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Des Browne: The UK is one of only six countries to have drawn up a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325. This outlines how the UK implements the resolution in a wide range of areas. The main focus for the Ministry of Defence is to ensure that female personnel are deployed in appropriate numbers on operations, and that the provisions of UNSCR1325 are reflected in operational planning, doctrine and training.
The Department has conducted an audit of existing training which concluded that British military personnel generally receive sufficient training to ensure that they are compliant with the intent of the resolution. Following the recommendations of the audit, we have also ensured that the resolution is covered in relevant doctrine, and that pre-deployment training includes relevant briefings on the role/relevance of gender to the specific society living in the operational area.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 21 February 2008]: The current in-service GPMG and 0.5 cal heavy machine gun (quick change barrel) (HMG (QCB)) is designed to enable their barrels to be changed easily. Spare barrels are purchased with all new weapons and, in addition, replacement barrels (and other consumable spares) are routinely purchased as part of ordinary provisioning activity.
The 0.5 cal M2 heavy machine gun underwent a significant modification programme in 1999 to incorporate a new quick change barrel and become the current in-service 0.5 cal HMG (QCB). Modified M2s currently account for around 40 per cent. of the HMG (QCB) fleet, the remainder being new buys made to HMG (QCB) specifications. All replacement barrels for HMGs are therefore QCBs, not the original M2 barrels.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to (a) participate in future Oslo Process conferences, (b) sign up to a treaty to prohibit the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions and (c) declare a moratorium on the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions until a treaty is in place; and if he will make a statement. 
We look forward to taking part in the next Oslo Process conference in Dublin in May when negotiations on a treaty are due to conclude. We have been fully committed to the Oslo Process from the start. We were among the original 46 nations that supported the Oslo Declaration in February 2007,
which began this process to conclude a legally binding instrument to prohibit those cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians in 2008. We are pleased to have associated ourselves with the Wellington Declaration (22 February 2008) that brings us a step closer to achieving this aim.
We and our EU partners also want the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to adopt a legally binding instrument on cluster munitions as soon as possible. This would ensure that our humanitarian objective is fully achieved as the CCW includes the main users and producers of these weapons who have remained outside the Oslo Process.
In March 2007 my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary announced the withdrawal of the UK's basic cluster munitions (systems that have neither target discrimination capability, nor an in-built self-destruct mechanism). The Government believe withdrawing a weapon, as we did, is more sustainable than a moratorium because the weapons are clearly put beyond use. We cannot exclude the use of the cluster munitions that we retained in certain circumstances.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Departments civil servants were (a) suspended and (b) dismissed for accessing (i) obscene and (ii) other prohibited material on work computers in each of the last five years. 
Guidance is circulated to staff on a regular basis on the use of work computers. This includes a reminder that failure to comply with the guidance may result in disciplinary action under the FCOs Misconduct Procedure.
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) employed 36 press officers in the 2006-07 financial year, 30 in 2005-06, 26 plus one part-time officer in 2004-05 and 41 in 2003-04. There are no records for the number of press officers pre-2003. The FCO does not have a communications officer grade.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department paid in bonuses to press and communication officers in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) highest and (b) lowest such bonus was in each of those years. 
Meg Munn: Press officers bonuses totalled £4,320 for the 2006-07 financial year and £4,900 for the 2005-06 financial year. The highest and lowest bonuses were £750 and £280 for 2006-07 and £600 and £300 for 2005-06. No bonuses were paid in 2004-05 or 2003-04. There are no records for bonus payments pre-2003.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 January 2008, Official Report, column 52W, on departmental internet, where the locally-engaged commercial officer was engaged. 
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department retired on grounds of stress-related illness in each of the last three years. 
Meg Munn: As there have been fewer than five people who have taken ill health retirement due to stress-related illness we are unable to provide the information requested by the hon. Member on grounds of confidentiality.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Falkland Islands (a) Governor and (b) Government on South Georgia, South Orkney, South Sandwich and other territories in the South Atlantic. 
Dr. Howells: The Governor of the Falkland Islands is also the Commissioner for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, but the two positions are separate and distinct. He has no responsibility for any of the other Overseas Territories in the south Atlantic, nor South Orkney, which is administered as part of the British Antarctic Territory. The Falkland Islands government has no responsibilities in relation to South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney or any other territories in the south Atlantic.
The Governor/Commissioner maintains a regular dialogue with Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials to ensure that the priorities set out in the 1999 White Paper on the Overseas Territories are being met.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK plans to support the secure development of oil and gas exploration facilities in the Falkland Islands waters. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 February 2008]: As my right hon. Friend the then Minister for Europe (Mr. Hoon) stated in his written answer to my hon. Friend on 5 July 2006, Official Report, column 1157W, the Government will play a role in supporting the secure development of oil and gas exploration facilities in the Falkland Islands territorial sea and continental shelf. The Government are responsible for the external security and defence of the Falkland Islands. The provision of routine security and policing of oil rigs is a matter for the Falkland Islands government and the oil exploration companies.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government have held with (a) the Falkland Islands Government and (b) the Argentine Government on exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 February 2008]: The Government hold regular discussions with the Falkland Islands Government on issues including the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. Most recently, these have included meetings between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Director General for Defence and Intelligence and other FCO officials with representatives of the Falkland Islands Government in January and February 2008.
There have been no discussions, with the Argentine Government, on the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters since the South West Atlantic Hydro Carbons Commission ceased to meet in July 2000. On 27 March 2007, the Argentine Government announced its repudiation of the 1995 Joint Declaration on hydrocarbon exploration in the special co-operation area. We regret the Argentine decision, which makes future co-operation in this area more difficult. But we remain committed to promoting practical cooperation with Argentina in the South Atlantic and on broader international issues.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Falkland Islands about constitutional reform there. 
Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have held two rounds of talks in Stanley with the Select Committee on the Constitution, of which all are Falkland Island councillors. The first
round was held in December 2007 and the second in February 2008. The discussions are progressing well.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2008, Official Report, columns 709-10W, on Israel: human rights, whether the human rights abuses referred to breach the human rights provisions of any EU trade agreements. 
Dialogue between the parties continues to be the best hope of a peaceful and secure future for both Israel and the Palestinians. We will continue to raise our concerns about human rights issues with Israel and the Palestinian Authority both bilaterally and with EU partners. The EU's relationship with Israel provides the framework for free and frank discussion of issues of concern, including human rights.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK representatives are attending the Oslo Process conference in New Zealand from 18 to 22 February 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Eleven UK representatives were accredited. Five were officials based at our high commission in Wellington, of whom three actually attended conference events. Four officials travelled from the UKtwo from the Ministry of Defence, one from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and one from the Department for International Development. Two officials from the UK Permanent Representation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva attended the conference, including the head of delegation, ambassador John Duncan.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on relations between Equatorial Guinea and the United Kingdom of the abduction and imprisonment of Simon Mann by that country. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 February 2008]: The UK has limited bilateral contact with Equatorial Guinea. The removal of Simon Mann to that country has increased our contact with Equatorial Guinean authorities, as we have sought consular access to Mr. Mann and made representations as to his welfare.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in discussions with his Chinese counterpart on the (a) political and (b) humanitarian situation in Darfur. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agreed with Chinese Premier Wen, when they met in Beijing in January, that they would work together to advance both political talks and deployment of the UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur. Since then my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has discussed the issues further with Premier Wen and Chinese State Councillor Tang, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang in advance of his own visit to China on 27 February.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, my noble Friend the Minister of State for the UN, Africa and Asia, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, and other ministerial colleagues and officials have also raised these points with the Chinese Special Envoy for Africa during the Envoys visit last week to London, and in particular have encouraged him to urge restraint on all sides during his forthcoming talks in Khartoum and N'Djamena.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish the detailed comments passed on by Ann Taylor to John Scarlett on the draft dossier on Iraq on 19 September 2002 which were referred to in evidence to the Hutton inquiry (ISC/3/0003). 
Edward Miliband: The Cabinet Office has no record of any written comments passed on by Ann Taylor to John Scarlett on the draft dossier. John Scarlett held a meeting with Ann Taylor on 19 September 2002 to brief her about the contents of the draft dossier. This briefing was given to her in her capacity as Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps his Department is taking to support the work of women's refuges and crisis centres in (a) Skelmersdale and (b) in England. 
There is a range of support for victims of domestic violence. Some victims will be accommodated in refuges, but sanctuary schemes and mainstream local authority accommodation may be an option for others, while some victims will pursue independent solutions with help and advice from support schemes as necessary. In 2006-07, over £61 million of Supporting People funding was used to provide housing related support for victims of domestic violence in England. Services are commissioned by top-tier local authorities to meet local needs. As such Government collect no data on the level of support in Skelmersdale itself. However, our records indicate that in 2006-07 Lancashire county council spent over £1.2 million to provide housing related support for victims of domestic violence.
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