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15 Sep 2008 : Column 2187Wcontinued
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria are used to determine whether Israeli representation is relevant in particular working groups established by the EU-Israel Association Council; and in which working groups such representation is considered relevant. 
Dr. Howells: Under the auspices of the EU/Israel Association Council, on 16 June, a broad range of areas for closer engagement was identified, as set out in the Association Council statement. Israel will be represented in working groups in the areas established by the Association Council.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at what stage in its development he expects hon. Members to have the opportunity to scrutinise the next European Neighbourhood Action Plan regarding the EU-Israel Association Council; and if he will take steps to ensure that such an opportunity is provided before the action plan is agreed at EU level. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The current EU-Israel Action Plan has been rolled over for a further year. The EU/Israel Association Council will seek to agree a successor to this action plan in early 2009.
The existing 12 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) country action plans have been agreed between the European Commission and ENP partner countries and are reviewed periodically by the EU through the publication of EU country progress reports prepared by the Commission, most recently in April 2008.
Hon. Members scrutinise the overarching Association Agreements between the EU and partner countries, as these cover areas of mixed competence. As ENP action plans, which are neither legal texts nor international agreements, are drawn up by the Commission on the mandate given to them by the member states, hon. Members do not have the opportunity to scrutinise the plans, although the progress reports are subject to scrutiny.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent to which settlement products have benefited from the mutual trade concessions agreed between EU and Israel for agricultural products, processed agricultural products or fisheries. 
Dr. Howells: It has been brought to our attention that goods from illegal Israeli settlements may be entering the UK under false pretences and without paying the correct customs duties. We have discussed this issue with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian General Delegation in London and non-governmental organisations. We take this issue seriously and have alerted HM Revenue and Customs to it so that it can take appropriate action.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent to which products from the Palestinian Territories exported through Israel have benefited from the mutual trade concessions agreed between the EU and Israel for agricultural products, processed agricultural products or fisheries. 
Dr. Howells: Palestinian goods from the Palestinian Territories benefit from preferential customs arrangements through the EU-Palestinian Interim Association Agreement. However, obstacles to movement are such that virtually no produce has been imported in this way.
We take seriously reports that agricultural products produced on illegal settlements in the West Bank are exported via Israel with the goods documented as Israeli, so benefiting from the EU-Israel agreement.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of proposals for an EU-Israel Association Council Sub-Committee on Human Rights; what agreement has been reached on its (a) constitution, (b) membership, (c) powers, (d) remit and (e) proposed frequency of meetings; whether external organisations will be permitted to provide evidence of alleged human rights abuses to the Sub-Committee; whether the proceedings of the Sub-Committee will be published; whether its findings on human rights abuses will be reported to the Association Council; and in what ways the Sub-Committee will differ from the informal Working Group on Human Rights. 
The EU proposed to upgrade the current Human Rights working group into a formal political sub-committee at the EU-Israel Association Council of 16 June. There has been no formal response from Israel.
The exact structure, operating procedures and reporting policy require the agreement of both parties.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues were discussed at the EU-Israel Association Council's informal working group on human rights on 30 April 2008; what the outcomes of the meeting were; and whether the group recommended specific actions on the Government of Israel's part. 
Dr. Howells: The informal working group on human rights, on 30 April, discussed a wide range of the EU's concerns with Israel's human rights record. To encourage a full and frank discussion of the issues, a public record of the meeting and its outcomes is not released.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of Israeli law with EU and international law in the areas of (a) torture and (b) the territorial boundaries of Israel in the context of the proposals made at the eighth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council on EU-Israel relations. 
Dr. Howells: The UK abides by its commitments under international law, including the UN Convention Against Torture, and expects all other countries to comply with their international obligations.
We have made it clear that we consider settlement building anywhere in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, as illegal under international law and that we are deeply concerned by recent announcements of plans and tenders for settlement building.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the 80 Israeli students who have received scholarships under the Erasmus Mundus exchange programme, how many were of (a) Jewish, (b) Arab and (c) Druze ethnicity; and how many were from institutions wholly or partly located in settlements in (i) East Jerusalem and (ii) the West Bank. 
Dr. Howells: The Erasmus Mundus exchange programme is a scheme run by the European Commission. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold any information on the participants in this programme.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's budget is for expenditure in Kosovo on (a) embassy staff and other operational costs, (b) support for the British Council, (c) technical assistance to the (i) government of Kosovo and (ii) non-governmental organisations working in Kosovo, (d) budgetary support for (A) the government of Kosovo and (B) non-governmental bodies working in Kosovo, (e) support for (1) UNMIK, (2) EULEX, (3) ICO, (4) OSCE and (5) other international bodies and (f) other costs in the 2008-09 financial year. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) budget for expenditure is £1.1 million on embassy staff and other operational costs and around £200,000 on support for the British Council in the 2008-09 financial year. Technical assistance to the Kosovo Government is provided through a combination of FCO bilateral funding, project activities under the joint FCO/Department for International Development/Ministry of Defence Conflict Prevention Pool and the FCO's Strategic Programme Fund. The total budgets for expenditure for these three funds in the 2008-09 financial year are: £76,000; up to £3.8 million; and £110,000 respectively. Our work with non-governmental organisations in Kosovo is also funded from the Conflict Prevention Pool and the Strategic Programme Fund. The FCO does not provide budgetary support for the government of Kosovo and non-governmental bodies working in Kosovo.
The UN Mission in Kosovo's approved budget for the 2008-09 financial year is US$198 million, of which the UK's contribution is 7.9 per cent. or US$14.8 million (around £7.4 million). The EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo's (EULEX) approved commitment appropriation for calendar year 2008 is €140 million, of which the UK's contribution is 17 per cent. or €23.8 million (around £18.9 million). The actual amount spent on EULEX in 2008-09 will not be known until the end of the financial year. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo's (OMIK) approved budget for calendar year 2008 is just over €30 million, of which the UK's contribution is 11.09 per cent. or €3.3 million (around £2.6 million). The budget for calendar year 2009 is yet to be approved but in UK financial year 2007-08, the UK contribution to OMIK was €3.7 million. We would not expect this level to be exceeded in 2008-09.
We have provisionally budgeted for a total of 76 UK secondees to EULEX in 2008-09 at an estimated cost of £5.3 million and for a total of five UK secondees to the International Civilian Organisation at an estimated cost of £377,000. We have one UK secondee to OMIK at a cost of around £70,000 per annum.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials are based at the UK Embassy in Kosovo; to which departments they are attached; and whether there are any posts unfilled. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Eleven UK-based officials are posted to our embassy in Pristina. All are Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff. There are currently no posts unfilled.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which areas the government of the Republic of Kosovo has requested assistance from his Department in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
We are in regular contact with the government of Kosovo, both bilaterally through our embassy in Pristina and in appropriate multilateral
forums. We have provided extensive advice and assistance on a range of issues over the last 12 months including in areas such as Government accountability, international co-operation and co-ordination, rule of law, stability and conflict prevention, and jobs and growth. We continue to support the Government of Kosovo they build the strong institutions it will need to achieve the stability and prosperity all her people deserve.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British personnel are seconded to or otherwise engaged with (a) UNMIK, (b) EULEX, (c) ICO and (d) each other international body in Kosovo; and what role each is undertaking. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: As of July 2008,46 UK police officers were serving with the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). 24 contracted UK staff members were serving with UNMTK and performing the following roles:
2 international prosecutors;
senior legal officer;
Head of the Penal Management Division;
senior Civil Affairs officer;
2 Civil Affairs officers;
Chief telecommunications engineer;
Political Affairs officer;
Public Information officer;
Five security officers;
Interpreter / Translator;
Chief of Administrative Services;
Support officer; and
27 UK police officers will transfer from UNMIK to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) where they will be joined by another six officers. As at July 2008,
there were 18 seconded and 33 contracted UK staff members serving with EULEX.
The seconded staff had the following roles:
Deputy Head of EULEX;
Chief Reporting officer;
Security, Economic Management / Penal Administration expert;
Customs Law Enforcement advisor;
Senior Security Information analyst;
Police Liaison officer (Brussels-based);
Legal Advisor, Legal Policy and Legislation Unit;
Criminal Judge, District Court;
Legal officer, District Court;
3 Court recorders;
Deputy Chief Programme manager;
Public Outreach officer;
Policy officer; and
International secretary to the Head of EULEX.
We do not hold details of the roles performed by contracted UK staff.
There were three seconded and one contracted UK staff members serving with the International Civilian Office (ICO) and performing the roles below at the time:
Head of the ICO's Mitrovica office;
Head of the Press and Public Affairs Division;
EU Co-ordinator and Political Adviser to the EU Special Representative (Brussels-based); and
Human Resources officer.
As of July 2008, there was one seconded UK staff member serving with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo (OMIK) as Head of the Regional Centre to OMIK in Mitrovica.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the legal basis is of the (a) UNMIK, (b) EULEX and (c) ICO missions in Kosovo; and how long each lasts. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244 (1999) authorises the UN Secretary-General, with the assistance of relevant international organisations, to establish an international civilian presence in Kosovo and authorises that presence to maintain civil law and order, including through the deployment of international police personnel. The UN Mission in Kososvo (UNMIK) continues to operate under this legal basis. The provisions of UNSCR 1244 (1999) remain in place until the Security Council decides otherwise.
The EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) has deployed to Kosovo in response to an invitation from the Government in Kosovo for a police and rule of law mission in accordance with the UN Special Envoy's Comprehensive Settlement Proposal. EULEX is established under Title V of the Treaty on European Union. In co-operation with UNMIK, EULEX will take on part of the role envisaged in UNSCR 1244 (1999) for the international civilian presence and it accordingly also draws upon the authority of that resolution. The European Council's Joint Action 2008/124/CFSP of 4 February 2008, which established EULEX, states that the European Council shall evaluate, not later than six months after the start of the operational phase, whether EULEX should be extended.
The International Civilian Office (ICO) operates on the basis of an invitation from the Government of Kosovo in accordance with the UN Special Envoy's Comprehensive Settlement Proposal. The Proposal provides for a review of the ICO's operations after two years.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's policy objectives are for its engagement with the Republic of Kosovo. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overall policy objective is a stable, prosperous, multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo committed to the rule of law, which has implemented the UN Special Envoy's Comprehensive Settlement Proposal and is making progress towards the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
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