|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Office of the Quartet Representative reports regularly to Quartet members and donors. The most recent report we received was on 13 January 2010, confirming they had secured an extension of the Tarkumiya commercial goods crossing opening hours.
19. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the security situation along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Pakistan on 9-10 January 2010 to talk about the London Conference on Afghanistan and wider issues. He made clear that we recognise Pakistan's sacrifices in its ongoing campaign against militancy in the border region and support efforts to tackle extremism in all its forms. Long-term security in the border region requires regional co-operation and a comprehensive approach to stabilisation that also addresses development and governance needs. We encourage Pakistan to develop such plans for the border regions.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Iraq's Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) will run the 7 March 2010 National Election. IHEC have successfully organised a number of elections now, including last January's provincial elections. We remain in regular contact with IHEC through our Baghdad embassy. The national election will be another significant step in Iraq's democratic journey.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The root causes of conflict in Yemen are a lack of governance and delivery of services by the state. The UK strategy is to tackle these causes, in co-operation with the international community. The meeting in London on 27 January 2010 is part of that wider strategy, and will seek to help the international community co-ordinate its response to these issues and support for the efforts of the government of Yemen.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Yemen continues to face economic crisis and state failure. Any worsening of the instability, terrorist activity and poverty present in Yemen will have a detrimental effect on security-within Yemen and in the region. The meeting in London on 27 January 2010 is part of our wider strategy towards Yemen, which aims to work with the international community to support the efforts of the Yemeni Government to address the fundamental problems it is facing.
23. Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many military attachés are assigned to the British embassies in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 
Chris Bryant: The UK has defence attachés in Sweden and Estonia. The attaché in Sweden also serves as non-resident attaché to Finland, while that in Estonia is non-resident attaché to Latvia and Lithuania.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Pakistan on 9-10 January 2010 and spoke to President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Interior Minister Malik. He was encouraged to see that key parties are working together around a common agenda to consolidate the political progress made. We hope that this co-operation continues. The UK supports Pakistan's democratic institutions and will continue to pursue our interests with the government of the day.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on Turkey's accession to the EU as part of the next phase of EU enlargement. 
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has made in discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence on the future financial arrangements for Ascension Island. 
Chris Bryant: As Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories, I met with the Minister for the Armed Forces on 2 December 2009 to discuss Ascension Island as he indicated in response to the hon. Member's question on this issue on 1 December 2009.
Discussions are continuing between the Ministers, officials and the Ascension Island government. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has funded a revenue specialist to review tax arrangements on the island. That review has been completed and the draft report will shortly be considered by the Ascension Island Council and government. The review will contribute to the reform process already in hand to put the finances of Ascension Island government on a sustainable footing.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Canadian and (b) Norwegian counterpart on the negotiation of a free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia. 
Chris Bryant: I discussed the EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement during a meeting with the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs in December 2009. I confirmed that the UK believes that such agreements can help to create the right circumstances for improved prosperity and stability, where human rights stand a better chance of flourishing. I have had no recent meetings with my Norwegian counterpart.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the security situation in Equateur province of Western Congo; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Congolese Army (FARDC) have carried out operations in Equateur province against insurgents based in the south near Dongo. The UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) has supplied logistical support to the FARDC in this. MONUC assistance has been conditional. The insurgents are still active and have carried out attacks against FARDC
in early January 2010. Our assessment is that despite recent successes of the FARDC in reclaiming villages from the insurgents this situation is not over yet. The area is unsafe and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
Difficult terrain and security concerns have prevented the humanitarian agencies getting access, although some are starting to deploy now, such as the World Food Programme. The UN humanitarian pooled fund is available to agencies which begin work there, last year DFID contributed £35 million to the pooled fund.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many countries are involved in the training of the Congolese army; how many official languages are used in such training; what assessment he has made of the effect of the number of languages on the effectiveness of the training provided by the UN peacekeeping force in that country (MONUC); and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Ten countries, including the UK, US and China-and the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC)-are involved in training the Congolese army. Several countries from MONUC assist with training the more notable ones being Pakistan and India. MONUC are also just about to use Tanzanian troops which will train 12 Congolese Army (FARDC) Infantry battalions in the next year. This is part-funded by the UK who provided £400,000 for Barrack Infrastructure Repairs for the training camps.
We estimate that seven official languages are used in training. We recognise that language differences can hinder co-ordination; to respond to this the UK runs a 'peacekeeping English' course to ensure that the FARDC and MONUC can communicate effectively when working together. So far the UK has trained over 1,000 trainers, who can then go on to disseminate English teaching throughout the FARDC. We have also trained over 40 interpreters.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the Government have put forward for the reconfiguration of the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) following the expiry of its mandate in May 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government have not put forward any new proposals for the reconfiguration of the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). Security Council Resolution 1906 was agreed on 23 December 2009 and requests the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to produce an Integrated Strategic Framework, covering the roles of the wider UN in the country, by 16 February 2010; and the Secretary-General to carry out a strategic review of MONUC by 1 April 2010.
The outcomes of these reports and progress on Protection of Civilians, Disarmament Demobilisation Reintegration Resettlement or Repatriation Security Sector Reform and developments in the security situation will provide the basis for discussion of any reconfiguring of MONUC with Security Council partners.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what advertising campaigns his Department has been responsible in each of the last three years; which such campaigns (a) commenced and (b) continued in 2009-10; and what the cost of each such campaign has been. 
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recruitment advertising: £85,057 on seven new recruitment campaigns.
FCO Services recruitment advertising: £91,094.
The Know Before You Go, Travel Safety Campaign advertising: £207,711. (This figure includes TV and Radio filler production and promotions.).
For other figures relating to previous years I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my noble Friend Baroness Kinnock to the noble Lord Newby on 11 November 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA168.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) citizens' juries and (b) summits have been hosted by his Department since June 2007; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any parts of the contents of the speech by Baroness Ashton in her capacity as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, delivered to the European Parliament on 15 December 2009, do not represent the policy of the Government. 
Chris Bryant: Baroness Ashton's speech set out existing EU policies and offered her personal view on the way ahead in some areas. All Common Foreign and Security Policies are agreed by the UK, including the Conclusions of 8 December 2009 by the Foreign Affairs Council to which Baroness Ashton refers.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria the Government use to select candidates for nomination to serve on Section III of the European Economic and Social Committee. 
Chris Bryant: Within Section III, potential UK candidates should be able to demonstrate detailed, up-to-date knowledge and experience in one or more of a number of areas, including, but not limited to, services sectors, small business, research, agriculture, consumer interests, environmental interests, youth experience or sustainable development. This list is not exhaustive. All candidates should be able to contribute effectively to the Committee in promoting UK interests in their chosen field.
Where possible, the UK delegation as a whole should reflect levels of national diversity. This includes race, religion and belief, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability. It is also desirable that members come from all parts of the UK (although European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) members do not represent regions) and be representative of a wide range of interests and experience.
Every candidate should have enough time available to prepare for and attend EESC meetings. Delegates are expected to spend at least 60 days a year in Brussels on Committee business, in addition to time spent conducting research and travelling.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what organisations his Department has consulted on the proposed Maritime Protection Zone for the Chagos Archipelago. 
Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has discussed the possibility of establishing a marine protected area (MPA) in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) with a wide range of stakeholders. These include the Governments of the United States and Mauritius, other concerned Government Departments, the National Oceanography Centre, the British Geological Survey, non-governmental organisations and other organisations involved in the Chagos Environment Network (including the Chagos Conservation Trust and the Pew Environment Group) and a range of individual scientists and environmentalists. The FCO has consulted those involved in the establishment of other large scale MPAs, in particular the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
In order to consult as widely as possible the FCO launched a public consultation on the establishment of an MPA in BIOT on 10 November 2009. The consultation has been brought to the attention of the public in Mauritius and the Seychelles through our high commissions
there and the consultation facilitator will be travelling out to Port Louis and Victoria later this month to listen to the views of the Chagossian communities and other stakeholders in Mauritius and the Seychelles. The FCO has also taken steps to draw this consultation to the attention of members of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek views more widely from all stakeholders and interested parties to help the Government assess the right option for the future environmental protection of the Territory. The consultation period runs to 12 February 2010.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|