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Royal Armouries (International)

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for how long the PFI contract her Department holds with Royal Armouries (International) for the management of Leeds Royal Armouries exhibition runs; what the total cost of the project has been to her Department; what funding was required to rescue the project; what estimate she has made of the future costs of the project to her Department; what estimates she has made of the value of RAI's new contract; under what terms the nature of the initial contract was changed; and what assessment she has made of the performance of RAI. [23568]

Dr. Howells: Under their current 57 year contract with the Armouries, Royal Armouries (International) plc (RAI) are responsible solely for providing catering, corporate

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entertainment and car parking. The responsibility for managing the museum and its retail outlets was transferred to the Royal Armouries in 1999.

The total cost of the project to build the Royal Armouries museum at Leeds was £43 million. Over £14 million of the construction cost was met by RAI. The Government contributed £20 million via the Royal Armouries, and Leeds city council and Leeds Development Corporation together provided £8.5 million.

As part of the renegotiation of the original PFI-type deal, RAI's outstanding debt of £21 million was borne by the private sector. To cover the additional responsibilities assumed by the Royal Armouries my Department has provided additional grant of £1 million a year since 1999. The future cost to my Department is £1 million a year in additional grant. My Department has not provided any funding to RAI.

The value of RAI's new contract is a matter for RAI. Under the new arrangements agreed in July 1999 RAI retains responsibility for the repayment of its debt of £21 million. RAI also retains responsibility for the provision of corporate entertainment and catering services for a period of 40 years and car parking for a period of 57 years, together with the income from those functions. The Royal Armouries took over responsibility for all other operations and retail outlets. The Armouries stands to receive 20 per cent. of RAI's turnover from corporate entertainment and catering activities once RAI has paid off its debt plus 20 per cent. of its car park income after 40 years.

The current agreement between RAI and the Royal Armouries sets out the standards of performance required. This is a matter between RAI and the Royal Armouries.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Tanzania

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her priorities are for development projects in Tanzania. [25198]

Hilary Benn: Our Tanzania Programme supports the implementation of the Government of Tanzania's Poverty Reduction Strategy, in line with the Millennium Development Goals. Priority sectors identified in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper are health (including HIV), education, rural water, rural roads, agriculture, and the judicial and legal systems.

The Department for International Development assistance to Tanzania is now provided through a single medium term budget support instrument (about £40 million a year), with a complementary programme of technical co-operation (circa £30 million a year). This is designed to increase Government capacity to improve economic management and deliver public services, support private sector development and pro poor growth, and to help the Government improve their accountability to civil society.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what priority her Department accords to a military air traffic control system for Tanzania in plans for that country's development. [25171]

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Hilary Benn: Development priorities for Tanzania are set out in the Government of Tanzania's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper which my Department is supporting, along with other donors.

Iran

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many Afghan refugees have been deported from Iran. [24930]

Hilary Benn: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has received periodic reports of the deportation of small groups of Afghans over the past few months but does not have precise figures. It also estimates that over 140,000 Afghans returned home voluntarily from Iran during 2001, one-third of them since Herat city fell on 12 November 2001.

We continue to do all we can to ensure that Afghan refugees are properly cared for and give neighbouring countries the necessary support to cope with the burden of refugees, for whom they have generously provided for so long.

Sudan

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations she has made to all sides in the conflict in Sudan to establish a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access to those living in the Nuba mountains. [25003]

Hilary Benn: We regularly press for independent humanitarian access to the Nuba mountains, both directly and through the British ambassador and his staff in Khartoum. At present there is a ceasefire in place in the area and humanitarian access has improved as a result.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is visiting Sudan from 6 January and will discuss the Nuba mountains situation during her meetings with the representatives of both sides.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of humanitarian access in areas of Sudan, with particular reference to the southern Blue Nile; and what steps she is taking to encourage all parties in the conflict to agree to long-term and unimpeded humanitarian access to Sudan. [25004]

Hilary Benn: We regularly press the Government of Sudan and the rebel forces to remove obstacles to independent humanitarian access to all areas including the southern Blue Nile. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is visiting Sudan from 6 January and will raise the issue of humanitarian access with the leaders of both warring sides.

Afghanistan

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what help the Government are giving to sustain supplies and services to Afghanistan over the winter. [25416]

Hilary Benn: We have so far allocated £60 million for the provision of financial, technical and in-kind support for humanitarian and recovery assistance in Afghanistan. Almost £40 million of this UK support has been provided

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to United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and NGOs, including support for the provision and stockpiling of assistance for the winter.

With our help, the UN, under the leadership of the World Food Programme, is maximising food delivery through both road and air routes and is prioritising deliveries to areas where access may become more difficult over the continuing winter, including the Central Highlands, the Panjshir valley and the north-east of the country. It has deployed specialist equipment and personnel to keep routes to these areas open as long as possible.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to include the states surrounding Afghanistan in the reconstruction plan for that country. [24275]

Clare Short: Both the recovery and reconstruction strategies will be informed by a regional approach, as the support of neighbouring countries will be crucial for long-term stability. Neighbouring countries have been invited to attend the Afghanistan Reconstruction Steering Group meeting, which is taking place in Brussels this week.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to prevent the export of heroin from Afghanistan to surrounding areas. [24273]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

With strong British support it was agreed at the Bonn Conference (27 November to 5 December) that the Interim Administration would co-operate with the international community in the fight against drugs. The UK will play a significant part in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. We think that this should include the promotion of economic and law enforcement policies in Afghanistan which encourage and support opium poppy farmers in pursuing other livelihoods.

We are providing assistance to Afghanistan's neighbours such as Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics to help them prevent drugs from being trafficked from Afghanistan. In financial year 2001–02 we are providing over £2 million worth of equipment to assist the local law enforcement agencies in these countries to detect drugs and drug traffickers.

Central Asia

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations she has made to the EU regarding development assistance to (a) the Kyrgyz Republic, (b) Tajikistan and (c) Uzbekistan. [24272]

Clare Short: I have discussed future EC assistance to Central Asia with Chris Patten, Commissioner for External Relations. My officials have also discussed this on a number of occasions with Commission staff. I am very pleased that EU development assistance to the region, which includes the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is to double.

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to the British Council to open an office in the Kyrgyz Republic. [24274]

Clare Short: I have not made representations to the British Council. I understand, however, that if a bid for funds is successful, the Council plan to open an office in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2004–05.


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