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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take disciplinary action against Rowan Laxton in light of his reported comments concerning Jewish people and Israel; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The staff member concerned has been suspended in accordance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's misconduct procedure and will be subject to disciplinary proceedings. Police inquiries are continuing.
Gillian Merron: In December 2008, my noble Friend the Home Office Minister with responsibility for security and counter terrorism, Lord West of Spithead, met the Somaliland Foreign Affairs representative, Abdilahi Duale, during a visit to Ethiopia. In January 2008, the Minister with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, held discussions in London with the Leader of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin. The then Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells), met Dahir Rayale Kahin in the capital of Somaliland in June 2008.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will introduce a ban on defence equipment sales to Sri Lanka in light of the military offensive by the Sri Lankan government against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: All applications for export licences to Sri Lanka are assessed on a case by case basis against the National and EU Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the circumstances at the time. The Government believe that a robust and transparent UK licensing regime is the best way to control the UK's strategic exports to all destinations. It is our view that the current situation in Sri Lanka would not be improved by the introduction of an embargo on defence equipment.
Since the abrogation of the ceasefire in January 2008 the UK has not issued any licences, either for lethal goods or for other military goods that we judge would prolong or aggravate the internal conflict in Sri Lanka.
Bill Rammell: Much of the reporting on security and humanitarian issues is provided by our high commission in Colombo, which includes staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. Our high commission also works with a number of national and international organisations on the ground. Given the nature of the conflict and limited access to the north of Sri Lanka, it is difficult to obtain reliable independent information of the current situation.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of developments in the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka between 21 January and 29 January 2009. 
Bill Rammell: The recent upsurge of fighting between the government of Sri Lanka and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelaam (LTTE) has worsened the situation for the over 200,000 internally displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka. There are increasing civilian casualties, including women and children. We are increasingly concerned about the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver much needed supplies.
In a statement of 29 January 2009, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed his extreme concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka. He urged both parties to agree an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the (a) progress of and (b) completion date of the inquiry in Thailand into the plane crash in Phuket in September 2007. 
Bill Rammell: According to the Director, Aviation Safety Standards of the Civil Aviation Department in Bangkok, the investigations into the cause of the One Two Go airline crash at Phuket airport on 16 September 2007 are ongoing. It is expected that the report will not be finalised and made public until May 2009 at the earliest.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2009, Official Report, column 893W, on Tony Blair, how much has been paid from the public purse towards the running of the office of Tony Blair as Quartet Representative; what arrangements there are for accounting to Parliament for such expenditure; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Our answer given on 2 February 2009 sets out the Government support to the office of the Quartet Representative. Standard arrangements exist for accounting this expenditure to Parliament.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many incidents of violent crime there were in the Turks and Caicos Islands in each of the last five years. 
|Incidents of violent crime|
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what acreage of land in the Turks and Caicos Islands was designated an environmentally protected area in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008. 
Gillian Merron: There are thirty-three protected areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), in four categories: national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and sites of historic interest. We understand from the TCI Department for Environment and Coastal Resources that in 2006 there was a combined total area of some 78,335 hectares. They do not have figures for 2007 and 2008.
Gillian Merron: The responsibility for immigration in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is delegated to the local government, although we continue to work closely with the TCI government on this issue. We support a programme of co-operation at both official and ministerial level between the TCI government and the Government of Haiti, which we hope will soon be formalised by a memorandum of understanding.
The Department has funded a Regional Maritime Training Coordinator for the Caribbean Overseas Territories, and provided a small patrol craft for training purposes. These will supplement the TCI government's own efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrants, which have included the recent appointment of a change manager for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force's marine branch.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the per capita gross domestic product of the Turks and Caicos Islands was in each of the last five years. 
Gillian Merron: (GDP) per capita calculations for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) come from the TCI government's Department of Economic Planning and Statistics. We cannot confirm the accuracy of these figures and it is not unusual for estimates to be revised after they have been published.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Turks and Caicos Islands government on the conditions in (a) police lock-ups in Providenciales and (b) the prison on Grand Turk. 
Gillian Merron: The Governor has encouraged the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Government to make available the necessary funding for the construction of a new police station in Providenciales, which will include purpose built lock-ups.
The Overseas Territories Prison Reform Coordinator, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has made recommendations to help alleviate the current overcrowding at the prison on Grand Turk, including the completion of a new female wing. These recommendations have been accepted by the TCI Government.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the attack on the Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Caracas on 30 January 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The attacks on Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Caracas are a significant concern. Reports we have received stated that the Synagogue was attacked by 15 to 20 armed men and women who ransacked and desecrated the building. They also broke into the administration area and stole computers containing databases.
Gillian Merron: We are concerned by a number of reports of anti-Semitism in Venezuela in recent weeks, and welcome the meetings that have taken place between the Venezuelan government and the leaders of the Venezuelan Jewish community to discuss the situation.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will answer question 248749, tabled on 15 January 2009, on secondment to support the Quartet Middle East Envoy.