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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the recent statement by the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid on EU-Cuba relations; and if he will make it his policy to (a) support the cessation of EU diplomatic sanctions in respect of Cuba and (b) promote constructive engagement with Cuba. 
The UK is committed to the EU Common Position, which will be reviewed again in June 2008. The UK will continue to monitor events in Cuba and discuss the position with EU partners in the run-up to the review.
Mr. Jim Murphy: We encourage all parties to engage fully with the UNs efforts to achieve a comprehensive Cyprus settlement. A new opportunity now exists to make substantial progress, given the new sense of momentum. This opportunity must be seized. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has already met the new Cypriot Foreign Minister and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has written to President Christofias inviting him to the UK.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the legal personality accorded to the EU under the Treaty of Lisbon will enable the EU to agree defence treaties with third countries. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The EU already has the legal personality to conclude international agreements under Article 24 of the Treaty on the EU. For example, on 10 December 2002, the EU signed an agreement with the Republic of Iceland to enable its participation in the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Lisbon Treaty does not give the EU any new powers to conclude international agreements. Any decision to sign a treaty with defence or security implications would require a decision by the Council acting in unanimity.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether confidential or personal information has been compromised through the loss of property from his Department since 1997. 
Meg Munn: Other than in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on breaches of security. However, following the publication of the Data Handling Procedures in Government: Interim progress Report on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 98WS, all Departments will cover information assurance issues in their annual reports.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department and its agencies spent on first class travel in the last 12 months for which figures are available, broken down by staff grade. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office makes travel arrangements in the most efficient and cost effective way. All official travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the code of management.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of detainees being held on US ships stationed outside the three mile territorial waters of Diego Garcia; and if he will set up a public inquiry into whether there was British involvement in the rendition and detention of prisoners around Diego Garcia or elsewhere. 
Dr. Howells: We have received allegations about detainees being held on US ships stationed outside the three-mile territorial waters of Diego Garcia from a number of interested non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International and Reprieve.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretarys statement to the House on 21 February 2008, Official Report, columns 547-48, outlined new information about two US rendition flights which passed through Diego Garcia. We are working closely with the US on the details and implications of this new information. As part of this work, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are compiling a list of all the flights where we have been alerted to concerns regarding rendition through the UK or our Overseas Territories. We will be seeking the USs specific assurance that none of those flights was used for rendition purposes. In advance of concluding this work, it would be inappropriate to speculate on whether a more formal inquiry is merited.
On 5 March my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, also spoke to Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, about claims that he has evidence the US had detained terrorism suspects on Diego Garcia between 2003 and 2004. The Minister encouraged Mr. Nowak to provide the Government with any evidence he may have regarding these allegations.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will propose the inclusion of (a) holocaust education and (b) anti-Semitism for discussion at the April 2008 Durban II preparatory committee to be held in Geneva. 
Meg Munn: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 330W. The Government takes work on Holocaust education and remembrance very seriously and will seek opportunities with our EU partners to give Holocaust education and remembrance appropriate attention as negotiations continue.
The UK was among a small number of countries that worked hard to ensure that the issue of anti-Semitism was included in the 2001 Declaration and Programme for Action. We will seek to ensure that anti-Semitism receives due attention at the Durban Review Conference.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had with his Portuguese counterpart on the EUs position on Durban II before the 31 August 2007 preparatory committee meeting. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary did not discuss the preparatory process for the Durban Review Conference with his Portuguese counterpart. UK Government officials in Geneva and Brussels continue to engage with other delegations on the preparatory process.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he has received on the potential effects of the merging of the European Communities and the European Union in relation to Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Security and Defence Policy for (a) UK and (b) international law. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Lisbon Treaty replaces the European Community (EC) with the European Union (EU). This simplifies the existing position where there are two bodiesthe EU and the ECby providing that there will be just one bodythe EU. As regards the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Security and Defence Policy, there will be no effect on UK or international law, as these matters are already carried out by the EU.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not received any representations on commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The Government are fully committed to Holocaust remembrance and preserving the legacy of the Holocaust for present and future generations. This means a commitment to both Holocaust Memorial Day, which is marked on 27 January of each year, and to other significant anniversaries, such as the anniversary of Kristallnacht (9-10 November). The Government support the work of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears), represented the Government at the UKs national Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration this year, which took place at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
The Government are also strongly committed to Holocaust remembrance and education in schools, and in February of this year pledged £4.65 million to the Holocaust Educational Trust to help fund two pupils from every sixth form in Britain to visit Auschwitz and participate in the activities of the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations on the training by Iran of (i) Hamas and (ii) Islamic Jihad; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK has serious concerns about Irans role in the region, including its support to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. We have repeatedly raised these issues with the Government of Iran at a senior level and will continue to do so. Continuation of this type of behaviour will only lead to increased isolation for the Iranian regime and greater economic difficulty for the Iranian people.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what payments (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made to Ipsos MORI in the last 24 months; and for what purposes. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Governments strategy for peace in Iraq as referred to by the former Prime Minister on 14 April 2003. 
Dr. Howells: As the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Tony Blair, said in his statement of 14 April 2003, Official Report, columns 615-17, the Governments objective has always been to ensure that Iraq is run by Iraqis for all Iraqis. We have made progress towards this. In January 2005 Iraq held its first ever fully democratic elections, and in December 2005 just over 12 million people (76 per cent. of the electorate) voted in elections that put in place a fully representative Iraqi Parliament and permanent sovereign national Government.
While the security situation in Iraq remains challenging, the transfer of security responsibility for nine provinces to the Iraqi authorities, including all four provinces in southern Iraq which were under British control, demonstrates the significant progress made in building the capability of the Iraqi security forces and the improving conditions on the ground.
We do not underestimate the challenges ahead. Political reconciliation is needed if the recent improvements in security are to be sustainable and it is vital that Iraq fully realises its economic potential for the benefit all Iraqis. That is why we remain committed to fulfilling our obligations and will continue to support the people and Government of Iraq as they forge a future based on reconciliation, democracy, prosperity and security.
Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visas were issued in Pakistan to prospective visitors in all temporary categories between April 2006 and March 2007. 
|Visa category||Applications received||Issued||Refused|
1. Please note that this data is unpublished and should be strictly treated as provisional.
2. Please note that decisions on some of the applications received were made after March 2007, and some of the applications issued/refused were received before April 2006. The working holidaymaker application was withdrawn.
UKVisas central reference system. Date: 13 March 2008
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many male foreign nationals from (a) Pakistan and (b) Bangladesh applied for a marriage visa with the sponsorship of a British woman who was under the age of 21 years in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many marriage visa applications by male foreign nationals from (a) Pakistan and (b) Bangladesh with the sponsorship of a British woman under the age of 21 years were successful in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
(3) what estimate he has made of the number of men from Pakistan or Bangladesh who have applied for (a) two, (b) three and (c) four or more marriage visas each sponsored by a different British woman; and if he will make a statement. 
(4) what estimate he has made of the number of British women who have applied as sponsors for marriage visas for the same man from Pakistan or Bangladesh (a) once, (b) twice, (c) thrice and (d) four or more times; and if he will make a statement. 
(5) how many British women applied as sponsors for marriage visas for (a) one, (b) two, (c) three and (d) four or more men from Pakistan or Bangladesh in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not record such data. Information could only be obtained by examining individual visa application forms and this would incur disproportionate cost.
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