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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether every EU member state is required to ratify the treaty of Lisbon for it to come into force; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Lisbon treaty shall enter into force only after being ratified by all 27 member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, and not before 1 January 2009.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of India on the treatment of Christians in Orissa; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: While such incidents remain an internal matter for the Indian government, we continue to seek out opportunities to raise UK human rights concerns in India, including incidents of religious intolerance. We urge the Indian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of religion and bring to justice those responsible for attacks against people on account of their religion.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking at the United Nations to support the initiative announced by the Prime Minister on 21 January to include India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. 
Dr. Howells: The UK is a long-standing supporter of India's candidacy for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. We also support Brazilian, German, Japanese and African permanent representation.
The eventual size and form of an enlarged Security Council requires agreement from the UN membership, as set out in the charter of the UN. The UK has consistently championed the need for a reformed Council to represent emerging powers in the modern world. The UK continues to engage actively in debate over Security Council reform both in New York and with UN partners world-wide, and we have voiced our support for initiatives by the President of the General Assembly to drive forward the reform process.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Iranian Government on the unlawful imprisonment of three Baha'is at the Iranian Ministry of Information on 19 November 2007. 
Dr. Howells: We remain concerned about the treatment of religious minorities in Iran, including Baha'is. The EU presidency raised our concerns over the treatment of the Baha'i minority in Iran during a meeting with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 January, and called for the release of the three individuals imprisoned at the Ministry of Information. In addition, the UN General Assembly Resolution on human rights in Iran, adopted in December 2007 and co-sponsored by all EU member states, expressed very serious concern over the treatment of Baha'is.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the Williams draft of his Department's dossier on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently considering the Information Tribunal's judgment in this case and the legal options available to it. It would therefore not be appropriate to place a copy in the Library of the House at this stage. If, and when, the document is released a copy will be made available for the Library.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether the Government have intelligence that Iraq sought to procure uranium from Niger that it still believes to be accurate and that was unknown to the US at the time that the US expressed reservations on the Government's September 2002 Iraq dossier, further to paragraph 93 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Report, Cm 5972, of September 2003; 
(2) whether both the Government's June 2002 and September 2002 sources of intelligence that Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Africa, referred to in paragraph 89 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Report, Cm 5972, of September 2003, were either passed to or discussed with the International Atomic Energy Agency the information they had on that issue. 
Dr. Howells: While my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans to raise this specific issue with the Jordanian Ambassador, officials will discuss this matter with the Jordanian authorities.
Meg Munn: The Government recognise states, not Governments. However, we share the concerns of the international community over the conduct of the presidential election. Concerns were highlighted in independent Election Observer Mission reports, including those from the Commonwealth, the East African community, domestic observers, as well as in the initial findings of the European Union's mission.
Given that none of the independent international observers to the elections believe the tallying met international standards it is difficult to have any confidence in the announced result. Against that background, we are pressing for negotiations between the two sides to ensure agreement on a government that can enjoy Kenyan and international confidence.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects on the security situation in Lebanon of the imminent expiry of the deadline to agree a new President by 24 November; and what diplomatic support the UK is providing to the process. 
David Miliband: The security situation in Lebanon remains volatile and precarious, with tensions running high over the election of a new President. Since December 2007 there have been three bomb attacks in Beirut, two of which have killed senior members of the Lebanese army and security forces as well as bystanders. On 27 January 2008 serious civil disturbances killed seven people in Beirut.
The UK continues to support efforts by the international community to resolve the crisis. Bilaterally, my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East (Dr Howells) visited Beirut in December 2007 to highlight to all sides the need for compromise. Our ambassador in Beirut continues to be active on the ground, encouraging all sides to come to an agreement. I refer the right hon. Member to the detailed statement my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East made to the House on the current situation in Lebanon during the end of day adjournment debate on 28 January 2008, Official Report, columns 141-46.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to support the signature of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia at the forthcoming General Affairs and External Relations Council on 28 to 29 January; whether his support for the signature of this agreement is contingent on Serbia meeting its obligations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 28 January 2008]: The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) conclusions of June 2007 recalled that the pace and conclusion of the negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) would depend on Serbia's full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
This Government and the EU are committed to signing a SAA as soon as the necessary steps have been finalised. We remain convinced of the benefits that the SAA will bring to both sides and of the positive effects this will have for the region. With a view to achieving this, the EU has agreed to set up a task force to examine ways of delivering rapid progress. The work of the task force started on 28 January 2008, with a view to formulating recommendations to Serbia and the Council of the EU as quickly as possible.
The GAERC of 28 January 2008 agreed to invite Serbia to sign an interim Political Agreement on co-operation between the EU and Serbia, providing a framework for making progress on political dialogue, free trade, visa liberalisation, and education co-operation, to be signed on 7 February.
Serbia has a crucial role to play in the Western Balkans, both for ensuring stability and as a motor for the economic development and prosperity of the region. The EU expressed its commitment to deepen its relationship with Serbia, which draws on a rich and diverse range of cultural, historic, economic and people to people ties.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Contact Group counterparts on the situation in Somalia; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The International Contact Group for Somalia most recently met at senior official level in Rome on 10 September 2007. The next Contact Group meeting is due to be hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa, although a date has yet to be set. The Government continue to be in close contact with our key Contact Group partners, for example my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Browns meeting with UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ould Abdalla in London on 7 December 2007.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK has been invited to observe the forthcoming second Sudan People's Liberation Movement convention in Juba. 
Meg Munn: The UK has not been invited to observe the Sudan People's Liberation Movement convention in Juba. We understand that it will be held in April and no formal invitations have so far been issued. We have been invited to attend the opening and closing ceremonies of previous party conventions.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the time frame for the full deployment of the joint UN-AU hybrid force for Darfur. 
Meg Munn: The joint UN-African Union hybrid force for Darfur assumed authority from the African Union mission in Sudan on 31 December 2007. At the time of transfer of authority, the total strength of the mission was approximately 9,800. The UN-African Union hybrid force for Darfur will increase in strength and capability throughout 2008. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations is overseeing the on-going deployment in conjunction with the African Union. We are working closely with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to ensure the joint UN-African Union hybrid force for Darfur becomes fully established as quickly as possible.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are to convene a meeting to focus on generating the requisite units for the joint UN-AU hybrid force for Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The African Union-UN hybrid mission in Darfur is being generated by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations continues to meet with potential contributing countries and has received pledges for most of the requisite units for the African Union-UN hybrid mission in Darfur. However, shortfalls remain, including in helicopters and ground transportation. In support of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations we convened a meeting of a number of countries in New York on 16 January to discuss generating helicopter units for the African Union-UN hybrid mission in Darfur. A follow-up meeting will take place in the coming weeks. We are also investigating the possibility of further meetings with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and partners to discuss other support to the African Union-UN hybrid mission in Darfur.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment has been made of the security situation in Western Darfur and the impact it may have on the deployment of the UN-AU hybrid force to the region. 
Meg Munn: There has been a deterioration in security in West Darfur since the end of November 2007: there have been cross-border incursions by Chadian government forces pursuing Chadian rebels and clashes between rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese armed forces.
Elements of the UN-African Union hybrid force are already deployed in West Darfur. An attack on a UN-African Union hybrid force convoy by the Sudanese armed forces on 7 January in West Darfurwhich Sudanese authorities claim was a mistakewas condemned by the UN Security Council. We are pressing all partiesthe Government of Sudan,
Government of Chad, and rebel groupsto exercise restraint, and we are supporting the Department of Peacekeeping Operation's efforts towards the prompt establishment of an effective UN-African Union hybrid force precisely to improve security in the region.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the remit is of the delegation to Tibet as part of the UK-China Human Rights dialogue; what rank or grading each member of the delegation has; who is leading the delegation; and what meetings they plan to have with Tibetans which are unsupervised and unarranged by the Chinese authorities. 
Meg Munn: The Director Asia Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading the UK delegation to the dialogue in Beijing and on the field trip to Tibet, as part of the UK-China Human Rights dialogue. The delegation includes 10 people, ranging from heads of department down to administrative support officers. It will include representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Metropolitan Police Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Welsh Assembly government, as well as an independent academic expert. There will be no unofficial meetings during the field trip to Tibet.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his South African counterpart on the current status of South African mediation efforts between the government and opposition parties in Zimbabwe through the South African Development Community initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: My noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Amos, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, discussed this issue with President Mbeki in the margins of the EU-African Union Summit in Lisbon in December 2007. Our high commission in Pretoria also keeps abreast of progress through its regular contacts with the South African administration.
We continue to support President Mbekis mediation efforts. The President visited Harare on 17-18 January for further talks with President Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. However, there appears to have been no breakthrough and we are increasingly less optimistic about the outcome.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), of 11 December 2007, Official Report, column 536W, on business: non-domestic rates, what multiplier is levied in each business improvement district that is in operation. 
John Healey: For 2007-08, the national non-domestic multiplier is 44.4p and the small business multiplier is 44.1p. These apply in all areas in England, irrespective of whether a business improvement district is in operation. It is for those involved in BIDs to agree on the amount of BID levies and how they should be calculated.
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