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The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), excluding its agencies and NDPBs, has spent the following on legal fees in each of the last five years:
|Legal fees (£)|
Legal fees for the NIO have risen substantially in 2006-07, mainly due to expenditure by the Public Prosecution Service on the Omagh bomb trial, and also on the trial of James Fulton and his associates, which proved to be the longest murder trial in NI history. These two cases alone have accounted for an increase in legal expenditure of £2 million. Scale fees for counsel also increased in April 2006, the first increase in a number of years, and this also contributed to overall increase in 06/07.
Mr. Hain: Since 1999 the Government have published, on an annual basis, the total costs of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. This information is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2006-07 is currently being compiled and will be published before the summer recess. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers
Mr. Hain: From April 2006 to March 2007 the Northern Ireland Office carried out 19 consultation exercises. The following table lists the consultations undertaken and the costs involved. Where the costs are listed as 0 only the price of circulating the consultation document has been incurred. This information relates only to the NIO and does not include its agencies or NDPBs.
|Table 1: Number sentenced to immediate custody and the average custodial sentence length in months for rape and attempted rape 2003-05|
|Offence||Number sentenced to immediate custody||Average sentence length (months)||Number sentenced to immediate custody||Average sentence length (months)||Number sentenced to immediate custody||Average sentence length (months)|
|(1 )Excludes one person sentenced to life imprisonment for rape.|
The general political situation in Afghanistan is relatively stable. The influence of the central Government outside Kabul is gradually increasing, particularly in the north and west. Local governance structures are slowly being built up, although this is more challenging in some areas than others. One of the key aims of the international-led provincial reconstruction teams,
throughout the country, is to support the development of local government and to help the Government of Afghanistan extend their reach.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are serving jail sentences in prisons in the European Union, broken down by country. 
Mr. Hoon: On 31 March, British consular officials were aware of 851 British nationals detained in EU countries. The breakdown by country is shown in the following table. These figures include detainees on remand, as well as those serving sentences.
|Country||Number of detainees|
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the extent and nature of the recent harassment of guests to the United Kingdom embassy in Iran and (b) the extent to which the Iranian authorities assisted in minimising the harassment and controlling the demonstrators; and if she will make a statement. 
There was a large demonstration outside our embassy in Tehran before and during Her Majesty the Queens Birthday Party reception on 14 June. The demonstrators blocked access to the embassy for some hours and harassed and intimidated guests on their way into the reception. There were some instances of physical violence. Harassment continued as guests
left the party and we are aware of a number of instances of guests being questioned and detained on departure.
The Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office summoned the Iranian ambassador on 19 June to register our dismay that the authorities had failed to prevent this harassment from taking place. Our embassy in Tehran has done likewise with the Iranian authorities.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on providing aid to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has ongoing discussions with her ministerial colleagues on a range of issues on the Middle East including provision of aid. Officials are also in regular contact to discuss these issues.
The Department for International Development takes the lead on the provision of aid and has a significant programme of assistance to Palestinians in Lebanon. The UK is a regular and significant donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who are taking the leading role in the humanitarian response to the crisis at the Nahr El Bared refugee camp. The Government have committed £100 million of funding to UNRWAs work in the region over the next five years. Historically, around 20 per cent. of UNRWA spending is on Lebanon.
The UK is also supporting the Lebanon operation of the non-governmental organisation Mines Action Group (MAG) which is standing by to assist in clearing unexploded ordnance in the Palestinian refugee camp directly affected by the recent violence in the north of the country. We are providing £290,000 to MAG in Lebanon this financial year, with projected total funding to MAGs work in the country at over £980,000 over the next three years.
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