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Common Position 2005/411/CFSP (30/05/2005)
Common Position 94/779/CFSP (28/11/1994)
Common Position 2005/792/CFSP (14/11/2005), last extended by:
Common Position 2007/338/CFSP (14/05/2007)
Common Position 2002/145/CFSP (18/02/2002), last amended and extended by:
Common Position 2003/115/CFSP (18/02/2003)
Common Position 2004/161/CFSP (20/02/2004), last extended and amended by:
Common Position 2007/120/CFSP (19/02/2007).
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her Egyptian counterpart on steps to secure its border with Gaza; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke with her Egyptian counterpart ahead of the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting on 15 June. They discussed the current situation in Gaza including security. Our embassy in Cairo remains in close contact with the Egyptian Government on the situation in Gaza and on the border.
Dr. Howells: US citizens will be refused entry clearance if they fail to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) that their application meets the criteria of the immigration rules. In all cases, other than applications for Family Reunion of recognised refugees, the ECO must be satisfied that there will be no recourse to public funds. The criteria vary according to the visa endorsement category applied for.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Eritrean Government on the detention of Christians, including children, in that country by the Eritrean Security Forces. 
Mr. McCartney: The detention without charge by the Eritrean Government of members of minority religious groups, including Christians, is unacceptable and contravenes international human rights agreements to which Eritrea is a party.
We make our concerns about the human rights situation in Eritrea known to the Eritrean Government whenever appropriate, including by our ambassador in Asmara, and in contacts with the Eritrean ambassador and other senior Eritrean officials in London. We will continue to remind Eritrea of its human rights obligations, including through the EU political dialogue with Eritrea. The UK is in touch with the German Presidency of the EU and our other EU partners on human rights issues in Eritrea.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Eritrean Government on reported human rights violations against Christians in that country; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The UK remains deeply concerned about Eritreas human rights record. Actions against members of minority religious groups that contravene international human rights agreements to which Eritrea is a party are unacceptable.
We make our concerns about the human rights situation in Eritrea known to the Eritrean Government whenever appropriate, through contacts in Asmara and London. We will continue to remind Eritrea of its human rights obligations, including through the EU political dialogue with Eritrea. The UK is in touch with the German Presidency of the EU and our other EU partners on human rights issues in Eritrea.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the recent conviction of members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy in Ethiopia; what discussions she has had with her Ethiopian counterpart on these convictions; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: On 11 June, judges in the trial of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leadership ruled that those members who chose not to defend themselves were all guilty of one or more charges brought against them by the prosecution. Sentencing is scheduled around 8 July. Cases for those who have chosen to defend themselves began on 18 June.
We are unable to interfere in the judicial affairs of other countries. However, we continue to monitor the ongoing trial of the CUD leadership. We urge the government and all political parties in Ethiopia to commit themselves to resolving their differences through dialogue.
Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons a copy of the report by the German presidency of the EU released on 19 June 2007 on the mandate for discussion at the summit was not placed in the Library on that day. 
Mr. McCartney: The German presidency released a draft Inter-Governmental Conference mandate on the evening of 19 June. It is not normal practice to place in the Library of the House confidential documents that form part of on-going negotiations with European partners. This document formed part of discussions at the European Council, on which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a statement to the House on 25 June.
Mr. Hoon: Over the years, Famagusta and the Port of Famagusta have been the subject of a series of proposals for confidence building measures. A 2004 proposal from the Government of Cyprus linked preferential Turkish Cypriot trade with the EU through the port of Famagusta, with the return of the closed city of Varosha. Since then, other attempts have been made by a number of EU presidencies to broker a deal. None has been successful. The apparent Turkish Cypriot position is that Varosha will only be returned as part of a comprehensive settlement. Such issues highlight the necessity of a comprehensive and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Mr. McCartney: We regularly review the physical and personal security measures for our high commission in Suva and its staff. We remain in close contact on security issues with colleagues at other diplomatic missions based in Suva. We also regularly review the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice for Fiji with the high commission.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received (a) on the likelihood of Fiji holding elections by March 2009 and (b) the restoration of democracy in Fiji. 
Mr. McCartney: We receive regular reports on the situation in Fiji from our high commission in Suva and our posts elsewhere in the region. We also discuss Fiji with the EU, Australia, New Zealand and others.
On 18 April the Fiji interim government made a number of commitments to the EU under the terms of
the Cotonou agreement. These commitments set out the steps for the return to democracy, including the holding of free and fair elections. Thereafter a team of independent consultants, nominated by the Pacific Islands Forum, released the results of an election feasibility study. The study concluded that elections could be held by March 2009. On 19 June, the Fiji interim government accepted this timetable.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government take (a) to comply with Article 1 and (b) to prosecute breaches under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 
Mr. McCartney: The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention and complies with its provisions. Every appropriate opportunity is taken in our bilateral relations and through appropriate international bodies to promote respect for the convention and its articles.
The UK has enacted legislation (Geneva Conventions Act 1957, as amended) to enable prosecutions in respect of the grave breaches set out in article 147 in the UK. Alleged breaches of the convention relevant to the UK that are brought to our attention are investigated by the appropriate authorities. Prosecution decisions are made in accordance with criminal law principles by the appropriate prosecuting authority.
Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg), on 7 March 2007, Official Report, column 1985W. The situation remains the same.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Commonwealth countries have a policy seeking their prior approval before their citizens are gazetted for a UK honour; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Substantive honours, which appear in the London Gazette, are only given to British citizens and nationals of Commonwealth countries of which Her Majesty The Queen is Head of State. We consult all Governments of the Realms prior to the award of the honour. Similarly, we consult all governments before making honorary British awards to citizens of Commonwealth countries where Her Majesty The Queen is not Head of State.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 238W, on Ilois: resettlement, whether she plans to petition the House of Lords for leave to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal on 23 May; and if she will make it her policy to abide by that decision. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is considering the 23 May judgment of the Court of Appeal carefully and has in this regard asked officials for further advice. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reserves the right to petition the House of Lords to grant permission to appeal, as she is entitled to do within one month. If she opts to petition the House of Lords and is granted leave to appeal, she would be bound by the decision handed down by the House of Lords as the final court of appeal, but this could not fetter other measures by the Government to address the decision.
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) terms of reference and (b) expected timescale are for the British high commission's investigation in India into possible abuses of the work permit system; and what plans she has to make the investigation report available to hon. Members. 
Dr. Howells: There is no current investigation by our high commission in New Delhi into abuse of work permits. My hon. Friend may be referring to the independent investigation which commenced on 5 June to look into and report on the apparent security breach in respect of the online visa application facility operated by VFS Global on behalf of UKvisas.
The Independent Investigator's terms of reference require an investigation of the circumstances of the apparent, security breach and issues directly associated with it. The investigation will focus on the following key areas: the circumstances surrounding the apparent security breach of the online visa application facility; issues directly associated with this apparent security breach, including the scale of the problem and its likely significance for those who used the online facility during the relevant period; steps taken to address the security breach; and recommendations for further action that may be necessary to address the problem and the consequences thereof.
It is anticipated that the Independent Investigator will report to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary by mid-to-late July. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will thereafter publish the report and lay it before Parliament without amendment. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will also take appropriate steps to ensure that others who should see
the report and may have an interest in it will be provided with a copy of the report or have ready access to it.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her colleagues at the Ministry of Defence on how long she expects a British military presence to remain in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, (Dr. Howells) are in regular contact with our colleagues at the Ministry of Defence, and indeed with the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners, on the situation in Iraq. British forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Government and under a UN mandate. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House on 21 February 2007, they will remain in Iraq for as long as the Iraqi Government wishes us to be there and there is a job to be done. We remain committed to our strategy of building the capacity of the Iraqi security forces, so that lead responsibility for security can progressively be transferred to them.
Mr. McCartney: We recognise that Christians in Iraq, like all other communities, have been badly affected by the high levels of violence in the country. We are aware of recent threats received by Christians from extremists in certain areas of Baghdad, in particular in Dora. We have raised this issue with the Iraqi government who are taking measures to increase security in that area. We continue to monitor the situation closely.
Ultimately the situation for Christians and other Iraqis will only improve when the security situation improves. We continue to work closely with the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners on this.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restrictions are in place on Iraqi citizens wishing to travel to the British Embassy in Amman, Jordan, to obtain a visa for travel to the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government do not place any restrictions on Iraqi nationals wishing to travel to our embassy in Amman to apply for a UK visa. Iraqi nationals entering Jordan from Iraq or elsewhere are subject to Jordans customary entry procedures which are entirely a matter for the Jordanian authorities.
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