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The NSB estimates the number of UK nationals who have entered Seychelles as residents in the period 2000-2008 as follows:

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2008 (5 November 2008)


The figures provided by the NSB on the number of UK residents entering Seychelles are for all residents, including work permit holders and dual nationals returning from the UK to Seychelles to visit. UK nationals rarely seek citizenship in Seychelles and would likely number single figures.

Somalia: Ethiopia

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects on Somalia of the continuing Ethiopian presence in that country. [203908]

Gillian Merron: Ethiopia intervened in Somalia, at the invitation of the Transitional Federal Government, in December 2006, to counter the perceived threat from increasing militancy within the Islamic courts. The military defeat of the Islamic courts led to the establishment of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia in Asmara by some the political leaders of the Islamic courts. Its more militant elements have since engaged in an insurgency against the Ethiopian forces and the Transitional Federal Government.

Following UN brokered talks in Djibouti beginning in May 2008, the Transitional Federal Government and the majority element of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia signed an agreement on the cessation of armed confrontation on 19 August 2008. On 26 October, the parties to the Djibouti Agreement held further talks, which agreed the date for the cessation of armed confrontation to begin on 5 November 2008. They also set in motion the requirement for Ethiopia to withdraw its troops within 120 days.

The Government support the Djibouti Agreement as the first opportunity for many years for Somalis to bring lasting stability to their country.

Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the role of Mr. Ahmad Harun in (a) the Oversight Committee joint UN-AU hybrid operation in Darfur and (b) the joint National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement committee; and if he will make a statement. [213370]

David Miliband: Ahmad Harun has a seat on the UN-African Union joint peacekeeping mission Oversight Committee due to his position as State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and is a member of the National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Committee, which leads on political engagement between the two political parties. We are not aware of any
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specific allocation of responsibilities for members of either committee. We have avoided any contact with Mr. Harun.

We have continued to press the Government of Sudan, at all levels, to comply with the International Criminal Court requirements, including during the UN Security Council visit to Sudan in June 2008. I raised the need for Sudan to co-operate with the International Criminal Court most recently in my meeting with Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha on 27 September in New York.

Torture: British Nationality

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government takes to protect British citizens from becoming victims of torture. [216046]

Gillian Merron: The UK is fundamentally opposed to torture and remains one of the most active countries in the world in the fight to eradicate it. In the answer of the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn) on 8 July 2008, Official Report, column 1543W, we described some of the work we carry out in trying to ensure that people of all nationalities, including British nationals, do not become victims of this abhorrent practice.

We provide consular assistance to British nationals abroad, which includes taking an interest in their welfare.
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We take allegations of torture very seriously and, with the permission of the individual concerned, can take up such allegations with the relevant authorities in the host state.

Western Sahara: Human Rights

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 April 2008, Official Report, column 2325W, on Western Sahara: human rights, whether the British ambassador to Morocco discussed the human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara with Moroccan government officials; and when embassy officials visited the occupied Western Sahara in the last two years. [206764]

Gillian Merron: The UK is concerned about the humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara. Our ambassador to Morocco discusses a range of issues relating to Western Sahara with Moroccan officials. The most recent high level discussions took place at the Euro Mediterranean conference in Marseille on 3 November, where my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed a range of issues, including Western Sahara and human rights, with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taieb Fassi Fihri.

Diplomatic staff at our embassy in Rabat visited Western Sahara in October, calling on government officials, local non-governmental organisations and the UN peacekeeping mission to the Western Sahara, MINURSO. I anticipate further such visits in the future.

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