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Palma de Mallorca (100)
Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the International Development Secretary discussed the G20 summit with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on 16 March 2009. My noble Friend, right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, also raised economic issues with Prime Minister Meles during their meeting on 2 February 2009.
In total, the 117 mined areas that remain cover just over 13 sq km and contain an estimated 20,000 land mines. Clearing these mined areas presents significant technical and environmental challenges, covering as they do a wide range of terrain including sand dunes, rock screes and peat.
Under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention), the UK has an obligation to clear these mined areas by March 2019. A Feasibility Study on the clearance of landmines in the Falkland Islands was completed in October 2007. In November 2008, the Government announced their decision to proceed with the clearance of selected mined areas. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now taking forward the procurement process to carry out this de-mining, and has established a National Mine Action Authority (which includes representatives from the Falkland Islands Government) to oversee this. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a Prior Information Notice on 20 February 2009 for the contract which we will put out to tender.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many deaths have occurred from accidents involving land mines in the Falkland Islands in each of the last 20 years. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding has been provided to the Falkland Islands government for the purposes of de-mining operations in the last five years. 
Gillian Merron: No funding has been provided to the Falkland Islands for the purposes of de-mining. As the state party to the Ottawa Convention it is the responsibility of the Government to clear the mined areas in the Falkland Islands.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of levels of (a) political, (b) financial and (c) military support given by the governments of (i) Syria and (ii) Iran to Hezbollah. 
Bill Rammell: We assess that the Syrian and Iranian Governments continue to provide significant financial and military support to Hezbollah, although we are unable quantify the precise amounts. Both the Syrian and Iranian Governments provide political support for Hezbollah and we call on both Governments to cease this support, which only increases instability in the region.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of incidents of anti-Semitism in Hungary since January 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Iran and other matters with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 3 February 2009 and 18 March 2009. These discussions covered a broad range of issues, including the political situation in Iran.
Caroline Flint: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last met the Irish Foreign Minister, Micheál Martin, for discussions on UK-Irish relations and European issues during his visit to Dublin on 11 September 2008.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the reply to the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) of 27 January 2009, Official Report, columns 390-1W, on what date in December 2008 he was first made aware that rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. 
Bill Rammell: We monitor rocket attacks from Gaza closely and make very clear our condemnation of them. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Sderot in November 2008 and I visited Ashkelon in December 2008 to see the effects. Our embassy in Tel Aviv reported rockets being fired at Israel on 3 December 2008.
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the (a) social and (b) economic effects of rocket and mortar attacks fired from the Gaza Strip on residents in southern Israel. 
Bill Rammell: Our ambassador and officials in Tel Aviv frequently travel to towns in southern Israel that have been subject to indiscriminate rocket fire from terrorist groups in Gaza. They have called on schools, hospitals, families and community leaders in and around Sderot and Ashkelon to assess the impact of rocket and mortar attacks.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also visited Sderot in November 2008, and I visited Ashkelon in December 2008. In recent months the frequency and indiscriminate nature of the attacks that target citizens has had a highly damaging impact on people's everyday lives in these areas. The extent of the psychological damage, especially to children, is clear. In addition to the psychological damage to children, the need to shelter from attacks while at school has had a disruptive effect on education. Likewise, the general disruption and physical threat of rocket fire has impeded economic growth and deterred investment. We continue to condemn all terrorist attacks, on southern Israel and elsewhere.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the findings of the EU Heads of Mission report on East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: It would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the contents of an internal report that was leaked to the press. We have made clear our position that we believe that a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis will mean, among other things, the creation of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. We are strongly opposed to any attempts to change the facts on the ground in East Jerusalem by excluding Palestinians from the city and by increasing the number of settlers living there. Such acts raise tensions and undermine prospects for peace. We have made these concerns known to the Israelis both in private and in public, most recently in the form of statements by the EU on the threat of house demolitions in Silwan village and house evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks since 3 February 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs there have been two Israelis killed in terrorist attacks since 3 February 2009. The UK condemns all terrorist activity. We call on all groups to pursue their objectives through peaceful means: the only way forward in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is through dialogue; violence can lead nowhere but to more violence and suffering.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 26 March 2009]: The EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem is a classified document. It would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the contents of an internal report that was leaked to the press.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was paid in subsidy from the public purse in respect of St. Helena in each of the last 10 financial years; and what estimate he has made of the subsidy to be paid in each of the next five years. 
|DFID support (£ million)|
DFID support over the next five years, including 2008-09, is expected to be between £20 million and £25 million per annum. This does not include capital expenditure on future access arrangements following the outcome of the consultation announced on 16 March.
Gillian Merron: St. Helena Government are responsible for producing these statistics. Their electronic data only go as far back as 2000-01 and I understand that the figure for 2008-09 is not yet available. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) for each of the last eight years is:
Gillian Merron: The St. Helena Government are responsible for keeping statistics on numbers of tourists. They have provided the figures, set out as follows, of tourists visiting St. Helena in the years 2000 to 2008. Figures for 1999 are not available.
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