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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department has issued to British nationals of Bangladeshi origin intending to travel to Bangladesh. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department will hold discussions on the resumption of the exchange programme of Belarus children from the Chernobyl area with the Ambassador of Belarus. 
Caroline Flint: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials meet with the ambassador of Belarus on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues, including, as appropriate, the programme of visits by Belarus children from the Chernobyl area. Our ambassador to Belarus has been in close contact with the authorities in Minsk in recent weeks, raising our concerns about the decision to suspend these programmes. UK arrangements have worked well, with a high standard of care and safe return of the children to their guardians. We hope to find an amicable resolution of the issue to allow the resumption of these programmes.
All British Council country directors receive regular, professional, in-house training on finance and business risk management. In addition, the British
Council has introduced a new fraud detection component into its training for country directors.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with UN Security Council counterparts on the UN Secretary General's visit to Burma in December 2008 and his objectives for the visit, including specific benchmarks that the military regime must meet. 
Bill Rammell: We have regular discussions with our Security Council partners and other influential countries on how best to support the UN Secretary General's efforts to break the current deadlock in Burma. Most recently my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Burma with world leaders at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing on 24 and 25 October. He also spoke directly to the UN Secretary General about Burma on the 23 October. Should Ban Ki Moon decide to visit Burma, he would have our full support.
The UN Security Council set clear objectives for progress in Burma in its Presidential Statement of 11 October 2007, which it reaffirmed unanimously in May this year. These demands include the early release of all political prisoners, the start of genuine and inclusive dialogue with the opposition and ethnic groups, and full co-operation with the UN.
|(1) Approximate data and subject to change.|
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department (a) has made and (b) plans to make to other countries to seek to ensure the number of signatories to the moratorium for the death penalty increases at this year's United Nations General Assembly. 
Gillian Merron: Last year's ground breaking United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions was a huge achievement. We want to secure another successful resolution on the death penalty at this year's General Assembly, and we are currently working to increase the number of signatories to the resolution by assisting the EU presidency in a lobbying campaign in New York and relevant capitals.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether a date has been set for the next session of the UK-China human rights dialogue; and whether it will take place before the end of 2008. 
Bill Rammell: A date has not yet been set for the next round of the UK-China human rights dialogue. We continue to press the Chinese to agree dates as soon as possible. The human rights dialogue is one element of our multi-layered approach to China human rights. It offers us a way to discuss our human rights concerns in detail. We continue to pursue the other elements of high-level political messaging, and project work to support practical human rights progress on the ground.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what public diplomacy work on climate change is undertaken by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) work on climate change is part of concerted cross-Whitehall activity to achieve Public Service Agreement (PSA) 27 on Leading the Global Effort to avoid dangerous climate change. We work with partners across the public, private and non-governmental organisations (NGO) sectors in the UK and overseas, making extensive use of our network of posts. Our specific contribution, as identified in the PSA, is to build the necessary social, economic and political conditions and mobilising key constituencies to influence the major emitters.
Our work is directed to mobilising a global shift to the low carbon economy and creating the right political climate for an ambitious international deal on climate
change at Copenhagen at the end of 2009. To achieve this, we need to convince key decision makers and opinion formers across the world that: taking urgent action on climate change is in their national economic and security interests; it is essential if we are to achieve the millennium development goals; and globally there exist sufficient resources and the right technology to succeed.
Public diplomacy efforts at priority posts (including the US, Canada, Australia, China and India) are focused in particular on the themes of prosperity, security and equity and are targeted at a wide range of opinion formers, including government, business and civil society. We are working closely with the British Council and other partners across government as well as with key groupings such as the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). We also raised these issues at ministerial level as appropriate.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his (a) Czech and (b) Austrian counterpart on ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. 
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have regular contact with our EU counterparts in other member states. These discussions include a wide range of bilateral, European and international issues.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of allegations that Rwandan forces are involved in the fighting in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: There have been reports of Rwandan forces in North Kivu, but we have no firm evidence to confirm these. During the recent fighting, UN observers reported that shots had been fired across the border between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda in both directions.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the number of abductions and attacks against civilians by the Lord's Resistance Army along the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic borders; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have carried out numerous attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), south Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) in recent months. It is difficult to obtain an accurate number of all abductions and attacks which have occurred, as there are several armed groups operating in the region.
The LRA are currently more active in the DRC than they are in the rest of the region. Attacks against Congolese civilians have been taking place continually since 17 September, in at least 10 different locations north of Dungo. The DRC armed forces have commenced an operation to contain the LRA with the support of UN peace keepers.
In southern Sudan, the last reported LRA attack took place on 17 September in Sakure Payam. A number of inhabitants were abducted and at least two people were killed. South Sudan is also affected by refugees fleeing areas due to LRA attacks. Although there have been fewer attacks in south Sudan, the LRA remain a continuing source of insecurity.
Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Tanzania from 1-2 November with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner. During meetings with President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Kagame of Rwanda, he stressed the need to pursue a political solution to the problems of the eastern DRC, including full implementation the Nairobi Accord.
My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, participated in the Nairobi Summit on 7 November. We welcome the outcome of the Summit which established a follow-up mechanism to drive implementation of the Nairobi Communiqué and Goma Accord, which offer a political solution to the problems of the region. Regional leaders also endorsed former President Obasanjo as UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes with a mandate to lead this follow-up work.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of reports that the Congolese army co-operates with the FDLR; and what discussions he has had with Congolese authorities on the continued operations of the FDLR in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Gillian Merron: We believe there has been on-going co-operation between the Congolese army and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) for some time. The UK and EU partners continue to raise the issue with the Congolese authorities, pressing them to end co-operation and abide by United Nation Security Council Resolution 1804 and their commitments under the Nairobi Communiqué.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Rwandan Government on the provision of arms and supplies to rebel military forces operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last three years; and what representations are planned. 
Gillian Merron: The Minister maintains a regular and close dialogue with the Government of Rwanda on all aspects of regional security under the terms of the memorandum of Understanding signed between the UK and the Government of Rwanda in 2006. This includes the issue of the provision of arms and supplies to military forces operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised these issues when he visited Kigali on 1 November.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of reports that members of the armed forces in Democratic Republic of Congo have been involved in serious human rights abuses in recent weeks; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: We are deeply concerned about the level of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Major human rights abuses are committed by the state security agents as well as militia groups and other actors. We continue to lobby the DRC Government on this issue and push for improved defence, police and justice reform to ensure that the Congolese army protects the population and country rather than being a source of destabilisation and fear.
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