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Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK Government have regular contact and discussions with the French Government on EU and other foreign policy issues. Our recent discussions have included exchanges of views on Burma, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, Iran and Georgia.
14. Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress in the Middle East peace process; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The obstacles to peace are huge, but the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, under way as part of the Annapolis process, offer the best hope for years of making progress. We, with our international partners, are doing all we can to support this process. On 2 May we co-hosted a series of high level meetings in London to focus on supporting Palestinian institutions.
Meg Munn: Since the elections, elements of the security forces have systematically brutalised ordinary Zimbabweans, with almost 700 people beaten, 6 murdered and over 7,000 people displaced. The majority of Zimbabweans have already rejected Robert Mugabe as President. For any second round to be free and fair, violence must cease and international observers be given access now. We will continue to urge for a UN human rights mission or envoy to investigate abuses.
Meg Munn: More than 700 verified cases of politically motivated violence have been recorded, at least 120 people have been hospitalised and six murdered since 29 March. 7,000 people have been displaced. The UK is supporting the victims of violence through DFIDs aid programme, and continues to press for a UN human rights mission or envoy to visit Zimbabwe to investigate abuses.
Meg Munn: We are very concerned about the grave situation with renewed violence in the Gaza Strip, and the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has been in regular contact with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Fayyad, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and key international figures came to London on 2 May to discuss the situation as well as how we can support Palestinian institutions.
Meg Munn: There has been little movement in the Darfur political process owing to fragmentation among rebel groups and continued violence. The UK has offered further support for international efforts, including a possible meeting in the UK, if that would help revitalise the process. We are exploring the scope for this with the United Nations and African Union, Sudans neighbours and international partners, the Government of Sudan and Darfur movements.
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The non-proliferation treaty is subject to a review cycle, with the next review in 2010. Prior to 2010 the UK will use the NPT Preparatory Committee to take forward work to strengthen the treaty. The UK will promote consensus around key measures encompassing the treatys three pillarszero tolerance of proliferation;
safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology; and reinvigorated commitment to a world free from nuclear weapons.
20. Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he proposes to establish an inquiry into the Governments discharge of its responsibilities in relation to the war in Iraq. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has previously acknowledged the requirement for an inquiry into the military action we undertook in Iraq, and to look at the lessons from our experiences.
Recent visits by my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary have underscored the UKs commitment to promote good governance, strengthen democratic institutions, and combat terrorism. The UK played an active role in the EUs Election Observation Mission in February.
In a January 2007 report, the Personal Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Cuba, Christine Chanet, noted that 59 of the 75 dissidents detained during the spring 2003 opposition crackdown remained in prison. In July 2007 the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation cited 246 cases of political prisoners. Since then, four political prisoners have been released and exiled to Spain.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on carbon offsetting in each of the last three years; and to which companies payments for carbon offsetting have been made in each such year. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to the Governments carbon offsetting programme. In 2006 the FCO spent £200,000 on carbon credits to offset the carbon dioxide, and other emissions, generated by the air travel of Ministers and officials based in the UK in 2004. These credits were bought through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) carbon offset scheme from South African wind developer Genesis ECO-Energy (Pty) Ltd. A further £812,608 has been paid to REEEP to offset the same category of travel undertaken in 2005 and 2006. This will be used to purchase credits in a scheme in a developing country which is also a key climate change partner. Travel undertaken in 2007 will be similarly offset once the level of emissions are known.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to oppose any moves to change the name of the English Channel at the next United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. 
Meg Munn [holding answer 8 May 2008]: The next UN Conference on the Standardisation of Geographical Names is in 2012. The Conference cannot legislate, or pass resolutions, on renaming specific geographical locations. We are unaware of any move to rename the English Channel.
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the correspondence between officials from his Department and the Malaysian authorities concerning the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal. 
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 371W, on Malaysia Military Decorations, on (a) how many occasions and (b) what dates officials from his Department and the Malaysian High Commission met to discuss the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office holds regular bilateral meetings with officials from the Malaysian high commission, as it does with all other embassies and high commissions. The Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal was discussed on a number of occasions, during meetings, by email and on the telephone during the course of 2005. The honours secretary from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office met with officials from the
Malaysian high commission to brief them on the outcome of the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals discussions on 20 December 2005, prior to the decision being made public.
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons there was no correspondence between the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals and the Malaysian authorities prior to the decision by the Committee that British veterans may accept, but not wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal. 
Meg Munn: It is not usual for the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) to enter into correspondence with a country offering a medal to British citizens. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for relations with overseas governments and relays relevant views and factors (such as bilateral relations) to the committee. The HD Committee considers these alongside other issues such as the importance of upholding the rules, which govern the British honours system.
We advise against all travel to some of the Niger Delta States (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers, including Port Harcourt) and riverine areas of the Cross River State. We advise British nationals in these states to leave. Additionally, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Akwa Ibom State. This advice is due to the high risk to individuals of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas.
The FCO does not advise against travel to other areas of Nigeria. However, travellers should be aware of an increase in violent street crime in the south of the country. Demonstrations and outbreaks of localised civil unrest and violence can occur with little notice throughout the country. We continue to keep the security situation in Nigeria under review and update our travel advice accordingly.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent (a) assessment he has made of the intensity of conflict and (b) estimate he has made of the deaths occurring in southern Sudan; and if he will make a statement. 
We are aware of recent clashes in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, one of the three disputed areas along the border between North and South Sudan. These have mostly been small scale inter-tribal skirmishes, but during 24-29 April involved clashes between units of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army
and armed elements of the Misseriya tribe. Reports from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) suggest fighting was localised and calm has since been restored. Reliable casualty figures are hard to ascertain, but UNMIS suggest a total of 31 casualties.
My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development and my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, raised the issue of the disputed border between North and South Sudan during their meetings with the Sudanese Foreign Minister of 28-30 April. They urged the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan to engage with the Assessment and Evaluation Commission as a suitable body to broker a resolution for the border disputes.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Sudan on its (a) treatment of refugees and (b) compliance with UNHCR protocols and commitments. 
Meg Munn: We monitor refugees in Sudan through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who has reported that refugees arriving in Sudan are assessed at one of the recognised refugee camps near Kassala in the border area with Eritrea. Refugees are required to stay in the camps and are not normally granted the right to travel from a designated area. A UNHCR legal team attends any court cases where recognised refugees have been arrested.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the treatment of refugees in Sudan, with particular reference to those from Eritrea. 
Meg Munn: Our officials in Khartoum monitor the status of refugees in Sudan through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to whom we give strong support. As a result of UNHCRs lobbying, the Government of Sudan has set up a committee to revise domestic legislation on asylum.
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