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In a matter unrelated to terrorist suspects, the US have informed us that they apprehended pirates on ships in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa and that
these individuals were detained on US Naval vessels pending their delivery to the land of a nation with jurisdiction to try them.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of British ambassadors and high commissioners were educated at (a) a private school, (b) a state school, (c) the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and (d) other universities. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold this data as a matter of course on its employees. The data have been collected in order to answer this question. As at July 2008, two Heads of Mission posts were vacant.
|Educational background of serving Heads of Mission and Governors (by school)|
|Educational background of serving Heads of Mission and Governors (by university)|
These figures relate to the cost of maintaining our embassy, consulate and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development offices in Paris. Our embassy in Paris also undertook essential fire safety work in 2007-08 at a one-off cost of £231,000.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the EU has provided to Israel for fuel and electricity for Gaza in the last 12 months; and whether such payments are made in advance of delivery. 
Dr. Howells: The EU provided €89.5 million in fuel to the Gaza power station over the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008. This funding was provided by the European Commission. All payments were made after the delivery of the fuel took place.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the issue of whaling was raised during his meeting with the Icelandic Foreign Minister on 12 May; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations the Government have made to the Icelandic Government on the possible resumption of whaling in Iceland. 
Meg Munn: When my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met with Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde on 24 April, he raised the whaling issue and explained our view that the whaling industry was doing significant damage to Iceland's international reputation. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also pointed to the significant economic and social benefits from Iceland's growing whale-watching industry and expressed the view that any decision to recommence whaling could seriously undermine those benefits.
I also refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, (Mr. Murphy) gave to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) on 12 June 2008, Official Report, column 436W. As the Minister for Europe's response made clear, he raised whaling with the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Gísladóttir on 12 May.
On 25 June, our ambassador to Iceland published an article in the Icelandic press entitled 'What on earth is the point to whaling'. Although written from a personal view, the article makes clear the UK position on whaling: we strongly support the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling and oppose all forms of whaling, other than limited whaling operations by indigenous people for subsistence purposes, to meet a defined and substantiated need. The article also makes clear the UK's position that neither a domestic nor international market exists for Icelandic whaling products.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 24 June 2008, Official Report, columns 147-8W, on Iran (nuclear programme), what the evidential basis is for his statement that sanctions are having an effect on the Iranian economy; and what effect such sanctions are having. 
David Miliband: There is much anecdotal evidence from sources inside Iran that the financial measures, including asset freezes imposed by UN Security Council resolutions and reinforced by the EU, have affected the Iranian business communitys ability to function effectively in some areas. They have disrupted the international operations of a number of Iranian companies and those Iranian banks named in the sanctions. According to our sources, restrictions on dual use goods have led to difficulties in sourcing spare parts in the Iranian power sector.
Sanctions have also partly contributed to a slowdown in inward foreign investment in the Iranian oil and gas sector. There is now a growing debate inside Iran about the Iranian Governments policies, including on economic management. Internal discontent about the Iranian economy is increasing in the light of accelerating inflation rates (approximately 26 per cent. as at August 2008), unemployment and frequent power cuts. We believe further measures on Iran must remain part of the current twin track diplomatic approach to persuade the Iranian regime that its continued defiance of UN Security Council resolutions will not be cost free.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which members of the Iranian government (a) he and (b) his Ministers have met in the last year; and where each meeting took place. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had three meetings with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, in the last yearin the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2007, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos on 26 January 2008 and in the margins of the Iraq Neighbours Conference in Kuwait on 22 April 2008. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also spoke to Foreign Minister Mottaki by telephone on 26 February 2008. I have also met the Iranian Foreign Minister in the margins of various conferences and meet with the Iranian ambassador occasionally.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the efforts of Brigadier-General Mohammed Reza Naqdi to get round UN sanctions on Iran were, as referred to in Annex 1 of UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (2008). 
David Miliband: Brigadier General Mohammed Reza Naqdi was sanctioned for his role as the head of state anti-smuggling headquarters, engaged in efforts to get round the sanctions imposed by UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747. Iran Daily quoted Naqdi on 23 April 2007 as saying,
after the new round of pressures (that is, sanctions) on Iran we have decided to provide all needs by ourselves and kill the enemys slightest hope of achieving its goals. We are going to take advantage of these opportunities against embargoes.
no seller unveils his customer.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that the applications to enter the UK from the group of Iraqi interpreters, who arrived in Amman, Jordan on 21 April 2008, will be decided before their Jordanian visas expire on 20 July; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Five former interpreters and their families who moved to Amman on 21 April have now arrived in the UK. The other cases are being processed as quickly as possible but clearance procedures have not yet been completed. We are working to secure assurances that the individuals will be granted permission to remain in Jordan until the processing of their cases is completed. The Government will reimburse the cost of extending their visas.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2008, Official Report, column 1826W, on Iraq: asylum, how many of the 422 applications received by the UK Border Agency from Iraqi nationals under the Gateway Protection Programme have been approved. 
Dr. Howells: Applications received from former locally engaged staff for assistance under the Gateway Programme are being processed as quickly as possible. As at July 2008, applications from thirteen former staff and their families had been approved.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2008, Official Report, column 1826W, on Iraq: asylum, against which criterion of the Locally Employed Staff Assistance Scheme the most applications from former Iraqi staff have been rejected. 
Dr. Howells: Not having completed 12 months employment as locally engaged (LE) members of staff was the most common reason why former LE staff who had applied for assistance were subsequently assessed as being ineligible.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2008, Official Report, column 1826W, on Iraq: asylum, how many applications for assistance under the Locally Employed Staff Assistance Scheme have been received from (a) Jordan, (b) Syria, (c) the United Arab Emirates, (d) Bahrain, (e) Kuwait, (f) Lebanon, (g) Canada, (h) Thailand, (i) Germany, (j) Denmark, (k) Sweden, (l) India and (m) the United Kingdom; and how many applications from each country have been approved. 
|(1) Decision pending|
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