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Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date the euro changeover plan of (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies was last updated; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent version of each. 
The Plan is an internal planning document, however it has been made available to members of the public in response to specific requests. I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the extent of illicit trafficking of small arms and weapons from Somalia into neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa; and what proposals the Government has put forward to reduce the trade. 
Meg Munn: The availability of small arms and light weapons in the Horn of Africa region remains a serious problem. To help address this, the Government have committed £800,000 over a three year period (2007-10) to the Regional Centre on small arms and light weapons through the UK Conflict Prevention Pools security and small arms control strategy. The aim is to combat the illicit proliferation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the Great Lakes region and Horn of Africa by assisting states, including Somalia, to implement the Nairobi Protocol. The Government are also currently considering a project proposal submitted by the Mines Advisory Group which would provide training to Somali troops and provide technical oversight to the ongoing destruction of stockpiled weapons and munitions.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2008, Official Report, column 1032W, on Iran: inspections, whether it is Government policy to seek the adoption of agreed criteria to trigger the inspection of cargoes to and from Iran as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (2008) at (a) the EU and (b) the UN Security Council; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The UK is robustly implementing the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1803. The Resolution already contains criteria for making inspections on the basis of having reasonable grounds to believe the aircraft or vessel is transporting prohibited goods. UK authorities routinely inspect cargoes from Iran. The EU is currently negotiating a new Common Position which the Government hope will build on the measures in UNSCR 1803.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the government of Japan on the illicit trade in whale meat from Japans scientific whaling programme. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not discussed the specific issue of an illicit trade in whale meat from Japans scientific whaling programme with the Japanese Government but has taken note of the allegations made by Greenpeace. The Government continue to oppose all forms of whaling apart from some limited subsistence whaling when there is a substantiated need. The UK has also protested against Japans whaling operations, which we argue are unjustified, cruel and unnecessary, at every appropriate opportunity. Most recently the UK maintained its strong anti-whaling position at the annual International Whaling Commission meeting which was held in Santiago, Chile, in June 2008.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of Japan pressing for the immediate release of the two Greenpeace activists who have been held without charge since 20 June 2008. 
Meg Munn: The court procedures being applied in the case of the two Greenpeace activists are standard in Japan, where those suspected of committing a crime can be held for up to 23 days without charge. The Government are unable to get involved in the criminal investigations of another country, but are following the issue closely. We remain of the view that the large-scale killing of whalesunder the guise of scientific researchis both unnecessary and deeply flawed, from a scientific point of view, and we will continue to make representations to the Japanese authorities on this.
Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the BBC World Service's cessation of broadcasting to Moldova and Romania from 1 August 2008. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Since Romania acceded to the EU in 2007 the scale of the competition in radio and all media has intensified. Additionally, mergers have meant that several major FM network partner stations which previously carried BBC Romanian output no longer do so. These FM partnerships are critical in a country where direct listening to the BBC via short wave is neither popular nor cost effective. Since 2007 there has been a significant drop in the audiencecurrently it is under 3 per cent. of the local radio market in Romania.
Romania will continue to be served by other BBC global news services in English including BBC World Service radio, BBC World News television and online (via bbc.com/news). The BBC's local FM relays (four in Romania and one in the Republic of Moldova), which currently broadcast a mixture of Romanian and English programmes, will broadcast English programmes exclusively (plus Russian and Ukrainian in Moldova), subject to agreement with local regulators.
Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the BBC World Service's policy on broadcasting to Eastern European countries is, with specific reference to Moldova and Romania; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The BBC has announced that it will close its Romanian Service from August 2008. This change follows a review of the BBC World Service's language service portfolio after its overall funding levels, for the three year funding period between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011, were agreed with the Government in October 2007.
This decision, which has been endorsed by the BBC Trust and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, follows consideration of audience desire to continue broadcasts, the changing media landscape in Romania and the declining impact of the service.
Mr. Jim Murphy:
While the British Council currently has no plans to open independent premises in Moldova, it already employs a member of staff who works out of our embassy in Chisinau to co-ordinate the delivery of British Council resources, programmes and services to the people of Moldova. This post, and the British Council activity in Moldova, is managed through the
British Council operations in Romania and in Ukraine. The British Council currently provides the following programmes and services to the people of Moldova:
peacekeeping English Project;
John Smith Fellowship Programme;
Chevening scholarships (currently two scholarships per year);
the Moldova-UK alumni association, now established as a legal entity and receiving guidance from the British Council's Ukraine-UK Professional Network;
guidance in the establishment of an EU information centre and related activity in the break-away enclave of Transnistria;
information services for Moldovan students studying in Romania;
access to British Council electronic resources for people in Moldova;
Cambridge seminars for Moldovan teachers of English; and
English Language exams in Chisinau, and plans to provide a further exams service in Odessa.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has held with Nigerian officials regarding military attacks on Shell Oil facilities recently; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Officials from our high commission in Abuja maintain good contacts with the Nigerian Government across a wide range of policy areas including the Niger Delta. Following the two most recent militant attacks (one against the Shell offshore Bonga platform on 19 June and another against a Chevron pipeline in Delta State on 21 June) staff from our high commission in Abuja discussed the incidents with senior advisers in the Presidency and also with senior military officials. During these meetings, our high commission officials stressed the negative impact of continuing insecurity in the Delta region. The Group of Eight leading industrialised nations (G8) stated earlier this month that it shared the concern of the Nigerian Government about the violence in the Delta region and supported the Nigerian Government's efforts to improve the security situation and prospects for development.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met President Yar'Adua of Nigeria in London on 16 July and discussed how the UK might help in Nigerian-led approaches to solving the underlying causes of instability in the Niger Delta.
Records that might show whether the Swedish Bilateral Commission sought any assistance from the UK, or whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office might have information of use to the Commission, are not held centrally. To provide this information would incur a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment has been made of the operations of al-Qaeda in Somalia and the influence of Abu al-Libi. 
We believe that while al-Qaeda has exploited the absence of effective governance in Somalia to use the country as a base for both terrorist training and planning, the organisation has never established a formal franchise in Somalia.
Abu-Yahya al-Libi is a propagandist for al-Qaeda. He has released statements indicating al-Qaeda's continued support for the Islamic insurgency in Somalia, recognising the conflict as part of the global jihad.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Richmond Yorks, (Mr. Hayne) of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 675W, what proposals the UK has put forward to strengthen the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Somalia. 
Meg Munn: The UK provides significant financial (fifth largest donor) and political support to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The UK Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva is in regular contact with the OHCHR about its field activities.
The OHCHR has seconded a human rights adviser to the UN country team covering Somalia. This has resulted in a human rights based approach being reflected in policy and operational planning undertaken by the UN country team. The UK welcomes the OHCHRs intention to conduct an assessment mission to Somalia, as soon as the security situation will allow, in order to assess how it can most effectively improve the human rights situation.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) allegations of the International Criminal Courts prosecutors against the President of Sudan regarding responsibility for the situation in Darfur and (b) the effect of such allegations on the prospects for peace in the region. 
Meg Munn: On 14 July the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor announced his application to the ICC judges for an arrest warrant against President Bashir of Sudan for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Prosecutor is completely independent and the court has its own procedures. It would therefore be inappropriate and premature to comment or speculate on the outcome of the ICC deliberations.
The UK has a long standing position of support for the work and purposes of the ICC. We also have a long standing position of calling on the Government of Sudan to co-operate with the ICC over the two existing indictments. My right. hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this to the Sudanese President during his visit to Khartoum on 9 July.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further measures the EU plans to take against any party (a) impeding the joint UN-AU hybrid force for Darfur, (b) obstructing humanitarian access and (c) failing constructively to engage in the Darfur political process, as discussed at the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting in Luxembourg in June. 
Meg Munn: The UK is ready to consider all available options to secure the effective deployment of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur and full humanitarian access to promote a peaceful resolution to the situation in Darfur. Possible steps could include an assets freeze or travel ban against individuals engaged in violence, authorising it or impeding progress. Our preference for further measures, in common with many of our EU partners, would be for UN sanctions because of their universal coverage and because they could include, for example, extension of the existing UN arms embargo to cover the whole of Sudan. The EU already has an arms embargo on the whole of Sudan.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Tibetan monks held in prisons and detention centres by the Chinese authorities following the protests in March 2008. 
There has been no official confirmation of the number of Tibetans held in detention, following the protests in March and April 2008, and unofficial estimates vary considerably. We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to ensure due process for all Tibetan detainees, including that they be allowed access to lawyers of their choice. We have also stressed the need to differentiate between those who peacefully express their views and those who commit violent crimes. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang on several occasions since the protests emphasising the need to respect human rights.
Our officials have raised the detentions directly with the Chinese authorities both in Beijing and London.
At the end of March, EU Foreign Ministers called for all Tibetan detainees to be treated in conformity with international standards. The rights of the Tibetan detainees were also raised at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue which took place in Slovenia on 15 May 2008.
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