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Global Crossing

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library (a) the contingency plans that his Department has prepared for the contingency that Global Crossing fails, (b) the monitoring reports that his Department's posts in New York and Washington have drawn up of the financial performance of Global Crossing; and if he will make a statement. [44930]

Mr. MacShane: Contingency arrangements are contained in the FCO's contract with Global Crossing, which bars disclosure on the grounds of commercial confidentiality (Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice, on Access Government Information refers). The FCO has kept in touch with posts in Washington and New York, who have monitored local press and market reports on Global Crossing.

Falkland Islands

Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans have been made for the feasibility study into demining the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement. [45192]

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Mr. MacShane: In October 2001 a Memorandum of Understanding with the Argentines was concluded to enable a British-led feasibility study funded by the Argentines into demining the Falkland Islands to be carried out. The first Joint Working Party (JWP) meeting on the feasibility study was held in Buenos Aires on 3 and 4 December 2001.

South Africa

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of South Africa on the murder of farmers in that country; and if he will make a statement. [45497]

Mr. MacShane: Like the South African Government, we are concerned by the level of crime generally in the country, of which farm attacks are a worrying element. The South African government is working closely with rural communities to tackle the problem.

Macedonia

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the issue of the official name of the FYR of Macedonia. [45245]

Mr. MacShane: We have had no recent formal discussions with EU partners on this subject. We continue to encourage the Greek and Macedonian Governments to agree a solution under UN mediation.

Secondments

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many BP employees are on secondment to his Department; for what purposes; on what terms; and how many BP employees have been on secondment to his Department since January 2000. [45886]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 25 March 2002]: None.

Botswana

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what have been the results of Government representations to the Government of Botswana to keep its assurances to maintain basic services for the Kalahari Bushmen and not forcibly remove the Bushmen from the Kalahari reserve; if the planned visit to the reserve by the High Commissioner has taken place; and if he will make a statement. [45882]

Mr. MacShane: The Government of Botswana stopped providing water and other essential supplies to those Bushmen remaining in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) at the end of February despite representations from HMG and others. The Government of Botswana has since said that those Bushmen who remain in the CKGR, estimated at around 60, can remain there if they wish to do so.

Our High Commission in Gaborone will visit the CKGR within the next three weeks to assess the latest situation.

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Australia

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last had discussions with the Australian Government regarding Aboriginal affairs. [45972]

Mr. MacShane: In general, Aboriginal affairs are the sole responsibility of the Government of Australia and we do not therefore raise them. But we are in touch with the Australians about the repatriation of Aboriginal remains; my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed this with the right hon. John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister on 4 July 2000 and we have established a working group under the Chairmanship of Professor Norman Palmer to consider the matter. My noble friend Baroness Blackstone, has had further discussions this year with the Australian Minister for Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

I myself attended the Aboriginal Yeperenyne Centenary Federation Festival in Alice Springs, Australia, in September 2001.

Thailand

Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representation the British Government have made to the Government of Thailand to (a) ascertain the fate of Peter Lionel Sinnott who disappeared in Pattaya on 4 January and (b) encourage the Thai Government to urge the Thai Police to treat the matter with urgency. [45387]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding reply of 25 March]: On 14 February our Ambassador in Bangkok alerted the Director General for Europe at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the disappearance of Peter Sinnott.

Since Mr Sinnott's disappearance our Embassy has pressed the Thai police on a number of occasions for information on their progress in locating Peter. In addition, on 18 January and 13 February our consular agent in Pattaya checked with local police stations, hospitals and morgues for information about Mr. Sinnott. On 28 January our Embassy wrote to the Commander of the Tourist Police in Pattaya to register Mr. Sinnott as a missing person. They wrote again on 15 March to express our interest in the investigation into Mr. Sinnott's disappearance and to ask for a report on the action taken by the police to locate him. We will continue to press for this information.

St. Helena

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who will be representing the Government at the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Island of St. Helena. [46189]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 20 March 2002, Official Report, column 389W.

United States

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his United States counterpart in respect of the

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implications for the future effectiveness of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of the United States Nuclear Posture Review 2002. [46195]

Mr. Bradshaw: We have discussed the broad findings of the Nuclear Posture Review with the US Administration. We have also had several discussions with the US Administration on issues related to nuclear non-proliferation, including various meetings in view of the forthcoming First Preparatory Committee in the current cycle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review process. The US continues to confirm the importance it attaches to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is the cornerstone of non-proliferation.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons are employed by his Department to accompany visitors from abroad; and if he will list (a) their names and (b) their salary scales. [46225]

Mr. MacShane: The Conference and Visits Group of FCO Services draws from 46 fee-paid liaison officers who accompany official visitors and guests of Government.

Liaison Officers are remunerated on a daily basis in accordance with their duties for each visitor in accordance with good employer practice, and under Exemptions 8a and 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information it is not appropriate to release a list of such freelance employees into the public domain.

Overseas Visits

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list his overseas visits since 7 June 2001. [46223]

Mr. MacShane: Since 1997 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing #500 or more during each financial year. Details of travel undertaken since 1 April 2001 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the 2001–02 financial year. Copies of previous lists are available in the Libraries of the House.

Camp X-ray

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the situation relating to the British Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects held at Camp X-ray in Guantanamo Bay. [45808]

Mr. Bradshaw: We remain in touch with the US authorities about the position of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, in particular that of the five UK detainees there. For details of the British detainees welfare, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 4 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (Mr. John Robertson), Official Report, columns 69–70W.

We welcome the publication of the Procedure for Trials by Military Commission of Certain Non-United States Citizens in the War against Terrorism by the US Government on 21 March.

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