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Chemical Weapons Convention

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the prohibitions on the use of (a) riot control agents and (b) other disabling chemicals as a method of warfare contained in the Chemical Weapons Convention 1993 would apply to potential conflict in the Gulf. [98166]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: All States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have undertaken not to use any toxic chemical or its precursor, including riot control agents (RCAs), as a method of warfare. This

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applies in any armed conflict. RCAs are defined in the CWC as any chemical not listed in a Schedule which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure. (A chemical listed in a Schedule is one identified for the application of verification measures under the CWC.)

Davinderpal Singh Bhullar

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of representations to the Indian Government in the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar. [98452]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have made no specific representations to the Government of India over the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar. In conjunction with the EU, we have demarched India about their use of the death penalty most recently in June 2001. We continue to follow Professor Bhullar's case closely, and are in discussions with EU partners over possible courses of action to take. Foreign Office officials met Professor Bhullar's wife on 12 February to discuss the case.

Defence Exports (India)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes he has made to guidance on export licensing, with particular reference to sales of defence equipment and technology to India, following the India-Iran defence cooperation agreement signed on 19th January. [99076]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: There has been no change to the Government's policy for considering arms export licence applications for India in light of any defence cooperation between India and Iran. We continue to consider all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and the prevailing situation. All export licences will continue to be issued subject to the condition that the stated end-user will not re-export the equipment to a third country or end-user outside the terms of the licence.

Departmental Consultations

Mr. Yeo : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list consultations his Department has conducted since 1997; and when each consultation (a) opened and (b) closed. [97422]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has conducted the following public consultations since 1997:

1. Panel 2000: Consultation Document. Presented to Parliament on 10 September 1998 and closed on 15 November 1998. The website address is

http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/panel2000,0.pdf

2. International Criminal Court: Consultation on draft legislation. Presented to Parliament on 1 August 2000 and closed on 12 October 2000. The website address is http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/icc.pdf

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3. Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation. Presented to Parliament on 12 February 2002 and closed on 12 August 2002. The website address is:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/mercenaries,0.pdf

4. Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Countering the Threat from Biological Weapons. Presented to Parliament on 12 February 2002 and closed on 13 September 2002. The website address is:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/Eiles/kfile/btwc290402.pdf

Departmental Properties

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest estimate is of the (a) market value and (b) same use value of FCO-owned land and buildings; and if he will make a statement. [98377]

Mr. Rammell: The current Existing Use Value of the FCO estate at home and overseas is £1,026 million. The Open Market Value is £914 million.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest estimate is of the (a) same use value and (b) market value of the FCO properties at (i) Buenos Aires, Argentina, (ii) Bridgetown, Barbados, (iii) Santiago, Chile, (iv) Alexandria, Egypt, (v) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, (vi) Helsinki, Finland, (vii) Bordeaux, France, (viii) Lyon, France, (ix) Marseilles, France, (x) Paris, France and (xi) Strasbourg, France; what plans he has to sell these properties; and if he will make a statement. [98381]

Mr. Rammell: The existing use values (EUV) and open market values (OMV) of FCO properties in the overseas posts in question is as follows:

FCO overseas properties: EUV and OMV

£000
PostEUVOMV
Abuja7,4007,400
Accra6,5727,670
Addis Ababa7,3740
Alexandria511511
Ankara6,0300
Atlanta902902
Bangkok6,07714,088
Berlin6,5215,385
Bombay1,6871,687
Bordeaux293293
Boston4,0874,087
Bratislava2,7022,702
Bridgetown3,0443,044
Buenos Aires3,4273,427
Calcutta1,4191,419
Guatemala City3,7553,755
Helsinki11,27611,276
Hong Kong69,5500
Houston1,1841,184
Kaduna400400
Kingston3,2473,247
Lagos20,90020,925
Los Angeles2,6452,645
Lyon00
Madras8932,078
Marseilles362362
Munich00
Muscat5,0071,325
Naples00
New Delhi40,8207,023
Paris62,49762,497
Riyadh4,3444,344
Rome41,78441,784
Santiago6,3086,308
Seattle685685
Singapore45,2468,103
Strasbourg580580
Tokyo55,1840

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I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him today, UIN 98441, for details of individual properties at these posts which are in the process of being sold, or which are currently being considered for sale.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest estimate is of the (a) same use value and (b) market value of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office properties at (i) Whitehall/King Charles Street, London, (ii) Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes, (iii) Old Admiralty Building, Whitehall, (iv) 1 Carlton Gardens, London and (v) Lancaster House, London; and what plans he has to sell these properties; and if he will make a statement. [98390]

Mr. Rammell: The existing use values (EUV) and realisable open market values (OMV) of the FCO properties in the home estate are as follows:


1 Carlton Gardens and Lancaster House are not owned by the FCO but leased from the Crown Estate.

The FCO has no plans to sell any of its properties in the home estate.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to sell FCO properties in (a) Hong Kong, (b) Singapore and (c) France; and if he will make a statement. [98439]

Mr. Rammell: We are currently selling two staff flats in Paris but have no properties on the market in Hong Kong or Singapore.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which FCO properties his Department is (a) contracted to sell and (b) trying to sell; what sales proceeds are expected in each year to 2005–06; and if he will make a statement. [98441]

Mr. Rammell: The FCO has currently outstanding instructions to proceed to the exchange of contracts for the sale of six properties overseas. We have also instructed agents to offer a further 23 properties for sale. I am withholding part of the information requested Under Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (Third Party's Commercial Confidence), as valuations remain confidential until contracts are exchanged in order to maximise the return from sales.

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FCO property sales as at 18 February 2003

PostAddress
Sale considered or under way but not yet in contract:
Kuala Lumpur432 Jalan Tun Razak
Nairobi2 Kenya Road
Nairobi3 Kenya Road
Port LouisTrent Lodge
Pretoria218 Crown Avenue
BeirutAbey Villa
TunisPart of Habous Field
GothenburgResidence Stenkleviden
MadridAvenida Ahones 9
MadridChalet 33 La Moralejo
MadridFlat 4 floor 5 Cerro de Castanar
ParisFlat 146 34 Marc Chagall
ParisFlat 148 34 Marc Chagall
BudapestFlat 1 Kikelet
BudapestFlat 2 Kikelet
BudapestFlat 3 Kikelet
CaracasOffice Torre Las Mercedes
GuatemalaAvenida 7ta
New York4 East 66th Street
MadridCerro de Valdematin
KievPlot Redbouutnaya Street Street 9
LimaPlaza Washington
Washington76 Kalorama Drive
In contract but not yetcompleted:
Port of Spain36 Elizabeth Street
Capetown91 Parliament Street
NairobiMaji Mazuri
AmmanMufti House
MadridFlat 4 floor 4 Cerro de Castanar
BridgetownDS10 House 4 Square

The target for the Third Triennium (financial years 2003–04 to 2005–06) is for £100 million of gross sales. The amount realised in each of the three years will

depend heavily on market conditions and changing operational requirements.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria are used to decide whether to possess an embassy or consular building in a particular (a) city and (b) country; and if he will make a statement. [98376]

Mr. Rammell: If accommodation is required in a particular city or country, the value for money offered by freehold purchase as opposed to leasing is assessed by comparing the costs and benefits of the two options using the techniques prescribed by the Treasury's guidance on appraisal and evaluation in Central Government (the "Green Book"). A decision to purchase a property freehold or long leasehold will also depend on whether the requirement is permanent, whether foreign governments are permitted to acquire such interests and whether, in practice, they are available on the market, and whether a purchase can be funded from the FCO's budget for capital investment.

In addition to using Treasury Appraisal techniques when deciding whether or not to purchase property freehold, the FCO monitors the value for money provided by its existing freehold and long leasehold estate using similar criteria to check that the retention of an owned property remains a better option than leasing.

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