8. Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the appointment of a special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan. 
Dr. Howells: As my right hon. Friend, the Foreign Secretary informed the House earlier, we understand the need to have in place a UN special representative able to undertake with real authority the co-ordination of the international effort to improve Afghan security and reconstruction. We are talking to the United Nations and working towards the appointment of a special representative as a matter of urgency.
The appointment is a matter for the UN Secretary-General. His spokesperson said on 8 February that work was ongoing. We hope an early appointment will be made, to allow more effective co-ordination of the international effort.
Meg Munn: The Government welcome the progress made by the Kenyan Government and the opposition in negotiations under the mediation of Kofi Annan. We urge Kenyas leaders to establish the basis for a lasting solution.
Meg Munn: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch Brown, has had regular conversations with Kofi Annan. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed the mediation process with Kofi Annan on 8 February and reaffirmed our support for his work and for a sustainable outcome for the Kenyan people.
David Miliband: On 17 February the Kosovo Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution that declared Kosovo independent, committing Kosovo to fully implement UN Special Envoy Ahtisaaris Comprehensive Proposal, including extensive minority safeguards and international supervision.
The UK has decided to recognise Kosovos independence and establish diplomatic relations. Thus far we understand that at least 18 countries have indicated their intention to recognise Kosovo. We anticipate more will do so shortly.
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised Zimbabwe during the UN General Assembly in September 2007. He underlined the need for UN action to support African leadership and to tackle economic and social devastation in Zimbabwe. Our embassy in Harare holds regular discussions with the UN Development Programme office there regarding human rights, democracy and good governance.
Dr. Howells: The UK enjoys a strategic partnership with India and my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers recent visit to New Delhi further strengthened this partnership, when progress was made on a range of bilateral and wider international issues.
15. Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking in support of the middle east peace process; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government support the political, economic and security elements of the peace process. We are committed to taking forward the Annapolis process to achieve a two-state solution. In support of the Palestinian economy, we committed up to £243 million over three years, linked to political progress. We will co-sponsor the Bethlehem Private Investors Conference and host the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in London. We are contributing to security sector reform.
Dr. Howells: The UK condemns suicide bombing. The attack in Dimona on 4 February was the first in Israel for 12 months. Terrorist atrocities must never deflect us from our goal of just and lasting peace based on a two-state solution. The UK continues to support leaders whose commitments at Annapolis and since have given Palestinians and Israelis the best chance of progress in seven years.
Meg Munn: The Government are deeply concerned at the continued lack of progress towards democracy in Burma. On 9 February the Burmese regime announced its intention to hold a referendum on a new constitution in May this year and elections in 2010. However, if any process is to lead to national reconciliation, all stakeholders must be allowed to participate and political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, must be freed.
Dr. Howells: Iran is pursuing enrichment activities and heavy water projects in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to suspend those activities and reprocessing. Their realisation would give Iran the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Irans development of these technologies is not necessary for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. If Iran suspends its proliferation activities, the E3+3 will negotiate a long-term agreement that would transform the international communitys relationship with Iran.
The policy of the Quartet on engagement with Hamas remains based on its three Quartet principles: non-violence; recognition of Israel; and acceptance of previous agreements, including the road map. These principles are not set unreasonably
high and remain the fundamental conditions for a viable peace process. We hope that Hamas will accept the principles and grasp the opportunity for dialogue and progress.
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's recent visit to China strengthened UK-China relations. As a result of his visit a new trade target was announced; new areas of co-operation on climate change, sustainable cities, education, health, science and Olympics links.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what safeguards exist against the arbitrary dismissal of chief justices in overseas territories which are compliant with European Convention of Human Rights and other international norms and treaty obligations; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: There are chief justices in the following Overseas Territories: Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands (including South Georgia), Gibraltar, St. Helena and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The procedures concerning the dismissal of the chief justices in the Overseas Territories are set out in their constitutions. These procedures provide protection against arbitrary dismissal and are compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights and other international norms and treaty obligations.
The Government will work to ensure that the conditions and resources are in place for holding
peaceful, free and fair elections in 2010. With UN Peacebuilding Commission partners, we are urging that international expertise and resources be put in place for establishing an independent electoral commission. We expect the European Commission to include Burundi in its election monitoring and assistance work. Successful elections would promote peace and stability in Burundi.
Meg Munn: The UK has worked through multilateral fora, namely the United Nations and the European Union, to discuss the international response to the rebel incursions in Chad, and to work towards longer term solutions. These discussions have included the French authorities, along with other international partners.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, on 11 February to discuss, among other topics, the situation in Chad and to thank him for his countrys help in evacuating British nationals from NDjamena. He was also contacted by Mr. Kouchner over the weekend of 2/3 February regarding Chad. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have been in regular contact with French Foreign Ministry officials concerning Chad, particularly regarding the evacuation of British nationals.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the Government are giving to the African Union's mediation efforts in Chad through (a) Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and (b) Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Meg Munn: The Government are fully supportive of the African Union's efforts to find lasting solutions to the conflict in Chad and welcomes the appointment of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville as mediators.
strongly condemning the attacks perpetrated by armed groups against the Chadian government, demanding to put an immediate end to the violence and calling on all the countries of the region to respect the unity and territorial integrity of the member states of the African Union.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment has been made of (a) the security situation in Chad and (b) the impact on the deployment of the EUFOR operation for Chad and the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The security situation in Chad remains unstable following rebel incursions into the capital, N'Djamena, on 2 February. As of 11 February 2008, the security situation in Chad is calmer, with Chadian rebel groups having retreated from N'Djamena. However, conditions on the ground have been changing rapidly. The UN estimates that over 30,000 people were forced to flee into neighbouring Cameroon as a result of the fighting, though many are now returning. There have been eye-witness reports of widespread looting in N'Djamena.
Deployment of the European Union mission to Chad (EUFOR), was delayed temporarily due to fighting in western Chad. However, Lieutenant General Nash, the EUFOR operation commander, indicated on 7 February that deployment could recommence with immediate effect. The EU agreed on 8 February that the mission should resume deployment, but agreed also to follow closely the evolution of the situation in relation to the mission.
Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent to which the policy of the Government of China towards Sudan is in alignment with British policy towards that country, with particular reference to the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband [holding answer 18 February 2008]: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agreed with Chinese Premier Wen, when they met during the UK-China Summit from 18-19 January, that both countries were keen to see a resolution to the Darfur conflict. Following their meeting, the Chinese Premier called on the parties to the conflict in Darfur to realise a complete ceasefire in Darfur and reach a comprehensive peace agreement through negotiation.
When I visit China later this month I will continue to encourage China to use its influence in Khartoum to work for a solution to the Darfur conflict and support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We have also agreed with China that the Special Representatives of China and the UK on Darfur will work together for the early realisation of peace, stability and development in Darfur.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the detention of (a) Major Mbokolo Wawa, (b) Captain Kawende and (c) Pastor Fernando Kutino. 
Meg Munn: The UNs mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in contact with the Congolese authorities regarding the detention of Major Mbokolo Wawa and Captain Kawende. We have not made representations on this issue ourselves.
We and our international partners in the DRC, including the EU and UN, have registered our concerns at the conduct of the investigation and subsequent trial of Pastor Kutino with the Congolese on several
occasions. The UN is in regular contact with the Congolese authorities on the issue of his treatment.
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