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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans the East of England Development Agency has to employ consultants to establish the cost of traffic congestion in the East of England; what the consultants' brief will be; when he expects the consultants to complete their task; and what budget has been provided. 
Mr. McFadden: The East of England Development Agency has commissioned Steer Davies Gleave to undertake a study to establish the impact of transport constraints in the East of England (including congestion) on the regional and national economy.
(a) The quantification of the economic impacts caused by transport constraints in the East of England
(b) An identification of particular areas in the region in which transport constraints are having significant economic impacts
(c) A quantification of the economic benefits that could be derived from addressing-transport constraints.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the most recent accounts were (a) due and (b) filed at Companies House for University Partnerships Limited. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether lower alcohol wines can be imported from the USA and sold in the UK under bilateral agreements; and if he will make a statement. 
The requirements vary according to the type of wine and the region of production. Wines imported into the EU are, in general, subject to the same requirements. However, a number of countries, including the USA, have completed bilateral agreements.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prevalence of the kidnapping of foreign workers in Afghanistan; what impact this has on diplomatic and Department for International Development activities in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Our diplomatic and development staff are protected as much as possible by robust security measures. All
threats, including that of kidnap, are constantly reviewed to ensure our staff have appropriate levels of protection. We try to strike a balance that allows staff to carry out useful work in Afghanistan, while making reasonable provision against the risk of kidnap and other security threats.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens (a) visited and (b) emigrated to Bermuda in each year since 2000, broken down by (i) age and (ii) sex. 
Meg Munn: The Government of Bermuda have provided the following information showing arrivals by British citizens with UK passports who indicated that they were visitors. The data available do not provide a breakdown by age or sex, nor do they indicate the numbers of those choosing to emigrate to Bermuda.
|Number of arrivals|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by senior civil service staff in his Department and its agencies in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
These claims cover travel and subsistence expenses incurred in the course of official business by senior staff based in the United Kingdom within the conditions laid down in Section 8 of the Civil Service Management Code. Expenditure on expenses incurred by senior staff serving overseas is reimbursed locally and not recorded centrally.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received on the alleged detention of members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; what assessment his Department has made of the effect that this may have on the forthcoming municipal elections in Egypt; what discussions (a) he, (b) his officials and (c) UK representatives in Cairo have had with the Government of Egypt on the matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: We are aware of the recent arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members. While my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not raised the issue, UK officials raised the Governments concerns about the arrests with the Egyptian embassy on 27 February 2008. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Egyptian Government through officials in London and Cairo. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) raised a number of the Governments human rights concerns directly with the visiting Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament on 21 January 2008. He also looks forward to these issues being discussed at the forthcoming EU-Egypt political sub-committee established under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Egyptian Government on the smuggling of bomb and rocket- making equipment into Gaza. 
Meg Munn: Arms smuggling into Gaza remains a great concern. The Quadrilateral Committee, which consists of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the US, has been working closely to address the issue of smuggling and border control. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met his Egyptian counterpart, Aboul Gheit, in November 2007 and spoke to him by phone on 19 February to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Egyptian Government on the use of tunnels to smuggle equipment and personnel into Gaza; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Arms smuggling into Gaza remains a great concern. The Quadrilateral Committee, which consists of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the US, has been working closely to address the issue of smuggling and border control. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to his Egyptian counterpart, Aboul Gheit, on 19 February 2008 to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his Written Ministerial Statement of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 105WS, on Heathrow and Gatwick (VIP facilities), what the public subsidy is expected to be in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. 
Meg Munn: Final accounts for 2007-08 are not yet available. We anticipate expenditure of £2.4 million on the VIP suites at London Heathrow and the one facility at London Gatwick. We expect to recover about £1.25 million from diplomatic missions for their private use of these facilities.
On 31 March 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices financial support and operational role in the terminal suites at Heathrow and Gatwick will end. From 1 April BAA will be responsible for covering 100 per cent. of the operating costs and invoicing all customers directly, including diplomatic missions and the FCO. For financial year 2008-09, we have estimated we will need £50,000 to meet the suite costs of that VIPs whom we officially invite to the UK.
The FCO will maintain operational control and financial interest in the royal suite at Heathrow. To cover these costs we have a budget of £0.54 million, of which we expect to recover at least 90 per cent. as full economic recovery charges for private use of this facility by diplomatic missions.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Serbia's co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the detection and arrest of fugitive indictees. 
David Miliband: The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) made an assessment in June 2007 which highlighted some improvement in the level of co-operation from Serbia, such as the establishment of a National Security Council; better access to documents requested by the Prosecutor's office; and co-ordinated action resulting in the arrests of General Tolimir and Vlastimir Dordevic in 2007. Since then, the Serbian government has also offered a €1 million reward for information leading to the capture of Ratko Mladic.
However, the ICTY Chief Prosecutor's latest assessment, delivered in December 2007, was that Serbia had failed to build on this initial progress and was not fully co-operating with the Tribunal. We agree that sustained improvements in co-operation from the Serbian authorities, together with an increased political commitment, are needed in order to locate the remaining fugitive indictees, particularly Mladic and Karadzic. The Government continue to deliver this message to the Serbian Government at every opportunity.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of recent ethnic conflict in Kenya on (a) institutions, (b) social cohesion and (c) infrastructure in Kenya; and if he will make a statement. 
The post-election crisis has had an adverse impact on the economy, social cohesion and public perception of certain institutions in Kenya. We support the recently signed National Accord and on-going reconciliation initiatives. In anticipation of a lasting political settlement that is seen to meet the will of the Kenyan people, donors have begun work on a
needs assessment study to rebuild the country. So far, the Government have provided £2.5 million in humanitarian assistance.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department has (a) offered and (b) provided to help resolve the situation in Kenya; what his most recent assessment of the political situation in Kenya is; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The UK, together with Kenyas other international partners, has strongly supported the mediation mission led by Kofi Annan to broker a power-sharing agreement between President Kibaki and Raila Odinga. We welcome the signing of an agreement by the two sides on 28 February. We consider that it provides a strong foundation on which to bring Kenya back to the path of prosperity, democracy and stability. The imperative is for Kenyas leaders to implement the agreement in full and to build up a sense of national reconciliation. We look forward to working with the new coalition Government, once it has been formed.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take steps at the United Nations in response to the rejection by the President of the Palestinian Authority of the description of Israel as a Jewish state; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take steps at the United Nations in response to the recent comments by the President of the Palestinian Authority on the recognition by Hamas of the state of Israel; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The UK has no plans to respond at the UN. Our policy towards Hamas has not changed. We do not have contact with Hamas. The key to making progress is to swiftly resume negotiations. The policy of the Quartet on talks with Hamas is based on its three principles: recognition of Israel, acceptance of previous agreements and renunciation of violence. These principles 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. However, a political dialogue is impossible as long as one party is dedicated to violence and the destruction of the other.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) his officials and (c) UK representatives in Kathmandu have had with (i) the Government and (ii)
the royal family of Nepal on (A) the December 2007 vote to abolish the monarchy, (B) possible UK assistance for the elections in April 2008 and (C) the position of the Madhesi ethnic group; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The question of the future of the monarchy in Nepal is one which can only be decided by the people of Nepal themselves. The UK has had no discussions with the Government of Nepal on the December 2007 agreement to determine the process for declaring Nepal a republic. Furthermore, the UK has had no discussions with the Nepalese royal family on any of the issues identified by the hon. Member in his question.
The UK has supported the electoral process, for instance through co-funding the Election Commission and supporting education programmes aimed at raising awareness of a Constituent Assembly. We have maintained a comprehensive dialogue with the Government of Nepal and all political parties. I refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Minister for the Middle East, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontopridd (Dr. Howells), gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann), on 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2358W.
The question of Madhesi rights and engagement in the political process has moved sharply up the agenda through the last year following significant disturbances and violent protests across the Terai region. The UK has had a wide-ranging dialogue with the Government of Nepal and officials representing Madhesi parties. I refer the hon. Member to the answer that my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Glenrothes (Mr. MacDougall) on 4 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2358-9W.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) security situation and (b) political stability of Nepal following the 2006 peace accord; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Notwithstanding the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in November 2006, Nepal has continued to see violence, much of which stems from intimidation, abductions and extortion, carried out by groups affiliated to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)). In recent months, widespread violence has resulted in over 170 deaths in the Terai, the southern plains bordering India. The UK has urged the Government of Nepal and all political parties to work towards improving public security. In addition, we have offered assistance on policing and judicial reform issues and encouraged greater recognition of the rule of law.
The CPA cleared the way for a political settlement which saw the formation of an interim Parliament and an interim Government which included Ministers from CPN(M). Although there has been friction, not least when CPN(M) Ministers left Government briefly in 2007, and more recently during negotiations between the Government of Nepal and groups representing the Madhes, the UK hopes elections to a Constituent Assembly will be able to take place on 10 April 2008.
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