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British Embassy (Dili)

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of how much will be saved by the closure of the British embassy in Dili; how much will be raised by the sale of embassy (a) property and (b) chattels in Dili; what the cost will be of the relocation of services to Jakarta; and whether training will be required for new staff in Jakarta dealing with East Timorese cases and issues. (95140)

An annual saving of £341,353 will be made by the closure of our embassy in Dili.

We did not own any of the buildings that we occupied in Dili. Some chattels have been recycled or returned to the UK (communications, IT equipment). Two vehicles have been sold, £2,677 raised, and a third awaits sale.

An uplift of £5,900 has been made to the local budget of our embassy in Jakarta. This is to cover the additional travel requirements of Jakarta-based staff arising from the transfer of responsibility as well as the running costs of our newly-appointed Honorary Consul in Dili. There was also a one-off uplift of £1,000 to cover the start-up costs for the Honorary Consul. Jakarta-based staff will not require any additional training for their East Timor-related duties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) Britons and (b) locally engaged people were employed at the British embassy in Dili in each year since 2002; and how many members of staff in the Indonesian embassy in Jakarta will work on East Timorese cases and issues when the embassy in Dili closes. (95141)

The numbers of UK and locally engaged (LE) staff who worked in our embassy in Dili from 2002 to 2006 are as follows:

UK-based staff

Locally engaged staff

2002

2

4

2003

2

6

2004

2

6

2005

2

7

2006

2

12

1 At closure.

Six members of UK-based staff at our embassy in Jakarta now include East Timor issues in their work. This is in addition to the duties they already hold.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 12 October 2006, Official Report, column 34WS, on the British embassy (Dili), how many British citizens have sought help from the British embassy for each year since the establishment of an independent East Timor Government in 2002; how many East Timorese citizens have sought help from the British embassy in Dili since 20 May 2002; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the closure on British citizens in East Timor. (95296)

The numbers of British citizens who have sought help from our embassy in Dili between 2002 and 2006 are as follows:

Number of British citizens

2002-03

308

2003-04

180

2004-05

172

2005-06

170

As Dili was not a visa-issuing post, no East Timorese citizens sought the help of our embassy there.

Our embassy in Jakarta has now assumed responsibility for consular matters in East Timor. An honorary consul in Dili has also been appointed.