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4 Dec 2007 : Column 1132Wcontinued
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department provided to the Colombian authorities for counter-narcotics operations in each year from 2004 to 2007; and what such assistance will be provided for 2008. 
Dr. Howells: Preventing the importation of cocaine into the UK from Colombia is a top priority for the UKs international counter-narcotics efforts. The UK works closely with the Colombian authorities to disrupt trafficking and to interdict consignments of illicit drugs.
In the period 2004 to 2007, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has invested in various counter-narcotics projects in Colombia through its Global Opportunities Funds Drugs and Crime Programme of some £1.5million. These projects have helped to build capacity among Colombian law enforcement agencies and the judiciary. Projects have covered subjects such as best practice in forensics, anti-money laundering and financial investigation techniques, judicial process and the provision of chemical analysis equipment at Colombian airports.
The FCO has also supported drugs awareness campaigns in Colombian schools. In addition, Colombia has benefited from the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes Latin American projects that the UK has co-funded to improve institutional capacity across the region.
No decision has yet been made on what assistance might be provided for 2008.
The UK does not work with Colombia in isolation. We take a broad regional approach to tackling the trade in illicit drugs, through a mixture of political engagement, capacity building and law enforcement support in producer, transit and consumer countries. This includes working with Governments of other producer and transit countries in Latin America, as well as with Governments in countries along the main trafficking routes for drugs from Latin America (especially via the Caribbean and West Africa).
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the implementation of European Union sanctions on
Democratic Republic of Congo, 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. 
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 the Democratic Republic of Congo amounts to £4,721.00.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the percentage turnover of staff was in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies in (i) the last 12-month period and (ii) the last 24-month period for which figures are available. 
Meg Munn: Over the 12 months to 1 November 2007, the number of UK-based civil servants employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) fell from 6,135 to 6,104. During this period 475 staff left the FCO. This represents 7.8 per cent. of the average work force over the period.
Over the 24 months to 1 November 2007, the number of UK-based civil servants fell from 6,108 to 6,104. During this period 980 staff left the FCO. This represents 16 per cent. of the average work force over the period.
All these figures include staff working in FCO Services and Wilton Park, the two executive agencies of the FCO. We are not able to calculate staff turnover for these two agencies separately from the FCO totals.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the office costs for his Department's special advisers for 2007-08 are expected to be, including costs of support staff; and how many full-time equivalent civil servants work in support of such special advisers. 
David Miliband: The code of conduct for special advisers states that
In order to enable special advisers to work effectively, Departments may allocate permanent civil servants to provide support of a non-political nature.
Two civil servants provide full-time support to the special advisers. Office costs will be accounted for in the 2007-08 departmental annual report and accounts.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Winter Supplementary Estimates (HC 29), if he will break down his Departments (a) main estimate and (b) winter supplementary estimate provision by subhead in (i) near cash and (ii) non-cash terms. 
David Miliband: In the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) Main Estimate 2007-08, all subheads are near cash with the exception of Al and F2. The subhead A1 consists of £798,280,000 near cash and £156,719,000 non-cash. The subhead F2 of £50,000,000 is completely non-cash. The total non-cash element is £206,719,000. The total non-cash figure can be found in the Part II: Resource to cash reconciliation table in the main estimate, it is the figure shown as Total accruals to cash adjustments (£206,719,000).
Similarly, in the FCOs winter supplementary estimate 2007-08, all subheads are near cash with the exception of A1 and F2. The subhead A1 consists of £815,302,000 near cash and £156,719,000 non-cash. The subhead F2 of £50,000,000 is completely non-cash. Total non-cash expenditure is unchanged from the main estimate at £206,719,000.
Please note that data taken from supply estimates or resource accounts are not necessarily readily compatible with a near-cash/non-cash split, which is used only within the departmental expenditure limit budgetary controls applied by HM Treasury.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud of 14 November 2007, Official Report, column 318W, on Iran: sanctions, which EU working groups will be considering further sanctions measures against Iran before the December General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Discussions on further EU measures against Iran would be carried out in the Political and Security Committee and the working group covering the Middle East, the Committee on the Middle East and Gulf (COMEM) reinforced by non-proliferation experts from the Committee on Non-Proliferation (CONOP).
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Iraqi civilians have worked for the British Government since the invasion of Iraq in 2003; how many of these were contracted for a period of (a) less than six months, (b) six to 12 months and (c) 12 months or more; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Many thousands of Iraqis have worked for the Government since 2003. They have worked for the Government either directly or via contractors. Information on the length of service of the employees is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations he has made to the Government of Indonesia on the situation in West Papua; 
(2) if he will make representations to the government of Indonesia on upholding the right to freedom of expression and assembly in West Papua. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed Papua with the Indonesian Government. However, I met the governor of Papua, Barnabus Suebo, when he visited London on 25 October. We discussed the situation in Papua, including human rights and the implementation of the Special Autonomy Law. Our embassy in Jakarta regularly discusses human rights issues, including in Papua, with the Indonesian Government. The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably in recent years, and President Yudhoyono is continuing efforts to push through reforms, including to the security sector. We will continue to raise these issues with the Indonesian Government.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the work and function of the IOps section of MI6. 
David Miliband: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett), the then Foreign Secretary gave to him on 14 July 2006, Official Report, column 2138W.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason the Government voted against the resolution on decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons in the United Nations First Committee on Disarmament. 
Dr. Howells: The United Kingdom provided an Explanation of Vote (EoV) in a statement to the United Nations First Committee. This noted that we do not subscribe to the basic premise of the resolution that the world is at risk due to large numbers of nuclear weapons at dangerously high levels of alert. A copy of the EoV will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with the Government of Israel on rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government have discussed the continued firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel with the Israeli Government on numerous occasions, and most recently during the visit
of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 17-19 November.
Over 1,000 Qassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israeli targets since Hamas seized control of Gaza on 14 June 2007, wounding a number of Israelis. It has also caused damage to infrastructure. We continue to call for an immediate halt to these attacks, which target civilians and only escalate an already tense situation. While acknowledging Israels right to defend itself, we call on Israel to show restraint in the face of these attacks and make clear that any response must be in accordance with international law.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to discuss the situation in Pakistan with his ASEAN counterparts; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: We continue to engage in on-going dialogue with our Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners, most recently with the attendance of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at the EU-ASEAN summit on 22 November.
I have discussed the situation with EU colleagues and other international partners, including most recently Commonwealth partners on 22 November. We continue to urge the Pakistani Government to implement the necessary conditions to guarantee free and fair elections on schedule in January 2008, release all political prisoners and lift all remaining media restrictions.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Russia with reference to (a) the recent changes to the electoral system and (b) the number of election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 3 December 2007]: Russia introduced substantial changes to the electoral system, including increases to both the minimum vote threshold from 5 to 7 per cent. and the minimum size of parties, claiming that changes are necessary to increase parties authority and develop stronger multi-party governance. But we are concerned that such changes may in fact hinder such developments.
At the recent EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations the EU expressed concerns regarding the amendment to the election law regarding the registration of candidates and parties and domestic observation of elections.
There were no election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europes (OSCE) specialist election monitoring agency, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, present during the parliamentary elections. Members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly did
observe the election, but no British parliamentarians were among them. 51 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, including three British parliamentarians, also observed the election.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent (a) discussions he has had with and (b) representations he has made to the Russian Government on (i) independent monitoring of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Russia and (ii) the treatment of Opposition parties in Russia. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 3 December 2007]: The Government have made no direct approaches to the Russian Government on either issue, instead supporting fully the EU presidency statements on independent monitoring of parliamentary elections and the treatment of Opposition parties, which urged Russia to allow its citizens freedom of expression and demanding that the elections be free and fair. I discussed this with partners in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe at the Ministerial Council in Madrid on 29 November and separately with the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ambassador Strohal. We fully support ODIHRs decision to withdraw from election monitoring in the face of significant obstruction from the Russian Government.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is his policy to seek the widening of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty to include countries other than the US and Russia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The Government welcome the US and Russian statements on their confirmed commitment to the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty. We also note with interest the proposal that the regime be widened, and look forward to more detailed proposals from Russia.
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 (a) Serbia and (b) Montenegro, with particular reference to the UK's compliance; what the total amount of assets frozen is by (i) EU member states and (ii) the United Kingdom in line with these sanctions; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The UK is firmly committed to the full implementation of all EU sanctions, along with our EU partners.
There are no EU financial sanctions imposed on Serbia or Montenegro. EU Common Positions 2000/696/Common Foreign and Security Policy and 2004/6947 Common Foreign and Security Policy and imposed an asset freeze on former President Milosevic and natural persons associated with him and
individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. To date no funds have been identified in the UK.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the expenditure of the East of England Brussels Office was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Timms: The expenditure of the East of England Brussels office, in the last year for which figures are readily available, was £321,740. This relates to the financial year 2003-04.
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