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On 24-25 February 2009, in accordance with the outcomes of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, the UK hosted a working group looking to enhance operational co-operation
and co-ordination of the international response to piracy off the Somali coast, including civil/shipping industry, military and regional capability development issues. Delegates from around 30 states/organisations were represented and the outcome of this meeting will be discussed by the Contact Group in Egypt in mid-March 2009.
In December 2008 the UK signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya under which the Kenyans have agreed to accept the transfer of captured pirates to conduct their subsequent prosecution. The EU is in the process of confirming a similar
We and the EU are continuing to investigate other potential agreements in the region to secure the effective prosecution of pirates. The wider legal issues relating to piracy are being addressed by the International Contact Group, including through an expert meeting taking place in Vienna on 5 March 2009.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the effect on those in receipt of aid or assistance from non-governmental organisations of the withdrawal or expulsion of such organisations from (a) Darfur and (b) elsewhere in Sudan as a result of the International Criminal Court action against President al-Bashir. 
Gillian Merron: The expulsion of 13 major international (and three national) non-governmental organisations will have a devastating impact on levels of humanitarian assistance in Sudan. UN officials have told the UN Security Council this would disrupt up to 50 per cent. of the current humanitarian effort in Darfur.
Consequences will be most severe in Darfur, but will also affect humanitarian, recovery and development assistance throughout north Sudan, particularly in conflict-affected regions of the Transitional Areas and the East.
As well as increased risk of disease, malnutrition and deaths, lack of water, food and shelter could increase insecurity, particularly in large, volatile camps like Kalma (90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs)) and Gereida (130,000 IDPs) in south Darfur. Civil disturbances and mass movement of IDPs seeking help could quickly take the situation out of control.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan of the recent indictment of President Omar al-Bashir; and if he will make a statement. 
Escalatory reactions in Sudan could present risks to the CPA and we are watching events closely. Both parties to the agreement, the National Congress Party and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement, are aware of the risks posed by a breakdown of the CPA.
We continue to pursue progress on the political process for Darfur, full deployment of the African UnionUnited Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), provision of humanitarian assistance and the CPA.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters he plans to propose for inclusion on the agenda for the Durban II conference in Geneva in April 2009. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 13 March 2009]: The United Kingdom has been active in negotiations for the Durban Review Conference. We have, on several occasions, expressed our view on the Durban Review Conference: we want the conference to forge a collective will to fight against racism in all its forms, in all countries in the world. The Government remain deeply concerned about the draft outcome document.
contemporary forms of slavery;
multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sex, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender reassignment;
combating anti-Semitism (including through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the media, the role of law enforcement, statements by national leaders, education);
Holocaust remembrance and condemning Holocaust denial, including the role of the International Task Force for Holocaust Education Remembrance and Research, the UN and Council of Europe;
national strategies to promote cohesion and tackle community tension;
conflict, including inter-ethnic and intra religious or communal violence;
crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic and genocide prevention;
the use of irregular militia;
discrimination and victimisation in employment and training, the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, housing and public functions;
UN institutional issues;
general duties on public authorities to promote race equality.
We have also opposed many amendments that we judge would reduce the prospect of consensus, for example on defamation of religions, singling out one particular country for criticism, and language suggesting a hierarchy of victims.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requests the United Nations has made to the power which has responsibility for the administration of the Western Sahara under Article 73 of the UN Charter for the transmission of information under the provisions of that article. 
Bill Rammell: On 26 February 1976, Spain informed the UN Secretary-General that as of that date it had terminated its presence in Western Sahara and relinquished its responsibilities over the territory, thus leaving it under the administration of both Morocco and Mauritania in their respective controlled areas. Mauritania withdrew from the Territory in 1979 and since then Morocco has administered a substantial part of the territory of Western Sahara alone.
Morocco however, is not listed as the administering power of the territory in the UN list of non-self-governing territories, and has therefore not transmitted, or been asked to transmit, information on the territory in accordance with Article 73E of the Charter of the UN.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to answer question 251285, tabled on 22 January 2009, on departmental ICT; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2009, Official Report, column 1417W, on Zimbabwe: asylum, what the three most recent occasions were on which he reminded the Zimbabwean authorities of their legal commitment to pay the pensions of former employees of the Southern Rhodesian Government and other Zimbabwean pensioners; and with whom the matter was discussed on each occasion. 
Gillian Merron: We continue to remind the Zimbabwean authorities of their legal commitment to pay the pensions of former employees of the Southern Rhodesian Government and other Zimbabwean pensioners. We raised this issue twice in October 2008: on 17 October 2008 at a meeting with Mr. S. J. Mnkandla of the Pensions Department, Zimbabwean Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and on 29 October 2008 in a follow-up letter to the same. A prior meeting was held with Mr. Mnkandla in September 2006 at which the issue was also raised.
The Treasury and the FSCS provided approximately £18 billion of funding to enable all retail deposits held in Bradford and Bingley to be transferred to Abbey National plc. Given that this funding replaced retail deposits, the rights of the Treasury and the FSCS in respect of the proceeds of the wind-down and the realisation of Bradford and Bingleys assets rank ahead of subordinated creditors, in the same way that the rights of retail depositors would have been senior to subordinated creditors.
The Treasury also has a claim on the proceeds of the wind-down as Bradford and Bingleys sole shareholder. This claim ranks below the claim of subordinated creditors, in the same way that it is usual for equity to rank below subordinated debt.
This budget heading now provides temporary measures foreseen in the accession treaties with Romania and Bulgaria, and the details of individual transactions made from this budget heading are held by the European Commission.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid from the public purse in respect of UK contributions to the European Defence Agency in each year since the Agency was established. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer meets with President Maystadt from time to time, including in the margins of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). The EIBs financial position is reviewed by the banks
board, of which, the UK director to the EIB is a member. The EIB indicates that it is well placed in the current economic and financial conditions.
Mr. Moss: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on revenue from amusement machine licence duty of closures of (a) adult gaming centres and (b) family entertainment centres in the last 12 months; 
(2) how much amusement machine licence duty was paid on licences for (a) category B2 and (b) category B3 gaming machines in the last year for which information is available; and what his assessment is of the extraction rates from each category of machine; 
Mr. Timms: The total annual and monthly receipts from amusement machine licence duty can be found in the HM Revenue and Customs Betting and Gaming Statistical Bulletin, which is available from the HMRC website address at:
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many actions for recovery have been initiated by his Department on the basis of the disclosure of information from LGT Bank in the last five years. 
Mr. Timms: HMRC continue to investigate the complex tax arrangements of those individuals who have assets and income within Liechtenstein. We have commenced investigations into the affairs of 155 individuals.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) HM Revenue and Customs and (b) Valuation Office Agency properties were (i) occupied under contract with and (ii) provided with facilities management services by Mapeley at the end of each year since 2002. 
Mr. Timms: Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise entered into the Strategic Transfer of the Estate to the Private Sector (STEPS) contract, a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) outsourcing deal, with Mapeley in April 2001. Following the merger of the two departments in April 2005 the contract is now operated by HMRC.
The table below shows the total number of properties that were (a) occupied under the contract with Mapeley and (b) provided with facilities management services by Mapeley at the end of each year since 2002.
|Year to||(a) occupied under contract with Mapeley||(b) provided with facilities management services by Mapeley|
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