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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are a total of 315 Locally Engaged staff employed in our diplomatic posts in Pakistan. Their jobs range from drivers, cleaners and messengers to commercial officers and IT systems administrators. Some 150 casual staff are also employed on a daily basis to undertake skilled and unskilled labouring work.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We employ a total of 315 permanent staff at three posts in Pakistan. Our records show that 96 are Christian, about 30 per cent of the total. The employees concerned occupy a range of jobs in management, consular, immigration and commercial sections in those posts. We are not aware of any other minority religious groups being represented amongst the employees.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: UN Security Council Resolution 1160 imposed an arms embargo against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The only exception to this embargo is that in UNSCR 1244, which provides that prohibitions imposed by UNSCR 1160 shall not apply to the sale or supply of arms and related material for the use of the international civil and security presences in Kosovo. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1998 sets out the licensing requirements in relation to this embargo.
Since 26 July 1999, the Government have licensed the export of the following equipment on the Military List to organisations involved in demining activities in Kosovo on behalf of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The United Nations FRY Sanctions Committee has approved the export of all of these goods.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We regard Chechnya as an integral part of the Russian Federation, and recognise Russia's right to defend itself against terrorism. We have urged Russia to avoid civilian casualties, prevent any escalation which might threaten regional stability, and look for a long-term peaceful solution through political dialogue with the Chechens. The EU repeated this message in the OSCE Permanent Council on 14 October. The OSCE has discussed Chechnya on a number of occasions, most recently on 22 October, and will continue to remain engaged. We believe the OSCE may have a role to play in working for a political settlement.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It is our policy to set visa fees at levels which will ensure that we recover the full cost of the entry clearance operation, to avoid these costs falling to the taxpayer. This is achieved by setting fees on a global basis, without regional variations. To set different fee levels in different countries would be administratively cumbersome and would make full cost recovery more difficult to achieve. It might also distort demand in those countries where fee levels were lower.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Reviews are expected of both the Lome Sugar Protocol and the Special Preferential Sugar (SPS) variable supply arrangements before 2005. The SPS arrangements are due for review in 2000/01 alongside the EU internal sugar regime, and some change cannot be ruled out. The EU is seeking a review of the Lome Sugar Protocol by 2005. The EU directives for negotiating a successor agreement to the Lome Convention include a commitment to seek ways of maintaining levels of market access for ACP countries equivalent to current levels.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The EU negotiating directives for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the Lome Convention call for a review of the Banana, Beef and Sugar Protocols, taking account of the special status of the Sugar Protocol, before 2005. Such a review would be without prejudice to the eventual outcome, and does not necessarily imply an end to or a renegotiation of the Sugar Protocol.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Bahraini authorities have not discussed with us the postponement of the visit to Bahrain by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. We believe that dates for a future visit are under discussion between the Bahrainis and the Working Group. We expect all states to co-operate with UN human rights mechanisms. Bahrain is no exception. We will be monitoring the situation carefully.
The Bahraini authorities are aware of our concern over detainees. We welcomed the recent release of 320. We have urged the Bahraini opposition to react positively to the Amir's gestures towards reconciliation with the Shia population of Bahrain.
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