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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether British officials have (a) met and (b) interviewed persons who in 2007 were rendered to Ethiopia for the purposes of interrogation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the budget for the Government Hospitality section of FCO Services (a) was in each of the last five financial years and (b) will be in financial years (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. 
David Miliband: Government Hospitality section has been part of Protocol Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, since July 2007. The Government Hospitality budget for each of the last five financial years has totalled £1.8million. This sum covers the expenditure of Government Hospitality section and the costs of Guest of Government visits to the United Kingdom. The budget for the next two financial years is expected to remain the same.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Israel on the impact of the closure of Gaza upon the humanitarian situation there; and if he will make a statement. 
We have serious concerns about the Israeli restrictions on Gaza and the impact they have on the lives of Gazans. It is vital that both sides seek to reinforce the ceasefire: Hamas by engaging with President Abbas and moving to non-violence and the Quartet Principles; Israel by easing restrictions on life in Gaza. The recent tightening of these restrictions on humanitarian accessas highlighted by the UN Secretary-Generalis of mounting concern and while I welcome the re-opening
of the Kerem Shalom crossing on 24 November, I support his call for Israel to permit the sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza.
David Miliband: BBC World Service programming is available to audiences in Georgia on several platforms in Russian and English. The BBCs Russian service is available on short wave, and there is some limited rebroadcasting of its programmes via local FM partners. Programmes are also available online through the live stream on bbcrussian.com. The BBC has two correspondents in Georgia, one of whom reports in Russian, and an office with studio facilities in Tblisi.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 21 October 2008, Official Report, columns 213-14W, on Georgia: South Ossetia, from which Human Rights Watch report his estimate of the number of Ossetians killed in the conflict was drawn; and what consideration he gave to providing figures compiled by Human Rights Watch estimating the number of Georgians killed. 
Caroline Flint: The Human Rights Watch estimate given in the answer of 21 October was taken from the International Crisis Report No. 195 dated 22 August 2008 entitled Russia vs. Georgia: The Fallout.
We have been unable to obtain any figures compiled by Human Rights Watch estimating the total number of Georgian nationals killed. Rachel Denber, Acting Director of Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia Division in her letter of 10 October to President Mikheil Saakashvili emphasized that Human Rights Watch
do not have the capacity to make a definitive determination of civilian casualties.
this is an area that clearly requires extensive research, as new information could reasonably come to light about deaths not reported previously, people who were assumed dead but were in fact missing and resurface, people who were inadvertently counted twice, and people who die from wounds inflicted during the conflict.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has submitted proposals to the European Commission in respect of (a) European Union financial help for Iceland, (b) support for the Icelandic króna and (c) compensation for EU customers of failed Icelandic banks. 
Caroline Flint: Iceland is a member of the EEA and enjoys free trade with the European Union. It is not a full member of the European Union. The economic and financial situation was on the agenda of the last European Council. The Council expressed its resolve to act in a converted and comprehensive manner to protect the European financial system and depositors; solidarity with the efforts made by Iceland; and its expectation that Iceland would honour its international commitments. I am pleased that the IMF loan agreement for Iceland has been approved. We are continuing to work hard along with the Treasury to resolve the current situation and aim to ensure fair treatment for UK depositors and creditors.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken at EU level to assist Iceland; what support the EU has provided to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: Iceland is a member of the EEA and enjoys free trade with the European Union. It is not a full member of the European Union. The economic and financial situation was on the agenda of the last European Council. The Council expresses its resolve to act in a converted and comprehensive manner to protect the European financial system and depositors; solidarity with the efforts made by Iceland; and its expectation that Iceland would honour its international commitments. I am pleased that the IMF loan agreement for Iceland has been approved. We continue to work hard along with the Treasury to resolve the current situation and aim to ensure fair treatment for UK depositors and creditors.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of relations between the UK and Iceland; and what steps he is taking to improve relations. 
Caroline Flint: Iceland is a European and NATO ally and bilateral relations with the UK are strong. Recent events have inevitably affected the relationship. We are working together to resolve matters in order to move forward as soon as possible.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland visited Reykjavik on 3 November and met the Prime Minister and Acting Foreign Minister. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Icelandic Foreign Minister most recently on 14 November. I met the Icelandic ambassador to London on 27 October. Official level discussions on various aspects of the bilateral relationship are continuing.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received an offer from the Government of Norway to mediate between the United Kingdom and Iceland in discussions regarding the Icelandic banking crisis. 
Caroline Flint: On 3 November, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland held a short discussion with the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, at the latters request. The Norwegian Foreign Minister offered the UK assistance in discussions regarding the Icelandic banking crisis and communication lines have remained open at all levels. The situation has now moved on and the offer has been overtaken.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the incoming US administration on the situation of the Chagos Islanders from the British Indian Ocean Territory with a view to seeking a resolution to the situation to the satisfaction of the Chagosian people. 
Gillian Merron: On 22 October, the House of Lords upheld the validity of the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004. As a consequence of this ruling, the Orders of the Court of Appeal in May 2007 and of the Divisional Court in June 2006 in this regard are set aside. The two Orders in Council for the British Indian Ocean Territory therefore stand and provide that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the Territory unless authorised.
As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear following the judgment, given the Government's continuing need to take into account the issues of defence security of the whole of the Chagos archipelago in order to meet our Treaty obligations to the US and to serve our mutual defence interests and the fact that an independent study came down heavily against the feasibility of lasting resettlement of the outer islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Governments policy will remain that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the Territory unless authorised.
The US authorities have in the past made clear their concerns about the possible restoration of a settled civilian population in the British Indian Ocean Territory and welcomed the judgment of the Law Lords. They have stressed the importance they attach, as we do, to our treaty obligations. The Government therefore have no plans to raise this issue with the new US Administration.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office arranged and funded a visit for a small group of Chagossians now resident in Crawley to visit Diego Garcia and the outer islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory from 15 to 22 November. As with other similar visits, this is being carried out in full consultation with, and the co-operation of the US.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Indian government on the human rights of the Dalit peoples in India. 
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any recent discussions with the Indian Government on the human rights of the Dalits in India. However, my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN (Lord Malloch-Brown) discussed Dalit issues with representatives of the International
Dalit Solidarity Network on 22 October. Officials at our high commission in Delhi also have regular discussions on minority rights (including Dalit rights) with the Government of India at central and state levels. They have held discussions with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and with various state level authorities, drawing their attention to British parliamentary and public concerns.
The last round of the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue took place in New Delhi on 15 February. During the meeting, the EU presidency and Ministry of External Affairs officials discussed issues including minority rights, with specific reference to caste issues. It is that hoped the next EU-India Human Rights Dialogue will take place before the end of the year. We have asked for minority rights to be included on the agenda.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what decisions were made at the 13 November 2008 meeting of the political directors of the United States, France, Great Britain, China and Russia on (a) sanctions and (b) negotiations with Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The political directors from the E3+3(UK, France, Germany, US, China and Russia) and a representative for the EU High Representative met in Paris on 13 November to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue. This meeting followed UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1835 on 27 September which reaffirmed the importance of the dual-track approach. The meeting allowed the participants to review the current situation and to discuss both tracks. We have made clear to Iran that our offer of dialogue the demands of successive UNSCRs we will pursue further sanctions, in line with the dual-track policy.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his Department made of the (a) amount and (b) value of refined petroleum products sold to Iran by companies registered in the UK or with headquarters on UK territory in the three most recent financial years for which figures are available. 
Trade statistics are usually published on a calendar year basis. Data are not collected for the foreign activities of UK companies. HM Revenue and Customs Overseas Trade Statistics gives the following figures for exports from the United Kingdom to Iran of refined petroleum products.
|UK exports to Iran (SITC 334)|
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since January 2007 the Government has received notification that the Central Bank of Iran and Iranian
commercial banks have requested that their names be removed from financial transactions which involved UK financial institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
Discussions with international partners have repeatedly highlighted the risk of deceptive practices by Iran in support of proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, including stripping Iranian names from transactions to hide Irans involvement. The UK Government are aware of this threat and shares these concerns. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual notifications.
EU Regulation 1110/2008, concerning restrictive measures against Iran, which took effect throughout the EU this month applies a series of financial vigilance measures to all transactions involving Iranian financial institutions. These measures will guard against deceptive practicesincluding that of stripping Iranian names from transactions.
In addition, the EC Regulation on Wire Transfers (1781/2006) assists in accurately identifying the sources of such transfers by requiring that transfers of funds sent or received by a payment service provider in the EC shall be accompanied by complete information on the payer-name, address (or other identifier) and account number (or unique identifier allowing the payment to be traced back to the payer).
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy was on the inclusion of Iran on the agenda of the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting of 10 to 11 November 2008; whether any discussion of Iran took place at that meeting; and when he expects EU foreign ministers to meet to discuss Iran. 
David Miliband: Iran was not formally discussed at the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting of 10 and 11 November, though Iran is regularly discussed in the margins. However, we welcomed Council Regulation (EC) No. 1110/2008 of 10 November 2008, which was agreed at the GAERC, implementing UN sanctions resolution 1803 on Iran. The next meeting of the GAERC is scheduled for 8 December though the agenda for that meeting has yet to be finalised. Going forward we will be looking to the EU to enhance measures already in place against Iran and will aim to build further consensus for coordinated measures in support of the UN as required by the Council Conclusions of 14 December 2007.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Iranian engineers who have received training in nuclear sciences in Russia; and what assessment he has made of the Russian Federations compliance with the requirement in UN Security Council Resolution 1737 on the prevention of specialised teaching or training of Iranian nationals in sensitive nuclear disciplines. 
David Miliband: UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006) prohibits the transfer of materials, equipment, goods and technology to Iran if they would contribute to enrichment-related, or reprocessing, or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. But the Resolution provides an exemption for the supply of equipment for light water reactors and for the technical support or training relating to such a reactor. Since passage of the Resolution, we understand that a substantial number of Iranians have been trained in Russia in preparation for working at the Bushehr Light Water Reactor, but we are unable to confirm a precise number.
The UN Sanctions Committee established by UNSCR 1737 oversees member states implementation of the measures adopted. While we too continue to monitor implementation, the Committees reports have not cited any breaches by the Russian Federation of UN sanctions against Iran.
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