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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 November 2007, Official Report, column 109W, if he will list the areas of foreign policy for which EU common positions are in place; and if he will make a statement on the legal constraints on individual member states on operating separate foreign policies within such areas. 
These include common positions on policy towards Angola, Belarus, Burma, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Iraq, Iran, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Liberia, Moldova, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Former Yugoslavia and Zimbabwe. Thematic areas covered by common positions include non-proliferation, counter terrorism, conflict prevention in Africa and the international criminal court.
EU common positions are decided by the member states in the Council by unanimity. The UK will only agree to a common position when it is in line with our own policy. Once agreed member states commit themselves to supporting the common positionand this has been the case since the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial assistance has been allocated within the Instrument for Pre-Accession to (a) Bosnia-Herzegovina, (b) Serbia and (c) Croatia for each year from 2007 to 2010. 
David Miliband: The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) came into force on 1 January 2007. IPA is a new, consolidated and simplified instrument that brings together previous funding streams and enhances donor co-ordination with international financial institutions. The UK provides 17.5 per cent. of the funding. Other significant donors are Germany (21.1 per cent.), France (16.4 per cent.) and Italy (13.6 per cent.).
We are closely involved with the process of ensuring that the right projects are prioritised and funded. It funds projects in the two countries negotiating to join the EU (Croatia and Turkey) and the countries which are candidates or pre-candidates for EU membership in the Western Balkans. These projects are crucial to the delivery of reforms preparing countries for EU membership. They promote democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for the protection of minorities, as well as economic reform and increased capacity to implement EU law and standards in areas ranging from free movement of goods to the environment.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments policy is on whether the Government shares the assessment of the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by the US National Intelligence Council that Iran maintained a covert programme of nuclear weapon design, weaponisation work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work prior to 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: It is not the practice of this or previous Governments to comment on intelligence matters. However, it is important to note that nothing in the National Intelligence Estimate changes the fundamental problem that we face which is Irans pursuit of a uranium enrichment programme that has, as far as we can see, no civilian application. This is despite the unanimous demand from the UN Security Council and from the International Atomic Energy Agency that it stop doing so. Accordingly, we will continue to act in the UN, the EU and bilaterally to persuade Iran to change its approach and comply with its international responsibilities.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 14 November 2007, Official Report, column 319W, on Iraq: departmental co-ordination, which department has the lead on implementing and monitoring the ex gratia assistance to be provided to Iraqi staff working for UK armed forces and civilian missions in Iraq. 
David Miliband: There is no single Departmental lead. The Home Office has the lead on issues relating to the operation of the Gateway programme and the granting of leave to enter the UK, and co-ordinates closely with employing Government Departments on delivery of these aspects of the policy. Individual employing Departments are responsible for providing financial assistance to their own employees in line with the terms of the new policy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to play a general co-ordinating role. Consistency is ensured by regular contacts between interested Departments in the UK and on the ground.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Israeli Government to reopen (a) the Karim crossing and (b) other closed crossings from Gaza. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Israeli authorities on ensuring that people living in Gaza are not deprived of access to (a) food, (b) water, (c) medical supplies and (d) electricity. 
Dr. Howells: We have repeatedly made clear that we are ready to engage with Hamas if they follow the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) principles: renunciation of violence; recognition of Israel; and the acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.
President Abbas is the elected President for all Palestinian people. Our priority is to support President Abbas and the legitimate Palestinian Government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as they try to restore law and order in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Government are committed to helping all Palestinians, including the people of Gaza. In 2007-08, the UK has provided £31 million bilaterally to the Palestinians: £15 million through the UN Relief and Works Agency; £1 million to the International Committee for the Red Cross work in the West Bank and Gaza; and £15 million through the Temporary International Mechanism.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received representations on the conduct of the recent elections to the State Duma in Russia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: A number of parliamentarians have expressed concern to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the conduct of the recent Duma elections in Russia. We share these concerns. In a statement of 3 December the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that, if proved correct, allegations of electoral malpractice would suggest that the elections were neither free nor fair.
It is deeply disappointing that Russia prevented the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europes (OSCE) specialist election monitoring body, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), from observing the elections. They
would have provided expert, independent election monitoring. At the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid immediately prior to the elections, my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, said,
we regret that ODIHR has recently faced a number of unprecedented restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles to observing the Russian Duma elections.
It is vital that the Russian Central Election Commission urgently investigates all allegations of electoral abuses and that the Russian government puts in place systems to ensure that the presidential elections in March 2008 will be transparent and democratic.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government has offered Tristan da Cunha following the outbreak of an acute virus on the island. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: A flu outbreak on Tristan da Cunha has, in turn, triggered a rise in the cases of asthma on the island. Those affected are receiving treatment. The island has enough current stocks of the necessary drugs for this not to be an emergency situation now. But the isolation of the island, which has no airport and is a minimum of six days by sea from South Africa, makes supplying the island with further stocks difficult.
Following close liaison with the administrator on Tristan da Cunha, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and others, however, are making arrangements to provide an additional supply of drugs in advance of the next regular ships visit to the island at the end of January 2008. We hope to be able to deliver these supplies to the island on a Royal Navy vessel around 15 December.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Turkey-UK Strategic Partnership Agreement, what discussions were held with the Cyprus government on those parts of the agreement that refer to Cyprus prior to its signing; what his definition is of high level contacts with Turkish Cypriot authorities; what his policy is on (a) the engagement of TRNC universities with the Bologna Process, (b) the right of Turkish Cypriots to representation in the European Parliament and (c) direct commercial, economic, political and cultural contact between the UK, EU and Turkish Cypriots; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The Strategic Partnership document reflects the breadth of co-operation between the UK and Turkish governments, with a focus on issues of importance to all EU partners. It is also intended to promote an objective, shared by the UK and Cyprus, of ensuring that Turkey meets all of its obligations towards the EU, including full normalisation of relations with its neighbours, and implementation of the Ankara agreement protocol. As
an EU partner, the UK is firmly committed to holding Turkey to the stringent accession criteria already in place. We will continue to engage with Turkey at the most senior levels in order to achieve this.
I made it clear in my written ministerial statement on 7 November, Official Report, columns 5-6WS that the UK does not recognise the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and that nothing in the UK/Turkey Strategic Partnership represents a change to this policy. We do, however, have regular contacts with the Turkish Cypriot community on a range of issues, most importantly, encouraging them to play a full part in the UN settlement process.
Officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are in contact with Turkish Cypriot academics on how to raise Turkish Cypriot educational standards. These contacts have sought to promote an exchange of ideas between educational establishments on practical issues. The aim is to ensure Turkish Cypriot universities are able to maintain standards comparable with those institutions that are members of the Bologna process.
Turkish Cypriots are European citizens. Our preferred means to enfranchise them would be a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem that enables them to elect representatives to the European Parliament in the normal way. In the absence of a settlement, we welcome interest shown by Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament; and by European parliamentarians in the Turkish Cypriot communitynot least through oversight of the implementation of the Aid Regulation by the Commission.
end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and facilitate the reunification of Cyprus
particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island and on improving contact between the two communities and with the EU.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Turkey-UK Strategic Partnership Agreement that refer to contact with Turkish Cypriots on (a) UK policy on the status of the TRNC and (b) perceptions of UK policy in (i) Cyprus, (ii) Turkey and (iii) the EU; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I have made it clear in my written ministerial statement on 7 November, Official Report, columns 5-6WS, that we do not recognise the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and that nothing in the UK/Turkey Strategic Partnership represents a change to this policy. We do, however, maintain regular contacts with the Turkish Cypriot community on a range of issues, most importantly, encouraging them to play a full part in the UN settlement process
Our priority towards Cyprus remains full support for the implementation of the UN's 8 July agreement
leading to a comprehensive and durable settlement. We also support the EU's efforts to
end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and facilitate the reunification of Cyprus.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had with his Turkish counterpart prior to signing the Turkey-UK Strategic Partnership Agreement on (a) immigration from Turkey to Cyprus and (b) reducing the Turkish military presence in Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK/Turkey Strategic Partnership Agreement focuses on the long-term strategic objectives between Turkey and the UK. During the recent meeting between my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pressed the Turkish Prime Minister to support the UN process and work towards a Cyprus settlement. Our policy has always been to encourage all parties, including Turkey, to play a full part in the UN settlement process.
Security and immigration are core issues that will ultimately need to be addressed in the course of substantive negotiations to achieve a comprehensive settlement. We continue to support the 8 July process and hope that genuine negotiations can start as soon as possible. We do believe, however, that a reduction in the number of Turkish troops will help build trust on the island.
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