some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Jan 2010 : Column 205W—continued

Official Gifts: Pakistan

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official gifts he and his predecessors have received from the President of Pakistan and Ministers in the Pakistani government in each year since 2001. [307735]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government has published annual lists of gifts given and received by Ministers in an official capacity valued at over £140 since 2001. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. The 2008-2009 list was published on 16 July 2009.


5 Jan 2010 : Column 206W

Olympic Games 2012

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2009, Official Report, column 1036W, on the Olympic Games 2012, how many staff in his Department have responsibility for co-ordinating his Department's preparations for the games; and what the cost of their annual salaries was in 2008-09. [309242]

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office created a new full-time position on 1 September 2008 to co-ordinate its work on London 2012. Two more staff joined the team in June 2009. The salary bill in financial year 2008-09 was £32,503.

Overseas Territories Consultative Council

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2009, Official Report, column 1036W, on the Overseas Territories Consultative Council, what the cost to the public purse was of hosting the meeting on 9 December 2009. [309051]

Chris Bryant: The Overseas Territories Consultative Council and Forum took place on 8 and 9 December 2009. The final costs are not yet available, but we estimate them to be under £35,000.

Palestinians: Territorial Waters

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he has received on the legal status of territorial waters off Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [306793]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement 1995 provides that the territorial jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council (construed in the Agreement as meaning the Palestinian Authority) includes the territorial waters off Gaza, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement.

The rules of customary international law regarding territorial waters are also applicable.

Pitcairn Islands: Literacy

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on literacy rate among residents of the Pitcairn Islands. [309105]

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold any statistical information on the literacy rate of the Pitcairn population.

Security

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK private military and security companies have been awarded contracts by his Department to carry out work in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq, (c) Sudan, (d) Israel, (e) Somalia, (f) Pakistan, (g) Colombia, (h) Ethiopia and (i) Eritrea in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007, (iv) 2008, (v) 2009 and (vi) future years; and what the monetary value is of each contract. [306913]


5 Jan 2010 : Column 207W

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently has contracts with five UK based private security companies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Records of contracts held with UK based private security companies in Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Pakistan, Colombia, Ethiopia and Eritrea are held locally by our embassy or high commission in each respective country. These records could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


5 Jan 2010 : Column 208W

The contract value for each individual contract in each year for both Afghanistan and Iraq could also be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the value of each contract for the period detailed are as follows:

£

Afghanistan

January to December 2009

Mobile and static security

20,174,588

April 2008 to March 2009

Police mentors and advisers

317,530

January to December 2009

Primary healthcare

379,543

November 2008 to November 2009

Intelligence analysts

387,935

Iraq

July 2008 to June 2009

Mobile security

26,164,981

July 2008 to June 2009

Static security

6,969,654

October 2008 to September 2009

Intelligence analysts

467,930

Afghanistan and Iraq( 1)

February 2009 to February 2010

Vehicle maintenance

706,245

April 2008 to March 2009

Overseas security managers

1,035,192

(1) Iraq and Afghanistan combined

In respect of the existing static and mobile security service contracts in Iraq, the FCO has recently retendered these contracts and now has a single new three year contract commencing late 2009/early 2010, which is valued at £61 million over the next three years.

In respect of static and mobile security services in Afghanistan, the retender of this contract is due for completion in the next month or so at which point the new details will be available.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) complaints and (b) reports of human rights abuses have been received by his Department in relation to the activities of private military and security companies awarded contracts by his Department in each of the last five years. [307011]

Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have received no complaints and no reports about human rights abuses by private military and security companies in the execution of contracts awarded by the FCO in the last five years.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 June 2009, Official Report, columns 1154-5W, on Sri Lanka, when the next visit to Sri Lanka by a cross-party delegation of hon. Members sponsored by his Department will take place; and if he will make a statement. [308006]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are no plans at the present time for a visit by a cross-party delegation of MPs to Sri Lanka. The Government continues to maintain high level engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka through regular visits, meetings and telephone calls. Most recently the Under-Secretary of State for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Foster) visited Sri Lanka in October 2009. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Bogollagama in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad in November 2009 to discuss the current humanitarian situation and progress on a political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the Sri Lankan Government's progress towards political reconciliation in the country since the end of the military conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009; and if he will make a statement. [307998]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: At the end of May the Sri Lankan President issued a joint statement with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognising the need to work towards a lasting political solution. The UK has consistently maintained that one of the prerequisites for lasting peace in Sri Lanka is a political settlement that fully takes into account the legitimate grievances and aspirations of all communities. Presidential elections have now been announced for 26 January 2010.

Parliamentary elections in spring 2010 will be a further opportunity for the voice of Sri Lanka's communities to be heard. Free, fair and credible elections will allow Sri Lanka's communities to have their say in shaping the country's future. Adequate arrangements must be made to ensure that internally displaced persons can vote in upcoming elections.


5 Jan 2010 : Column 209W

It is important for all those who want to play a role in Sri Lanka's future to agree to an inclusive political solution that addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary released a written ministerial statement on 15 December 2009, which gives a detailed assessment of the political situation in Sri Lanka. A link to the statement can be found at the following internet address:

Sri Lanka: War Crimes

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the Sri Lankan Government's progress towards establishing an accountability mechanism for allegations of war crimes which took place during the military conflict in the north of the country; and if he will make a statement. [307996]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The EU has made clear its belief that accountability is integral to the process of reconciliation. We therefore welcome President Rajapakse's decision to appoint an independent committee to look into the incidents cited in the US State Department's report. We will continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to live up to this and the earlier commitment made by President Rajapakse to UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon in May to take measures to address possible violations of international humanitarian law. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary released a written ministerial statement on 15 December 2009, which gives a detailed assessment of the political situation in Sri Lanka. A link to the statement can be found at the following internet address:

Travel Information

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on the (a) Another side to paradise campaign, (b) Don't be a Dick campaign, (c) Don't miss out campaign and (d) each other campaign co-ordinated by his Department aimed at Britons travelling abroad in each year since 2001. [307750]

Chris Bryant: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 68W

In addition to the information included in my previous answer, the cost of the Don't be a Dick campaign was approximately £38,000 in 2008-09 and approximately £11,800 in 2009-10.

UK China Task Force

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times the UK China Taskforce has met since August 2007; and if he will make a statement. [308007]


5 Jan 2010 : Column 210W

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The China Task Force works to deepen relations, foster mutual understanding, and further co-operation between the UK and China. The taskforce has met five times since August 2007 when the Chancellor took over the chair.

War Crimes: Judiciary

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on extending the mandate of the international judges and prosecutors serving in the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and if he will make a statement. [307109]

David Miliband: The Government believe that international judges and prosecutors serving in the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) make an important contribution to the justice system in BiH, and to the ability of the country to meet its international obligations in respect of cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Despite repeated requests to do so from the High Representative and Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, the BiH authorities have failed to extend the mandate of these judges and prosecutors.

The Government therefore strongly support High Representative Inzko's 14 December 2009 decision to extend the mandate of international judges and prosecutors working in the war crimes department of the court of BiH.

Western Sahara: Human Rights

Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Morocco on the human rights situation in Western Sahara. [307760]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Mr. Taieb Fassi Fihri, on 11 December 2009 to discuss our concerns over the recent rise in tensions over Western Sahara and in particular the case of Aminatou Haidar. Officials from our embassy in Rabat, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and the UK's Mission to the UN have held similar discussions with their Moroccan counterparts.

During these discussions we have made it clear that we believe that Haidar's case should be resolved swiftly and fairly. We have also expressed our concern that recent events risk impeding the UN-led negotiation process on Western Sahara.

We continue to discuss a wide range of human rights and reform issues with Morocco both bilaterally and through the EU.

Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the human rights situation within Western Sahara at the next meeting of the UN Security Council. [307761]


5 Jan 2010 : Column 211W

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans at this time to raise the issue of Western Sahara at the next meeting of the Security Council. In the negotiations on UN Security Council Resolution 1871, on the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara mandate, the UK inserted language calling on all parties to address the human dimension of the dispute.

The UN Secretary-General has issued a statement expressing his concern over recent developments and that both he and the UN are doing as much as possible to resolve matters. He has called upon the parties to work with Christopher Ross, UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, to resolve the situation.

The UK continues to fully support the efforts of the Secretary-General and Ambassador Ross to resolve the dispute over the territory of Western Sahara.


Next Section Index Home Page