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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures he has put in place for the provision of humanitarian aid to the population of North Korea; what discussions he has had with the North Korean government on the implementation of that strategy; and what representations he has made to the United Nations on this matter. 
Mr. Michael Foster: We have not put any measures in place to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea. We continue to monitor the situation and are aware of the joint FAO and World Food programme report issued on 8 December.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department has plans to improve (a) transport links between the United Kingdom and the Pitcairn Islands and (b) facilities for (i) tourism and (ii) healthcare on the Islands; and whether his Department plans to promote investment by businesses on the Islands. 
Mr. Michael Foster: Plans are well advanced to introduce a new passenger and freight shipping service for Pitcairn in 2009. This would make access to the island more frequent and predictable. Tourism development is important for Pitcairns future prosperity. We are considering plans to improve landing facilities, particularly for cruise ship passengers, and will work with the community to help develop more professional tourist services and standards.
We fund through the Pitcairn Government a small loan scheme which some Pitcairners have used to start up tourist and other small businesses. External business interest is more limited but we have encouraged fishing, tourist and trading opportunities where they exist. The DFID funded Adamstown Healthcentre, and expatriate doctor, offer good health services to the community.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to provide targeted assistance in support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees work with Somali refugees in Kenya; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: In November 2006 the UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID) made a grant of US$ 2.29 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for their work with Somali refugees in Kenya. We have no plans at present to provide further direct assistance.
However, DFID is providing core funding of £19 million to UNHCR for its global operations in 2008. In addition, during 2008 UNHCR has received $3.75 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to which the UK is the largest contributor.
The 2009 UN Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Kenya includes a request for $54 million (£36 million) for UNHCR. DFID is exploring whether to make a contribution to this appeal. It is a matter for the UN as to whether Somali refugees in Kenya will be a priority for this funding.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the issues of concern regarding access to St Helena on which his Department is in discussions with the Treasury are; when negotiations are expected to resume; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We announced on 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 40WS, that there will be a pause in negotiations over the St. Helena Airport contract. We anticipate that this pause will continue into the new year. This is to allow ongoing discussions, including on value for money of St. Helena access options; particularly in light of the changed economic climate.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has given to the Nuba region of Sudan in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who will represent the United Kingdom at the meeting called by the French Foreign Minister in Paris on 14 December 2008 to discuss Afghanistan. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 15 December 2008]: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, represented the UK at an informal ministerial meeting on Afghanistan and the region, hosted by the French Foreign Minister in Paris on 14 December 2008.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Burma has had with the UN Secretary General on his forthcoming trip to Burma; and when his visit is scheduled. 
Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary regularly discuss the situation in Burma with the UN Secretary General. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the issue with Ban Ki Moon as recently as 9 December.
The UN Secretary-General announced earlier this month that he would not now be travelling to Burma later this month, because he did not believe the conditions were right. He expressed his frustration at the lack of progress made; called on the regime to respond to the concerns of the international community; and urged all countries with influence to encourage the regime to co-operate with the UN. We share his concerns and echo his call for the international community, and particularly Burma's neighbours, to do more to support his efforts. Should the Secretary-General choose to visit next year he will, of course, have our full support. We continue to believe that the UN Good Offices Mission, and Ban Ki Moon's personal engagement, can have a positive impact on Burma's transition to democracy.
Gillian Merron: In addition to staffing costs, the Forced Marriage Unit has a budget of £273,000 for 2008-09. This budget is used to support work with non-governmental organisations in the UK and overseas, to fund outreach activities, to produce awareness raising materials, and other publications, such as the recent statutory guidance for agencies dealing with forced marriage.
Gillian Merron: In the first three quarters of 2008 the Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support in a total of 1,308 incidences of suspected forced marriage. This included advice to individuals, non-governmental organisations and other agencies on specific cases. Of these 388 required direct support from the Unit, 192 needing consular assistance, and 196 requiring support as reluctant visa sponsors. Prior to 2007 figures were only recorded for cases where assistance was provided. In 2007 the Unit handled 168 cases requiring consular assistance, and 94 reluctant sponsor cases.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what training is provided to embassy staff who negotiate with suspected victims of forced marriage and their families. 
Gillian Merron: All consular staff overseas receive training which includes handling of forced marriage cases. Consular staff being deployed to countries where we commonly see forced marriage cases receive additional briefing and information from the Forced Marriage Unit.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal guidance his Department provides for staff in agencies working outside the UK who deal with suspected cases of forced marriage. 
Gillian Merron: Consular staff overseas can draw on legal guidance from honorary legal advisers in country and from the Foreign and Commonwealth legal advisers in London. Advice can be general or case specific.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had on the preservation of the diversity of wildlife in (a) Montserrat and (b) Bermuda. 
Gillian Merron: Officials have regular discussions with relevant environmental departments and organisations in Montserrat and Bermuda on the preservation of the diversity of wildlife in both territories and on how the UK can help both territories with environmental conservation.
In 2001, the Government signed environment charters with the overseas territories, including with Montserrat and Bermuda. The charters consist of a list of commitments for the Government and individual overseas territory governments to take forward to protect and safeguard the environment of each territory.
The Government provides funding through the Overseas Territories Environment Programme, a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development funded programme to assist territory governments with the implementation of the charters. Assistance is also available through the Darwin Initiative, a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs fund, to support projects to assist territories to protect their biodiversity.
In Montserrat this year, the Governor and his staff have had discussions with the Ministry of Environment about the work they are doing on the preservation of wildlife, flora and fauna. The Governor's Office also liaises closely with UK environmental organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) about the work they are doing with the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture on environmental conservation in Montserrat, and to offer assistance in moving their work forward.
During 2008, the Governor in Bermuda has worked with the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audobon Society, a local charity for the protection of birdlife and habitats, to promote awareness of, and to help protect, Bermuda's diversity of wildlife. The Governor's Office has also hosted fundraising events to fund the purchase of a new reserve for the conservation of Bermuda's biodiversity.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the security situation in the Nigerian city of Jos following the clashes between Muslims and Christians between 29 and 30 November 2008; and what discussions he has had with the Government of Nigeria on this matter. 
Gillian Merron: Following the rioting on 28-30 November 2008, the situation in Jos, Plateau State, remains tense. The Government of Nigeria has taken various measures, including a temporary curfew, to avoid further violence. The Nigerian Inter-Religious Council has held a meeting in Jos under the chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto and Catholic Archbishop John Onaiyekan to help prevent future outbreaks. The Government has had discussions with the Nigerian authorities, both at local and at ministerial level, and will continue to monitor the situation carefully. We will continue to review and update our travel advice to reflect the situation on the ground.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1056-7W, on oil: armed conflict, how much his Department's strategic programme has budgeted for support for the project by the University of Plymouth. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has allocated £314,000 as strategic programme funding for the University of Plymouth crude oil finger-printing project. This breaks down to £85,000 for financial year 2006-07, £100,000 for financial year 2007-08, £114,000 for financial year 2008-09 and £15,000 for financial year 2009-10.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1056-7W, on oil: armed conflict, which international oil companies have contributed technical expertise to the University of Plymouth project. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not aware that the international oil companies have directly contributed technical expertise to the University of Plymouth research as yet. The international oil companies have been invited to contribute to this project and the FCO is lobbying for them to do so.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) UK diplomatic staff there were in Russia and (b) Russian diplomatic staff there were in the UK (i) immediately prior to the expulsion of diplomats in 2007 and (ii) at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Caroline Flint: Immediately prior to the expulsion of diplomats in July 2007, the UK had 78 diplomatic staff in Russia, including temporary staff, while Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) records showed that 77 Russians were notified to the FCO as being posted to the UK with diplomatic rank. At present, the UK has 78 diplomatic staff posted to Russia, while current FCO records show that 72 Russian diplomatic staff are registered in the UK. These figures are subject to routine fluctuation depending on arrivals and departures in posts.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment of (a) UK-Russian relations and (b) EU-Russian relations the Government has carried out since the war in Georgia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Russia is important to achieving UK and EU objectives in many areas, including regional security, energy and climate change. The UK has serious concerns over Russian policy and actions in Georgia, and is supporting multilateral efforts, including through the EU, to broker solutions.
Differences remain unresolved in bilateral relations, including over the Litvinenko case and the British Council's work in Russia, on which we continue to pursue satisfactory outcomes. The Government engage with Russia in pursuit of UK interests, including through high level dialogue. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met Medvedev in the margins of the G20 summit in Washington to discuss the international financial crisis. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met with Foreign Minister Lavrov most recently on 4 December in the margins of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Ministerial in Helsinki.
Although the strong trade and investment relationship between Russian and the UK has been hit by the financial crisis, both the Lord Mayor of London and my noble Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Mandelson have led business delegations to Russian this autumn to promote the interests of British businesses and encourage co-operation between governments on trade and investment. The Government have supported both the From Russia exhibition in London and the Turner exhibition in Moscow.
Our engagement with Russia allows us to express serious concerns about Russian policies as well as to work together with Russia where it is clearly in our interest to do so. The UK believes it is right to pursue a comprehensive and binding successor to the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement which will help the UK and EU partners to build a more stable, long-term relationship with Russia based on the rule of law. However, in order to achieve this, Russia must meet its commitments under the 12 August and 8 September ceasefire agreements in full and work constructively in the Geneva peace talks. The extent to which Russia meets these commitments will determine the pace of development of the EU-Russia relationship, which the EU will keep under close review in light of the EU-Russia Audit.
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