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29 Jan 2004 : Column 510Wcontinued
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UN peacekeeping force in Liberia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: The UN peacekeeping force in Liberia (UNMIL) currently consists of 9,000 troops, increasing to 15,000 by the end of March 2004, UNMIL initially deployed to Monrovia and its immediate surrounds. As numbers increase the force is extending its reach throughout the country. UNMIL is responsible for the disarmament and demobilisation process. It has collected about 9,000 weapons; is constructing three cantonment camps; and is sensitising ex-combatants towards the peace process. It is also actively involved in humanitarian relief and has made several valuable interventions to protect Liberian citizens.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: UK Trade and Investment, which operates overseas through UK Diplomatic posts, offers guidance as appropriate on agents and intermediaries in overseas markets. Guidance varies according to the circumstances of the local market or sector. Examples of advice can be viewed on the Sectors and Markets area of UK Trade and Investment's public website: www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had within the last six weeks with the representatives of the (a) US Administration, (b) Russian Government and (c) EU in relation to progress on the Middle East Road Map; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rammell [holding answer 28 January 2004]: In the last six weeks or so, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has discussed progress on the roadmap for peace in the Middle East with President Bush, President Putin and with EU leaders at the European Council in Brussels. In the same period my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed this issue with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and EU Foreign Ministers. Most recently my noble Friend the Baroness
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Symons of Vernham Dean has discussed these issues with Marc Otte, the EU representation on the Middle East on 27 January.
The Government are committed to progress towards peace in the Middle East based on the Quartet's roadmap. We have been disappointed by the lack of progress on Phase One of the roadmap. Israel should implement a settlement freeze and remove the settlement outposts erected since March 2001. The Palestinian Authority should undertake sustained, targeted and effective operations against terrorists.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Singaporean Government in relation to the use of the death penalty in that country. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised this issue during a meeting with his counterpart in Singapore on 8 January 2003. He stated the United Kingdom's opposition to the use of the death penalty and explained our experience of using long custodial sentences as an alternative. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Director General (Economic) also drew attention to the UK position when he met the Permanent Under Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 4 March 2003.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department met the former South African Defence Minister, Mr. Joe Modise, when he visited the UK during 1998; and whether his Department was informed of the visit and its purpose. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 26 January 2004, Official Report, column 50W, on prisoners (Egypt), if he will meet President Mubarak to discuss the case of the three detainees held in prison in Cairo. 
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Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the first report of the McClean Review on clergy terms of service. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The McClean report was published on 23 January and will be debated by the General Synod on 12 February. Subject to the views of Synod, the Report will then be the subject of consultation throughout the Church.
It recommends conferring through Church legislation a new package of rights and responsibilities for clergy. This will include: access to Employment Tribunals to claim unfair dismissal (at the same time as retaining the office holder status of clergy); legal entitlement to the rights covered by section 23 of the Employment Relations Act (except for the right not to work on Sundays); a new form of tenure, known as common tenure under which appointments for clergy without the freehold would normally be made until retirement; new Clergy Terms of Service Regulations which would clarify the responsibilities of clergy on a national basis; and a capability procedure to be invoked where clergy are failing to reach minimum standards.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response he has made to the recent representations from international charities about an international arms trade treaty. 
Hilary Benn: I wrote to Oxfam, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) on 18 October, welcoming the launch of the Arms Trade Treaty as a useful contribution to the international debate on arms issues. The UK supports the goal of an international instrument on arms transfers, although to be effective any such measure would have to enjoy the support of all major arms exporting countries.
The UK Government are working to promote tougher controls on arms exports at an international level. In January 2003, DFID, FCO and MOD hosted a conference at Lancaster House on strengthening international controls on arms exports. The UK organised a meeting during the July UN Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms, which sought to follow up on the Lancaster House conference.
These consultations suggest that there are many areas of common ground and significant political will among States. They also demonstrate that more needs to be done before we can secure a universal commitment to strengthening export controls.
In the next two years the UK will continue to call for international controls and support a series of regional meetings, to build consensus on the need for common, harmonised controls. We hope that if there is sufficient support at the regional level, then an international agreement could be reached by the 2006 UN Review
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Conference on Small Arms. Although the draft Arms Trade Treaty covers all arms, not just Small Arms and Light Weapons, many of its principles are similar to those we are promoting as part of the UK initiative on strengthening transfer controls.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has held with the UN High Commission for Human Rights about the future of the Commission's office in Colombia. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: Neither the Secretary of State nor myself have personally spoken to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR) about this, but officials in DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office keep in close contact with their work in Colombia.
Hilary Benn: The UK has pledged an additional US$80 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). This will bring our total contribution to US$280 million and extend our current funding commitment to 2008.
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