the Treaty on the UK's compliance with Article VI of the Treaty. [138049]

Dr. Howells: No formal representations were made to the UK by other states party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the NPT preparatory committee on compliance by the UK with Article VI of the Treaty. Of the many national and group statements made to the plenary session of the PrepCom, only Iran's directly questioned the UK's compliance with Article VI.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which officials and ministers comprise the United Kingdom delegation to the prepatory committee to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference 2010; if she will publish on her Departmental web site all speeches made by the United Kingdom to the Committee in Vienna and list their URLs; and what support was provided by her Department to non-governmental organisations to attend the committee between 30 April and 11 May. [138182]

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Dr. Howells: The UK delegation was led by John Duncan, the United Kingdom Ambassador for multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament in Geneva. He was accompanied by officials and experts from our mission in Geneva, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry and Southampton University. The statements made by the United Kingdom at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom will soon be published on the website of the UK Disarmament Mission in Geneva at:

They are also available on the UN website at:

The UK delegation met with UK non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the FCO on 3 April and had further formal and informal discussions throughout the course of the PrepCom. No NGOs sought or received financial support from the FCO to attend this meeting.


Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on recent disturbances in Karachi; and if she will make a statement. [138109]

Dr. Howells: Our high commission in Islamabad has reported that two large rallies took place in Karachi on 12 May. There were violent clashes between protestors resulting in an estimated 41 fatalities. There were renewed clashes in Karachi on 13 May. This led to further casualties, although numbers are unconfirmed. We condemn this violence and urge restraint on all parties. We will continue to watch the situation closely.

Russia: Estonia

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of Russia’s action in relation to Estonia since the relocation of the Russian war memorial statue; and what representation she has made to the Russian authorities on this subject. [138701]

Mr. Hoon: The Government recognise the right of the Estonian Government to relocate war memorials and war graves and see this as an internal matter for Estonia. My right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary was briefed on Estonian-Russian relations by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 14 May. Russian-Estonian relations were discussed at the EU-Russia Summit on 18 May.

The Government support the remarks made by the president of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, at the EU-Russia summit that the EU is based on principles of solidarity and difficulties for one member state constitute a difficulty for the entire EU. We are fully supportive of both the EU presidency statement of 2 May and the NATO statement of 3 May, which both expressed grave concern over the safety of the Estonian Embassy and its staff in Russia and urged Russia to address the dispute through dialogue.

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Spain: HMS Sussex

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the location of the wreck thought to be HMS Sussex was discussed with the Spanish Government at talks in Gibraltar on 26 March 2007; and if she will make a statement. [138720]

Mr. Hoon: The issue was touched on at the end of the meeting of the trilateral forum in Gibraltar on 26 March. As regards the Sussex's location, I refer the hon. Member to the answer he was given by my right hon. Friend the then Minister for Europe, Douglas Alexander, on 14 February 2006, Official Report, column 1902W.

Sri Lanka: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make it her policy to seek United Nations backing for any agreement between the Tamil Tiger Peace Co-ordinating body and the Sri Lankan Government; and if she will make a statement. [138611]

Dr. Howells: We support the need for a negotiated settlement of the conflict and the Norwegian Government's position as facilitator of the peace process. We believe that strong international support, possibly including that of the UN, for a peace settlement in Sri Lanka would be essential. This would need to be considered carefully by UN member states should these circumstances occur.

Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the recent treatment of students and staff at Jaffria university, Sri Lanka, by the Sri Lankan army; and what discussions she has had (a) with the Sri Lankan Government and (b) at a European level on the behaviour of the Sri Lankan army towards civilians. [138831]

Dr. Howells: We are aware of the reports of harassment on the campus of Jaffria university and of allegations of the involvement of paramilitaries and members of the Sri Lankan armed forces in these incidents. Continuing reports of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Sri Lanka are a matter of serious concern.

As I told the House on 2 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1551-1557 during the debate on Sri Lanka, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have made the UK position clear to the Government of Sri Lanka. There has to be an end to the culture of impunity. Those responsible for human rights violations should be brought to justice. We have welcomed the establishment of a President’s Commission and of an Eminent Persons’ Group to observe the work of the Commission. We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Sri Lankan Government. At the same time, we shall continue to highlight the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s shameful human rights record.

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We play an active role in helping to shape EU policy on Sri Lanka. Concerns over human rights figure prominently in EU policy discussions on Sri Lanka.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to improve British-Swiss relations. [139057]

Mr. Hoon: The UK and Switzerland enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship with regular dialogue involving British and Swiss Ministers, ambassadors, parliamentarians and officials. High-level British visits to Switzerland are frequent, an example being the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January, which was attended by my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and several other Government Ministers. We also share many strategic priorities with the Swiss, such as action on climate change, and foreign policy concerns, such as a successful settlement for Kosovo. We enjoy excellent trade relations with Switzerland. In 2006, Switzerland was the UK’s second largest non-EU market after the US, with goods exports totalling almost £4 billion. Switzerland is the sixth largest investor in the UK, with Swiss companies estimated to provide over 100,000 UK jobs.


Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will hold discussions with her Sri Lanka counterpart on (a) securing legal protection for the Tamil language and Tamil Eelam region in the North East of Sri Lanka and (b) the representation of the Tamil people in the Sri Lankan Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [138628]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 May 2007]: In our regular discussions with the Sri Lankan Government, we make clear our strong belief that peace must be pursued through political means. We emphasise the need for them to set out a credible framework for a negotiated settlement, which could satisfy the legitimate demands of all communities and promote the full observance of human rights in Sri Lanka.

United Nations Compensation Commission

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1354, on the United Nations Compensation Commission, what criteria were taken into account in making the compensation awards of $52 billion; and what proportion of claimants were (a) individuals and (b) companies. [138320]

Dr. Howells: The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) established six categories of compensation claims. Priority was given to claims from individuals forced to leave Iraq or Kuwait (Category A); to claims from individuals who suffered loss or personal injury or who lost a spouse, child or parent (Category B) and to claims from individuals who suffered personal losses of up to US$100,000 (Category C).

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Category D covered claims from individuals suffering losses over US$100,000; Category E covered claims from corporations; and Category F covered claims from Governments and International Organisations.

Claims in all these categories were assessed and resolved by panels of Commissioners who were independent experts. The UNCC’s claims processing procedures were prescribed by the Security Council.

1,539,265 eligible claims from individuals and 4,390 eligible claims from corporations, international organisations, and Governments have been paid according to the latest information available on the UNCC website:


Breast Cancer: Screening

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department gives on the length of appointment that should be given to women at breast cancer screening clinics. [138577]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 21 May 2007]: The national health service breast screening programme National Quality Assurance Co-ordinating Group for Radiography has produced guidelines for the NHS breast screening programme, entitled “Quality Assurance Guidelines For Mammography Including Radiographic Quality Control”.

These guidelines deal with mammographic aspects of breast screening quality assurance and the quality control of radiographic procedures and state that the minimum screening examination for women attending the NHS breast screening programme is two views at all screens and experience shows that six minute appointments are acceptable for most routine screening of women for up to age 70 years.

Some women do require longer appointment times, such as those with mobility problems or breast implants. The local screening units arrange longer appointments for these women.

Cancer: Drugs

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will initiate hospital trials on the use of dichloroacetate to destroy onc cells in cancer patients. [137453]

Ms Rosie Winterton: No. The Department funds national health service research and development through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The institute’s research programmes support high quality research of relevance and in areas of high priority to patients and the NHS. Details, including the scope of the programmes and the arrangements for making applications for support from them, are available on the NIHR website at Funding awards are in all cases made after open, competitive, peer review.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the efficacy of dichloroacetate in destroying cancer cells; and if she will make a statement. [137454]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase (Dr. Wright) on 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 324W.

Care Homes: Finance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2007, Official Report, column 1363W, on care homes: finance, how many residential places there are in each region as a proportion of (a) adults and (b) pensioners; what assessment she has made of the reasons for the variations in provision of care home places in different regions; and if she will make a statement. [134099]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Neither the Department nor the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) collects data on population numbers. The Office for National Statistics has supplied data on numbers of adults (aged 18-64) and older people (aged 65 and over) in the nine CSCI regions.

This information, together with data on numbers of residential care places supplied by CSCI, is shown in the table.

The Department has not made any formal assessment of the reason for regional variations in the number of residential care places. This will be influenced by a number of factors, such as variations in demographics, local need and demand, the commissioning strategies employed by councils and levels of deprivation and health in different populations within each area.

CSCI region Places( 1) Number of adults (18-64)( 2) Number of places as a percentage of adults( 3) Number of older people (65 and over)( 2) Number of places as a percentage of older people( 3)

East Midlands


















North East






North West






South East






South West






West Midlands






Yorkshire and Humberside






(1) Numbers include residential homes for older people and for younger adults (aged 18-64).
(2) Figures rounded to the nearest 100. These data are Crown copyright.
(3) Percentages rounded to two decimal places.
1. CSCI registration and inspection database—snapshot on 13 March 2007.
2. Office for National Statistics mid-2005 population estimates.

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