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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made since July 2007 of the impact of actions taken by (a) Iran and (b) Syria to support and arm terrorist groups operating against the State of Israel on regional stability and security; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Both Iran and Syria offer support to Palestinian rejectionist groups. Such support undermines the prospects for a just and lasting settlement, in which the two states of Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security. We call on both countries to cease their support for these groups and renounce all links to terrorism.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to support the government of Mahmoud Abbas; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The UK actively supports President Abbas and the Government of the Palestinian Authority. We have made clear our commitment to helping all Palestinians. The UK is engaged in supporting the development of Palestinian security. At the Berlin Conference on 24 June, the UK committed £2.7 million in 2008 and £4.5 million over the next three years to help these efforts. Prior to this, on 2 April, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development announced £32 million to help the Palestinians. This will double our contribution to the Palestinians for 2007-08 to a new total of £63.6 million.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on actions to be taken in response to breaches of the UN arms embargo to Somalia; what consideration he has given to increasing the number of Somali individuals subject to the travel ban and asset freeze as a result of embargo breaches; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that individuals breaching the embargo are (a) identified and (b) subject to punitive measures. 
Meg Munn: The UK takes seriously all allegations of breaches of the UN arms embargo against Somalia. Consistent with relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, most recently UNSC resolution 1814 (2008), the UK fully supports the implementation of targeted measures against those who breach the arms embargo and those who support them in so doing.
At present, there are no targeted measures in support of the embargo. However, the UK is committed to working in the UNSC and in its relevant sanctions committee to strengthen the effectiveness of the arms embargo, including the ongoing consideration of such measures and the individuals and entities to whom they should apply.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take further to restrict the supply of arms to Sudan; and what discussions he is having to this effect at the UN. 
Meg Munn: The UK asked the UN Sanctions Committee of 6 November 2007 to extend its arms embargo on Darfur to all of Sudan, but not all UN Security Council (UNSC) members agreed. Since then, we have raised the issue whenever Sudan has been discussed in the UNSC and elsewhere, for example at the UN/African Union led talks on Darfur in Geneva on 5 June.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the Chairman of the African Union on the progress of peace talks following the fighting on the Djibouti-Eritrea border. 
Meg Munn: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Lord Malloch-Brown, attended the African Union (AU) Summit in Sharm el Sheikh from 30 June to 1 July. At the Summit, my noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown held a number of bilateral meetings with various members and representatives of the AU. As the main focus of the summit and bilateral meetings was Zimbabwe, the opportunity to raise the issue of the Djibouti/Eritrea border did not arise.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on (a) which countries the African Development Bank has experienced the most problems with in
transforming the funding given into successful and long-term projects and (b) how the Bank hopes to resolve these problems, as referred to in his Departments most recent departmental report. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: As a shareholder, the UK receives information from African Development Bank Management on a range of issues including the proportion of problem projects. This information is not broken down by country.
In the last two years, the bank has implemented a series of reforms to improve their ability to provide high quality assistance to African countries. It recognises that it needs to improve further, and specific measures and targets were agreed as part of the African Development Fund replenishment negotiations last year. These are detailed in the African Development Fund Eleventh Replenishment: Deputies Report, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate has been made of the number of Burmese refugees who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries since September 2007, broken down by country. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The most recent figures date from the end of 2007, when the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that the total of Burmese refugees living outside the country was 191,267, located as follows:
|Number of refugees living outside the country|
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of people suffering from famine in Chin state in northwest Burma; and what assistance the Government has given to relief efforts. 
Mr. Malik: Food security in the already vulnerable Chin State dramatically worsened at the end of 2007 and early 2008 due to a rat infestation. The worst affected areas appear to be remote villages in townships along the Indian border in central and southern ChinTahntlang, Matupi and Paletwa townships. Comprehensive figures of the total affected population are not currently available, but the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be undertaking a more thorough assessment of the situation in the coming weeks.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing support of £4 million over four years to UNDP for its national human development initiative, which includes work in all the townships of Chin State. The UNDP has helped villages to rebuild their livelihoods and address food insecurity in affected villages in Paletwa and Tahntlang townships.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of helicopter aid lift for humanitarian operation in Burma; and what steps the Government is taking with its international partners to ensure adequate capability. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: During the second half of June the World Food Programme (WFP) succeeded in bringing 10 helicopters into Burma to support the relief operation. These have facilitated needs assessments and have flown supplies to 60 different locations in the Deltaincluding five that had not previously been reached by any aid.
WFP is currently facing a 50 per cent. shortfall in funding for its whole logistics operation. Agencies are being encouraged to reduce reliance on the air bridge and to build transport costs into forthcoming appeals. We are in close contact with other donors, encouraging them to increase their funding for WFPs logistics appeal. The UK has already contributed £5 million to the overall WFP logistics operation.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the number of visas granted to relief workers by the Burmese authorities to assist those affected by Cyclone Nargis. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We do not know the total number of visas issued to humanitarian workers since Cyclone Nargis, as this information is held within the Burmese Ministry of Social Welfare. However, we have noted a significant increase in the numbers and length of visas being issued to humanitarian workers since the 25 May UN/ASEAN conference. For example, UN staff have been issued with 302 visas in the May to July period, of which 77 have been extended. Department for International Development (DFID) staff have been issued with 19 visas since the cyclone hit.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations his Department has made to the government of China on upholding its commitment to the UN Call to Action on the Millennium Development Goals. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: China signed the Call to Action during the visit of the Prime Minister to China in January 2008. Further discussions on how China would participate in the Call to Action were held by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the UK-China High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue in April.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria his Department has established for projects to be supported through the Civil Society Challenge Fund; in which countries the projects supplied by the funds in 2006-07 were located; what the five projects receiving the most funding were; and what organisations administered each. 
Projects supplied by the funds in 2006-07 were located in the following countries: Afghanistan; Albania; Bangladesh; Bolivia; Bosnia; Brazil; Cambodia; Cameroon; China; Colombia; Democratic Republic of Congo; East Timor; Ecuador; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guatemala; Guyana; India; Indonesia; Kenya; Kiribati; Republic of Kyrgyzstan; Laos; Lebanon; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Republic of Moldova; Mozambique; Namibia; Nepal; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; Palestine; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; Republic of South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Ukraine; Zambia; and Zimbabwe. There were also a number of regional projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
|Project title||Organisation||Country or region||Funding in 2006-07 (£)|
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within Great Britain by representatives of his Department in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The average salary cost incurred by the Department for International Development in employing press and media staff in 2007-08 was £42,728(1)( )per annum (including the employers share of pension and national insurance contributions).
(1) Based on salary rates effective from 1 August 2007
Gillian Merron: Branding and marketing is an integral part of communicating the work of the Department for International Development (DFID) to relevant audiences. Our approach follows the advice of the Government Communications Network which can be found at http://www.comms.gov.uk/. Activity includes implementing development programmes; policy consultation with key stakeholders; raising public awareness of international development; and internal communication. It is not possible to disaggregate figures for spending on this activity from overall budgets without incurring disproportionate cost.
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