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12 Jan 2009 : Column 374Wcontinued
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in light of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, the European Union has asked Morocco to define its borders. 
Bill Rammell: The European Union has not asked Morocco to define its borders in light of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the compliance of Morocco with UN Security Council resolutions calling for a referendum on self-determination was raised with Morocco in the recent meeting of the EU-Morocco sub-committee on human rights, democracy and governance. 
Bill Rammell: Negotiations under UNHCR 1813 were not discussed at the 8 October EU-Morocco Human Rights Subcommittee meeting. Western Sahara was discussed at the EU Association Council meeting on 13 October.
The UK supports the negotiation process initiated in Manhasset in 2007 to achieve a political outcome to the Western Sahara question and has called on the parties to maintain their commitment to the negotiation process. The UK looks forward to the appointment by the UN Secretary General of a new Personal Envoy to take forward the next round of negotiations.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his Moroccan counterpart the award of the 25th Annual Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award to Aminatou Haidar. 
Bill Rammell: I congratulate Aminatou Haidar on her award. FCO Officials met with her in 2007.
The UK is concerned about the humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara and continues to discuss a range of issues relating to Western Sahara with Morocco.
The British ambassador to Morocco regularly holds discussions with Moroccan officials on Western Sahara. The most recent high level discussions took place at the Euro Mediterranean conference in Marseille on 3 November, where the Foreign Secretary discussed Western Sahara and human rights, with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taieb Fassi Fihri.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens were imprisoned in Pakistan in 2006; and how many such citizens received consular assistance. 
Bill Rammell: The number of British nationals who were imprisoned in Pakistan in 2006 and whose detention was reported to the British high commission in Islamabad or the British deputy high commission in Karachi was 34. We have provided appropriate consular assistance to all of these individuals.
With regard to individuals of dual British/Pakistani nationality, we may only be aware that a dual national has been detained if the detaining authorities inform us of the detention, or allow the person to contact our consular staff. When we do seek access to a detained dual national in the country of their other nationality, that access, and any help we can provide, will depend on the agreement of the other state.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Mr. Rashid Rauf was contacted by consular officials in Pakistan during 2006. 
Bill Rammell: Mr. Rashid Rauf was not contacted by consular officials in Pakistan during 2006. Rashid Rauf is a dual Pakistani/British citizen who was in custody in the country of his other nationality. We do not normally provide consular assistance in these circumstances.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of estimates by the Russian Service of the BBC World Service of the number of Russian internet users able to listen to broadcasts via a broadband internet connection to its website. 
Caroline Flint: Independent research indicates that by the end of 2008 Russia will have overtaken the UK to become the second largest internet market in Europe, with 40.3 million internet users, and that there will be 7.4 million households (14 per cent.) with a broadband connection. These numbers are rising rapidly, and it is expected that in 2012 there will be 59 million internet users in Russia, and 21 million households with broadband access.
All internet users with a broadband connection should be able to listen to BBC Russian Service broadcasts via its website, as should those with dial up/narrowband connections. All audience measurement research used by BBC World Service is carried out by independent agencies.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many hours per week on average there were of (a) news-related and (b) other programming broadcast on the Russian Service of the BBC World Service in (i) the last month, (ii) 1998 and (iii) 1988. 
Caroline Flint: In November 2008, the BBC Russian Service broadcast about 45 hours of live news and current affairs programming on its radio service, per week on average, as well as about 34 hours per week of features and other pre-recorded programming, of which about three hours were original production and the remaining hours repeats. Some of this programming would have incorporated themes from the news and current affairs output.
Comparable figures for 1988 and 1998 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, since 2004, the BBC Russian Service has focused increasingly on strengthening its news and current affairs programming, particularly at key audience listening times, in line with BBC World Service objectives and in order to increase impact with audiences in Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the steps the Russian Service of the BBC World Service has taken to determine the level of support among Russian listeners for an increase in news-related programming on BBC Russia. 
Caroline Flint: All audience and market research used by BBC World Service is carried out independently. Such research shows that audiences turn to BBC World Service primarily for news.
The most recent audience survey carried out in Russia for the BBC found that of all BBC output, news attracts the largest audiences, and that the weekly BBC audiences are especially heavy news consumers. Independently-produced internet audience figures show that the number of users of the BBC Russian Services website increased by over a million in August 2008, at the height of the conflict between Russia and Georgia, to 2.4 million.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of UK citizens who were caught up in the recent blockade of Bangkok's two main airports; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: At this time of year approximately 1,000 British nationals are estimated to fly in to Thailand each day. During the blockade approximately 1,250 stranded British nationals registered with us using our online registration service, LOCATE. By 4 December the information available from the major airlines flying to/from Thailand suggested there were a maximum of 2,000 British nationals in Thailand who remained unable to leave as a result of the disruption. However, many were able to get seats on flights on 5 December, Suvarnabhumi International Airport's first day back at full operation, and over the subsequent weekend.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Thailand. 
Bill Rammell: The political situation in Thailand remains uncertain. The Thai Constitutional Court ruled on 2 December to dissolve three government coalition parties, including the Peoples Power Party, and banned executive members of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai, from politics for five years. The leader of the Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjavija, was elected Prime Minister on 15 December and is in the process of forming a new government. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of further demonstrations and violent unrest. We continue to urge all parties to resolve their differences peacefully, respecting the rule of law and Thailands democratic institutions.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has persuaded the Chinese government to take in respect of Tibet since his announcement on the change of position on the status of Tibet. 
Bill Rammell: I issued a public statement on 24 November following the conclusion of the Tibetan exiles' meeting in Dharamsala, in which I again urged the Chinese government to engage in substantive discussion with the Dalai Lama's representatives, on the proposals put forward by the Tibetan side.
In addition, both I and Simon McDonald, the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy adviser met with Zhu Weiqun the Assistant Minister from the United Front Work Department on 14 November. We made clear the Government's wish for the Chinese government to address the human rights situation in Tibet, through a meaningful system of autonomy.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the outcomes of the eighth round of talks between the representatives of the Chinese government and the Tibetan government-in-exile; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The first session of the special general meeting took place in Dharamsala 17-22 November 2008. In total 560 participants from 19 different countries attended. The meeting agreed a number of recommendations, a summary of these is available at:
I issued a statement on the conclusion of the talks on 24 November. I welcomed the renewed commitment from the Tibetan exile movement to pursue a sustainable solution to the underlying issues in Tibet through dialogue with China and non-violent means. I also said that I believed that some of the proposals put forward by the Tibetan side prior to the last round of dialogue should provide a basis for substantive discussions, focussed initially on identifying points of agreement.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what date has been set for the next round of the UK-China human rights dialogue. 
Bill Rammell: The next round of the UK-China human rights dialogue has been set for 12-13 January 2009.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prospects of Turkey meeting the obligations under the Ankara Protocol before the assessment in 2009 of Turkey's EU accession prospects; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The UK notes that Turkey has not implemented its obligations under the Ankara agreement protocol. Turkey needs to meet all its obligations under the accession process, including on the Ankara protocol, and we regularly urge them to do so as soon as possible. The UK continues to be a strong supporter of Turkey's EU accession process.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the annual budgetary requirement of the UN Cyprus Committee on Missing Persons is; how many sets of human remains of (a) Greek Cypriots and (b) Turkish Cypriots the Committee has (i) recovered, (ii) identified and (iii) returned to relatives; how many sites the Committee has (A) investigated and (B) excavated; how many sites remain to be investigated; how much the Government has provided for the work of the Committee in each of the last four years; which other countries and organisations have provided for in each of the last four years, and how much in each case; if he will consider making further funds available to meet the Committee's budgetary requirements; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The annual budget requirement for 2009 is $3m. So far 466 bodies have been exhumed of which 352 are Greek Cypriot, 104 Turkish Cypriot and 10 sets of remains whose details have yet to be determined.
Of the exhumed bodies, 110 have been identified and returned of which 78 are Greek Cypriot and 32 Turkish Cypriot.
The Committee have excavated more than 200 grave sites, out of which less than half yielded remains. There are no figures for the number of sites which are still to
be investigated - mapping out the grave sites is an ongoing task carried out by both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP).
The level of UK donations over the last four years has been:
|Donors||Status||Date||Amount in currency||Amount in USD( 1)|
|(1) As per UN applicable exchange rate at the time of the donation.|
(2) Donated directly to the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) in Nicosia for CMP-related work.
(3) US$ 50,000 donated directly to the Turkish Cypriot DNA laboratory at Dr. Burhan Nalbantolu Hospital in Nicosia and US$ 50,000 donated directly to the Turkish Cypriots to carry out exhumation in the north.
(4) Contribution to the CMP Project granted as part of the Council Regulation (EC) No 389/2006 establishing an instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2667/2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction, with the agreement of the Turkish Cypriot community.
(5) Donated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) via the United Nations Development ProgrammeAction for Co-operation and Trust (UNDP-ACT) programme in Cyprus. It permitted the construction of the CMP Family Viewing Facility, located next to the CMP anthropological laboratory, inaugurated on 18 March 2008for the second donation, see website of the US embassy in Nicosia
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