|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The political situation in Iran was discussed by EU Foreign Ministers, including my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, at the most recent European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council on 15-16 June 2009. The Council conclusions expressed strong concern about the violence and use of force against the protesters.
The June European Council released a declaration on 19 June 2009 which also expressed concern about the Iranian authorities' reaction to post-election demonstrations and called on the Iranian authorities to investigate allegations of irregularities in the elections.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang by telephone since the Iranian elections. They agreed that the international community should follow the situation in Iran closely.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: On 22 June 2009 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Travel Advice was revised to recommend against all but essential travel to Iran. Consequently we withdrew the dependents of our staff.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Israel on the welfare of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli detention; and if he will make a statement. 
We have called on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures, and that their rights, particularly the rights to a fair trial and family visitation, are upheld. We made our concerns clear during Israel's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the Human Rights Council in December 2008 and also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2008 Human Rights Report. We will continue to raise this with Israeli officials.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are four British diplomatic staff at our embassy in Pyongyang. Six North Korean nationals also work there, under local arrangements by the host Government for the provision of interpreting and maintenance services.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the Road to 2010 Plan in respect of the non-proliferation treaty review conference; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who will produce the Government's Road to 2010 Plan for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference; what items will be included in the plan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Road to 2010 plan is a cross-departmental effort that is co-ordinated by the Cabinet Office. As outlined in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's speech at Lancaster House on 17 March 2009, the plan will set out proposals in the following areas:
The safe expansion of Civil Nuclear in the UK and globally;
Fissile Material Security and Nuclear Counter-Terrorism;
Disarmament and non-proliferation; and,
The role and development of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international institutions.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Sudanese government on the allocation of funding to non-governmental organisations to support the forthcoming elections. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We regularly discuss support to elections with the National Elections Commission (NEC), the body charged by the Sudanese Government with delivering elections. The NEC has not yet finalised the budget for elections, which we expect will include allocations of funding for non-government organisations.
We are also in close contact with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which oversees basket funds provided by donors to support elections. We want significant funds to be made available for civic educationthe bulk of these activities would be implemented by non-government organisationsand we have emphasised this to UNDP.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department has provided to the Doha peace talks on Darfur; what recent steps he has taken to seek to secure progress in those talks; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK strongly supports the African Union/UN political process for Darfur led by Joint Chief Mediator Bassole and welcomes also Qatar's important contribution. We have committed £1 million to support the process.
We welcomed the signing in Doha on 17 February 2009 of an initial agreement by the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). We have urged the parties to fully implement the commitments they made. We support the mediators' intention to engage other Darfur leaders and also civil society in further discussions.
The UK Special Representative for Sudan, together with his P5 and EU counterparts, reaffirmed their support for the Darfur political process in a meeting in Qatar on 27 May 2009. They jointly urged the Government of Sudan and JEM to show flexibility, stressed the need for input from all sectors of Darfuri society, and reiterated calls for all parties to urgently accept the invitation extended by the mediators.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much compensation has been paid to foreign nationals who were victims of terrorism in the UK in each year since 1997. 
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority does not maintain records for the nationalities of those to whom it makes criminal injuries compensation awards. However, the numbers of awards made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) to overseas residents who were victims of terrorism in the UK, and the total value of these awards, for the years 1997-98 to 2008-09 are detailed in the following table:
|Number of awards made under the CICS to individuals with addresses outside the UK||Total value of awards (£)|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to which countries he has made representations regarding compensation for British victims of overseas terrorism. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: An EU Council Directive of 29 April 2004 requires EU member states to provide fair and appropriate compensation to victims of intentional crime committed in a member state. Many countries outside the EU also offer compensation to foreign nationals who are victims of terrorism in their countries. Where other governments have compensation schemes, we help signpost them to families if an offer of compensation has not been immediately forthcoming from the country in which the incident took place.
For countries that do not have compensation schemes, we encourage governments to pay compensation to British victims of overseas terrorism. The issue of compensation schemes has been raised with a number of countries, with the aim of more governments around the world compensating victims of terrorism, as the Government does if there is a terrorist incident in the UK.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK nationals affected by overseas terrorism have been assisted by exceptional assistance measures since 2006; and how much each such measure cost. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Since the Exceptional Assistance Measures were announced to Parliament in June 2008, they have been activated for two incidents affecting British nationals who have been victims of terrorism overseas: to assist the families of those affected by the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008, and more recently to cover the costs of repatriating the bodies of two British nationals who were kidnapped in Iraq in 2007. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provided assistance to the six families affected by these two incidents. The current figure for the Mumbai attacks stands at £7,592 and at £20,000 for the Iraq kidnap repatriation costs.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 228W, on Western Sahara: fisheries, if he will make it his policy to seek the inclusion of a reference to Western Sahara in any future proposed agreement between the EU and Morocco on fisheries. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans at present to seek the inclusion of a reference to the territory of Western Sahara in any future EU fisheries agreement with Morocco.
Future negotiations on the expiry of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) will take into account any changes in the situation of Western Sahara that may occur before the FPA's expiry in 2011.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the findings contained in English Heritages Nighthawking Survey; and if he will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 30 June 2009]: English Heritage are preparing a draft implementation plan for how they will respond to the recommendations of the Nighthawking Survey. They expect this to be ready shortly and will work with partners in the historic environment sector to implement it in the following months.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of implementing the recommendations made in the Digital Britain report; and if he will make a statement. 
The Digital Britain report makes a number of recommendations that will involve public expenditure. Estimates of the cost of implementing
them, where available, are set out here. Some proposals are subject to further consultation and discussion with stakeholders that will have a bearing on the final cost. These estimates do not include public sector staff or administration costs, or areas where further work is planned but no policy decision has yet been taken.
As outlined in the report, the main sources of funding proposed besides general taxation are a new 50 pence per month levy on fixed copper lines, the underspend on the Digital Television Switchover Help Scheme (subject to further consultation with the BBC Trust), and a contained contestable element of the TV Licence Fee from 2013 onwards, on which a public consultation was launched on 30 June.
Universal Access to Broadband: estimated cost £200 million, based on current estimates of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme underspend. Other public sector organisations including the devolved authorities and regional development agencies may also contribute over the life of the project.
The National Plan for Digital Participation: up to £12 million.
Next Generation Access Broadband Networks Final Third project: to be funded by a centrally held Next Generation Fund raised through a proposed 50p per month levy on fixed copper lines, expected to raise £150-£175 million per year. A further £150,000 is to be made available to help establish an Independent Networks Cooperative Association.
Research: the Technology Strategy Board has committed to fund a £10 million digital test beds programme, and a £30 million digital innovation programme.
Support for SMEs: up to £23 million over next three years will be spent on pilot business support interventions for SMEs to assist them to exploit advanced ICT to transform their business processes.
Mobile spectrum refarming: the Government have agreed to meet the costs incurred by broadcasters and Programme Making and Special Events users as a result of spectrum reallocation. Discussions are being held with Ofcom, the PMSE community and broadcasters to determine the level of costs involved and on what basis, and how, costs will be met.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|