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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department uses Royal Mail as the primary company for sending its post, parcels and packages. 
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each year since 1997-98; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there has been any nugatory cost to his Department and its agencies relating to tendered procurement where the tender process has been cancelled prior to the award of the contract in the last three years. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold information on aborted tenders centrally. As budgets are devolved to each individual FCO Department and Mission overseas, the information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1407W, on departmental reorganisation, what the projected net operating costs in support of his Department's four strategic priorities are for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2009-10. 
David Miliband: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) eight departmental strategic objectives were only adopted for the present comprehensive spending review period. The net operating costs for the FCO's 10 SR04 strategic priorities in 2007-08 were published in the Consolidated Statements of Operating Costs by Aim and Objectives (Strategic Priorities) schedule to the 2007-08 Resource Accounts (HC 614), which has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
The nature of the FCO business means that funding is allocated geographically rather than by departmental strategic objectives. Therefore it is not possible to provide a full answer on the basis requested. Nevertheless the following strategic programme funding has been agreed for 2008-09 and 2009-10.
|Strategic programme funding||2008-09||2009-10|
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's staff were made redundant as a result of the closure of his Department's language school. 
David Miliband: There were 94 language teaching staff working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) language centre, of which 47 were contract staff not directly employed by the FCO. Four were made compulsorily redundant because they were not British citizens at the time the language school closed and received compulsory early severance/retirement (depending on age).
Ninety were offered redeployment. Of these, 70 chose not to apply for redeployment and agreed to take a severance package. Twenty were redeployed in a generalist capacity. Following a trial period, 10 of these took the severance package; 10 remain in the FCO.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Questions for written answer were tabled to his Department in Session (a) 2002-03, (b) 2003-04, (c) 2004-05, (d) 2005-06, (e) 2006-07 and (f) 2007-08 to date; and how many were (i) answered substantively and (ii) not answered on grounds of disproportionate cost. 
Gillian Merron: Figures for earlier sessions, and for those numbers of questions not answered substantively or not answered on the grounds of disproportionate cost, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has sought legal advice as to whether the use of Diego Garcia by
the US for rendition flights in 2002 contravened the terms of the Exchanges of Notes that govern the United States' usage of the island. 
David Miliband: FCO legal advisers advised on this issue after we were informed by the US of the 2002 flights in February 2008. We consider that the US Government should have sought permission from the UK before undertaking rendition operations through Diego Garcia.
Secretary Rice has subsequently underlined the firm US understanding that there will be no rendition through the UK, UK airspace or overseas territories without express British Government permission. The US have also stated that, should there be any doubt as to whether an operation falls outside the Exchange of Notes that govern the use of Diego Garcia, then the US Government would consult the UK Government.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK diplomats in overseas posts have been (a) expelled from a host country and (b) recalled following representations from the host country in each of the last five years; and what the reason for the action was in each case. 
Gillian Merron: Four UK diplomats based at our Embassy in Moscow were expelled by the Russian authorities in July 2007. In announcing this decision on 18 July 2007, the Russian Foreign Ministry made it clear that this step was taken in retaliation for the Government's decision to expel four Russian diplomats from the Russian Embassy in London earlier the same week. No other UK diplomats in overseas posts have been expelled from a host country in the past five years.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 17 November 2008, Official Report, columns 192-3W, on diplomatic service: education, if he will bring forward proposals to make the membership of the three selection boards which appoint ambassadors and high commissioners more reflective of the UK population as a whole in their educational background. 
Gillian Merron: Appointments at all levels of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), including for positions represented on the board making the most senior appointments, are made on the basis of merit. Candidates educational background is not taken into account. More broadly, the FCO aspires to represent modern Britain. A range of outreach activities aimed at broadening the diversity of our work force in terms of social, ethnic and educational background are an important part of this process.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking in response to the publication of the draft European Framework Convention on Promoting Tolerance and Combating Intolerance on 10 November 2008. 
Mr. Khan: The Government have noted the document produced by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) to which the hon. Member refers. The Council of Europe already has a range of mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of member states in tackling racism, discrimination and intolerance, including anti-Semitism. These include the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the comments made by the President of the European Council at the EU-Russia Summit in Nice on the contribution to European security of the development of a missile defence system in Europe; what his policy is on the proposal by the President of the European Council for a meeting on European security in 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The UK supports US plans to expand Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) assets in Europe to provide defensive coverage against the potential threat from ballistic missiles. The planned BMD system is not intended for, or capable of, countering Russian strategic nuclear forces. It is designed to counter limited ballistic missile threats from a small number of states of concern.
The UK is always open to discussions on how we can continue to enhance European security. In the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), NATO and the EU we have tried and tested mechanisms that are delivering security in Europe. We must not undermine them. The UK is interested in President Sarkozy's suggestion of convening an OSCE summit to discuss European security, when the conditions are right. It is important that all transatlantic partners take part in any such talks and that they also take into account our broader common values: democracy, human rights and rule of law, as well as our existing commitments.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the current estimated value is of the (a) wine and (b) other alcoholic drinks held in storage by the British Embassy in (i) Paris, (ii) Berlin, (iii) Madrid, (iv) Brussels, (v) Rome and (vi) Dublin. 
Caroline Flint: The value of wine and other alcoholic drinks held in storage at our embassies in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Brussels, Rome and Dublin is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the running costs of the British Embassy in (a) Paris, (b) Berlin, (c) Madrid, (d) Brussels, (e) Rome and (f) Dublin were in each of the last five years. 
|(1) The cost of the British embassy is not separately identifiable from the cost of other UK missions in Brussels.|
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