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Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made towards the signing of a EU free trade agreement with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Following the 19th EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting on 29 April 2009, discussions between the EU and the GCC over the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) continue. The Government remain committed to securing an FTA between the EU and GCC.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have seen no reports suggesting that Orissa is politically unstable. Orissa has a stable local government and the Chief Minister was returned for a third time in the recent national elections. India's internal security is solely a matter for the Indian Government and state level authorities.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he has offered to the Indian Government on the restoration of religious tolerance in Orissa. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have not provided direct assistance to the Indian Government to restore religious tolerance in India. The Indian Government have not requested such assistance. However, we welcome the efforts made by the Indian authorities to uphold the right to freedom of religion of all its citizens under the Indian constitution.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the (a) provenance and (b) destination of the shipment of arms seized by the Israeli navy off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The information provided by the Government of Israel to the UN Security Council in early November alleging that it had intercepted an arms shipment (on the Francop ship) from Iran to Syria potentially indicates a serious breach of both UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1701. It also appears to be part of a pattern of arms shipments from Iran. If that is the case, it is deeply irresponsible. We will work in New York to ensure that the Iran Sanctions Committee pursues this matter thoroughly and urgently.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on recent progress by the Israeli Government in removing checkpoints and security barriers on the west bank. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Israeli Government have recently removed some obstacles to movement and access in the west bank. In June 2009, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
listed 613 obstacles in the west bank. As of the end of October 2009, the UNOCHA listed 578 obstacles in the west bank.
However, this falls short of the Israeli announcement in September 2009 that Israel would remove 100 obstacles. A UNOCHA investigation, using co-ordinates provided by the Israeli Defence Forces, found that not all of these 100 obstacles had been removed, and that 61 of the 100 had not originally featured on the UNOCHA list of 613 obstacles because they were deemed insignificant.
None the less, the removal of some obstacles is a step in the right direction. We urge the Israeli Government to ensure that these improvements in movement and access are maintained and improved. We also commend the Palestinian security forces for their efforts to improve security in the west bank, which has in turn given Israel confidence to ease restrictions.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan for the supervised independence of Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the then Minister for Europe (Caroline Flint) on 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 378-79W. Since then, Kosovo has made further good progress in implementing Martti Ahtisaari's Comprehensive Settlement Proposal (CSP).
Kosovo is putting in place the measures needed for full implementation of the CSP decentralisation provisions which seek to encourage Kosovo Serb engagement in public life and provide sustainable local government for Kosovo. Three Kosovo-Serb majority municipalities were established in time for local elections on 15 November 2009 and two more will hold elections next spring. The elections themselves were a critical marker in Kosovo's emergence as a multi-ethnic democracy, though improvements are still needed for Kosovo fully to meet European standards. On 17 October 2009, Kosovo and Macedonia signed an agreement on demarcation of their border, a welcome contribution to strengthening regional stability. Progress has also been made in judicial and senior public sector appointments.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates his Department has had discussions on Libya with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and its predecessors since 2002. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There is no central record of the number of discussions that have taken place between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) officials regarding Libya. However, officials from a number of departments within the FCO, both in the UK and overseas, are in regular and close contact with their counterparts in DBIS in support of Government objectives, including in respect of Libya.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to Lord Laird of 12 November 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA221, on Libya, what assessment he has made of the likelihood that the campaign by victims and families of IRA terrorism for compensation from the Libyan government will procure compensation. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The campaign's discussions remain at an early and delicate stage. The campaign's parliamentary group led by Lord Daniel Brennan undertook a successful initial visit to Libya in late October. Campaign engagement with Libya will continue but it would be premature and inappropriate for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to attempt to predict any outcomes at this stage.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to Lord Laird of 12 November 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA221, on Libya, how many people are working for the FCO-based Libya/Northern Ireland Reconciliation Unit. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are currently three full-time Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff working in the Libya/Northern Ireland Reconciliation Unit. These consist of a head of unit, unit manager and a support officer. These staff report to the deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Directorate and are supported by staff at our embassy in Tripoli, the FCO legal advisers and other members of Middle East and North Africa Directorate as necessary.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to Lord Laird of 12 November 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA221, on Libya, (1) what assessment his Department has made of progress in the campaign by victims and families of IRA terrorism for compensation from the Libyan government since 8 September; 
(2) what progress the Libya/Northern Ireland Reconciliation Unit based in his Department has made since 8 September in supporting the campaign by victims and families of IRA terrorism for compensation from the Libyan government. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: With support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Libya/Northern Ireland Reconciliation Unit, the campaign's parliamentary group secured and undertook a short visit to Libya in October 2009. They remain engaged with Libya in exploring mutually agreeable ways of bringing this issue to a conclusion. The FCO Unit will continue to support them in any way it properly can.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bury, will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Wycombe of 18 August 2009 on Shabbir Ahmed Shah. 
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to reply to the letters of 25 August and 25 October 2009 from the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon, on his constituent Mr. Heckmet Izhak. 
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to respond to the letters of 26 June and 21 September 2009 from the Chalfonts Branch of the United Nations Association on (a) Aung San Suu Kyi and (b) the war in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We did not receive the original letters dated 26 June and 21 September 2009. The hon. Member's office are obtaining copies of these letters to forward on to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We will reply to these letters once we have received them.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on (a) levels of unemployment, (b) changes in the level of GDP growth, (c) export volumes and (d) crime rates on the west bank. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The International Monetary Fund has predicted that gross domestic product per capita in the west bank will decline in 2009, despite an initial projection of 7 per cent. growth, unless restrictions on movement and access are further relaxed.
There are signs that unemployment has been falling slightly in the west bank this year. It fell from 19.5 per cent. in March to 15.9 per cent. in June. However, over the last three years unemployment has fallen over the summer months due to the nature of seasonal employment. It is therefore difficult to assess whether this decline is a reflection of a more sustained reduction in the level of unemployment, or a seasonal phenomenon. We shall continue to monitor data for the autumn and winter months.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that exports may have increased marginally as a result of the decision to increase the commercial opening hours of the Allenby crossing into Jordan. However, Israel has yet to take other significant measures to facilitate exports through Jordan and into Israel. We continue to call on her to do so.
There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that crime rates in areas under Palestinian Authority (PA) control have declined as a result of a greater Palestinian police presence and a crackdown on crimes such as car theft. However, the PA has not been able to operate in 60 per cent. of the west bank-in Area C-and so its ability to have an impact on crime remains impeded.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There have been notable improvements in the security situation in the west bank over the past year. However, the situation remains fragile and could deteriorate quickly. We recognise the key role the Palestinian Authorities Security Forces have played in maintaining security and containing violent extremists in many areas of the west bank. However, we have been concerned in recent weeks by increased tensions in east Jerusalem and the old city.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the UK has not been able to meet the commitment made by the Prime Minister on 19 January 2009 to provide naval resources to monitor and stop arms traffic and arms entering Gaza; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The actual allocation of naval assets is considered in line with the relevant international political and legal considerations and availability of resources. So far the conditions have not been met for deployment.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Prime Minister's statement of 19 January 2009, what steps the UK has taken to (a) deal with unexploded bombs in Gaza and (b) provide monitoring support at crossings into Gaza; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The Department for International Development (DFID) is supporting the clearance of Unexploded Ordnance. Mines Advisory Group has cleared unexploded ordnance (UXO) from UN Relief and Works Agency schools, allowing 220,000 children to return to school. DFID has also provided £445,446 to enable the UN Mines Action Service to coordinate UXO assessment and clearance throughout Gaza, deploy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams to clear sites and remove UXO contamination, and train 500 people involved in rubble removal to identify and manage UXO.
The UK fully supports the work of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Rafah. It is critical that the mission remains ready to reactivate its work as soon as the Israeli authorities allow the crossing to open.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the proportion of homes damaged or destroyed during the December 2008 conflict in Gaza which have been rebuilt since the end of the conflict. 
David Miliband: Approximately 6,400 homes and 114 schools were destroyed or badly damaged during the 2008 conflict. Only limited reconstruction has taken place. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has sufficient plastic sheets and tarpaulins to provide temporary cover for broken windows. Using cash handouts from UNRWA and the UN Development Programme, owners of around 50,000 lightly damaged homes are making repairs. UNRWA has been able to rebuild 180 fully destroyed homes (out of 3,000 requiring major repairs) using materials already available in Gaza.
The Government remain extremely concerned about the very grave humanitarian situation in Gaza, particularly with the onset of the autumn rains and colder winter weather. Many people in Gaza have not been able to rebuild their homes since the conflict ended in January 2009. We continue to urge the Israeli Government to open the crossings into Gaza not only for humanitarian supplies, but also for reconstruction materials, commercial trade and people.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's policy is on the conformity of Middle East peace proposals with the principles of the Oslo Accords. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Oslo Accords are a fundamental building block towards achieving a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security. The Government remain fully committed to establishing such a viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with limited land-swaps of equal quality. We believe that negotiations between the parties remain the best route to achieving this goal.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on (a) the deportation from Morocco of Aminatou Haidar and (b) the offence for which she has been deported; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government are aware of the case of Aminatou Haidar. According to media reports, Ms Haidar has claimed that the Moroccan authorities took her passport away from her on arrival in Layounne from Lanzarote. The Moroccan authorities have told us that Ms Haidar refused to state her nationality as Moroccan on arrival and that she voluntarily surrendered her passport. We understand the Spanish and Moroccan authorities are now working to try and resolve the issue and, between them, have offered Ms Haidar either a new Moroccan passport or refugee status in Spain, both of which we understand she has refused.
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