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5 Mar 2009 : Column 1745W—continued

Departmental Policy Advisers

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 January 2009, Official Report, columns 598-600W, how many policy positions in his Department were (a) created and (b) deleted in each financial year since 1997. [253963]


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David Miliband: The answer of 28 January 2009, Official Report, columns 598-600W, referred to a centrally co-ordinated exercise to re-deploy staff resource in order to deliver the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) new strategic framework. In addition, all FCO directors routinely keep staffing levels and deployments in their areas under review on an ongoing basis, in the light of changing circumstances and priorities.

Records of the details of these changes since 1997 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Recruitment

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many new employees his Department recruited in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07, (c) 2007-08 and (d) 2008-09; how many he estimates will be recruited in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11; and how many such recruits are (A) permanent, (B) temporary and (C) agency staff in each such year. [254395]

Gillian Merron: The following tables show the number of permanent and temporary employees the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and FCO Services, a trading fund of the FCO, have recruited in the UK in financial years from 2005-06 to 2008-09. They do not include (a) staff recruited locally to work at Posts overseas and (b) agency staff. We could not obtain figures for these without incurring disproportionate cost.

FCO

Permanent employees recruited into FCO Temporary employees recruited into FCO

2005-06

137

44

2006-07

266

55

2007-08

94

51

2008-09

(1)180

51

(1) Of these 90 have come through FCO recruitment processes but have not yet started work at the FCO.

FCO Services

Permanent employees recruited into FCO Services Temporary employees recruited into FCO Services

2005-06

45

16

2006-07

73

11

2007-08

43

19

2008-09

68

10


In 2009-10 the FCO plans to recruit approximately 175 permanent staff in the UK and FCO Services plans to recruit approximately 160.

In 2010-11 the FCO plans to recruit approximately 175 permanent staff in the UK and FCO Services plans to recruit approximately 100.

Guantanamo Bay: Detainees

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2009, Official Report, column 2002W, on detainees: Guantánamo Bay, what the names of the two detainees are; and in which country each was held (a) before and (b) after rendition through Diego Garcia. [260123]


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Bill Rammell [holding answer 2 March 2009]: We are unable to provide further information on this matter other than that given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in his oral statement of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 547. We re-iterate, as said in that statement, that the US government has informed us that neither of these individuals was a British national or a British resident.

India: British Council

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister’s announcement on English—the World’s language on 17 January 2008, how many new master trainers have been recruited by the British Council in India to date; how many will be recruited over the next two years; how much will be spent by the British Council on new master trainers in India in 2008-09; what the budget for the programme is for the next two years; and if he will make a statement. [259140]

Caroline Flint: One of the strategic aims of the British Council’s regional English Language project is to train master teacher-trainers of English in all 28 Indian States. To date professional training has taken place in: West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi State Capital, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu where master-trainers will cascade their learning to teachers across these states. As of March 2009 the programme has trained 1,300 master trainers and learning has been cascaded to 402,000 state school language teachers. Over the next two years a further 1,700 master trainers will be recruited.

Total direct investment by the British Council in 2008-09 will amount to £75,000 and anticipates making a similar contribution in 2009-10 and 2010-11. To date total contributions from the Indian states involved, both cash and in-kind, have amounted to almost £3 for every £1 the British Council has contributed. The British Council anticipates a similar level of support from them in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Iran: Nuclear Power

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the merits of imposing further (a) UN and (b) EU sanctions on Iran in light of Iran's failure to respond to UN Security Council resolutions demanding the suspension of its enrichment-related activities; and if he will make a statement. [260257]

David Miliband: We have supported five UN Security Council resolutions that require Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme and co-operate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA's most recent report makes clear that Iran has done neither.

I strongly urge Iran to comply with these obligations by halting enrichment and engaging with the E3+3. It can then enjoy all the benefits set out in the E3+3's generous offer of June 2008. However, if it continues to refuse to co-operate with the international community we shall do all we can to pursue further sanctions in the UN and the EU.


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Members: Correspondence

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks of 15 December 2008, on Somalia. [256384]

David Miliband: My noble Friend, Lord Malloch-Brown, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, replied to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks on 11 February 2009.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with (i) Arab states and (ii) the government of Israel on (A) the compliance of Hamas with international law in Gaza, (B) allegation of the use by Hamas of human shields in Gaza and (C) allegations of the storage of weapons by Hamas among women and children in Gaza; what response was received from each; and if he will make a statement. [247985]

Bill Rammell: The UK is clear in its calls for Hamas to adhere to the Quartet principles, including a renunciation of violence, and to adhere to the international law. My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister have spoken frequently to their counterparts in Israel and around the Arab world since the beginning of this crisis. They have made clear our opposition to the methods employed by Hamas and the need for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to refer to Jewish refugees from Arab states and Palestinian refugees in any relevant official document or resolution at the United Nations; and if he will make a statement. [247991]

Bill Rammell: We are focused on realising a comprehensive approach to resolving the conflicts in the Middle East, bringing peace between Israel and the whole Arab world. Doing this will mean addressing grievances on all sides, but it is not clear how the policy the hon. Member proposes would advance our goal.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what facilities in Gaza have been funded by the European Union; at what cost; and which of them have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli military action since the current offensive against Gaza began. [248495]

Bill Rammell: We do not readily have access to data on EU funded facilities in Gaza. The humanitarian consequences and the damage caused by the military operation are still to be fully assessed.

Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of (a) mortar shells, (b) white phosphorus shells and (c) missiles, flechette
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bombs and dime bombs fired from (i) drones and (ii) aircraft by the Israeli armed forces in each year since 2001. [257729]

Bill Rammell: The Department does not hold such figures.

Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking towards multilateral nuclear disarmament. [259925]

Bill Rammell: On 4 February 2009, my right hon. Friend, the Foreign Secretary launched a policy information paper entitled “Lifting the Nuclear Shadow” which laid out six concrete steps towards further multilateral nuclear disarmament. We are committed to driving forward progress on these key steps.

I also refer the right hon. and Learned Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary to PQ 228112 on 23 October 2008, Official Report , columns 476-77W.

Sri Lanka: Armed Conflict

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of reports that the Sri Lankan Government are using cluster bombs in the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the northern region of the country. [253350]

David Miliband: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Bill Rammell) on 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 1176W. The most recent reports from organisations based in the conflict areas suggest that cluster munitions have not been used, however we will continue to follow up with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received on the alleged use of multi-barrel rocket launchers by the Government of Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. [260157]

Bill Rammell: We are aware of reports alleging the use of heavy artillery such as multi-barrel rocket launchers in the conflict in Sri Lanka. The on-going military hostilities and the lack of independent information coming from northern Sri Lanka make it difficult to verify these claims. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we condemn the killing of civilians in the strongest possible terms and have urged all parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka to adhere to international humanitarian law and to take action to avoid civilian casualties.

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the Government of Sri Lanka on the political situation in Sri Lanka. [260159]


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Bill Rammell: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary explained to the House on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 140, the UK has made it clear to the Government of Sri Lanka that a political solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of all communities in Sri Lanka is the only way to bring a sustainable end to the conflict. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Rajapakse in January. On 30 January 2009, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary telephoned the President. Our high commission in Colombo is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan Government.

Thailand: Demonstrations

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens who were unable to leave in Thailand during the closure of Bangkok Airport in December 2008. [259038]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 2 March 2009]: We do not have exact numbers of British nationals who were in Thailand and seeking to leave at the time of the airport closures but in normal circumstances around 1,000 British nationals would leave each day through Bangkok during late November and early December. Bangkok's commercial airports were closed from 26 November 2008 to 3 December 2008, so we estimate that up to 6,000 British nationals had their travel plans disrupted. About 1,300 British Nationals registered with the embassy using the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's on-line registration service, LOCATE, during the airport closures.

United Nations

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what objectives his Department has set for outcomes from (a) the 53rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and (b) the 42nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development. [260459]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 4 March 2009]: The Government’s overall objective for the 53rd Session on the UN Commission on the Status of Women is to evaluate progress on gender equality internationally, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide. This is particularly important in the current economic climate.

Throughout the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women, the Government will also be working to promote discussion of this year’s priority theme on the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, particularly in relation to the interrelated issues of care-giving and the gender pay gap.

For the 42nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development the Government aims to ensure that the UN is effective in promoting the International Commission on Population and Development (ICPD) Platform of Action in order to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, girls, men and boys worldwide. In particular, during this Commission on Population and Development, the UK aims to:

Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the Government representatives at (a) the 53rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and (b) the 42nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development will be. [260460]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 4 March 2009]: The Government will be represented at the 53rd Session on the UN Commission on the Status of Women by officials from the Government Equalities Office, as the lead Department. They will be supported by an official from the Department for International Development (DFID) and a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official from the Our Mission to the UN in New York.

As in previous years the Government will be represented at the 42nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development by FCO officials from the Our Mission to the UN in New York. They will be supported from London by DFID officials. The Government will be represented at the 53rd Session on the UN Commission on the Status of Women by officials from the Government Equalities Office, as the lead Department. They will be supported by an official from DFID and an FCO official from Our Mission to the UN in New York.

As in previous years the Government will be represented at the 42nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development by FCO officials from Our Mission to the UN in New York. They will be supported from London by DFID officials.


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