|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has (a) received from and (b) made to the Government of Kosovo on implementation of the deployment of the EULEX mission in Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: I discussed deployment of the European Union's Rule of Law mission, EULEX, among other matters, with Kosovo's President, Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci in Pristina on 5 November and again in London on 20 November. The Prime Minister joined the meeting in London on the 20 November and the Kosovan leadership also met the Minister for Europe.
In all these meetings, the President and Prime Minister expressed their commitment to full deployment of EULEX. Despite deep concerns about some of the UN proposed transitional arrangements, they remain committed to take account of the concerns of Kosovo's Serbian community and to building Kosovo as a multi-ethnic community. I made clear the UK's full support for the deployment of EULEX throughout Kosovo, a point which was reinforced by the Minister for Europe.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for the deployment of the EU's Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo of the recent decision by the government of Kosovo to reject the six point plan drawn up by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. 
David Miliband: Despite deep concerns about some of the UN proposed transitional arrangements, the Kosovan government has made clear its commitment to work with the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and to take into account the views of Serb and other minority communities.
The UN's latest quarterly report on UNMIK (S/2008/692) duly notes the concerns in Pristina and undertakes continuously to consult and co-ordinate with Pristina on the implementations of transitional measures. We are confident EULEX deployment should therefore proceed throughout the territory of Kosovo.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of the provision of language training to members of his Department was in each of the last 10 financial years. 
|Financial year||Amount (£)|
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold official statistics on the number of UK citizens who have visited Madagascar for each of the last five years. Approximate figures, sourced from the Malagasy Ministry of the Environment, Forestry and Tourism website are as follows:
|Number of UK citizens|
Gillian Merron: My right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions about the possibility of re-opening a British Embassy in Madagascar. British interests in Madagascar are managed by our non-resident Ambassador (based in Port Louis, Mauritius), supported by two Honorary Consuls in Madagascar. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will open a British Interests Section in Madagascar, based in the German Embassy, by the end of this month to help support the High Commission in Port Louis in its work.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to governments in the Middle East on anti-Semitism; what response was received in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The UK condemns anti-Semitism, along with any incitement to hatred and violence. We have consistently called on all parties in the Middle East to do everything possible to desist from such incitement and to curb extremism.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has developed a strategy for promoting the presence of UK academic and cultural institutions in the middle east; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The British Council works across the middle east to promote UK academic and cultural exchanges through strong local partnerships. The British Council's strategy focuses on the delivery of high impact programmes in English, education, social development and intercultural dialogue which meet the expectations of UK stakeholders and the needs of the region.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to his Department was of each defence section in each (a) city and (b) country outside the UK in each year since 2000. 
Gillian Merron: The estimated total cost for defence attachés at overseas posts in the financial year 2007-08 was £15 million including both direct and indirect costs. A breakdown of this cost is set out in a table which will be placed in the Library. As part of a transition arrangement we agreed to cap the costs recovered for defence attachés at £10.5 million for 2008-09 and £12 million for each of the subsequent two financial years.
Prior to 2007, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) tasked the defence attaché network to help deliver FCO objectives. As a consequence, the FCO did not recover the costs it spent on defence attachés and it is therefore not possible to provide the cost of each individual defence section.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 228W, on Morocco: Western Sahara, when he was informed that the European Parliament had obtained a legal opinion that the agreement would not be in accordance with international law; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: With regard to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 228W, on Morocco fisheries. The European Parliament did not communicate to the UK any legal opinion they obtained about the EUMorocco Fisheries Agreement. As legal opinion is provided in confidence, it would be inappropriate for Her Majestys Government to offer any comment on such opinion.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will encourage the Nepalese authorities to give the right to settle in Nepal to those Tibetans presently resident in Nepal but without a registration card. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with UN counterparts on the international trade in stolen Nigerian oil; and what proposals the Government has put forward to reduce the trade. 
Gillian Merron: Our High Commission in Abuja participates in a series of working groups with international partners, including the UN, to discuss possible approaches to the problem of oil bunkering in Nigeria. These possible approaches include oil-fingerprinting, metering of oil to improve production statistics and the use of electronic bills of lading. The UK also uses the forum of the Gulf of Guinea Energy Security Strategy (GGESS) to press Nigeria to improve its own capability to address the problem. The UK is currently supporting the development of Joint Maritime Security Training Centre with the Nigerian Armed Forces, which aims to improve Nigeria's capacity to patrol in-shore in the Niger Delta region and therefore enhance security.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will task officials in his Department with studying lessons learned from counter-piracy operations in the Straits of Malacca in 2005 for application to the situation in the Gulf of Aden; and what discussions his Department has had with the Governments of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on the matter. 
David Miliband: The regional agreement between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to coordinate law enforcement in the Malacca Straits established a joint mechanism for tackling piracy which is widely regarded as a success. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sponsored a series of conferences on Security, Safety and Environment of the Malacca Straits with the engagement of the regional states which examined the high incidence of piracy in these waters. The UK along with other principal users of the Straits (USA and Japan) offered technical assistance to the littoral states to help combat piracy. But the key to success was these states' willingness to cooperate and ability to police the waters effectively.
There are significant differences between the situation in the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca. Efforts to counter piracy are obstructed by the lack of governance in Somalia which allows piracy to grow unchecked, the vastly larger geographical area and the habit of Somali pirates to hijack ships bringing them in to port for ransom, rather than rob them at sea. But without a functioning government in Somalia, no lasting solution will be reached.
Cooperation was important in the Malacca Straits. The UK has made it clear that Operation Atalanta, the forthcoming ESDP maritime operation, needs to be closely co-ordinated with other multinational forces currently in the Gulf of Aden, notably CTF150 and NATO.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on (a) focus groups and (b) opinion polls in each year since 1997-98; how much he estimates will be spent on each category in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: This information is not held centrally, as there is no dedicated account for expenditure on any of these activities. Individual budgets would need to identify relevant expenditure to obtain a total for the Department, and this could be done only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which his Department is responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. 
Gillian Merron: During the last 12 months (for the period 2007 to October 2008) there have been fewer than five reported complaints of racial abuse in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Further details cannot be given on the grounds of confidentiality.
The FCO has a Dignity at Work policy and a dedicated Bullying and Harassment policy on its internal intranet. Changes to human resources policies are notified to staff through staff circulars. The FCO regularly consults with and involves its employee groups on how we can ensure we are promoting equality of opportunity and addressing discrimination in line with both our overall diversity and inclusion strategy. Two-way meetings between employee groups and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary are held as part of a wider regular dialogue with employee groups.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 688W, on rendition, whether the Customs and Daily Occurrence Logs or the General Declarations which cover the period when the two cases of rendition occurred were examined at any stage prior to their destruction for the purposes of determining the veracity of claims that Diego Garcia had been used in the US rendition programme. 
We have no record of the flight records having being examined for these purposes prior to their destruction. Previous records searches, for instance preceding my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's statements to Parliament on rendition in 2005 focused on the question of whether the US had ever requested the use of a UK territory or airspace for the purposes of rendition. We cannot determine whether searches of specific flight records held on Diego Garcia were conducted at that time, or whether the records covering 2002 still existed at that point.
David Miliband: The BBC World Services operations in Russia provide the Russian audience with trusted, high quality current affairs programmes and new media services. BBC Russian is a distinctive public service, and is a World Service priority language service. It is the second largest language service in the World Service both in terms of budget and radio programming. It is essential that it remains relevant and maximises its audience impact by the appropriate means (e.g. through a more focused streamlined news delivery on radio and an increased online presence). That is why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office supported the recent changes that will assist BBC Russia in its mission to be the most trusted and influential international news provider in Russia.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff at the British Embassy in Moscow are employed to work on correspondence; and what the average response time to written correspondence has been in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by the British Embassy in Moscow on (a) newspapers, magazines and periodicals and (b) stationery in each of the last five years. 
|Financial year||Expenditure (£)|
|(1) To date|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|