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Central Reference System 14 November 2007
UKvisas makes every effort to ensure that statistics produced from our Central Reference System (CRS) are accurate. However, the complexity of our global business, including technical failures or occasional inconsistencies in data entry across any of over 150 offices, means we cannot 100 per cent. guarantee accuracy. Please note that these figures have not been published and should only be used internally, for information purposes.
There are issues with data reliability prior to 2004. System modifications on both Proviso and CRS have affected the reliability of the data available to users worldwide between 2001and 2003.
Mr. Jim Murphy: Tension on the border is rising with more forces being deployed by both sides. We are monitoring the situation closely and urging maximum restraint by both sides and a de-escalation of their military build-up.
Eritrea continues to impose restrictions on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1767, adopted unanimously on 31 July 2007. The Government continue to call on Eritrea to withdraw its troops from the temporary security zone.
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government fully support the continuing operations of the UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The UK welcomed the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1767 on 31 July 2007. Resolution 1767 set the size of UNMEE at 1,700 military personnel and set out a provision for altering the size of UNMEE if progress is made towards demarcation.
The Government reiterate the importance for both Ethiopia and Eritrea to provide UNMEE with the necessary access, assistance, support and protection required for the implementation of its mandate as stated in Resolution 1767.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role the UK (a) has had and (b) has in determining the details of production sharing agreements under Iraqi oil law. 
Dr. Howells: We have made no recommendations to the Government of Iraq on the types of contract to include in their draft hydrocarbons legislation, currently being discussed in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. We continue to urge Iraqi ministers and officials to consider the benefits of a broad range of contract types.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation of the Palestinians in (a) Gaza, (b) the West Bank and (c) refugee camps in neighbouring countries. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 November 2007]: We are extremely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza. As of 19 November, only two crossings into Gaza were operating: Kerem Shalom: for humanitarian aid and commercial supplies; and Erez: for personnel movement (workers and traders) to and from Israel and the West Bank.
We are doing all we can to help improve the situation. On 14 November, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced to the House a commitment of up to US$500 million to Palestinian development, conditional on progress towards peace; creating the necessary conditions for economic development; and easing security restrictions on movement and access. During this financial year (2007-08), the UK has provided £31 million bilaterally to the Palestinians: £15 million through United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA); £1 million to the Red Cross' work in the West Bank and Gaza; and £15 million through the Temporary International Mechanism. The UK has also pledged £100 million over five years to UNRWA to help Palestinian refugees.
The ability of Palestinians to move within the West Bank has deteriorated. In October 2007, the UN Office for the Co-ordination for Humanitarian Affairs reported a total of 561 closures in the West Bank. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the humanitarian situation in Gaza and movement and access in the West Bank during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 17 and 18 November. I also refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement on the Middle East issued by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 127-8WS).
Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon continue to live in unacceptably poor conditions. There is a particularly pressing problem in the North of Lebanon where
fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah Al Islam has destroyed the Nahr El Bared refugee camp. Our ambassador in Beirut has raised this issue with the Government of Lebanon at the highest level. We have pressed them on the need to improve living conditions including by granting them access to government services and the right to work and own property. We are currently looking at measures that the UK can take to support this work. In particular we are exploring ways to support the reconstruction of Nahr Bared, in the first instance through support to a World Bank Assessment mission.
Conditions for Palestinian refugees in Syria are considerably better than for those in Lebanon. However, most refugees continue to have a low standard of living. Many of the water and sewerage systems in refugee camps are in need of upgrading, while some camps still lack networks altogether. Poor sanitation in the camps poses health risks for the refugees. In most of the refugee camps shelters remain very basic and many require structural rehabilitation. Palestinian refugees in Syria have access to government services and whil the Syrian government has taken on the responsibility for providing basic utilities in the camps, UNRWA continues to provide basic environmental health services.
Under long-standing arrangements with the Government of Jordan, UNRWA provides services to Jordan's registered Palestinian refugees. 1.8 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan are eligible for UNRWA services. Facilities provided for refugees are concentrated in the 10 official UNRWA camps (there are three other camps which do not come under UNRWA). These services include clinics, schools, vocational training and microfinancing projects; these complement services provided by the Jordanian government. The most disadvantaged refugees are eligible for UNRWA's special hardship programme. We continue to engage with UNRWA on prioritising its work with Palestinian refugees.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that all necessary counter-terrorism support and assistance is given to the Government of the Philippines in tackling terrorism. 
Dr. Howells: We will continue to work closely with the Government of the Philippines as we do with a number of other countries which face a threat from international terrorism. I discussed with my counterparts in the Government of the Philippines co-operation in countering terrorism during my visit to Manila in April.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the UN arms embargo on Somalia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The Government fully support the UN arms embargo. The UK-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1766, adopted unanimously on 23 July 2007, extended the mandate of the Arms
Embargo Monitoring Group for a further six months. The Monitoring Group reports to the Security Council on violations of the arms embargo.
Somalia unfortunately has a proliferation of illegal arms, many imported in violation of the embargo. The lack of a functioning government means that arms markets are unregulated. The situation is further exacerbated by the presence of clan militias and insurgents operating in the country. The Government institutions in Somalia do not currently have the capacity to hinder the illegal arms trade. The UK is working with the UN, and wider international community, to encourage the development of Government institutions in Somalia that will enable the authorities to develop its capacity in this area.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is Government policy to support the initiative announced by the President of France on 25 September to send warships to protect humanitarian supplies arriving by sea to Somalia. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likelihood of the full deployment of the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia taking place; and what steps the Government are taking with its international partners to strengthen its capabilities. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The African Union (AU) mission in Somalia has a mandate for 8,000 troops. Currently, the mission has approximately 1,600 Ugandan troops. Burundi, Ghana and Nigeria have pledged to contribute troops but have not yet deployed. If all troops that have currently been pledged are deployed to Somalia, the mission will not reach full strength.
The Government have contributed funds to the AU planning cell for staff and equipment, funded equipment for the Ugandan deployment and paid for a Burundian reconnaissance visit. We successfully secured a €15million contribution from the EU for the mission and are encouraging the EU and other member states to make further contributions.
UN Security Council Resolution 1772 requests that planning for a UN mission take place and that the international community work to identify actions to create the conditions that would enable deployment to take place.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution each member of the Quartet on the Middle East has made to the office costs of hon. Tony Blair in his capacity as the Quartet's envoy in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 November 2007]: The UK has provided £400,000 to a UN development programme trust fund which provides support to Mr. Blair's office in Jerusalem. The UK has also seconded four staff to his team. Other international donors are also supporting his work. Mr. Blair has been appointed by, and reports to, the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia). We do not have figures available for each member of the Quartet's contribution to the work of the right hon. Tony Blair as Quartet representative.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to ensure that UK courts have powers to vary or remove restrictions on a person within the UK imposed as a result of that person being placed on a UN Security Council blacklist. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council acting under chapter VII of the UN charter are binding on all UN member states. It is not open to member states, unilaterally, to vary or remove restrictions imposed on individuals by such mandatory Security Council measures.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Uganda on (a) Dr. Kizza Besigyes treason trial, (b) the detention without trial of 14 alleged rebel Peoples Redemption Army members and (c) the death in detention of opposition members Denis Nabilema, Moses Dramani and David Oboma; and if he will make a statement. 
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