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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what preparations he has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike. 
Mr. Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Local Government and the Regions (Mr. Raynsford) on 28 October 2002, Official Report, column 527W.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 21 October 2002, Official Report, column 38W, on the International Criminal Court, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the United States on a bilateral agreement with the United States regarding the exemption of US citizens from the ICC. 
Mr. Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had a number of discussions with US Secretary Powell about the US Government's request for a bilateral agreement under Article 98.2 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in the period leading up to the GAER Council on 30 September. On 17 October, and as part of a tour of four EU capitals, US officials visited London for discussions with FCO officials. Those discussions were of an exploratory nature: the British side explained that HMG was ready to respond, within the parameters of the Guiding Principles agreed by EU Foreign Ministers at GAERC on 30 September. No date has yet been set for further discussion.
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: While in Iran on 9 October my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed a number of regional issues, including the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which have in the past been used against Iran. Both sides agreed on the need for Iraq to comply with its obligations under UN resolutions.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assurances he has (a) sought and (b) received that the gas used by the Russian authorities was not in violation of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Following inquiries by the United Kingdom and others, Russian authorities have announced that the gas used in ending the siege on a Moscow theatre, on Saturday 26 October, was based on Fentanyl, an opium based narcotic. Fentanyl is not a chemical scheduled under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Non-scheduled chemicals are not in themselves prohibited under the Convention for use in law enforcement, including domestic riot control purposes. On 30 October, the Russian Health Minister, Mr. Shevchenko said XI officially declare that chemical substances of the kind banned under international conventions on chemical weapons were not used".
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received about the Namibian Government's plans to pass emergency legislation to make it illegal for foreigners to own land; what his Department's policy is; what plans he has to discuss these issues with (a) his European counterparts and (b) members of the Southern African Development Community; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Rammell: We understand that the Namibian Government are considering an amendment to the 1995 Land Reform Bill. We are seeking urgent clarification. EU Heads of Mission in Windhoek are drawing up a report on land reform, and the issue will be discussed within the EU framework. We will if necessary also raise the issue during contact with SADC members.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of the reports compiled by the secondee from Barrow International to the British Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand in 2001 into export opportunities in the New Zealand marine industry for British companies. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no immediate plans to visit Pakistan. He has visited the country three times in the last 12 months. I hope to be able to visit in the months to come.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the standard contract letter which is drawn up between his Department and secondees from private companies before they start their secondment. 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures are taken to prevent conflicts of interest involving secondees from the private sector to British embassies. 
Mr. Rammell: The potential for conflicts of interest is addressed when BTI and the FCO consider candidates for secondment opportunities and when setting up the secondments themselves. There are two letters of appointment: one with the secondee, and one with the seconding organisation. Both cover this issue. The letter to the secondee states:
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of the reports compiled by the secondee from British Nuclear Fuels following his secondment to the British embassy in Sweden between September 1999 and February 2000 to review the energy market in that country and identify opportunities for UK companies. 
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent in recruiting staff to his Department in (a) London and (b) the south east in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recruits nationally. We do not, therefore break down the recruitment budget by region. The following figures include money spent on recruitment in its widest sense. This includes general marketing via careers fairs, as well as targeted marketing aimed at under-represented groups such as minority ethnic communities and women.
(9) To date
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