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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance his Department follows on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster gave to him on 22 October 2007, Official Report, column 45W.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what percentage of employees in (a) his Department and (b) each (i) executive agency and (ii) non-departmental public body funded by his Department are above state retirement age. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) employed 40 staff (0.65 per cent. of the total workforce) who were above the state retirement age on 1 October 2006. In addition FCO Directorates and overseas Missions recruit contract or agency staff for specific tasks or projects. Some of these staff are above the state retirement age; but we do not hold records for them centrally. To collate the figures would incur disproportionate cost.
Wilton Park, an executive agency of the FCO, employs no staff over the state retirement age. Appointments to non-departmental public bodies supported by the FCO are made independently of the FCO. We do not hold staff records for them.
The FCO is committed to promoting age equality in the workplace. We were amongst the first Department in Whitehall to abolish mandatory retirement ages for all staff below the Senior Management Structure/Senior Civil Service (for whom a retirement age of 65 had been set centrally) in 2006.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many citizens' juries were arranged for (a) his Department and (b) his Departments agencies in each year since 1997; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens' jury; and what the cost was of each. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will continue to support strongly the work done by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth to increase contacts and interaction between the EU and the Commonwealth, including on issues such as election observation, trade and good governance.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the most significant five differences are between the Constitutional Treaty under consideration in 2005 and the Reform Treaty agreed at Lisbon. 
The constitutional concept...is abandoned.
The Constitutional Treaty was legally unprecedented. It would have abolished the EU and refounded it under a single, constitutional order. The reform treaty by contrast, amends the existing treatiesjust like the Single European Act, Maastricht, Nice and Amsterdam.
The Government have secured extra safeguards on each of the four red lines set out ahead of the June European Council. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee on 11 and 18 October setting out how the Government's four red lines are met in the latest draft of the reform treaty.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information has been available to him to enable him to assess popular support for a referendum on the proposed European Treaty. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent action the Government has taken to inform the public about the European Union and the UKs membership of it. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a range of tools to inform the public about the EU and the UKs membership of it. The FCOs website at www.europe.gov.uk is a comprehensive source of information. A number of FCO officials and Ministers have recently launched blogs on the website, to explain their day-to-day dealings in European affairs. We also produce publications, such as our Guide to the EU, which is available free of charge, upon request.
The FCO is also involved in a number of activities to raise awareness and debate on EU issues. For example, the FCO is working with the UK Representation of the European Commission and the UK Office of the European
Parliament on the Learning Together project, launched in March 2007, to increase partnerships between UK schools and their counterparts in Europe.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments objectives are in the negotiations with Spain on the location and subsequent excavation of the sunken British warship Sussex off the coast of Gibraltar. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Ministry of Defence has concluded a partnering agreement with the US company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, for the archaeological excavation and recovery of artefacts from the wreck of the Sussex. The company believes it has located the wreck on the seabed in the Straits of Gibraltar. The next stage of the operation will be the definitive identification of the wreck site.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the gold onboard the sunken warship, the Sussex, is not claimed by the Spanish government. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The wreck in question has not yet been confirmed to be that of the Sussex and its cargo has also still to be identified. If the sunken vessel is identified as the Sussex, the Government of Spain has informed us that it will respect international laws of sovereign immunity and lay no claim to the wreck. We also understand that Spain has no intention of investigating the wreck site.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Ministers response to the hon. Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) following his Oral Statement on Iraq on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 33, what the evidential basis was for not accepting the figure quoted by the hon. Member on the number of Iraqi civilian deaths since the 2003 invasion; and what his estimate is of the number of such deaths. 
Dr. Howells: The Government do not collate figures for civilian casualties in Iraq. The Government of Iraq are best placed to monitor the numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties. We continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003.
Mr. Jim Murphy:
Christians in Iraq 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. We have raised this with the Iraqi Government who, with the
backing of coalition forces, is taking measures to increase security in those areas. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs where and when he raised the concerns of Sir Mike Jackson on US policy in Iraq with his US counterpart; and if he will publish the minutes of the meeting. 
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what initiatives are being pursued by (a) his Department and (b) the British embassy in Baghdad to encourage investment by British companies and British nationals in reconstruction and other economic activity in Iraq; 
(2) what categories of assistance are available from the British embassy in Baghdad to encourage and promote direct investment in Iraq by British companies and British nationals; what such investments have been made over the last 12 months; and what assistance was provided by the British embassy in each case; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) investment and (b) contractual work in Iraq involving British companies over the period since formal hostilities were declared to be over. 
Dr. Howells: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials in the UK, Iraq and Jordan, advise British companies on trade and investment opportunities in Iraq, as well as general economic, political and security developments. Details of Iraqi government tenders and other contracts are published on the UKTI website and FCO officials in Iraq lobby on behalf of British companies pursuing specific contracts, when required. UKTI officials in the UK support inward visit programmes, seminars and other events with a commercial focus: enabling British companies to engage directly with Iraqi Ministers and officials responsible for Government contracts.
UKTI officials in our embassy in Amman carry out a significant amount of Iraq-based work through contacts with leading Iraqi companies and business people based in Jordan. The UKTI team in Amman also maintains close contact with the World Bank and other international financial institutions working in Iraq that are based in Jordan, and has supported an annual British company presence at the Rebuild Iraq trade exhibition. UKTI officials based in both Amman and Baghdad have participated in two British trade missions to the Kurdistan region over the past year, with the support of FCO staff in the region.
Over recent years, UKTI and FCO officials have supported a large number of British companies interested in trade and investment opportunities in Iraq. However, records covering private investment by British companies in Iraq are not kept and it is,
therefore, not possible either to summarise the private investments made over the past 12 months, or estimate the proportion of direct investment or contractual work involving British companies since formal hostilities were declared to be over.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has received representations from governments abroad on the publication of material in the UK critical of Wahhabism. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Saudi Ambassador to London wrote to my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett) then Foreign Secretary on 17 January 2007 to express concern about the content of the Channel Fours Dispatches Programme: Undercover Mosques. However, we have not received any specific representation from foreign Governments about the publication of material in the UK that is critical of Wahhabism.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment has been made of the likely impact of Israels declaration that Gaza is a hostile entity on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including on the supply of water, power, fuel and food supplies; 
Israel has expressed its commitment to avoiding a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and we continue to call on them to maintain this and ensure that their actions are in accordance with international law. Innocent Palestinians should not suffer because of the actions of violent extremists.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the withdrawal of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement from the Unity Government on the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Deal; and if he will make a statement. 
Parties in both the north and south have re-affirmed their commitment to full implementation of
the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) since the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) withdrew from the Government of National Unity. However, the SPLM has not yet returned to government. We are urging both sides to enable the SPLM to resume their place and to complete implementation of the CPA as soon as possible.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to mediate with the different parties in Sudans Government of National Unity (GNU); what reports he has received on the effect of the recent reshuffle of Ministers on (a) the viability of the GNU and (b) the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including the points of issue in the ongoing dispute; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn [h o lding answer 24 October 2007]: We are working with both sides to enable the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement to resume fully their place in the national government and to resume serious implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as soon as possible.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether people entering the UK from the Ukraine for the purposes of the performing arts are required to pay the revised charge for a work visa. 
Dr. Howells: A new migration and visa fee structure was introduced on 1 April. People entering the UK from the Ukraine for the purposes of the performing arts were required to pay the revised charge of £200 for a work visa from this date. Those performing at permit-free festivals must pay a visa fee of £99. This new fee structure is intended to meet a number of objectives, to provide sufficient revenue to meet the costs of an effective management of the end-to-end migration system, to reflect more appropriately the value attributed to specific categories of entitlement by migrants and visitors, but also to set fees at levels which maintain the UKs ability to attract people in an increasingly competitive international environment.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at what level his Department is represented at the ongoing 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly; what proposals the UK will present before the committee dealing with nuclear disarmament; and if he will make a statement. 
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