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Bill Rammell: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear to the House on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 140, the recent military advances by the Sri Lankan government and the subsequent humanitarian crisis is of continuing serious concern.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has repeatedly called for a humanitarian ceasefire and has made clear our view that a political solution addressing the legitimate concerns of all communities in Sri Lanka is the only way to bring a sustainable end to the conflict.
Given our concerns, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister appointed my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Des Browne) as his special envoy for Sri Lanka on 12 February 2009. He has attended briefing meetings with Ministers, parliamentarians and officials. He has also met with international partners who share our concerns on the situation in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government has yet to accept the appointment.
We are in regular contact with the government of Sri Lanka. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Rajapakse in January. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to both President Rajapakse and Foreign Minister Bogollagama on a number of occasions regarding the situation in Sri Lanka, most recently on 16 February 2009. Officials at our high commission maintain regular contact with the Sri Lankan government.
It is not possible to obtain accurate information on the number of casualties killed in recent fighting, due to the ongoing military hostilities and the lack of independent information emerging from northern Sri Lanka. Various reports estimate that over 70,000 people have died in the Sri Lankan conflict since it began in 1983.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2009, Official Report, column 1413W, on terrorism: finance, how much his Department plans to spend (a) in each country and (b) on each type of project in each year from 2008-09 to 2010-11. 
Bill Rammell: The £80 million allocated to tackle radicalisation and promote understanding overseas will be £20 million, £23 million and £37 million over three years from 2008-09 to 2010-11 respectively. We expect spending to be focused on south and south-east Asia, the middle-east, north and east Africa. Allocations depend both on the priority accorded to that country and the quality of project proposals submitted for funding.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2009, Official Report, column 1413W, on terrorism: finance, what criteria his Department is using to allocate funding to (a) countries and (b) projects; and how he plans to assess the effectiveness of such expenditure. 
Bill Rammell: Criteria for allocating funding to counter radicalisation work in specific countries are based on an assessment across Government of the threat to the UK and UK interests overseas from and in that country. Individual projects are assessed on the contribution they can make to reduce the threat. Project impact is carefully monitored through a process agreed with my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers Delivery Unit and the National Audit Office.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with the government of Thailand on the safety and whereabouts of the 126 people from the Rohingya ethnic group recently reported as missing by the United Nations. 
Bill Rammell: We are concerned by reports of mistreatment of boatpeople from the Rohingya ethnic group by the Thai authorities. We have raised the issue with the Thai Government at the highest levels on a number of occasions. Most recently, my noble Friend, the Minister for Asia, Africa and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, discussed the issue with the Thai Prime Minister during his visit to Thailand on 27 February 2009.
Working with EU partners, and in close consultation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), we will continue to press the Thai authorities to establish the facts and hold those responsible for any wrongdoing to account.
We welcome Prime Minister Abhisit's assurances that the Thai authorities are working with the UNHCR on a regional response to the increasing number of ethnic Rohingya people fleeing Burma. To be effective, any solution must address the root causes of the problem: poor governance in Burma, discrimination, human rights abuse and extreme economic deprivation in Northern Rakhine State.
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, what proportion of Tony Blair's office costs as Quartet Representative the contribution to the UN Development Trust Fund represents. 
Bill Rammell: The UN Development Trust Fund consists of US dollars (USD) 10.4 million and is used to fund the Office of the Quartet Representative. The UK contribution to this fund in 2007 was £400,000, which by the exchange rate of that date was equivalent to approximately USD 800,000. Therefore, the UK contribution represented approximately 7.7 per cent. of the total Trust Fund.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek the exclusion of Western Saharan waters from any new agreement to replace the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement when it expires. 
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement with international law in respect of its application to waters off Western Sahara. 
Bill Rammell: The EU-Morocco Fisheries agreement sets fishing priorities for EU Community vessels in the Moroccan fishing zone or, as defined in article 2 of the agreement, in the waters over which the Kingdom of Morocco has sovereignty or jurisdiction. This approach is in conformity with international law and with the legal opinion of the UN as of 29 January 2002.
Morocco is the administrative authority of Western Sahara and it is the obligation of the Moroccan side to assure the full application of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement in accordance with its obligations under international law. There are no references to the Western Sahara in the agreement and this was already the case in the previous agreement between the EC and Morocco.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on human rights monitoring in (a) Western Sahara and (b) the refugee camps near Tindouf. 
Bill Rammell: Our officials visited Western Sahara in February 2009 and met with representatives from across the spectrum of interested parties. During the visit civil society organisations made representations on human rights monitoring in Western Sahara and the refugee camps in Tindouf.
The UK has a strong interest in human rights issues in Western Sahara and in Tindouf and continues to monitor the situation carefully. Our official will be visiting the camps in Tindouf in March 2009.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 240W, on Western Sahara: politics and government, whether the discussions between EU member states, the European Commission and Morocco have included a request to Morocco to comply with UN resolutions calling for a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara. 
Bill Rammell: Western Sahara was discussed during the EU-Morocco Association Council on 13 October 2008. During the meeting the EU stated its regret at the lack of progress towards settlement of the dispute over Western Sahara and reaffirmed that the next Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General must resume and continue the work of their predecessor.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to answer Question 243941, tabled on 10 December 2008, on the effect of exchange rate movements on the cost of subscriptions to international organisations. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to answer Question 243942, tabled on 10 December 2008, on the cost of subscriptions to international organisations by his Department. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: Professor Tim Morris BVM PhD MRCVS, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the British Horseracing Authority, was a member of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) but has now stood down. Membership of AWAC is currently under review.
Mr. Kevan Jones: Information is not available for the whole period mentioned, or in the form requested because reasons for cessation of pension are not routinely recorded. The principal reason for the cessation of a war disablement pension is death.
|Numbers of withdrawn disablement pensions by reason and year( 1)|
|Total||Death||Reason not recorded||Reduction in assessment( 2)|
|(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 for data protection purposes. Due to rounding, figures may not add to totals.|
(2) The claimant was originally awarded at a disablement percentage of 20 per cent. or more and the disablement percentage decreased to below 20 per cent. following re-assessment on review or appeal.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State what levels of academic qualification were reached by recruits to the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) Air Force in 2008; and how many recruits at each level there were. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information on academic qualifications of recruits is not held in the format requested and differs between the three services. However, the available data for the Navy and Army is provided as follows: the Navy section providing a breakdown of the academic qualifications overall, while the Army section offers a summary split by officer and other ranks. Unfortunately, due to IT problems within the RAF it is not currently possible to extract the necessary data. I will write to the hon. Member with information for the RAF when this is available and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
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