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17. Patrick Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a co-ordinated EU response to the international economic situation. 
Caroline Flint: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has regular and comprehensive discussions on the EUs response to the international economic situation with the Chancellor, as well as with other ministerial colleagues. The subject is frequently discussed at Cabinet meetings, and at meetings of the National Economic Council. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor all attended the October European Council, where discussion focused on this area.
Bill Rammell: We remain deeply concerned by Irans deteriorating human rights record. We are particularly concerned by the increasing use of the death penalty including its continued use against juvenile offendersthe seventh confirmed juvenile execution this year took place in October; the draft penal code which would impose mandatory death penalty for apostasy; growing restrictions on freedom of expression and the treatment of minorities including the Baha'i community.
19. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Since the removal of the Saddam regime, foundations have been laid in Iraq for the creation of a society based on full respect for human rights. Adoption of a constitution encompassing human rights principles was a key step forward. A number of areas of concern remain and we monitor the situation closely.
We have a regular dialogue with the Iraqi Government, including through the work done by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clywd) in her role as the Prime Ministers Special Envoy for human rights in Iraq. Through this dialogue we aim to keep human rights high on the Iraqi Government's agenda.
Bill Rammell: The Arab Peace Initiative is important as it offers full normalisation of relations with Israel in exchange for withdrawal from occupied land. We are discussing with all our partners how this can help reinforce the Annapolis talks. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed this in recent weeks with both the Israeli Foreign and Defence Ministers.
Bill Rammell: We are committed to a successful Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2010, and will work to promote consensus around key measures to strengthen the treatys three pillars. These include zero tolerance of proliferation; a clear forward plan on multilateral nuclear disarmament and supporting the right to the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with foreign counterparts on the effects of the sale of small arms; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: I have had no specific discussions limited to small arms. However, at the July 2008 UN Biennial Meeting of States that discussed implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the UK highlighted how illicit trade in these armaments can threaten international peace and security. Separately, the UK is leading international efforts on securing agreement to an Arms Trade treaty that covers all conventional weapons, including small arms. In the run up to consideration of a UK sponsored ATT UN General Assembly resolution, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary recently spoke to a number of his counterparts to seek their support, including the US, Egypt, India and Pakistan.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Afghanistan is one of the Governments top foreign policy priorities. Much is at stake and many challenges remain. But it is important to remember that in recent years we have seen significant political progress. Afghanistan now has a constitution, and a democratically elected President and Parliament. At the local and district level, and with the support of the international community, the Government of Afghanistan continues to work to improve governance structures. Presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections due to take place in 2009 and 2010 will give the Afghan people a further opportunity to shape their Government and express their will about Afghanistans political future. We are working closely with the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to support Afghanistans development.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK Embassy in Beijing made to the Chinese Government following the arrest on 24 August 2008 of the right reverend Bishop Jia, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Zhengding Diocese in Hebei Province. 
Bill Rammell: The UK has raised the case of Bishop Jia Zhiguo with the Chinese authorities at various times in the past, though we have not made representations over his most recent arrest. We have supported the inclusion of Bishop Jia in the list of cases of concern which the EU side will raise during the EU-China human rights dialogue at the end of November. We remain concerned both about Bishop Jias specific case and about the wider issues it raises with regard to religious freedom in China.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of India on incidents of violence towards Christians in Orissa state. 
Bill Rammell: We have expressed our concerns directly with the Indian Government and their representatives. On 1 October, my noble Friend the Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, raised the matter with the Indian high commissioner in London. On 17 October, he also discussed our concerns with Anand Sharma, Indian Minister of External Affairs, and Mohammed Quereshi, chairman of the Minorities Commission in New Delhi. The issue of religious freedom is due to be raised at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue in New Delhi later this year.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Human Rights in Iraq last raised the subject of the persecution of Christians in Mosul with the government of Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Human Rights in Iraq, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd), raised the subject of the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Mosul in a meeting with the Iraqi Minister for Human Rights in Geneva on 15 October 2008. The Minister confirmed that her government was taking this issue very seriously and providing necessary assistance.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British Consulate in Jerusalem provides consular assistance to UK nationals living in Israeli settlements. 
Bill Rammell: The British Consulate General in Jerusalem would provide assistance under our policy to a mono-British national living in an illegal settlement. We would not normally offer support to a dual national if he were within the state of his other nationality, or within an area controlled by that state. We may make an exception to this rule if, having looked at the circumstances of the case, we consider there is a special humanitarian reason for doing so.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a Government representative last visited the displaced persons Roma sites in Kosovo; and what the result of their investigations was. 
Caroline Flint: Department for International Development officials visited the Roma camps in Kosovo in April 2008. Senior representatives from our embassy in Pristina have attended a number of meetings, including one organised by the Roma community itself, and conferences about the situation of the Roma. The last such meeting was on 13 June 2008.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the number of acts of terrorism which have been committed by proscribed armed Palestinian groups in (a) the West Bank and East Jerusalem and (b) Israel in the last 12 months; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the number of acts of violence committed by Palestinians against Israeli civilians in (a) the West Bank and East Jerusalem and (b) Israel in the last 12 months. 
Bill Rammell: The vast majority of attacks against Israeli civilians in the past year have been rocket attacks fired from Gaza at towns in the south of Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has stated that over 1,000 rockets and 1,000 mortars have been fired from Gaza towards Israel since the beginning of 2008. Three Israeli civilians have been killed. We welcome the ceasefire which since June has very significantly reduced the number of these attacks.
According to the Israeli MFA 14 other Israeli civilians have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in Israel since the beginning of this year. And according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) two Israeli civilians have been killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem during 2008.
We do not hold figures for all acts of violence since reporting is inconsistent. The responsibility for individual attacks is difficult to ascribe because rival groups often claim responsibility for individual attacks. However, we believe that the majority of rocket attacks and attacks on the area surrounding the Gaza Strip during 2008 as well as the suicide attack in Dimona were carried out by Hamas. Other significant organisations thought to have launched rockets are Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received reports from the Israeli government on acts of terrorism committed by Israeli settlers and settler organisations in (a) the West Bank and East Jerusalem and (b) Israel in the last 12 months. 
Bill Rammell: We have received no such direct reports from the Israeli government. However we are deeply concerned at the rising number of violent attacksprincipally against Palestinian civilians but also against Israeli military personnelcarried out by Israelis living in illegal settlements. These include reports of rocket attacks against Palestinian villages. The Israeli government, including the Prime Minister, has condemned the violence carried out by the settlers. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised this with Defence Minister Ehud Barak, on 20 October.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of acts of violence which have been committed by Israeli military personnel against Palestinian civilians in (a) the West Bank and East Jerusalem and (b) Israel in the last 12 months. 
Bill Rammell: We have not made an estimate of the total number of acts of violence committed by Israeli military personnel against Palestinian civilians. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) records that between July 2007 and July 2008, 76 Palestinians were killed and 1,200 Palestinians were injured in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a result of incidents directly related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mr. Dai Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the proposal made by the Australian
Government to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee on 15 October 2008 on the global non-proliferation regime in the period running up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2010. 
Bill Rammell: The United Kingdom shares Australias commitment to strengthening the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and to a successful NPT Review Conference in 2010. The Prime Minister has written to Prime Minister Rudd welcoming the establishment of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the appointment of Baroness Williams of Crosby as a Commissioner. We share the objective of making substantive progress on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the position of Palestinians seeking to recover their property inside illegal Israeli settlements from UK residents and companies. 
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British Consulate in Jerusalem has provided guidance to UK nationals living in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories about the risk attached to legal title of property therein. 
Bill Rammell: We have not provided any such advice. We would discourage any British national from purchasing property in a settlement. We consider all settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be illegal under international law and a serious obstacle to peace. Potential purchasers should also consider that a future peace agreement could have consequences for property they purchase in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what records his Department holds of the number of UK nationals who died overseas in each year since 1990, broken down by country of death. 
Gillian Merron: The information requested is extensive. I have written to the hon. Member with an answer to his question, and arranged for a copy of my letter to be placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure the Israeli government allows the EU-Palestinian Interim Association Agreement to operate in full. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Sudan on progress towards the disarmament of militia and other government-affiliated forces in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Government of Sudan committed under the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in 2005 to disarm militia and other government-affiliated forces in Darfur. Not all parties to the conflict signed the DPA and due to the ongoing conflict the DPA has not been fully implemented. We are pressing the Government of Sudan to uphold their commitments under the DPA and to engage fully in the ongoing Darfur peace process. On 27 September, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha in New York to discuss the Darfur peace process, to urge progress on co-operation with the International Criminal Court, and allow the full deployment of the UN-African Union Peacekeeping Mission (UNAMID) for full humanitarian access, and to work for wider political reform in Sudan, including free and fair elections in 2009.
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