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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received of claims by the government of Colombia concerning financial support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia by the government of Venezuela; what assessment he has made of such claims; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We are aware of these allegations. Clearly it would be a matter of concern if any country were supporting a terrorist organisation, wherever that was and whatever form that support took. Therefore it is encouraging that Rio Group members reiterated on 7 March their
commitment to fighting the security threats to all states from the activities undertaken by irregular groups and criminal organisations, in particular those with ties to drug trafficking activities.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports his Department has received of claims that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were planning to be involved in or were involved in black market transactions of uranium; what assessment he has made of such claims; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what reports his Department has received of claims by the Colombian Government of a uranium seizure on 26 March 2008; what assessment he has made of such claims; and if he will make a statement. 
We are aware of the Colombian Government's statement that they have come into the possession of information suggesting that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been seeking
to obtain uranium. We are also aware of the recent reporting on this matter, including the Colombian military's capture of uranium, in the international press. We would be greatly concerned if the FARC, a terrorist organisation proscribed by the EU, were involved in the procurement of radioactive material. We will monitor this situation closely.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the (a) nature and (b) activity of the Bundu dia Kongo in the Bas-Congo province of Democratic Republic of the Congo; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Bundu dia Kongo is a politico-religious movement established to represent the ethnic Kongo population in western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the wider region. It provides cultural and educational support and a political voice for its members. However, elements within the Bundu dia Kongo have become militant and turned to violent means to further their cause. The Bundu dia Kongo poses unacceptable challenges to some state institutions in the DRC.
The Government support the statement issued by the EU on 17 March 2008, which called for the authority of the state to be upheld and for talks between the DRC Government and Bundu dia Kongo's political leaders. We wish to see multi-party democracy with space for the opposition in the DRC, underpinned by the rule of law and effective institutions.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the level of activity by United Nations peacekeeping personnel in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the inception of the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The UN maintains a permanent office in Matadi, the provincial capital of Bas Congo, and has a peace keeping presence in the province as part of its mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Additional peace keepers have deployed to Bas Congo following outbreaks of violence in the province in January and February 2007. The UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the DRC called for a peaceful resolution to violence in the province in February 2008. In March 2008 the UN deployed peace keepers and military observers to protect the civilian population in Bas Congo, assess events in the province and support the local authorities.
The UN faces significant challenges in maintaining peace in the Bas Congo province. Violence has occurred in various locations across the province and transporting troops is difficult because of the weak local infrastructure. The UN mission has commitments across the DRC, particularly in the east of the country, which have to be met to prevent a return to conflict.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received of political action in the Bas-Congo region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 19 March 2008; what assessment he has made of (a) such reports and (b) the number of casualties; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The violence which took place in the Bas Congo province in early 2008 is under investigation by the UN. A report is expected in due course. It has not yet been possible to determine reliably the number of casualties either of the violence on 19 March or of the clashes in Bas Congo in 2008 overall.
I am concerned by the violence seen since January in Bas Congo. The development of democratic governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) depends on representation of diverse political views, tolerance of opposition, respect for human rights and effective and accountable state institutions. I support the recent EU statement on events in the province, which called for the authority of the state to be upheld and for talks between the DRC Government and the political leaders of the Bundu dia Kongo, whose members have clashed with the Congolese security forces.
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not keep a central record of amounts spent on publicity and advertising. The information required to answer this question could only be obtained by requiring individual budget holders in the FCO to examine all invoices for the required year. This could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to protecting the health, welfare and productivity of its staff. Our occupational stress policy provides guidance for staff and managers on recognising and dealing with stress and on reducing the causes of stress in the workplace. We provide further support through a team of welfare officers, referral to our occupational health service and access to a 24/7 confidential Employee Assistance Programme.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's staff took more than (a) five, (b) 10, (c) 15, (d) 20, (e) 25, (f) 30, (g) 35 and (h) 40 days leave due to stress in each of the last five years, broken down by pay grade. 
Meg Munn: We are unable to provide a breakdown of figures for staff in each grade who took stress-related leave in each of the categories requested by the hon. Member. The numbers in each category would be so small that they risk exposing the individuals concerned to the risk of being identified.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what targets his Department has set in relation to its employment of people with disabilities over the next five years. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, along with other central Government Departments, has agreed with the Cabinet Office targets for the percentage of employees in the senior management structure (SMS), senior civil service equivalent, who have declared a disability. The current SMS target is 3.2 per cent. by April 2008. No targets have currently been set for beyond this period: the employment of people who have declared a disability is one of several diversity issues to be discussed and agreed with the Cabinet Office for action after April 2008.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries are classified by his Department as (a) fragile and (b) failing states; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government have had contacts with Hamas in the past 12 months as part of consular efforts to secure the release of kidnapped journalist Alan Johnson only. All contact with Hamas ceased on Mr Johnson's release.
The Government have had no contact with Hezbollah in the last 12 months. The UK's policy on contacts with Hezbollah's political wing is based on our assessment of their behaviour and our judgment of whether such contacts would encourage them to move
away from violence and play a constructive role in Lebanese politics. We continue to call on Hezbollah to abide by all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in particular Resolutions 1701 and 1559, including by disarmament and peaceful participation in Lebanese politics.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK has taken to comply with the new sanctions provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1803 on Iran. 
The UK Border Agency and HM Treasury have added the individuals and entities listed in the resolution to their consolidated UK lists of individuals and entities subject to travel bans and assets freezes.
Through Common Positions 2007/140/CFSP and 2001/246/CFSP the EU has already banned the supply of goods and technology listed by the Security Council in Resolution 1803 (2008) to Iran, as well as export credit insurance for trade concerning the supply of items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime lists.
The Security Council has called upon all states to exercise vigilance over the activities of all banks domiciled in Iran, in particular Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, and their branches and subsidiaries abroad. On 4 March 2008 HM Treasury published a notice on its website alerting the UK financial sector to this provision. The notice is available at:
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