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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what action he is taking to bring to justice those who have murdered British citizens during the recent disturbances in the Indian state of Gujarat; [58384]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: We share my hon. Friend's concerns over the recent communal violence and deaths in Gujarat. We have regularly raised our concerns with the Indian Government, both through the Foreign Secretary and via our High Commission in Delhi. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary most recently discussed the situation on 16 April with Jaswant Singh, the Indian Foreign Minister. The Indian Government have given us their assurances that they will take action to investigate the violence and to bring to justice perpetrators of the killings, including those who have murdered British citizens. We welcome these assurances. We do not plan to publish any internal reporting from our High Commission in New Delhi on Gujarat.

An estimated 100,000 displaced people are currently living in refugee camps in Gujarat. According to official Indian Government figures, the number of deaths currently stands at over 900.

The British Government, through the Department for International Development, are currently assessing the situation with the Government of India, the State Government of Gujarat, select international agencies and local partners. Together, carefully targeted interventions will address the changing needs of those now choosing to return, and those likely to remain in the camps through the monsoon season.

Sierra Leone

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone. [58745]

Mr. MacShane: The peaceful conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone was a remarkable achievement for a country just emerging from a brutal civil war. The elections mark an historic milestone on Sierra Leone's return to peace and democracy. Britain can be proud of its part in their success. The people of Sierra Leone have given President Kabbah a clear mandate to eradicate corruption, deliver good governance and rebuild the country's shattered institutions and infrastructure. This is an enormous challenge, which will require efforts by the new

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Government to foster a spirit of national unity, and the sustained commitment of the international community. Britain will continue to play a full part in helping the new Government of Sierra Leone to meet the aspirations of its people.


Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on permitting police officers charged with human rights abuses who request visas to come to the UK for official training. [58530]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Each visa application is considered on its individual merits and in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration Rules.

EU Armaments Programme

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy on Spanish proposals for an EU armaments programme. [58769]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: As agreed at the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 13 May 2002, any co-operation on armaments issues will be directly linked to filling the shortfalls in the ESDP Helsinki Headline Goal through the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP). Co-operation will respect the principles of voluntary compliance, transparency and avoiding duplication. These steps to enhance European capabilities will make a significant contribution towards the success of ESDP.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. [58723]

Mr. Straw: Between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002, special advisers in my Department travelled abroad to the following places. The cost for each visit is included. All travel by special advisers is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code, and the Civil Service Management Code.

DateDestinationCost (£)
Michael Williams
4–5 April 2001Belgrade and Skopje182.06
24–25 April 2001Montenegro6.37
30 August 2001Macedonia(15)
5–6 September 2001Abuja392.29
17–18 October 2001Luxembourg and Turkey33.74
9–14 November 2001New York3,615.50
2–23 November 2001Iran and Pakistan135.10
21–23 January 2002Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi296.96
26–28 February 2002India3,425.17
Ed Owen
11 June 2001Luxembourg12.43
9 July 2001Paris(15)
11–12 July 2001Washington4,628.52
17 July 2001Brussels380.00
24–27 September 2001Jordan, Iran, Israel, Palestinian Authority and Egypt297.84
23–24 October 2001Washington3,276.87
19–20 November 2001Brussels and Barcelona126.19
6–7 December 2001Gibraltar872.40
31 January to 2 February 2002Washington4,537.36
12–16 February 2002Turkey, Israel, Palestinian Authority and Afghanistan462.36
21 February 2002The Hague(15)

(15) No public cost

Detained Palestinians

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what restrictions there are concerning visitors to those Palestinians under the supervision of British wardens in Jericho; and if this is consistent with the conditions of detention as stipulated under the agreement which ended Mr. Yasser Arafat's confinement to his office in Ramallah; [58958]

Mr. Straw: Under the terms of the agreement, the six detainees should be held in continuous secluded custody. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to ensure the conditions of detention are met and to respond to any concerns raised about the detention arrangements.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the conditions of detention of those Palestinians under the supervision of British wardens in Jericho. [58956]

Mr. Straw: The conditions of detention are the responsibility of the Palestinian authorities and are in line with Palestinian law. Under the agreement between Israel

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and the Palestinian Authority, the role of the supervisory warders is to verify that the six detainees remain in continuous secluded custody.

Seville Summit

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the stage they wish the enlargement process to have reached by the European Council's meeting at Seville; and if he will make a statement. [59103]

Peter Hain: The EU has now agreed its position on the Regional Policy, Institutions and Budget chapters allocated to the Spanish Presidency, while leaving aside a limited number of issues that need to be addressed later in the year. We expect a similar approach to enable EU agreement on the Agriculture chapter by Seville, in line with the road map for negotiations.

The EU remains on track to complete negotiations by the end of this year with those candidates who are ready, so that they can join the EU in 2004, in line with the objective first set by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in October 2000.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of ordinary written questions for his Department were answered within a week of tabling in each month since June 2001; and what proportion of questions for named day received a substantive answer on that day in each month since June 2001. [58977]

Mr. Straw: The proportions are as follows:

Per cent.

MonthNamed dayOrdinary written
June 200199
July 200195
October 20019680
November 20019154
December 20019455
January 20028367
February 20028761
March 20027158
April 20027958
May 20027554


The FCO only started recording the time taken to answer ordinary written questions in October 2001. The statistics for ordinary written questions are compiled on the basis of working days rather than questions answered within a calendar week. The figures above are based on answers provided by the fifth working day after tabling.

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