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Nepal

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the importance of the United Kingdom helping to maintain stability in Nepal. [24745]

Mr. Bradshaw: We believe that a stable Nepal is not only important to the United Kingdom, but also to the region and the greater international community. The UK will therefore look carefully at requests from Nepal to help maintain stability.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is in respect of supporting the Government of Nepal against Maoist terrorism. [24743]

Mr. Bradshaw: We believe that the Nepalese Government have a duty to protect their citizens. The UK, which has a long history as a friend of Nepal, will look carefully at any requests for assistance from the Nepalese Government.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his assessment of the political situation in Nepal. [24744]

Mr. Bradshaw: Nepal is currently under a state of emergency, which was declared by King Gyanendra on 26 November. Certain constitutional freedoms have been suspended.

We supported Prime Minister Deuba's attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Maoist insurgency, and we have condemned the Maoists' return to violence. The current situation is serious, and we are monitoring events carefully.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect on neighbouring states of political instability in Nepal. [24749]

Mr. Bradshaw: Although serious, we do not believe the current situation in Nepal will have a significant destabilising impact on her neighbours, India and China.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of possible links between Maoist terrorists in Nepal and other terrorist organisations. [24746]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are aware that, through its membership of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and the newly formed Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPASA), the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has links with other Maoist organisations in the region and further afield. We do not have any indication that they have links other, non-Maoist, terrorist organisations.

India-Pakistan Relations

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with members of the (a) Indian and (b) Pakistan Governments concerning the recent terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament. [25678]

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Mr. Straw: I have been in regular contact with my Indian and Pakistani counterparts since the appalling attack against the Indian Parliament on 13 December. I continue to urge both sides to work to resolve the issues between them through dialogue.

Special Advisers

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints have been reported in his Department under paragraph 11 of the Civil Service Code since 13 May 1999, and how many of them related to special advisers. [25337]

Mr. Bradshaw: [holding answer 9 January 2002]: The procedures for making complaints under the Civil Service Code or the Diplomatic Service Code are set out in Departmental Regulations. Staff are encouraged, in the first instance, to raise complaints made under paragraph 11 of the Civil Service Code with their line manager. If for any reason this is not felt to be possible, individuals may take their complaint to a member of a Selection Board. It is not possible to provide a comprehensive figure for the number of complaints made within this Department under paragraph 11 of the code as there is no requirement for managers to report to the centre details of complaints made under the Civil Service Code or Diplomatic Service Code which are resolved within the management line.

Remuneration

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will estimate the number of individuals in his (a) Department, (b) related agencies and (c) related non-departmental public bodies whose annual remuneration including benefits in kind exceeded (i) £100,000 and (ii) £200,000 in each of the last four years. [26316]

Mr. Straw: (a) The estimated number of individuals in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office whose annual remuneration is in excess of £100,000 is as follows:


(b) The estimated number of individuals in related agencies whose annual remuneration is in excess of £100,000 is as follows:


(c) The estimated number of individuals in related non- departmental public bodies whose annual remuneration is in excess of £100,000 is as follows:


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, related agencies and related non-departmental public bodies have no individuals whose annual remuneration exceeded £200,000 in each of the last four years.

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Annual remuneration includes basic salary and London allowances. It does not include pension benefits.

Correspondence

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the hon. Member for West Chelmsford will be sent a reply to his letter of 3 September 2001 on his constituent Mrs. J. Chukwrah of Chelmsford. [26358]

Mr. Bradshaw: I am extremely sorry that the hon. Member did not receive a reply to his letter of 3 September. This was the result of an administrative error. The case he raised is now under consideration and I will write to him about it as soon as possible.

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the hon. Member for Spelthorne will receive replies to his letters to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate about his constituent Mrs. E. Couser dated 10 June, 2 July, 23 July, 8 August, 21 November and 21 December. [25929]

Mr. Bradshaw: The correspondence to which the hon. Member refers was not forwarded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Joint Entry Clearance Unit by the Home Office. Officials from JECU have contacted the hon. Member and I will reply to his letter as soon as possible.

Departmental Sickness Absence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will commission and publish an independent report on the reasons for the level of sickness absence in his Department. [26971]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Cabinet Office already commissions and publishes an independent report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service". This report includes details of the causes of absenteeism. The report for 2000 will be published shortly. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to reducing sickness absence, as set out in our service delivery agreement.

Afghanistan

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what obstacles exist to the International Committee of the Red Cross having access to all prisoners being held within Afghanistan. [26876]

Peter Hain: Very few. As at 11 January 2002, ICRC delegates were visiting some 4,800 detainees in approximately 40 places of detention throughout Afghanistan. In recent days, the ICRC has had problems gaining access to detainees held at Bagram airport and difficulty in gaining access to a place of detention in Kabul. However, contacts are continuing between the ICRC and the authorities in an effort to resolve these outstanding concerns.

Iraq

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what obstacles there are to supplying humanitarian aid to Iraq under the United Nations oil-for-food programme. [26878]

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Mr. Bradshaw: As well as failing to spend around $3.5 billion set aside by the UN for humanitarian purchases under "oil for food", the Iraqi Central bank consistently holds up delivery of $1 billion worth of goods already approved by the UN. The UN Secretary General has repeatedly drawn attention to Iraq's refusal to implement crucial UN proposals, such as the introduction of a local cash component, which would play a critical role in the rehabilitation of vital sectors, including water and sanitation and health. In his latest report on "oil for food" (November 2001), the Secretary General criticised the Government of Iraq for also obstructing the implementation of the programme in northern Iraq, by refusing to grant visas for UN personnel and clearance for essential supplies, including demining equipment, for the Iraqi people.


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