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26 Nov 2008 : Column 1794W—continued

UN World Conference against Racism

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will withdraw from the UN Durban II anti-racism conference in the light of the language used in the draft statement portraying Israel as an enemy of humanity; and if he will make a statement. [239540]

Gillian Merron: The Government have previously expressed their concern at the direction taken by preparations for the Durban Review Conference. A further round of negotiations will take place in January 2009, after which the Government will assess their position. At a recent Preparatory Committee (held in Geneva from 7 to 18 October), the United Kingdom delegation was pro-active in promoting positive language and objecting to contributions from other blocs that we deemed unacceptable, which included language singling out Israel.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on which countries (a) have withdrawn and (b) are considering withdrawal for the
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UN Durban II anti-racism conference due to the language used concerning Israel in the draft statement; and if he will make a statement. [239541]

Gillian Merron: Israel and Canada have formally announced that they would not participate in the Durban Review conference. The United States have not thus far engaged in the process, having walked out of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. France and Denmark have both made public statements expressing concerns about the preparatory process.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the UN on the draft statement for the UN Durban II anti-racism conference; and if he will make a statement. [239542]

Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 12 November. He informed her that the United Kingdom was dissatisfied with preparations for the Durban Review Conference and explained our key concerns. These included how the outcome document would approach challenges to the right to freedom of expression, singling out of Israel, the fight against anti-Semitism and historical issues.

USA: Central Asia

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 878W, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations (1) when the request to provide assistance to the review of American defence and security policy regarding engagement in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area was received; and which part of the United States administration made the request; [236134]

(2) what the projected cost of the UK’s contribution to the American review of defence and security policy in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area is; [236139]

(3) what the (a) names and (b) affiliations are of the 17 members of the UK team to contribute to the review of American defence and security policy in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area; [236137]

(4) when he expects the UK team to begin its work on the American review of defence and security policy in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area; [236138]

(5) what the Government’s objectives are for the review of American defence and security policy in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area; and if he will publish the Government’s contribution; [236136]

(6) what the terms of reference for the review of American defence and security policy in the greater Middle East and Central Asian area are; when it will be concluded; and whether a formal report will be published at the end of the process. [236135]

Gillian Merron: US General David Petraeus established a Central Command (CENTCOM) Assessment Team (CAT) which began on 4 November and is due to conclude in February 2009. Its aim is to conduct a
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comprehensive assessment of the CENTCOM area of operations—which spans the greater Middle East and parts of Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The UK was asked to contribute to the review of American defence and security policy during September 2008. Participation in the review is part of the important bilateral relationship with the US. Some costs are being met by CENTCOM while other costs, including salary, will be covered by individual departments. We will write to the hon. Member separately with details. The UK is a key partner in the ongoing international coalition aiming to bring security and stability to this area. The CAT is an integral part of this effort and the UK therefore has a responsibility to participate.

The UK team is drawn from a range of thematic and geographical experience with two personnel from the FCO, one person from DFID and 14 personnel from the MOD and military. The FCO does not routinely release the names of individuals. The UK team began work in the CAT on 4 November following preparation in Whitehall within the policy and research community.

The UK objective for participation is to share our views, and learn those of others, across a very broad spectrum of issues concerning the provision of security, the rule of law and other issues of current global concern. The UK will contribute to a wide discussion and will not publish their contribution separately.

Western Sahara: Military Exercises

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on joint UK/Morocco military exercises in occupied Western Sahara. [238852]

Bill Rammell: As my right. hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces stated on 13 November, Official Report, column 1301W, the Governments of the UK and Morocco signed a Joint Accord on Technical and Military Co-operation in 1993 under which the two countries conduct bi-lateral military co-operation including training. This arrangement does not specify what facilities are used in Morocco and it does not cover the territory of Western Sahara. The British armed forces do not conduct bi-lateral military activity in Western Sahara whose status is yet to be determined by the UN.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when he plans to answer Question 225596, tabled on 6 October 2008, on language training in his Department; [237453]

(2) when he plans to answer Question 225596, tabled on 6th October 2008, on language training. [238252]

David Miliband: These questions were answered on 26 November.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how long on average Ministers in his Department have taken to answer questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day in the present parliamentary session. [238237]


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David Miliband: To collate this information would incur disproportionate cost. There has been a delay in answering a number of questions during the present session due to administrative error. I and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have apologised individually to hon. and right hon. Members for these delays.

The FCO has upgraded its central system for answering questions, with effect from the start of the new session to ensure that questions are answered in a timely manner, and management information is more readily available.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how long on average his Department has taken to answer letters from hon. Members in the present parliamentary session. [238238]

Gillian Merron: Guidance for Government Departments handling correspondence from hon. and right hon. Members is laid down by the Cabinet Office, who has a set target of 20 working days to reply to routine correspondence.

From our records it is not possible to calculate the average time taken to answer hon. Members’ letters. However, of the 9,452 letters received from 1 November 2007 to 30 September 2008, records indicate that 8,431 letters were answered within the 20-day target.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many questions to his Department for written answer on a named day in the present parliamentary session to date did not receive a substantive reply on the day named. [238239]

David Miliband: To collate this information would incur disproportionate cost. There has been a delay in answering a number of questions during the present session, due to administrative error. I and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have apologised individually to hon. and right hon. Members for these delays.

The FCO has upgraded its central system for answering questions, with effect from the start of the new session to ensure that questions are answered in a timely manner, and management information is more readily available.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many questions to his Department for ordinary written answer did not receive an answer within one working week of the date of tabling in the present parliamentary session to date. [238240]

David Miliband: To collate this information would incur disproportionate cost. There has been a delay in answering a number of questions during the present session, due to administrative error. I and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have apologised individually to hon. and right hon. Members for these delays.

The FCO has upgraded its central system for answering questions, with effect from the start of the new session to ensure that questions are answered in a timely manner, and management information is more readily available.


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Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day Ministers in his Department have answered in the present parliamentary session. [238241]

David Miliband: Ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have answered more than 3,800 Parliamentary Questions for either ordinary written answer or written answer on a named day in the present Session. It is not possible to give an exact figure without incurring disproportionate cost. The FCO has upgraded its central system for answering Questions, with effect from the start of the new session, to ensure that Questions are answered in a timely manner, and management information is more readily available.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to answer Question 225600, tabled on 6th October 2008, on reception of visiting dignitaries. [238253]

David Miliband: This question was answered on 26 November

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to answer Question 225598, tabled on 6th October 2008, on Government hospitality. [238254]

David Miliband: This question was answered on 26 November.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to answer Question 228919, on departmental security, tabled on 16 October 2008. [239019]

Gillian Merron: This question was answered on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 747W.

Zimbabwe: Sanctions

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the EU Common Position on Zimbabwe will next be reviewed; and what his policy is on (a) strengthening the Common Position and (b) including new restrictive measures. [236393]

David Miliband: We regularly review the EU Common Position on Zimbabwe with EU partners and will do so again before Christmas. In those discussions we will consider strengthening the EU Common Position including the addition of new restrictive measures. The EU is committed to supporting the establishment of a new government that reflects the democratic will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the 29 March elections.

International Development

Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress is being made by the Stabilisation Unit in Afghanistan on wealth creation projects. [237627]


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Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Stabilisation Unit provides civilian experts to the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Helmand Province, and through them has responsibility for ensuring the delivery of major components of the UK’s effort in Helmand. Licit wealth creation is a priority for the PRT.

Providing security is probably the single most important factor in enabling economic growth and wealth creation. So, for example, we have seen considerable growth in the volume of trade in District Centre bazaars when they come under the control of the Government of Afghanistan.

More directly supporting wealth creation, the PRT is working with the Government of Afghanistan to:

We assess that Helmand has made the first small steps in the sustainable transition to a economy driven by licit activity.

Afghanistan: Power Stations

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on what fuel the main generators of power plants in Afghanistan are run. [238662]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Diesel.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the geographical location is of the main generating power plants in Afghanistan; what their output is; and how far their supply extends. [238663]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Afghan Energy Information Center, supported by USAID, lists 18 Hydro power plants with a combined generating capacity of 263MW, 15 Thermal energy plants with a generating capacity of 88MW and 13 sources from which energy is imported from neighbouring countries capable of supplying a further 296MW. The individual locations and generating capacities are shown in the following table.

Although total generating capacity is over 600MW the actual output is estimated to be around 400MW. There is no national grid system and distribution is limited to individuals and businesses that are located in the major cities or close to sources of power generation.


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Power Plant Type Installed Capacity (MW)

Baharak Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.2

Faizabad Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.25

Pul-e- Khumri Hydro Plant 1

Hydro

4.8

Pule Khumri Hydro Plant II

Hydro

9.0

Jabal Saraj Hydro Plant

Hydro

2.2

Charikar Hydro Plant

Hydro

2.4

Istalif Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.2

Ghorband Micro Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.3

Asadabad Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.7

Darunta Hydro Plant

Hydro

11.5

Naghlu Hydro Plant

Hydro

100

Mahipar Hydro Plant

Hydro

66

Sarobi Hydro Plant

Hydro

26

Chak-e-Wardak Hydro Plant

Hydro

3.3

Baba Wali Hydro Plant

Hydro

0.25

Kajakai 1 Hydro Plant

Hydro

16.5

Kajaki 3 Hydro Plant

Hydro

16.5

Gereshk Hydro Plant

Hydro

2.4

Total Hydro

263

Aybak

Thermal

1.68

Sugar Factory I

Thermal

1.31

Sugar Factory II

Thermal

1.66

Gulbahar Thermal Plant

Thermal

2.80

NW/ Kabul 3

Thermal

22.00

NW/ Kabul 4

Thermal

23.00

Kabul Diesel Gen

Thermal

11.69

Urgun

Thermal

0.82

Khost

Thermal

0.96

Qalat

Thermal

3.40

Ghazni

Thermal

1.60

Trink Kot

Thermal

1.00

Kandahar

Thermal

11.90

Lashkar Gah

Thermal

3.00

Musa Qala

Thermal

0.85

Total Thermal

88

Kunduz (Tajikistan)

Import

25.6

Mazar-e-Sharif (Uzbekistan)

Import

25.6

Sar-e-Pul (Turkmenistan)

Import

12.8

Jarqodoq (Turkmenistan)

Import

25.6

Khojadko (Turkmenistan)

Import

2.00

Maimana (Turkmenistan)

Import

25.6

Andkhoy (Turkmenistan)

Import

8.00

Shern Tagab (Turkmenistan)

Import

16.0

Juma Bazar (Turkmenistan)

Import

6.4

Herat City Noor e Jehad (Turkmenistan)

Import

64

Robat Sangi (Turkmenistan)

Import

12.0

Mir Dawood (Iran)

Import

48

Ghorian (Turkmenistan)

Import

24

Total Import

296

Total power generating capacity

646


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