My immediate priority is to build a strong relationship with the incoming US Administration with the aim of making progress on our shared goals at every level of the international agenda. Foremost among them are vanquishing Daesh, responding to the crisis in Syria and standing firm against the challenge from Russia.
According to figures released last week, Scotland has taken over a third of the Syrian refugees in the UK to date. However, the UK Government plan to take only a third as many as Sweden by 2020. How does the Foreign Secretary explain to his counterparts in Europe the UK’s shirking of its responsibilities?
I must reject the hon. Gentleman’s assertion that this country is not doing enough to help the people of Syria or the region. As he will know fine well, this country is the second biggest global donor to the response to the humanitarian crisis in that region, and we can be proud of our record in giving humanitarian support there, and in offering sanctuary and refuge here in the UK.
This is an important point. President Sisi is very conscious of the challenges that Egypt is facing from its own extremists, and Britain is providing support on that. In the longer term, there will be plans for the border to reopen. Unfortunately, many of the tunnel systems were used to smuggle in to Hamas equipment that was being used against Israel, but the strength of the relationship between Israel and Egypt is allowing them to co-ordinate things to make sure that that is curtailed.
As I repeatedly told the House, we may be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe, and we are certainly not leaving the EU for a small time to come. In that time, we are fully paid-up members and it is my view that we should take part to the full, including in such cultural co-operation as the hon. Gentleman describes—and we will do so. We will also continue to take part in such European cultural ventures beyond our exit from the EU.
It is. The rules are different, depending on whether or not Bedouin camps are in the west bank or in Israel proper. Nevertheless, the necessary support measures must be given to those people if they are going to be moved. I visited a Bedouin camp the last time I was there, and I will be looking at this particular announcement and making a statement on this later today.
As hon. Members will know, the UK played a crucial role in bringing an end to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. As my hon. Friend knows well, there are people across that region who look to us for encouragement and support, and we will be hosting a western Balkans summit here in London in 2018 to try to encourage further stability and confidence building in that region.
As the hon. Gentleman will know, this Government have done an enormous amount in tackling tax evasion, and, as a result, have collected enormous amounts of funds. Ultimately, these matters are for the Treasury, and I am sure that he will have the opportunity to put those questions at Treasury questions.
As my hon. Friend will know, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been taking the lead in Hanoi in urging the international community to take tougher measures against elephant and rhino poachers. The figures are heartbreaking. In the late 1990s, there were 1.2 million elephants in the world. In Africa, the figure is now down to 300,000. In fact, it has gone down 120,000 since 2010. It is a catastrophic loss for Africa and for the world, and the UK is leading the fightback. We will be holding a summit on the conservation of endangered wildlife in London in the next couple of years.
We are very honoured that our Prime Minister is the first female Prime Minister to be invited to attend the GCC in the Gulf. It emphasises the very strong relations that we have with that area. This Government are doing everything they can to satisfy themselves of the compliance of Gulf countries, notably of Saudi Arabia, with the principles of international humanitarian law.
As my hon. Friend will know, it is for the Indian Government and the Reserve Bank of India to define what is Indian legal tender. However, I can say that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice, advising British nationals travelling to India how to act in this matter, and we advise those nationals to monitor the situation closely.
I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that the Foreign Office is in regular contact with the Iranian Government at all levels. The matter has been raised by the Prime Minister with President Rouhani, and by me with Foreign Minister Zarif. My hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood) has only recently had meetings on that very subject. The matter is of the utmost priority for this Government, and we are doing our level best to resolve it.
It is an exaggeration to say that the talks have totally broken down, but they have stalled for the moment, and we are giving every possible support that we can to enable the talks to continue in the hope that they can yet reach a successful conclusion for the reunification of the island.
Will the Minister assure us that the UK will continue to assist in the gathering of evidence for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, so that, eventually, those responsible for these terrible atrocities will be brought to book?
I can reassure the right hon. Lady, who I know has campaigned on this issue for many years, that the initiative that we started in September at the UN General Assembly with the Belgians and other countries continues to work well. We are gathering the evidence that we need, and I am confident that in due course we will bring Daesh operatives to justice.
All countries of the EU, with the exception of the United Kingdom, have resumed direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, which are so vital to the Egyptian economy. What more do the Egyptian Government have to do to persuade the Government to resume direct flights?
This has been a very difficult matter. As the House will know, the Egyptian Government are strongly desirous of our resuming flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to do so. Perhaps the best I can say is that consultations and work are still going on between our two Governments and between our security services to give the UK Government the reassurance that they need.
In South Africa, black people were not able to vote, all political opposition was outlawed, and different races could not even get married. In Israel, there is freedom of movement, assembly and speech, all governmental institutions are integrated, and all citizens can vote, so is it not a disgrace and an insult to the middle east’s only democracy and to the black people who suffered under apartheid to hear Israel described as that, as we have heard a former Minister do this afternoon?
The hon. Gentleman makes two separate points, and we need to consider both distinctively. I will be visiting South Africa in the new year and I will be looking at some of the election processes that take place. We are supportive of both countries, but in the case of Israel, it is a democratic country in a very tough neighbourhood and Britain stands by our friendship. We are an ally of Israel and long may that continue.
I visited the DRC during the summer, and I pay tribute to the work that my hon. Friend has done in that regard. As in other parts of Africa, there is a president who does not want to honour the constitution and wants to stay on longer. We request that he recognises the constitution and stands back. We need the electoral commission to complete its work so that there is an updated electoral register and fresh elections can take place. We hope that happens soon.
My constituent, Helen Veevers, faces allegations in Kenya that she conspired to poison her father. She is concerned that she could be the victim of police corruption in that country. Can the Minister reassure me that the Foreign Office is making representations and will keep a close eye on the situation?
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that this is a very delicate case indeed. We are providing consular support. I do not believe it is in anyone’s best interests for us to expand any further on the details. I would be more than happy to meet the hon. Gentleman directly after Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions to say what more is happening.