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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussion he has had with the (a) United Nations, (b) EU and (c) African Union on the humanitarian and economic situation in Zimbabwe; and what steps he is taking to improve that situation. 
Mr. Thomas: The Secretary of State for International Development recently discussed the situation in Zimbabwe with the UN Secretary General in New York. He and the Foreign Secretary have also had high level discussions in recent weeks with the AU and EU, and key member states of both.
We continue to provide between £30 million and £40 million of humanitarian assistance a year to protect the Zimbabwean people from the worst effects of the current crisis, and are giving support to those in Zimbabwe working for democratic change. When the time is right, we stand ready to support a major international programme to assist Zimbabwes recovery.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We do not operate a policy of internment in Afghanistan. UK forces do occasionally briefly detain suspected criminals so that they can be passed to the Government of Afghanistan. Our records indicate that the number of detainees that have passed through British custody between June 2006 and August 2007 are as follows:
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Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the regulations governing the return of fatalities to the UK; whether they are transported on aircraft carrying soldiers; and whether coffins are transported in view of travelling personnel. 
Des Browne: Military aircraft involved in the repatriation of a fatality do not normally carry passengers unless it is judged operationally essential, for example when injured personnel require aeromedical evacuation. When injured personnel or other passengers are aboard, a screen is placed across the aircraft to separate them from the coffin carrying the deceased. Any additional personnel would also disembark separately, prior to the repatriation ceremony.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Service personnel are only used to provide cover during industrial disputes such as prison strikes as a last resort. There are accordingly no armed forces personnel on permanent stand-by to provide cover for striking prison officers. In the event of a strike, HM Prison Service will explore all available options, with armed forces personnel being used only if necessary.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with his European counterparts on a European Union military mission to Chad during the meeting of Defence Ministers in Evora, Portugal, 28 September; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: I discussed issues relating to force generation and funding for the planned EU-led military mission to Chad/Central African Republic, although no decisions were taken. I emphasised that the UK supports the mission as an important contribution to regional stability and a resolution to the Darfur crisis, but we have made it clear that the role of the UK armed forces in any mission will be very limited given the extent of our commitments elsewhere.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Departments (a) administrative expenditure, (b) other current expenditure, (c) grant expenditure, (d) operating appropriations in aid (A in A), (e) capital and (f) non-operating A in A outturn, broken down in (i) near cash and (ii) non-cash terms, was for financial years 2001-02 to 2006-07. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, on Iraq, where the 2,500 British personnel in Iraq will be based from spring 2008 providing the security conditions on the ground in Iraq to permit the reduction of British military forces. 
Des Browne: The mission objectives are to enhance border security and deter and intercept the smuggling of illegal weapons through the training and mentoring of Department of Border Enforcement personnel and by discrete supporting operations.
Des Browne: While there are still problems and challenges to be overcome, the general security situation in Basra province remains relatively stable and attacks against coalition forces have reduced sharply in recent months. Crime rates in Basra during September remain similar to the levels prior to the handover of Basra palace to Iraqi control. Where security incidents have occurred, the Iraqi security forces, under the leadership of General Mohan, have demonstrated their ability to deal with them swiftly and effectively.
The three other provinces in Multi-National Division South East are all under provincial Iraqi control. The overall security situation in all three is generally stable, and where isolated incidents of violence have occurred, the Iraqi security forces have again demonstrated that they are well able to deal with them effectively.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his American counterpart on the use by British forces of the American military base Camp Arifjan in Kuwait; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which private contractors provided force protection for British forces in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2001, broken down by company. 
Des Browne: The MOD has not employed private military or security companies to provide force protection for its military personnel deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. ArmorGroup was contracted to provide guards for the UK Defence Advisers' accommodation in Kabul for three months.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the reduction of British forces from 4,500 to 4,000 mentioned in the Prime Minister's statement on Iraq, 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, will result in the difference of 500 troops being (a) sent home to the United Kingdom or (b) to another base outside Iraq but still in the region; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 11 October 2007]: The Prime Minister made clear the position with respect to
future UK force levels in southern Iraq in his statement to the House on 8 October.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date the 500 British Armed Forces logistics personnel mentioned in the Prime Minister's statement on Iraq of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 21-38, will enter the area of operations. 
Des Browne [holding answer 11 October 2007]: The move of logistics and support personnel out of Iraq will straddle the roulement of UK forces. As a result some will transfer from Basra while others may deploy directly from the UK or Germany. It is not possible to provide a breakdown at this stage. It is planned that this process will be complete by the end of the year.
Des Browne [holding answer 11 October 2007]: Force Protection arrangements at Basra airfield are complex, multi layered and constantly evolving to respond to the changing security situation. Royal Air Force, British Army and coalition personnel contribute to this in many different roles. It is not practicable to give the cap badge of every military personnel involved at any particular time.
Des Browne: 500 troops are in the process of returning to home bases now. The process of moving 500 logistic and support staff from Iraq to elsewhere in the region will also begin shortly. This process will extend over the next roulement of forces. Some troops will reposition directly from Iraq and others will return to the UK and will be replaced by troops who will deploy from UK and Germany to new locations in the region. It is not possible to determine the precise breakdown at this stage.
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