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Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his Department includes military training in its definition of military co-operation in the context of the Madrid Declaration of 1989; 
(3) what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the UKs Permanent Representation to the European Union and (b) the European Commission on military co-operation with China and the Madrid Declaration 1989; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 15 September 2008]: The MODs bilateral programme with the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army is entirely consistent with the Governments policy of seeking to influence, through positive engagement, Chinas emergence as a responsible global player and with key allies policies. Any military training offered is limited in scale and content so that it will not affect the regional strategic balance or enhance the Peoples Liberation Armys capability for internal repression. We keep the use the Peoples Liberation Army makes of MOD-provided training under review and these limited engagements will stop if there is firm evidence that any skills or knowledge we provide have been misused.
The planning for a Chinese officer cadet to attend Sandhurst began in 2006 as part of the MODs overall defence relations and security co-operation programme. China was offered the opportunity to send a cadet to Sandhurst on 13 April 2007 and the officer attended Sandhurst between 9 September 2007 and 8 August 2008. Because the cadets attendance at Sandhurst was consistent with the pan-Whitehall China strategy, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was not made aware of this individual serial in a much wider programme, which was endorsed by officials. However, we have never sought to conceal such engagements. Indeed, I refer to the answers I gave to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) on 29 February 2008, Official Report, columns 2016-20W, and the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) on 6 May 2008,
Official Report, column 840W, which listed foreign students who have attended the Academy since 1997, including the one from China.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not had any recent discussions with representatives of the United Kingdoms Permanent Representation to the European Union or the European Commission about military co-operation with China and the Madrid Declaration 1989.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Boeing-built, designed or supported (a) airborne platforms, (b) aircraft, (c) helicopters and (d) other air systems are (i) in use, (ii) in the process of acquisition or appraisal and (iii) under consideration for use in the three services. 
|Asset||In use||Acquisition/Appraisal||Under consideration|
|(1) Under consideration for the assessment phase of Project HELIX (replacement for Nimrod R1 capability.)|
(2) These helicopters are being converted to a support helicopter configuration and will enter service from late 2009.
(3) I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many United States-built, designed or supported (a) airborne platforms, (b) aircraft, (c) helicopters and (d) other air systems are (i) in use and (ii) under contract for future delivery in the three services. 
|Asset||In use||Future delivery|
|(1) Unmanned aerial vehicle.|
(2) For joint combat aircraft, the MOD has contracted for long lead production materiel as an enabler for its plans to purchase, subject to internal MOD and wider Government approval, three aircraft in early 2009. This purchase is required now to enable participation in joint Operational Test with the United States.
(3) These helicopters are being converted to a support helicopter configuration and will enter service from late 2009.
(4) These were built in the UK by what is now Agusta Westland under licence from Sikorsky.
(5) I am withholding information on the number of weapons held as the disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Further air assets are not included in the table. I am withholding this information as the disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the Royal Military Police first (a) reported to his Department concerns that Land Rovers were deficient vehicles for operational duty and (b) requested replacement armoured vehicles; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Records indicate that the possibility of Royal Military Police units being equipped with better protected vehicles, when required to deploy in advanced positions in operational theatres, was raised in both 1999 and 2003. We have no record of any earlier suggestions of this kind.
A large number of improvements have been introduced to the vehicle fleet in recent years, with the result that commanders now have a greater choice of better protected, more capable vehicles than at any time previously. Royal Military Police personnel have benefited from these improvements as have personnel from all arms and services. There are no current issues relating to better
protected vehicles specifically for the Royal Military Police and we do not have any record of the Royal Military Police submitting an urgent operational requirement for armoured replacements for Land Rovers.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the agenda is for the meeting of the P5 technical laboratories to be hosted by the UK; when the meeting will take place; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: In offering to host a P5 conference between the laboratories of the Nuclear Weapon States, I proposed that it should take place within the current Nuclear non-proliferation treaty review cycle ending in 2010. The UK preference would be to hold the conference in the second half of 2009. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasise that this will be a P5 conference hosted by the UK rather than a UK conference to which our P5 partners are simply invited. My officials are continuing to engage with our P5 partners to ensure the agenda for the conference meets each nations requirements in terms of timing and content. I will keep the House informed of progress.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many single-skin tankers there are in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; what plans there are to replace them; and what the cost to his Department of environmental liability insurance for such tankers was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 September 2008]: There are currently four single-hulled dedicated tankers in-service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) with a further two general replenishment ships that have a tanking capability.
As part of the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme, MOD is in the process of procuring up to six new double-hulled Fleet Tankers. The new Fleet Tankers will replace the dedicated tankers and, along with the two existing Wave class ships, will meet the Royal Navy's future tanking requirements, removing the need to utilise the two general replenishment ships for tanking purposes. We are working alongside four bidders in the next stage of the planned procurement process for the Fleet Tankers; the main investment decision is expected to be made during 2009.
In common with general Government policy, the MOD does not purchase insurance to cover claims arising from environmental accidents: rather, the Department bears the risk of any such claims. These arrangements apply to any incidents, including those that might arise through the use of single-hulled tankers.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Zimbabwean nationals (a) sought asylum in the UK, (b) were granted refugee
status, (c) were allowed to remain in the UK and (d) were removed to Zimbabwe in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 2 July 2008]: The following tables show Zimbabwean principal asylum applications, initial decisions and removals, 2003-07, where available. Initial decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period. Removals do not necessarily relate to refused applications decided in the same period. Destination data for persons removed from the UK have only been collated since 2004, so this information is not available for earlier years. Removal figures only relate to those removed to Zimbabwe and not to other destinations.
Information on asylum is published annually and quarterly. Copies of asylum publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:
|Asylum applications( 1) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, and initial decisions( 2) on applications, 2003 to 2007, nationals of Zimbabwe|
|2003||2004||2005||2006( 3)||2007( 3)|
|n/a = Not applicable.|
(1) Figures rounded to nearest 5, ( = 0, * = 1 or 2).
(2) Information is of initial decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.
(3) Provisional figures.
(4) Humanitarian protection and discretionary leave replaced exceptional leave to remain from 1 April 2003.
(5) Refused on the grounds that the applicant had arrived from a safe third country.
(6) Paragraph 340 of Immigration Rules. For failure to provide evidence to support the asylum claim within a reasonable period, including failure to respond to invitation to interview.
Immigration Research and Statistics
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