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Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects Bosnia-Herzegovina to be ready to be invited to participate in the NATO Membership Action Plan; and what his policy is on such membership. 
David Miliband: The UK fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and continues to provide active support to help achieve that aim. In December NATO Foreign Ministers agreed Bosnia and Herzegovina would join the Membership Action Plan (MAP) once it has achieved the necessary progress on reform. The next formal review of Bosnia and Herzegovina's progress will be in spring this year.
MAP is an important tool in assisting countries to prepare for NATO membership. For a country to fully benefit from this tool it must have robust and functional political structures in place to take forward the comprehensive process and implement the wide spectrum of democratic and defence reforms required for membership.
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the Colombian government to seek to ensure the safety of human rights activists and lawyers in Colombia. 
Chris Bryant: We regularly raise serious concerns over human rights with senior Colombian Ministers. I visited Colombia in October 2009, and during a meeting with President Uribe, urged him to do more to improve the human rights situation. I also issued a joint statement with Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, declaring that:
"the defence of human rights is necessary and legitimate for democracy, in a country like Colombia which is proud of being fully open and ready for international scrutiny on this subject".
Chris Bryant: The UK's foreign policy towards Cuba is in line with the EU Common Position, which we agreed in 1996 and review annually each June at the European Council. Through engagement with both the Cuban Government and Cuban civil society, this policy aims to support the principles of pluralistic democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and an improvement of the living standards of the Cuban people. Specifically we hope to see concrete improvements in human rights, such as the release of all political prisoners, improved economic freedoms for all Cuban citizens and an end to restrictions on freedom of expression and independent trade unions. We work closely with our EU partners to further develop engagement with Cuba, including through the EU-Cuba political dialogue, and continue to look for opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations. We already co-operate at a working level on a number of issues such as climate change, child protection, counter-narcotics, and through scientific and cultural links.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the health and safety advice issued to each new starter upon joining his Department. 
Chris Bryant [holding answer 19 January 2010]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently updating its health and safety induction programme and documentation. This includes the publication of a new Health and Safety induction handbook. Upon completion the FCO will make arrangements for a copy to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on proposals to extend the provisions of the Vienna Convention to locally-engaged staff in countries where embassy employees have been subject to harassment by state authorities; and if his will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The current provisions of Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (VCDR) allow sending states to appoint members of staff to its missions. There is a clear distinction in the way in which the VCDR treats staff appointed from the sending state and those recruited locally. This means that UK-based diplomatic agents, once appointed and accredited by the receiving state, are afforded immunities and privileges according to Article 31(1) of the VCDR, for example, immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state and from its civil and administrative jurisdiction, subject to limited exceptions. However, under the current VCDR provisions the consent of the receiving state is required in order to appoint as diplomatic agents any locally engaged staff who are nationals or residents of that state and this consent can be withdrawn at any time under Article 8 of the VCDR.
Our locally engaged staff are either nationals or residents of the receiving state. The fact that VCDR gives the receiving state the right to withdraw any immunity afforded to locally engaged staff at will means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not consider that offering them immunity is a viable means of affording them any substantive additional protection, particularly in those countries where relations with the host government are sometimes strained.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what environmental projects in Estonia received support from the British Embassy in that country in the last three years. 
Saving the World-Policy Paper on Climate Change and Estonia: support to the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute to commission and research a policy paper on Climate Change and how it effects Estonia for production in May/June 2007
Climate Change in Estonia-Schools Information Campaign: funding the printing and distribution of Estonian language posters on climate change, for distribution to all secondary schools in Estonia to raise awareness of climate change issues.
Distribution of the first translation of the Executive Summary of the Stern Review in Estonia to local policy makers to help influence the climate change debate in Estonia and provide a reference tool.
A grant for Tartu university to design an Estonia-specific carbon footprint calculator to enable Estonians to calculate
accurately their carbon footprint, which would then be used as an educational project with a selection of Estonian schools to enable students to calculate their footprints and ways in which they could reduce them.
Visit of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director Maarin Ratnik to Wilton Park for a conference on Energy Security in the EU to offer Estonia an opportunity to discuss the impact of the European Council's conclusions on the EU's energy and climate package.
Attendance of senior researcher from Tallinn Technical university and senior specialist from Ministry of Environment on Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) Study tour in UK to increase Estonia's expertise on CCS by sharing UK's best practice and to increase general public awareness of CCS issues in relation to climate change by publishing an article written by study tour participants in well circulated Estonian press.
Visit to Estonia by Lord Giddens to give a speech at the 25th Anniversary event for the Chevening alumni event on "The Politics of Climate Change", with the aim of capitalising on their attendance to continue (through Lord Giddens) to work on the Estonian mindset regarding climate change issues, notably Estonian reliance on (environmentally unfriendly) oil shale.
Four Estonian delegates participated in a seminar on Climate Change: Everybody's Business, organised by our embassy in Riga, to increase awareness of climate change among Estonian businesses with a view to positive effects on business 2009:
Sponsorship for Reet Aus (the only fashion designer in Estonia working exclusively with recycled goods) to attend Fashion Week in London with the aim of supporting a green clothing initiative by making them from sustainable ecologically sound procedures and raising awareness.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest assessment is of the status of talks with (a) the Government of Iran and (b) his international counterparts on a fuel supply for the Tehran nuclear research reactor; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The UK is not directly involved in the talks on the International Atomic Energy Agency's proposal of October 2009. However, we support the proposal and are disappointed by Iran's failure to engage on it. This proposal could have begun to rebuild confidence in Iran's intentions by guaranteeing that part of Iran's fuel stock was used for legitimate purposes. I remain in close touch with my E3+3 and EU colleagues on all the issues associated with Iran's nuclear programme.
David Miliband: The Government continue to pursue the dual track strategy of engagement and pressure to address the issue of Iran's nuclear programme. Consideration of further appropriate UN measures designed to influence the regime's decision making on the nuclear file has now begun. With regard to EU sanctions, I refer the right hon. Member to the December European Council Declaration on Iran, where the EU clearly committed to considering further measures to accompany UN action.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: In both Indian and Pakistan Administered Kashmir, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spent a total of £599,146 in financial year 2008-09 and expects to spend £1,011,012 in financial year 2009-10. This expenditure is on project activity funded from three sources-the Conflict Pool (which is a joint FCO, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence fund), the Bilateral Programme Budget and the Counter Terrorism (Radicalisation) fund. The total expected spend on project activity across these three funds in Indian and Pakistan Administered Kashmir from 2008 to financial year 2009-10 will be £1,610,158.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff in his Department are responsible for (a) the central coordination of activities and (b) monitoring the effect of activities undertaken under the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Central co-ordination of activities under the UK National Action Plan, jointly developed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is within the FCO carried out by the conflict policy team. Two members of staff cover this work as part of their wider duties, with additional support provided by others as necessary.
There is also a range of staff across the FCO and wider government network involved with the implementation and monitoring of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The FCO does not hold information on the number of staff in its overseas network with this specific responsibility as part of their duties.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Our high commissioner to Nigeria last met President Yar'Adua on 5 November 2009, during the visit of my noble Friend Baroness Kinnock, the Minister of State for Africa, to Nigeria. He last met Vice President Goodluck Jonathan on 30 December 2009.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of UK relations with Nigeria, with particular reference to recent developments in that country. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK continues to have a strong bilateral relationship with Nigeria as one of our key partners in Africa, and remains in frequent dialogue with the Government of Nigeria at all levels. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to his Nigerian counterpart on 8 January 2010,and Baroness Kinnock, the Minister of State for Africa co-hosted an event for the Nigerian diaspora in the UK on 20 January 2010.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with the President or Vice President of Nigeria; what reports his Department has received on the state of health of the President; whether he is taking steps to encourage the Nigerian government and military to adhere to the Nigerian Constitution; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had recent discussions with the President or Vice President of Nigeria. However he last spoke to Foreign Minister Maduekwe on 8 January 2010. During their conversation my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed his concern for the health of President Yar'Adua, passed on his good wishes for the President's speedy recovery, and reiterated the UK's support for the Nigerian Government's determination to act in accordance with the Nigerian constitution.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department are planning to attend the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010; and what estimate he has made of the cost of such attendance. 
Chris Bryant: Since 1999 the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. From 2007-08 the list was extended to include all Ministers. The list also provides information on the number of officials who accompany Ministers. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.
Information for 2009-10 will be published as soon as the information is available. All travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Management Code respectively.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to raise the restrictions placed by the government of Israel on access for humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials into Gaza at the next discussion of the Middle East Quartet; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have consistently pressed the Government of Israel to ease border restrictions and permit the passage of humanitarian aid and essential reconstruction material into Gaza. The EU as a whole has made similar calls, including in the Conclusions of the December Foreign Affairs Council and the Quartet has called for Israel "to allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza". We will continue to raise this issue at the highest levels.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions a Minister from his Department has visited Gaza to assess the (a) human rights and (b) political situation there since the conflict in Gaza began; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State for International Development visited Gaza on 1 March 2009. During his visit to the region he met with Israeli officials and discussed issues around access for humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials. Officials for the Department for International Development (DFID) visit Gaza frequently, and meet with other organisations and agencies who work in Gaza. The Secretary of State is kept up-to-date with all aspects of the situation in Gaza including human rights and the political environment.
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