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Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise at the next Antarctic treaty meeting the issue of compliance by the Japanese whaling fleet with Antarctic treaty provisions in the treaty area. 
Mr Bellingham: Whaling is a matter for the International Whaling Commission (IWC), not the Antarctic treaty. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to raise this issue at Antarctic treaty meetings. Nonetheless, I can assure my hon. Friend that the Japanese Government are in no doubt that the UK considers Japan's lethal whaling for "scientific" research wholly unnecessary. We will continue to raise this issue within the IWC and bilaterally as appropriate.
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government's commitment to stand firm on human rights in all its bilateral relationships, as referred to in the coalition agreement, will inform his Department's policy on Kashmir. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made it clear that British values, including human rights, are central to UK foreign policy. In Kashmir, the UK continues to call for an improvement in the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control and for an end to external support for violence. UK funding supports human rights, conflict prevention and peace-building efforts on both sides of the Line of Control.
During Foreign and Commonwealth Office oral questions on 14 September 2010, I said "that the British Government works on, and devotes resources to, assisting with conflict resolution in Kashmir, tackling human rights concerns and helping to build confidence on both sides of the line of control. With that confidence, we then continue to ensure that there is a dialogue with the Indian and Pakistan Governments, because the resolution of this long-standing situation is for them, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people."
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Indian, (b) Pakistani and (c) Kashmiri counterparts on the political situation in Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed regional issues including relations between India and Pakistan during recent meetings with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi and Indian Foreign Minister Krishna. Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss India-Pakistan relations, including Kashmir, with the Governments of Pakistan and India and with interlocutors in Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
The long standing position of the UK is that it is for Pakistan and India to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this in the Foreign Affairs debate on 27 May 2010.
297 complaints were submitted to the Kosovo Electoral Complaints and Appeals Panel in respect of the 12 December parliamentary elections in Kosovo. 136 complaints related to the campaign period and 171 to election day. All of the complaints were decided within the legal deadline (16 December). A limited number of complaints about fraud were upheld and the
election will be re-run-in full or in part-in five municipalities on 9 January 2011. The Government welcome the prompt handling of the complaints procedure and the decisive action by the Kosovan Central Election Commission to annul results in the affected areas.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of Kosovo's application to join the European Union following the results of the recent elections in that country. 
The UK firmly believes that the future of Kosovo, and all the countries of the Western Balkans, is in the EU. The successful holding of Kosovo's first parliamentary elections since declaring independence in February 2008 underlines Kosovo's progress towards meeting the political criteria for EU membership.
The UK looks forward to supporting the incoming Kosovo Government, once formed, in its effort to make further progress towards fulfilling Kosovo's European perspective. This includes taking forward the reforms recommended in the European Commission's 2010 Progress Report on Kosovo.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received recent reports on the Libyan Government's programme to compensate those who had (a) property confiscated and (b) been illegally detained by that Government. 
Alistair Burt: We have not received any information on this issue since reports in August 2010 that the Libyan Government were considering compensating some of those who had been wrongfully imprisoned.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of (a) rockets and (b) mortar bombs launched into Israeli territory from (i) Lebanon and (ii) Gaza since 1 October 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The Israel Defence Force (IDF) provides statistics for the number of rocket attacks from Gaza, but their figures are current only until 7 October 2010. The number of rockets reported fired in 2010 up until this date was 165. We are aware of further attacks since 1 October but are not able to confirm full details.
We condemn all rocket attacks, Such acts of terrorism are indiscriminate and frequently target civilian populations. We call on all sides to halt acts of violence and focus efforts on a negotiated solution.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) each Minister and (b) officials in his Department have had with (i) Arab states and (ii) the government of Israel on discrimination against Jewish communities in Arab states; what the outcomes were of such discussions; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s overseas missions have a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in their host countries and routinely raise our concerns with host governments, including freedom of religion or belief when appropriate. The Government strongly condemn the continued prevalence of anti-Semitism around the world and promotes policies to tackle this through a range of international organisations.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Arab governments on securing an end to conflict with Israel since May 2010; what response he has received to such representations; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, myself and other Foreign Office Ministers regularly engage with counterparts across the Arab world and in Israel on a broad range of subjects, including the middle east peace process (MEPP). Most recently I spoke to the Crown Prince of Bahrain about the MEPP on 30 November 2010.
Securing a two state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees remains a foreign policy priority for my Government. This is important for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community including the UK.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the (a) missile capabilities of Hamas, (b) testing of long-range rockets by Hamas and (c) acquisition of high-specification anti-aircraft missiles by Hamas; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We are aware of reports that Hamas continues to acquire and test a variety of weapons. We have long made it clear that the arming and funding of Hamas, and other Palestinian rejectionist groups, is unacceptable.
We recognise Israel's legitimate security needs. We have underlined the need for Hamas to end rocket attacks on Israel. We call on them to take immediate and concrete steps towards the Quartet principles.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations he has received on recognition of the state of Israel as a Jewish state by the Palestinian Authority; what recent representations he has made to the Palestinian Authority on this issue; and if he will make a statement; 
Alistair Burt: We have received no such representations though we are, of course, aware that the Israeli Government have publicly called on the Palestinian Authority to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
The UK does not formally recognise states as being any religion or ethnicity. It is self-evident that Israel is a profoundly Jewish country and has been ever since its foundation more than 60 years ago. All citizens of Israel should be treated equally regardless of religion or background.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken since September 2010 and (b) plans to take in 2011 to encourage (i) Palestinian reconciliation and (ii) acceptance of the Quartet Principles by all parties; what discussions he has had with his UN counterparts on such issues since September 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: There is an urgent need for a two state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since September we have continued to support those working to this end. We are disappointed that peace talks are currently on hold but will continue to work with the US, the parties to the conflict and with our EU and UN partners to secure progress.
Clearly a negotiated solution will require a degree of consensus among both Palestinians and Israelis, and we will continue to encourage all interested parties to unite in the search for peace. It will also require determination to follow a path of negotiations, not to attempt to force the issue through violence or by creating facts on the ground. We will continue to insist that all parties abide by the Quartet principles.
Mr Jeremy Browne: Senior officials have discussed North Korea's nuclear programme, and the recent escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, with their US counterparts in New York and Washington, in particular since the events of 23 November 2010 when North Korean shelling killed four South Korean citizens.
Alistair Burt: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we are disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold. It is Britain's longstanding view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv has made our views clear in the course of his discussions with the Government of Israel. We have also underlined our views to the Israeli embassy in London.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on levels of economic development in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We regularly monitor economic developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The most recent reports from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, feeding into that of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, show that the west bank economy is doing well, though with significant reliance on external financial assistance.
We are encouraged by the progress the Palestinian Authority under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's leadership has achieved in recent years and commend it for its sound economic management, security improvements and focus on encouraging investment.
"if the Palestinian Authority maintains its current performance in institution building and delivery of public services, it is well positioned for the establishment of a State at any point in the near future".
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to lay before Parliament the secondary legislation required for UK ratification of the EU Free Trade Agreement with Peru and Colombia. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Negotiations on the EU-Andean Free Trade Agreement were concluded in May 2010. The agreement is now going through legal scrutiny. The text will then be translated into all member state languages. After this stage European Council legal advisers will be able to determine officially whether the agreement is mixed competence. If it is, the agreement will need to be ratified by national Parliaments. This is the point at which the process of secondary legislation would begin. We would expect the UK ratification process to begin both in late 2011 or 2012, and for it to take several months to complete the secondary legislation.
Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the level of compliance of the Russian Federation with its international obligations on the rule of law and democratic processes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: The Government support President Medvedev's focus on the need to strengthen the rule of law and improve democratic processes in Russia, as part of his modernisation agenda. We encourage Russia to play an active part in a rules-based international system, and support Russia's application for membership of the World Trade Organisation.
The Government's assessment of Russian compliance with their international obligations on the rule of law and democratic processes will be contained within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Command Paper on Human Rights, due to be published in March 2011.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the letter from the Minister for Europe of 11 November 2010, on the European Union Bill, for what reasons his Department believes that the present terms of UK membership of the EU are in the national interest. 
Mr Lidington: There are many things about the EU we would like to change. However, membership of the EU gives UK business full access to the world's most important trading zone, comprising 500 million consumers without the barriers of customs or tariffs. This is of great importance to the UK's prosperity. 10% (3.5 million) of UK jobs are reliant on exports to EU member states, the beneficial effect of EU trade on UK households is estimated at between £1,100 and £3,300 per year, UK exports to member states are worth more than £200 billion, and EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) comprises 49% of overall FDI to the UK. Under the present terms of membership the UK plays a strong and active role in influencing and shaping developments within the EU, allowing us to further goals essential to the national interest, such as strengthening and expanding the single market, delivering growth, and promoting a resource efficient, low carbon EU economy. The European economic area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members, in contrast, have to contribute to the EU budget without being able to negotiate the detail and content of EU legislation, and without receiving benefits such as the exemption from customs requirements and costs.
In addition, EU membership gives the UK better leverage and negotiating power on the global stage, allowing us to better achieve our international objectives on issues such as freer international trade, conflict prevention, stabilisation, climate change, human rights and development. There are also wide-ranging benefits for UK individuals, such as the right to study and work within the EU, and to receive free or reduced cost health care on temporary visits within EU member states.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Venezuela on political pluralism in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
The National Assembly elections of September 2010 in Venezuela resulted in 10 political parties winning seats. The EU High Representative, speaking for the European Union, welcomed the participation of all political forces in the country and the return to multiparty representation in the National Assembly. Our embassy in Caracas closely follows the political developments in Venezuela, including quality of democracy, and monitors developments closely.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department last published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993; and at which web addresses such schemes can be accessed in (a) Welsh and (b) English. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, along with other government departments, is not considered a "public body" under the provisions of the Welsh Language Act (section 21), meaning that it is not required to prepare Welsh language schemes. No such scheme has therefore been published.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Morocco on the conditions of Saharawi people in the occupied Western Sahara. 
Alistair Burt: I raised the issue of Western Sahara during my visit to Morocco in December 2010. During our discussions, I urged the Government of Morocco to consider the benefits of a human rights monitoring presence on the ground as the best way to ensure a balanced picture of conditions in the disputed territory.