|Previous Section||Home Page|
57. Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet his United States counterpart to discuss the West's response to Mr. Gorbachev's United Nations speech of 8 December.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State hopes to visit the United States as soon as possible after the inauguration of the new President and Administration. He plans to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest with his new opposite number and others, including the prospects for east-west relations.
58. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any proposals further to integrate the foreign policies of the European Economic Community member states ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : We play a very full part in the European political co -operation, and will continue to do so, on the basis of the provisions of title III of the Single European Act. We have no proposals at present for extending either the existing arrangements for co-operation or the wide range of foreign policy issues on which co-operation takes place. We find such co-operation extremely useful.
60. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's current policy towards the development of Commonwealth co-operation.
Mrs. Chalker : We continue to support the development of Commonwealth co-operation and to play our full part in its financing. We already make annual contributions to the Commonwealth fund for technical co -operation, the Commonwealth youth programme, the Commonwealth foundation and the Commonwealth secretariat of 30 per cent. of their budgets, and to the Commonwealth Science Council. In addition, Britain is assisting the Commonwealth of Learning, a new Commonwealth distance education network, by financing the development of the documentation centre and a credit transfer register at the British Open university. The cost will be between £1 million and £2 million over a period of five years. We also provide a substantial grant-in-aid (£2.65 million in 1988-89) to the Commonwealth Institute.
61. Mr. Forman : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the meeting of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) with the chief spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mr. Bassam Abu Sherif.
63. Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the meeting of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) with the chief spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mr. Bassam Abu Sherif.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans at present to pay an official visit to the Caribbean, but my hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development is currently visiting the area and I shall be visiting later this month.
64. Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the discussions taking place in New York and Cyprus between President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash on the reunification of Cyprus ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has reviewed the outcome of the New York discussions with President Vassiliou, as have officials with Mr. Denktash and the United Nations Secretary-General. Some progress was achieved in the first round of the intercommunal talks and we have encouraged President Vassiliou to respond to the positive elements in the ideas which Mr. Denktash put forward in November.
68. Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the state of the present negotiations taking place under United Nations auspices, about the future of Cyprus.
Mrs. Chalker : Following their meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General in New York on the 22 and 23 November, President Vassiliou of Cyprus and Mr. Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, have begun a second round of talks in Nicosia. These are still continuing. We believe that, with good will on both sides, there is a real opportunity for the achievement of the comprehensive Cyprus settlement which we all want to see.
65. Mrs. Gillian Shephard : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received further details on the proposed conditions for a human rights conference to be held in Moscow.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Soviet Union has given assurances that conditions of access to the openness of the third stage of the CSCE conference on the human dimension, assuming this is held in Moscow, will be no less than for similar meetings in the west.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State agreed with the Iranian Foreign Minister on 30 September in New York that full diplomatic representation would be restored in Tehran and London. Final agreement on the details was reached on 10 November. Her Majesty's embassy in Tehran has now re-opened under our own flag. Relations between the two countries will be conducted in accordance with the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, to which both countries are signatories. The charge d'affaires, Mr. Gordon Pirie, has had meetings with Iranian officials and gained consular access to the two
Column 712British prisoners in Iran one of whom has now been released. This is a first step in developing a more constructive and businesslike relationship with Iran. We will consider the exchange of ambassadors in due course.
Mr. Eggar : Following a recent inspection in Islamabad it has been agreed that the permanent establishment of entry clearance officers be increased from 26 to 28, and that all new appointees from the diplomatic service will have a month's overlap with their predecessors. Four further ECO's are being provided for nine months from January 1989 and a similar number is planned for a lesser period in 1990. Also being considered is an increase in the numbers of locally engaged staff, including interpreters, in 1989.
Mrs. Chalker : We have given our full and public support to the US- led negotiations, and we applaud the signature of agreements in New York on 22 December paving the way for Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola and for Namibian independence. We shall press those concerned to move on swiftly from agreement to implementation.
Mr. Waldegrave : Negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive global ban on chemical weapons continue at the conference on disarmament in Geneva. Progress has been made but complex issues remain to be resolved, particularly concerning verification.
Mr. Eggar : We have made clear to the Bangladesh authorities the level of concern in this country about alleged abuses of rights of the tribal people in the Chittagong hill tracts. We are encouraged by the widespread recognition in Bangladesh of the need to find a political solution to the current problems.