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27 Nov 2007 : Column 343W—continued

Departmental Foreign Workers

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals are employed by his Department. [168108]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs 12,788 staff overseas, of which 2,439 are UK-based and 10,349 are locally employed. UK-based staff are British citizens. We have no central records of the nationality of local staff.

Departmental Health Insurance

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies have private health insurance provided as part of their employment package. [167932]

Meg Munn: No UK-based member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or its agencies has private health insurance provided as part of their employment package. FCO staff, like other civil servants, have access to the national health service in the UK. While serving overseas FCO staff are covered by an employee health care scheme which offers access to NHS standards of care. Those serving in the United
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States gain access to this standard of care through an in-country insurance scheme contracted for that purpose.

FCO policy is that staff recruited locally by our missions overseas should be covered for medical care in accordance with local law and local good employer practice.

Departmental Orders and Regulations

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many regulations his Department has (a) made and (b) revoked in the last 12 months. [167079]

Meg Munn: In the period 1 November 2006 to 31 October 2007, there were 21 statutory instruments which were prepared by the Foreign and Commonwealth and made by the Queen in Privy Council. The information requested about which statutory instruments have been revoked in the last 12 months could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Publicity

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department and its agencies spent on staff working on (a) marketing and (b) branding in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [167306]

Meg Munn: It would incur disproportionate cost to collate the information requested by the hon. Member to answer his question.

Deportation

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which countries the UK is discussing repatriation arrangements with a view to signing new agreements for deportations; and if he will make a statement. [167423]

David Miliband: We have signed memorandums of understanding concerning the provision of assurances in respect of persons subject to deportation with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon. Arrangements allowing deportations with assurances are in place with Algeria.

Our discussions with other countries are less advanced, and it would not be helpful to identify the countries concerned. We will update the House if and when we reach agreement.

Dudley Ankerson

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 559W, on Dudley Ankerson, whether Mr. Dudley Ankerson's association with his Department has been confirmed in official documents published by his Department. [168567]

Meg Munn: The 2006 edition of The Diplomatic Service List, published by The Stationery Office, confirmed Dr. Dudley Ankerson as a member of HM diplomatic service.


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Gaza: Fuels

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary on resuming fuel supplies for Gaza. [168656]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised Gaza with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, during his recent visit to Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Egypt (17 to 20 November). My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also stressed to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, the need to ensure that adequate supplies entered Gaza.

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the fuel blockade on Gaza. [168657]

Dr. Howells: Following Israel's announcement of its intention to cut fuel supplies to Gaza, diesel and petrol imports have been cut by about 40 per cent.. So far, municipalities and hospitals are being prioritised for available fuel and are largely unaffected. Supplies of industrial fuel for Gaza's power station and cooking gas have not been affected. Our Consulate-General in Jerusalem and the office of the Department for International Development in Jerusalem are following the situation closely.

Iran: Nuclear Power

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Iranian nationals received training in Britain in nuclear-related disciplines in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [168448]

David Miliband: It is not possible to provide these figures, as universities are only required to supply data relating to the highest level of subject classification rather than a detailed course breakdown (e.g. number studying physics, rather than number studying nuclear physics). Similarly, universities are not obliged to provide nationality data, only the country of domicile.

However, through the voluntary vetting scheme and now the academic technology approval scheme (ATAS), we do have the means, and have used it, to stop Iranian applications for proliferation-sensitive subjects where there are concerns. Under ATAS, non-European economic area students intending to undertake postgraduate study in the UK in areas which have been identified as sensitive need to apply for counter-proliferation clearance from the Government before taking up their study.

Iran: Sanctions

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the implementation of European Union sanctions on Iran, with particular reference to the UK's compliance; what the total amount of assets frozen is by (a) EU member states and (b) the United Kingdom in line with these sanctions; and if he will make a statement. [166072]


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David Miliband: The UK is firmly committed to the full implementation of all EU sanctions, along with our EU partners.

EU member states do not systematically share detailed information concerning the value of funds they have identified and frozen. However, they are legally obliged to freeze all funds and economic resources belonging to persons and entities listed under the sanctions regime. It is prohibited to make funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to these persons and entities.

The reported balance of UK frozen funds in relation to UN and EU sanctions on Iran amounts to £512,982,378.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is the Government's policy that credit guarantees on British exports to Iran should be curtailed; and if he will make a statement. [166127]

David Miliband: The Government, through the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), are not progressing applications for new cover for Iran. No new export credit guarantees have been issued for Iran since September 2006. As part of their work to increase multilateral sanctions against Iran, the Government are discussing ways of denying Iran access to export credit finance.

Iraq: Christianity

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Iraq on the persecution of Christians in that country. [168493]

Dr. Howells: We recognise that Christians in Iraq, like all other communities, have been badly affected by the high levels of violence in the country. We continue to press the Iraqi government to take action to protect people regardless of faith or political persuasion and to take tough measures against those perpetuating the violence. I raised our concerns about the position of Iraqi Christians last month with the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights during her visit to the UK.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many personnel have been employed by private military security companies under contract to his Department in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [165894]

David Miliband: The number of personnel employed by companies under contract to the Government fluctuates during the contracted period as the Government’s requirements change. Currently, Foreign and Commonwealth Office contracts require provision of 371 expatriate, third country national and local national personnel in Iraq and 530 expatriate, third country national and local national personnel in Afghanistan.


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Islam: Internet

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the costs were of the Radical Middle Way website in each year for which figures are available. [168435]

Dr. Howells: According to the organisers, the cost for the Radical Middle Way website for 2007-08 is £26,400. The total cost for website development from the Radical Middle Way’s launch in February 2006 to its completion in March 2007 was £35,000.

Middle East

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the itinerary of his recent visit to Israel and the occupied territories; and a list of his engagements. [167786]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on 17 to 19 November 2007. I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 20 November, Official Report, columns 127-128WS, which details the meetings he undertook.

National Security

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the statement of the Prime Minster of 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, on national security, what estimate he has made of the cost of the roadshows of mainstream Islamic scholarship to be held (a) in Britain and (b) abroad announced by the Prime Minster in (i) 2007 and (ii) in each year for which figures are available; and how he plans to assess the effectiveness of these roadshows. [168436]

Dr. Howells: The Government’s contribution to the Radical Middle Way (RMW) in Britain project for financial year 2007-08 is £275,000, jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Our contribution to the overseas element of RMW for financial year 2007-08 is £125,000. The total contribution from the Government for previous years, from RMW’s launch in February 2006 to March 2007, was £412,129.24, jointly funded by the FCO and the Home Office.

The effectiveness of the project has been, and will continue to be, evaluated through both quantitative (attendance, website hits and uptake of RMW material) and qualitative (interviews with participants, partners and audiences) measures.

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the statement of the Prime Minister of 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, on national security, if he will publish details of how the £400 million to be spent in the next three years by his Department on tackling radicalisation and promoting understanding overseas announced by the Prime Minister will be used; and how he plans to assess the effectiveness of this initiative. [168438]


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Dr. Howells: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his statement to the House on 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, the Government will report back on action overseas with other countries to counter extremism when we launch the full national security strategy.

North Korea: Sanctions

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the implementation of European Union sanctions on North Korea, with particular reference to the UK’s compliance; what the total amount is of assets frozen by (a) EU member states and (b) the United Kingdom in line with these sanctions; and if he will make a statement. [166048]

David Miliband: The UK is firmly committed to the full implementation of all EU sanctions, along with our EU partners.

EU sanctions on North Korea implement UN sanctions and to date no individuals or entities have been targeted for the assets freeze by the UN. Consequently the UK has not frozen any assets.

Nuclear Disarmament

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the UK voted against the resolution Towards a Nuclear-weapon-free World: Accelerating the Implementation of Nuclear Disarmament Commitments at the UN First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on 17 October 2007; and if he will make a statement. [166997]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The United Kingdom abstained on rather than voted against this resolution at the UN General Assembly's First Committee. The resolution contained a great deal that we would have been happy to endorse. However, we remained unable to support the text because it gave no recognition to the significant nuclear disarmament achievements of most nuclear weapons states since the end of the cold war. We made this clear in an oral explanation given at the time of the vote, which will be deposited in the Library of the House.

Nuclear Test Ban

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to encourage the governments of (a) China, (b) India and (c) the USA to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. [168607]

Dr. Howells: China and the US signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty (CTBT) in 1996 but have not yet ratified it. India has neither signed nor ratified the treaty.

The United Kingdom strongly supports the earliest possible entry into force of the CTBT. We continue to take every appropriate opportunity, both bilaterally and through the EU, to urge all states who have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the CTBT without delay and without condition. We most recently took action with India in April 2007, with the US in September
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2007, and agreed EU action with China in November 2007. The UK also continues to support the outreach activities of Ambassador Ramaker, the Special Representative of the ratifiers of the treaty, staff of the Provisional Technical Secretariat and the Executive Secretary of the CTBT. In addition, the UK actively participates in the annual events held under the provisions of article XIV of the treaty to facilitate entry into force.

Occupied Territories

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he visited a Jewish settlement in the occupied west bank during his recent visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories; and if he will make a statement. [168568]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary informed the House that he did not visit any settlements during his recent visit to Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Egypt between 17 to 20 November. I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave to him on 20 November, during Foreign and Commonwealth Office oral questions, Official Report, columns 1089-1090.


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