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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of (a) the meeting of the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia in Delhi on 14 February 2007 and (b) the outcomes of the meeting. 
Dr. Howells: Our High Commission in Delhi regularly reports on Indias foreign policy and relations with third countries, including emerging groupings such as the India-Russia-China forum. A Joint Communique was issued after the meeting held on 14 February in Delhi. In their joint statement, the Ministers reaffirmed that trilateral co-operation was not directed against the interests of any other country and was, on the contrary, intended to promote international harmony and understanding and find common ground amidst divergent interests. They also emphasised the strong commitment of India, Russia and China to multilateral diplomacy. The full text of the statement can be found at:
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on recent protests and conflict in Guinea; and what representations she has made to the Government of Guinea on the imposition of martial law by President Lansana Conte. 
Mr. McCartney: We have been concerned by recent events in Guinea and regret the loss of life resulting from clashes between protesters and security forces. In conjunction with the EU and other international partners in Conakry, our ambassador has made several representations to the Guinean Government expressing our concern and our hope that all issues could be resolved peacefully and constitutionally. We note, and welcome, the lifting of martial law on 23 February, the end to the national strike, and the appointment of Lansana Couyate as the new Guinean Premier. We hope that Mr. Couyate will move soon to appoint a new, broadly-based and consensual Government to move Guinea forward.
Mr. McCartney: The latest round of six party talks (6PT) ended in agreement on 13 February with all parties renewing their commitment to the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. Specifically the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility and allow inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency personnel. In return, the parties have agreed to provide economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to the DPRK up to the equivalent of one million tons of heavy fuel oil. The agreement also establishes five working groups tasked with formulating plans to implement the Joint Statement. They will focus on DPRK-US relations, DPRK-Japan relations, denuclearisation, economy and energy co-operation and Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism. The next round of the 6PT is scheduled to take place on 19 March, before which it is expected that all five working groups will have had a chance to hold initial discussions.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her US counterparts on the amount of Voice of America broadcasting to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. 
Mr. McCartney: The issue has not been raised with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. However, we understand the US Administration has requested an increase in funding from US$4.6 million to US$8 million for the Korean services of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia for the next financial year.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to her US counterpart on recent talks between the US and North Korea in New York. 
Mr. McCartney: The US and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held bilateral talks earlier this week in New York as part of the agreement reached at the latest round of the six party talks on 13 February. The discussions provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss bilateral concerns in an attempt to move towards normalisation of relations between the two countries. Given that these were bilateral meetings, the UK did not make any representations. Both countries have reported that the talks were constructive and a wide range of issues were covered.
The agreement reached on 13 February is a step in the right direction towards the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The UK will take every opportunity to urge the DPRK to fulfil the commitments it has entered into.
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no current plans to visit the Philippines. However, my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East plans to visit the region. The bilateral relationship between the UK and the Philippines is good, with strong political, trade and investment links. We work closely with the Philippino Government on key areas of shared concern including counter-terrorism, human rights, development, conflict prevention and peace building.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to increase the number of ministerial visits to Russia to improve relations with that country. 
Mr. Hoon: There were 15 ministerial visits to Russia in 2006, including my visit to Moscow in September. Russia's presidency of the G8 ensured a large number of ministerial visits and official contact during the year.
Russia remains an important partner in achieving the Government's International Strategic Priorities across a range of foreign policy issues. We shall look to take whatever practical opportunities arise to maintain direct productive contacts at ministerial level both here and in Russia. The most recent ministerial visit to Russia was by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, in February 2007.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government is giving to British oil companies to negotiate with Russian authorities on the Sakhalin project. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government have remained in close touch with the investors during their negotiations with the Russian authorities on the Sakhalin II project. Commercial negotiations between the investors and the Russian authorities regarding future project arrangements concluded in December 2006, and are now in the implementation phase.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) recent attacks on Mogadishu's airport and (b) the effect such attacks will have on the work of African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. 
Mr. McCartney: We have noted that mortar attacks on Mogadishu airport have taken place, most recently on 6 March. Despite efforts by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia some rogue elements continue to mount limited attacks. We condemn those responsible for the recent attacks in Mogadishu and call on all parties to reject violence and commit to peaceful dialogue.
We cannot predict the effect any further attacks will have on the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). However, we hope that the arrival of the AMISOM will help to improve security in Somalia.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Government of Sri Lanka on the position of Tamil civilians who reside in areas where there have been military encounters with militants for the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, whom she met in London on 7 March, the Government's serious concern at the humanitarian impact of the conflict and the cost in terms of violence to the civilian population of Sri Lanka. The full text of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's statement following their meeting is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the recent arrests of Sri Lankan policeman and soldiers in connection with a series of abductions and killings across the country; and what recent assessment she has made of the impartiality of the Sri Lankan armed and police forces. 
Dr. Howells: We have previously raised with the Sri Lankan Government our concern that their national forces are not taking effective measures to safeguard civilians. This followed credible reports of a number of instances where it appeared that the actions of those forces had resulted in the loss of civilian life. Although there has been some media reporting, we have not received any specific reports on the allegations or the circumstances of the arrests currently in question.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear our concern, for the many Sri Lankan civilians who have become victims of violence since the escalation of the conflict, when she met with Rohitha Bogollagama, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, on 7 March. Promoting reform in the security sector to improve accountability and promote adherence to internationally accepted human rights standards is a key strand of the UK's Peace Building Strategy in Sri Lanka. The Global Conflict Prevention Pool, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence administered fund, supports this work.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received from the Norwegian-led Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission; and whether her Department has a standing information sharing agreement with the Mission. 
Dr. Howells: There is no formal agreement for the sharing of information between the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the Government. The SLMM was created as an integral part of the Cease-Fire Agreement and receives its mandate from and reports to the parties to the 2002 Sri Lanka Cease-Fire Agreement. We are not a party to that agreement. We do, however, through our High Commission in Colombo have routine contacts with the SLMM as well as with other organisations and actors in the Sri Lankan peace process.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the amount of arms entering
Sri Lanka; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the entry of arms into the country on the peace process there. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary clearly expressed our view that no party to the conflict will prevail through a military solution alone when she met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 7 March. The availability of illegally-imported weaponry, while not a cause of the conflict in itself, is undoubtedly an aggravating factor and one which acts to prolong the conflict in Sri Lanka. Through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (a Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence administered fund), the Government are working with Saferworld to help the Sri Lankans to develop a national strategy to counter the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Mr. McCartney: We welcome the conclusion of the Peace Agreement on eastern Sudan between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front rebel group in Asmara on 14 October 2006. We hope that the Agreement will form the basis for lasting peace and security in eastern Sudan. We call on the parties to continue to work together to achieve this.
Mr. McCartney: Recent discussions with our EU partners have focussed on building support for further targeted sanctions against individuals involved in the Darfur conflict and an extension of the existing UN arms embargo on Darfur to the whole of Sudan. We have made it clear to partners that we believe further measures will be necessary if this package does not deliver the requisite co-operation from the parties to the conflict in Darfur.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support she is making available to promote legislation in Tajikistan that respects the freedoms of all religious communities and individuals; and what representations she has made to the UN Tajikistan Office of Peace-Building on the promotion of freedom of religion. 
The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, recently visited Tajikistan to examine questions related to respect for freedom of religious communities and individuals. The UN special rapporteur will present a report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council.
The UK has funded a wide range of projects in Tajikistan which support the development of independent media and civil society. We also work closely with the international community in Tajikistan, including with the UN Tajikistan Office of Peace-building and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, who have programmes on developing civil society, promoting good governance and monitoring human rights.
Mr. McCartney: Our Embassy in Jakarta covers East Timorese affairs with the assistance of our Honorary Consul in Dili. They provide regular reports on developments in East Timor. The Embassy deployed a team of four officials to Dili on 7 March to assess the situation on the ground and to ensure that consular arrangements for British nationals are sufficiently rigorous. They reported that Dili was calm at the time of their arrival, but that the security situation remains fragile and susceptible to change at any moment.
We are concerned by the deterioration of the security situation in East Timor and the resulting casualties and have urged all concerned to bring an end to the violence and resolve the problems within the framework of the constitution and laws.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste on progress with the peace process there. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any discussions with the special representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to East Timor. However, the UK has played a key role in the UN Security Council to ensure a robust UN Mission to East Timor has been put in place in Dili, focusing on areas of potential instability and conflict. Our officials in New York and Dili have met with the SRSG on a number of occasions. We have highlighted the importance of political reconciliation and the need for timely, peaceful and fair elections as an important part of the peace process. The UN Mission has a key role to play in public education, facilitation of political dialogue and assistance with electoral organisation. It is also working to achieve early progress in Security Sector Reform and the judicial sector, not least to ensure that elections take place in a framework that provides for long-lasting stability.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on Government action against High Court judges in Uganda; what assessment she has made of the implications of such activity for (a) human rights, (b) democracy and (c) Commonwealth activity in Uganda. 
Dr. Howells: We are monitoring events surrounding the detention of the alleged Peoples Redemption Army suspects and the related court proceedings. The violence used by the Government forces at the Uganda High Court on 1 March to frustrate the decision of the High Court to grant the suspects bail has grave implications for the independence of the judiciary, respect for the rule of law and human rights in Uganda. The Uganda judiciary remains on strike in protest at these events.
Our high commissioner in Kampala made representations to the acting Foreign Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, on 2 March. My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, raised our concerns with the Ugandan high commissioner in London on 5 March. We are liaising with other international partners, including the Commonwealth Secretariat. We will continue to press all sides to respect the rule of law and abide by the constitution.
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