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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many working days have been lost due to illness in her Department in (a) 2002 and (b) each of the preceding five years. 
|Year||Number of absences||Average number of days per staff year|
Clare Short: The only long-term answer to improving human rights situation in Sudan is a peace settlement. We believe the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process offers the best chance to bring an end to the civil war through a negotiated settlement between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A. In 2002, the talks produced breakthroughs on the key issues of state and religion and self-determination for the south and a Memorandum of Understanding on a cessation of hostilities and unimpeded humanitarian access and agreement on aspects of power and wealth-sharing, as well as human rights.
The war in Sudan has prevented many donors, including the UK, from carrying out a development programme in Sudan over the past decade. Over $500 million of development funding will become available from the international community when there is peace: this is an important incentive for the warring parties to reach a comprehensive agreement. We are co-ordinating closely with other donor countries on all matters, including assessing support for good governance. Until there is a peace agreement, we will continue to support life-saving humanitarian work and peacebuilding activities such as personnel to monitor the ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains, support for anti-slavery work and for the IGAD secretariat.
Clare Short: I have not met representatives of Zimbabwe's opposition parties in recent months. My officials maintain dialogue on the humanitarian situation with a wide representation of civil society.
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Clare Short: The World bank has not disbursed funds in Zimbabwe since 2000, after the Government of Zimbabwe ceased making payments on previous loans. Zimbabwe's arrears to the World Bank totalled US$107.4 million as at 6 December 2002. The World bank cannot resume lending until the arrears are repaid in full.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister how many civil servants have been employed by (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental bodies in each year from 199495 to 200203; and if he will make a statement. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on UK policy towards the agreement reached between President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder for the Convention on the Future of Europe; and what measures he will take to enhance British influence in the EU. 
The Prime Minister: I welcome the Franco-German contribution to the debate on Europe's future. Strong French and German engagement is essential to take the debate on the future of the EU forward towards a more democratic, accountable and effective European Union. The paper is good for the UK. It contains important proposals which the UK has advocated, such as a full-time Chair of the European Council. The UK will continue to engage with confidence in the debate on the future of Europe.
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 18 December 2002, Official Report, column 811W, on referendums if he will make a statement on the Government's criteria for determining on which subjects it is appropriate for referendums to be held. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to my previous reply on 9 January 2003, Official Report, column 306W, where I indicated that there are no criteria, set out in either the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act or elsewhere, for determining on which subjects it is appropriate for referendums to be held.
Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister when the United Kingdom first provided UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency with intelligence material on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. 
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent staff are employed in (a) the Department and (b) each of the agencies it sponsors; and what the figures were for 1997. 
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