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Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish details of the recent discussions he has had with the Russian Government concerning NATO expansion in (a) the Baltic states and (b) East-Central Europe. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Foreign Secretary has regular discussions with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov on a wide range of policy issues. They met most recently at the UN General Assembly in New York on 12 November.
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to assist the economies of (a) Israel, (b) Jordan, (c) Syria, (d) the Palestinian Territories and (e) Lebanon. 
(b) The current planned level of bilateral assistance to Jordan is £3.5 million per annum. Through the UK's contribution to the EC's MEDA funds, we are also providing approximately £6.5 million per annum in assistance to Jordan.
(c) Provisional estimates for Syria's allocation of the EC's MEDA funds for 2000 are £1.5 million. The share attributed to the UK is 19.01 per cent. The UK is also supporting Syria's economic reform programme.
Over the past four years the UK has substantially increased its contributions to the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides services to Palestinians throughout the region. In 2001 the UK contribution is £25 million.
Mr. Bradshaw: HMG remain convinced that an independent, democratic and peaceful Palestinian state should emerge as part of a negotiated settlement that guarantees peace and stability for Israel, secure within recognised borders and viewed as an equal partner in the region.
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The details are for agreement between the parties in permanent status negotiations. HMG believe the characteristics of such a viable Palestinian state might include for example a high degree of territorial contiguity, responsibility for internal security, and the development of a full range of institutions necessary for effective governance.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give hon. Members diplomatic passports on the same basis as British Members of the European Parliament. 
Mr. Straw: Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding and the concordat on International Relations between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations, the devolved Administrations may establish offices within the framework of their responsibility for devolved matters in consultation with the FCO. The FCO and the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union have already assisted the devolved Administrations to establish offices in Brussels. The FCO will continue to assist the Administrations and to provide such advice as they require. Considerable efforts are also made within the UK to consult the devolved Administrations on EU matters. Ministers from each of the devolved Administrations are members of a Cabinet Committee which I chair.
Mr. MacShane: Total worldwide entertainment expenditure in 200001 amounted to £11.4 million. Expenditure on entertainment covers a wide range of activities including promotional and trade events, receptions in honour of high level visitors, sustaining contacts with politicians and parliamentarians worldwide and events to establish and cultivate contacts. All are undertaken in pursuit of FCO objectives, both at home and in our posts overseas.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the United Kingdom Representation at Brussels has extended to the Northern Ireland Executive in helping them to establish an office in Brussels. 
Mr. Straw: The office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels is responsible to the Northern Ireland devolved administration. As with the Brussels offices of the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales, assistance has been extended to ensure that the Northern Ireland (EU) office is able to operate under the umbrella of the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union, with which it has close working relations. The office's Director and Deputy Director have been accredited to the Belgian authorities as members of the Permanent Representation. In March/May 2001, the Director was given temporary office accommodation in the Permanent Representation while work was completed on the Northern Ireland Executive's new premises in Brussels.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the support given by (a) Zimbabwean and (b) other SADC parliamentarians for the electoral recommendations to Zimbabwe by the SADC Parliamentary Forum. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We welcome the commitment shown by SADC parliamentarians to democratic norms in the conduct of elections in their region, reflected in the recommendations agreed at the SADC Parliamentary Forum meeting in Windhoek on 25 March 2001. SADC parliamentarians clearly have a valuable role to play in ensuring their recommendations are followed in all SADC countries. We hope they will urge respect for these recommendations in the run up to the forthcoming Zimbabwean Presidential election.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what international efforts are being made to encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to implement the recommendations on elections endorsed at the meeting of the SADC Parliamentary Forum at Windhoek in March. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community, the EU, the US and other concerned members of the international community continue to urge the Government of Zimbabwe, at every opportunity, to create a climate conducive to free and fair elections, and to admit international election observers in good time. The recommendations of the SADC Parliamentary Forum set important benchmarks for the whole region.
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With our EU partners, we shall focus on the electorial process during forthcoming consultations with the Government of Zimbabwe, under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, including the norms and standards set by SADC for elections in Southern Africa.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations (a) his Department and (b) international organisations have made to the Zimbabwe Government to ensure that a politically neutral election commission is in place to administer the forthcoming presidential election in Zimbabwe. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We continue to urge the Government of Zimbabwe, at every opportunity, to create a climate conducive to free and fair elections, including a neutral Electoral Supervisory Commission. We are also working with our EU colleagues to encourage a free and fair electoral process in Zimbabwe in the context of consultations with the Government of Zimbabwe under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what British representations have been made to the Government of Zimbabwe relating to (a) free access for all parties to up to date copies of the electronic voters roll, (b) freedom of private media, (c) equal access of all parties to state controlled media during the presidential election campaign and (d) agreement to the admission of election observers bound by the SADC Parliamentary Forum Code. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We urge the Government of Zimbabwe, at every opportunity, to create a climate conducive to free and fair elections and to admit international election observers in the lead up to, and during, the forthcoming Presidential elections. We shall, with our EU partners, also focus on the electoral process during forthcoming consultations with the Government of Zimbabwe, under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the South African Government about the situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. 
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