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Cyprus: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the consequences of Turkey assuming the chairmanship of the UN Security Council for the prospects of a settlement in Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. [245224]


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Caroline Flint: The UK looks forward to working with Turkey on the UN Security Council, including as council chair, in its role as an important player in the region for peace and security. This includes on the Cyprus settlement process where the international community expects all key players to play a supportive and constructive role.

Cyprus: Press

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which newspapers and periodicals published in northern Cyprus the UK and its High Commission places advertisements; if he will make it his policy not to place such advertisements in newspapers and periodicals owned by Asil Nadir; and if he will make a statement. [R] [245163]

Caroline Flint: The high commission primarily advertises in KIBRIS and Cyprus Today which are the two best selling and most widely read newspapers in the north. These are both owned by Asil Nadir. We also occasionally advertise in HALKIN SESI.

Cyprus: Trade

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) volume and (b) value of trade passing (i) from north to south Cyprus, (ii) from south to north Cyprus, (iii) from north Cyprus, through Republic of Cyprus ports, to other countries, (iv) from Republic of Cyprus to Turkey and (v) from Turkey to the Republic of Cyprus for (A) the current year and (B) each of the last three years,; what assessment he has made of the obstacles to trade in each case; and if he will make a statement. [245159]

Caroline Flint: The EU publishes annual Green Line reports where this information can be found. Further details can be found at:

Cyprus: Vehicles

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will put in place measures to count the number of (a) persons and (b) vehicles travelling directly to Sovereign Base Area territory from northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. [245050]

Caroline Flint: There are currently no plans to put in place measures to count the number of persons and vehicles travelling directly to the Sovereign Base Area territory from northern Cyprus. However, the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) provide all information at their disposal on the movement of people to the Republic of Cyprus. There is practical co-operation between SBA and Republic of Cyprus officials on a daily basis, and regular meetings between the SBAs, the Republic of Cyprus and the European Commission where information on movement of persons and goods is exchanged.


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Cyprus: Water Supply

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the water shortage in Cyprus and the effectiveness of policy to combat it; and if he will make a statement. [245223]

Caroline Flint: Cyprus is going through its worst water shortage for many years owing to prolonged dry seasons and lower than average rainfall year-on-year. The government of the Republic of Cyprus has looked to counteract this in several ways, including for the short term, imposing restrictions on water usage to conserve the reservoir levels and importing water from Greece. In the longer term, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is looking at the potential of building more desalination plants to convert sea water into drinking water.

It is too early to comment on the potential effectiveness of these policies. The level of drought experienced is unprecedented and can only be remedied in the short term with rainfall.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the additional troops for MONUC authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1843 on 20 November to be deployed. [243155]

Gillian Merron: We aim to secure reinforcements for the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) as quickly as possible, and will continue with our efforts to bring this about, including by lobbying potential troop contributing countries. An adequately-resourced UN peacekeeping mission is essential to ensure long-term humanitarian assistance and military support for political processes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Security Guards

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries have taken the lead in security sector reform in Democratic Republic of Congo; and what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the reforms initiated. [243156]

Gillian Merron: The UK with other donors, including the UN, the EU, EU member states, the US, China and South Africa, has contributed to security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Progress in this area is essential to improving stability and human rights in DRC. Issues affecting security sector reform are complex, and will take time to resolve comprehensively. Much of the work is at an early stage, and it is not yet possible to judge its success. The UK is providing support in a number of areas including through the provision of an extensive security sector accountability programme and assistance to the justice sector.

The DRC authorities have demonstrated commitment to reform in a number of areas. We will continue to press for greater co-ordination of effort particularly to address deficiencies in army administration, to allow the army to function more effectively.


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Departmental Buildings

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what use his Department is currently making of the property at 1 Carlton Gardens; whether negotiations over the lease with the Crown Estate Commissioners have now concluded; and whether the lease will be extended. [245923]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office uses 1 Carlton Gardens for a range of events hosted by ministers and senior officials, as well as other departmental meetings. It is not being used for residential purposes. Negotiations with the Crown Estate are continuing.

Departmental Data Protection

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many civil servants in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for (i) losing and (ii) deliberately disclosing (A) data stored on departmental equipment and (B) confidential information in each year since 1997. [242926]

Gillian Merron: Our records show that since 1997 three members of staff have been investigated, suspended and dismissed for deliberately disclosing confidential information. Our records show that no staff have been suspended or dismissed for losing any data stored on departmental equipment. One member of Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff has been investigated and disciplined for having done so.

Departmental Furniture

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by his Department on furniture made by (a) British firms, (b) Remploy and (c) overseas firms in each year since 2000. [244346]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not have any record of payments made to Remploy in this period. Information about the status of suppliers can be obtained only by examining each supplier record, and it would not be possible to do this without incurring disproportionate cost.

European Union: Civil Servants

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which members of staff of the devolved administrations’ EU offices have been in the UK delegation to (a) Council of Ministers meetings and (b) meetings with Commissioners; what the dates of those meetings were; and which UK Government Ministers were present at each of the Ministerial meetings. [242444]

Caroline Flint: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Gambia

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Gambian authorities on the case of David and Fiona Fulton; and if he will make a statement. [244524]

Gillian Merron: Consular staff in the Gambia have been providing consular assistance to Mr. and Mrs. Fulton and their daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Fulton have been visited several times. They have legal representation and consular staff are in regular contact with their legal representative.

We are making further inquiries in relation to their case, in order to establish whether representations may be appropriate.

India: Pakistan

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of relations between India and Pakistan following events in Mumbai. [243681]

Gillian Merron: This is a sensitive time for the region, following the Mumbai attacks. It will be important for Pakistan and India to co-operate fully to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that this terrible act does not prevent the dialogue between these two countries moving forward. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited New Delhi and Islamabad on 14 December and discussed the issues with Prime Minister Singh and President Zardari. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has also spoken to Foreign Minister Qureshi and External Affairs Minister Mukherjee.

India: Terrorism

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is (a) providing and (b) offering to the authorities in Mumbai in respect of their efforts to identify those responsible for the recent terrorist attack. [244330]

Bill Rammell: A UK police team was deployed to Mumbai to support the UK Government's response to the incident.

We are committed to extending our already close working relationship with the Indian Government to counter the terrorist threat posed to both our countries and have offered all necessary help, including in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

International Relations

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what level of voter turnout is required for elections overseas to be deemed as legitimate by his Department. [243221]

Gillian Merron: The UK participates in Electoral Observation Missions run by the EU, the OSCE and other international organisations. In assessing the validity of an election, these missions take into account a range of factors, including the degree of impartiality shown by the election management body; the degree of freedom
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of political parties; the fairness of access for political parties and others to the media and the conduct of the polling and counting of votes. There is no international standard on levels of voter turnout, but turnout can be an indicator of some of the factors listed above. More information about EU electoral observation missions can be found at:

Japan: British Overseas Citizenship

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British (a) citizens and (b) overseas citizens are registered as living in Japan. [245259]

Bill Rammell: According to figures supplied by the Japanese Ministry of Justice, as of 17 September 2008 there were 17,328 British registered as living in Japan. This figure includes British overseas citizens as the Japanese authorities do not hold separate figures for different types of British citizenship.

Japan: Overseas Visits

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers have visited Japan in the last 12 months on official business. [245290]

Bill Rammell: The information requested is as follows:

Japan: Terrorism

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Japanese counterpart on action against terrorism. [245261]

Bill Rammell: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed international efforts against terrorism in Afghanistan during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Nakasone, on 26 September 2008 in New York. In this context, we welcome the recent Japanese extension of their contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom in the Indian ocean.


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The UK continues to work with Japan (and other partners) within the G8 to counter international terrorism by exchanging ideas and developing best practices in areas such as law enforcement, transport security and capacity building.

Military Aid

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what human rights assessment the Government makes before granting military aid to a foreign government. [244525]

Gillian Merron: Every case is considered individually and kept under constant review. All decisions to provide a country with assistance are taken to encourage adherence to international humanitarian law, or to help address issues of concern. The UK abides by its commitments under international law, including those under international human rights law and expects all countries to comply with their international legal obligations. When providing military equipment, the Government judge all military aid against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Criterion 2 refers specifically to:

The UK would not undertake the export of military equipment if there was a clear risk that it would be used for human rights abuses.


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