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European Security and Defence Policy

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the consultations with Russia on security and defence issues, raised in section (2)(vi) of the Nice Presidency report on the European Security and Defence Policy. [158313]

Mr. Vaz: EU Heads of Government discussed the European Security and Defence Policy with President Putin at the Stockholm European Council. Senior officials of EU member states have also discussed ESDP with Russia in preparation for the EU/Russia summit on 17 May 2001.

Chagos Islanders

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to receive the report on the feasibility study of allowing the Chagos islanders to return; and if he will make a statement. [158650]

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Mr. Battle: In accordance with the recommendations for further study in the preliminary report Phase 2A, the procurement and installation of measuring equipment on the islands is now complete and the collection of data has begun. At least six months of data are required before the next phase, 2B, can start. A project manager for Phase 2B has been appointed and terms of reference are currently being drawn up. We hope to have let the tender for this phase within 5-6 months. It is too early to say when the report will be ready but we would expect Phase 2 to take about one year. Phase 3 studies will depend on the findings of Phase 2.

Diego Garcia

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what payments have been made by the USA for the use of Diego Garcia in each year since 1971. [158651]

Mr. Battle: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 1077W.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many personnel are employed by the British Indian Ocean Territories administration in (a) the UK and (b) the Territories; and how many are posted on Diego Garcia in each category. [158652]

Mr. Battle: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 22 January 2001, Official Report, column 403W.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the USA concerning the future resettlement of Diego Garcia by the Chagos islanders since the 2000 court judgment on the right of return. [158649]

Mr. Battle: In our regular meetings with US officials they have made no formal representations to us but in our discussions with them about the implications of the court judgment. They have stressed the importance they attach, as we do, to the relevant treaty obligations.

British Indian Ocean Territories

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the (a) capital and (b) revenue expenditure for each of the past 10 years on the British Indian Ocean Territories. [158654]

Mr. Battle: We do not yet have the figures for the financial year 2000-01. The approximate figures for (a) Capital and (b) Recurrent expenditure for the previous six financial years are as follows. For the years prior to that the information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

£

Financial Year(a)(b)
1999-200042,0001,850,000
1998-9901,325,000
1997-9833,0001,530,000
1996-9722,0001,225,000
1995-9649,0001,391,000
1994-9549,000825,000


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Lockerbie Trial

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official reports he has received from UN observers about the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist; and if he will make a statement. [158132]

Mr. Battle: There were no UN observers at the Lockerbie trial. There were several international observers, representing five organisations, nominated by the Secretary-General. We understand that one of these observers has written a report in a private capacity. The Registrar of the Lockerbie trial was sent a copy of the report and has made the report available to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Embassy Representation

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance was provided by the Embassy for the First Minister for Scotland during his recent visit to Washington; and what advice the First Minister received from the UK Ambassador about representation of UK regions in the embassy. [158133]

Mr. Robin Cook: The British Embassy in Washington provided the First Minister for Scotland with the usual assistance they would offer to visiting Ministers. They provided a full programme of calls and the First Minister was accompanied during his visit which included a call on the White House.

The Ambassador and the First Minister discussed the possibility of a secondment of a Scottish Executive official to the Embassy. Additionally, the embassy has been in touch with each of the devolved administrations about their representational activity in the United States.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on providing representation in the Embassy in (a) Washington and (b) Tripoli for constituent parts of the United Kingdom. [158134]

Mr. Robin Cook: In respect of Washington, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today (UIN 158133). Embassy staff in staff in all our posts overseas continue to represent all the constituent parts of the UK.

Moluccas

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what communications he has had with the Indonesian authorities concerning the situation of Christians in the Moluccas; [158484]

Mr. Battle: We have been and continue to be very concerned about events in Indonesia, and especially in Maluku. The second anniversary on 19 January of the outbreak of intercommunal unrest was marked by renewed violence in Ambon: at least 14 people died in clashes between Muslims and the security forces. This illustrated the fragility of the situation in Ambon at a time

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when there had been some recent improvements; the Muslim and Christian holidays in December passed without serious incident.

Both the Secretary of State for International Development and I visited Indonesia in October 2000 and discussed the situation in Maluku with President Wahid and senior ministers. We urged tolerance and restraint and made clear to them the Indonesian Government's responsibility to maintain law and order and take immediate steps to bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice. I also discussed events with Alwi Shihab, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, in the margins of the EU-ASEAN meeting in Vientiane on 12 December. I further discussed the situation in Indonesia with the Indonesian Ambassador in London on 4 April.

Our Ambassador to Indonesia has visited the Moluccas twice this year. The visits provided an opportunity to assess the situation at first hand. Together with other international partners, we are working with the Indonesian authorities and UNDP to promote reconciliation and begin wider reconstruction work.

We welcome the commitment of the Indonesian Government to resolve the country's regional conflicts through dialogue and reconciliation. The challenge for Indonesia is to build on the foundations laid by the recent democratic process and to deliver human rights that benefit everybody. We will play a full part in helping towards that goal.

Sudan

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he is taking to promote human rights in the Sudan. [158487]

Mr. Wilson: We remain concerned about the human rights of all in Sudan and we regularly urge all sides in the civil war to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. We make representations about our human rights concerns to the Government of Sudan, both bilaterally and with our EU colleagues through the EU/Sudan critical dialogue. The dialogue provides a forum for strong criticism of the Sudanese Government, and allows for a co-ordinated EU assessment of the human rights situation.

We also work with our EU colleagues in the UN fora to keep our concerns on the international agenda. For example, the EU recently sponsored a UN General Assembly human rights resolution on Sudan and we are currently working on a similar text at the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received concerning violence in the Sudan. [158486]

Mr. Wilson: We receive numerous representations from members of the public, NGOs, and Members of Parliament, demonstrating the immense strength of feeling about the situation in Sudan. Indeed, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary recently received a petition organised by the Sudanese-British Human Rights Forum containing 18,000 signatures.

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