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Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likelihood of a referendum in Western Sahara on independence; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 10 September 2008]: The UK continues to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his staff to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self determination of the people of the Western Sahara.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted UNSC resolution 1813 on 30 April 2008 which extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. There are no plans for a referendum to be held in the near future. However, the resolution also called for both sides to maintain their commitment to the ongoing negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. The UK welcomes the four rounds of talks held between the parties and hopes that a further round will be held later this year.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on (a) the EU granting advanced status to Morocco and (b) the political process in the Western Sahara. 
Dr. Howells: The UK welcomes closer co-operation between the EU and Morocco, including the proposal for an advanced status agreement currently under discussion between EU member states, the European Commission and Morocco. These discussions cover a range of issues, including economic and commercial issues, justice and security, regional co-operation, cultural and educational co-operation and human rights. The issue of Western Sahara, while not discussed within the context of the advanced status, remains part of the political dialogue between the EU and Morocco, which will be strengthened as part of the advanced status. Western Sahara will also be discussed as part of the political dialogue at the next Association Council in October.
The UK continues to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute in Western Sahara providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, is best achieved under the auspices of the UN. To this end and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1813 of 30 April, the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his staff and the negotiation process currently underway. We hope a further round of talks will take place later this year.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of Mr. Peter van Walsum's briefing to the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/2006/817 on 16 October 2006, with particular reference to its references to the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: In his report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) of 16 October 2006, Peter van Walsum, the then Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Western Sahara, recommended that both parties
enter into negotiations without preconditions, with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political situation that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
The UK continues to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute in Western Sahara providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, is best achieved under the auspices of the UN. To this end and in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1813 of 30 April, the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his staff and we have called on the parties to engage in the negotiation process currently underway.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The amount of ammunition used by UK forces in Afghanistan between October 2007 and 30 September 2008, the latest date for which data is available, is set out in the following table:
|Type of Ammunition||Total|
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many servicemen have been wounded in Afghanistan as a result of (a) friendly fire, (b) accident and (c) enemy action in each year since 2001. 
For convenience, the figures to 15 September, the latest available, are reproduced in the table. It is not possible to provide confirmed figures separately for
casualties caused by enemy action and blue-on-blue incidents as in a small number of cases it is not possible definitively to determine whether wounds have been caused by enemy, Afghan or coalition forces. Operational accidents, including road traffic incidents, form approximately 23 per cent. of reported casualties.
|Casualties (Very seriously or seriously injured)|
|(1 )To 15 September|
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Chinese nationals fighting alongside the Taliban have been killed or taken into custody as part of UK military operations in Operation Herrick. 
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will hold discussions with his Chinese counterpart on the security of the China-Afghanistan border against (a) drugs, (b) arms and (c) people smuggling. 
Mr. Hutton: We recognise that Afghanistans neighbours have an integral role to play in helping Afghanistan to manage her borders. Given the United Kingdoms engagement in Afghanistan border security is regularly discussed with the Afghan authorities. My predecessor also discussed this among a range of issues relating to Afghanistan with the Deputy Chief of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army General Staff when he met him in June of this year.
Des Browne: As I stated in the answer I gave on 9 June 2008, Official Report, column 66W, to the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. Tyrie), the Ministry of Defence is undertaking a review of its detention records. I will write to the hon. Member when the review has completed.
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question of 10 September 2008, Official Report, column 1806W, concerning UK nationals being detained in Afghanistan.
No individuals with confirmed UK nationality have been detained by UK forces as part of Op HERRICK.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost for fuel for the recently ordered aircraft carriers in the first 12 months of their operation; and what cost of oil per barrel this calculation assumes. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The estimated cost of fuel for 12 months is some £12.5 million. This calculation was based on a marine fuel price of £0.47 per litre which corresponds to a Brent crude oil price of approximately $114.60 per barrel.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is funded from the defence budget, which was detailed to the House in the comprehensive spending review settlement announced by my right hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Defence, on 25 July 2007.
Mr. Hutton: The following table shows the number of UK service personnel deployed on operations by location at 15 September 2008. The number of personnel in theatre will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including leave (rest and recuperation), temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and other factors.
|Number of UK armed forces personnel deployed by location( 1)|
|(1) Countries with 10 or more personnel are shown separately. Other countries with fewer than 10 personnel per country include Georgia, Nepal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia|
(2) Figures for Iraq and Afghanistan have been rounded to the nearest 100 for operational security reasons. Other figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to rounding methods used, the total may not equal the sum of the individual locations.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received on the practice of beasting in the Royal Welsh Regiment; which senior officers (a) have been admonished and (b) are the subject of disciplinary action arising from the practice of beasting in the regiment since 3 July 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No personnel from any of the three Royal Welsh battalions have been admonished or subject to disciplinary action arising from allegations over the practice of beasting in the regiment since 3 July 2006.
Now that the trial of three individuals from the 2(nd) Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment for the manslaughter of Private Gavin Williams on 3 July 2006 has concluded, the Royal Military Police have begun to investigate whether there has been any breach of military law. Once this investigation and any subsequent proceedings have concluded, an Army Board of Inquiry will be held to examine the circumstances surrounding Private Williams death. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.
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