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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As I set out in my Written Statement on 15 December 2004 (Official Report, cols. WS 84-88) we are making changes to our overseas network to reflect changing demands and challenges and to ensure the UK has a cost-effective and flexible network of overseas representation. This involves the closure of several diplomatic posts, including the British Embassy in Antananarivo.
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This is in no way a reflection on the current government of Madagascar or on the quality of our bilateral relations. We will work with the Government of Madagascar to establish alternative forms of British representation.
When they expect that the International Commission of Inquiry into crimes committed in Darfur, Sudan, will report; and whether they will support a recommendation for referring any charges to the International Criminal Court. [HL638]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The International Commission of Inquiry is expected to report at the end of January or beginning of February. We strongly support the International Commission of Inquiry, and will decide how to respond to its report when it issues.
Whether and, if so, when, they have raised with the government of China the situation of the estimated 150,000 refugees from North Korea now in China; and whether they will regularly press for access to them by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. [HL639]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have raised the matter of North Korean refugees in China on a number of occasions with the Chinese Government, most recently during the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing in November 2004. We continue to urge China to observe its obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees access to the China/North Korea border region.
What funds they have allocated towards the conference to be held at the beginning of March 2005 to advise the Palestinians; and whether any non-Palestinians will be invited to give evidence at that conference. [HL712]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The budget for costs for the London meeting has not been finalised yet. We will be clearer as to the funds allocated nearer to 1 March, when the meeting will take place. We will be happy to supply this information when it becomes available.
We are inviting several states and organisations with an interest to participate, including members of the Quartet, the ad hoc liaison committee (donor group),
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the G8, and the International Task Force for Palestinian Reform as well as the Palestinian Authority.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We continue to press the Palestinian Authority to make 100 per cent effort to stop terrorist attacks in line with its road map commitments. The new leadership of the Palestinian Authority has said that it will pursue security reform as a priority, and on 17 January Abu Mazen instructed Palestinian security forces to prevent further attacks on Israeli targets. The UK is working with the Palestinian Authority to improve its operational capacity to provide better security for Palestinians and to prevent attacks on Israel.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government supported the election of Dr Mohammed El Baradei for his previous two terms as Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Her Majesty's Government believe in general that, for the heads of United Nations bodies, two terms in office should be the maximum. In the case of the Director-General of the IAEA, however, no new candidate for the post has come forward.
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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The United Kingdom authorities are following the investigation by the Pakistani authorities into the activities of Dr A.Q. Khan with close interest, and continue to urge the Pakistani authorities to share the results of these enquiries with their allies and with the relevant international organisations.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have raised Reverend Kim's case with the North Korean authorities at official level, both in London and Pyongyang, seeking confirmation of his safety and well-being. We await their response.
What consultancy contracts have been let in respect of the proposed identity card scheme; and in each case what are (a) the date of the contract; (b) the name of the consultant; (c) the purpose of the assignment; and (d) the cost of the contract. [HL591]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The identity cards programme has let management consultancy contracts to the following organisations. Only the PA Consulting contract dated 7 June 2004 remains extant.
|Sirius consortium||Advice on feasibility and costs||27 September 2002||£78,724|
|SchlumbergerSema (Atos Origin)||Programme and project management advice||1 September 2003||£56,000|
|PA Consulting Services Limited||Provision of project management consultancy||5 December 2003||£27,200|
|Shreeveport Management Consultancy,||Facilitation of workshops and core proposition development||7 January 2004||£43,250|
|Axon Group plc||Proposals relating to human resources||1 March 2004||£28,766|
|Cornwell Management Consultants plc||Assessment of potential public sector delivery partners||30 March 2004||£47,548|
|PA Consulting Services Limited||Provision of management consultancy for the development of the ID card scheme||7 June 2004||£5,716,259 to 1/12/04|
What are the reasons for the detention under the Immigration Acts, as at 25 September 2004, of 80 persons (of whom 60 are asylum seekers) for one year or more, and of 125 persons (of whom 100 are asylum seekers) for between six months and one year. [HL742]
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