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Mrs. Chalker : As the hon. Member is aware, my right hon. and learned Friend has regular discussion with Foreign Ministers from other countries on a wide range of subjects. Debt is an extremely important issue, and is frequently raised in contacts with debtor and creditor countries alike.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to do so at present but I have just returned from a visit to Venezuela where I represented Her Majesty's Government at the inauguration of President Carlos Andres Perez. Whilst there I held useful discussions with a number of Venezuelan Ministers and senior officials, as well as senior members of other delegations.
Mrs. Chalker : We welcome the signature on 22 December 1988 of agreements providing for total Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola and implementation of the United Nations plan for Namibian independence, as contributing to peace and stability in the region. We also welcome the recent resumption of co-operation between South Africa and Mozambique.
Mr. Eggar : We are supporting efforts to promote a political settlement in which the Cambodian people are free to choose their own Government. We make clear our view that world opinion would not tolerate the return to power of those responsible for the atrocities of the period of Khmer Rouge rule.
Column 740to meet his Spanish counterpart to discuss matters of mutual interest in connection with the Spanish presidency of the EEC Council of Ministers.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend met the Spanish Foreign Minister bilaterally on 6 and 7 February. They will be meeting again on 14 February at the European political co-operation ministerial meeting and on 20 and 21 February at the Foreign Affairs Council.
89. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Governments of Iraq, Iran and Turkey concerning the plight of Kurdish people.
Mr. Waldegrave : We are aware of the widely felt concern at the treatment of Kurdish minorities. On representations to Iraq, I refer the hon. Member to the written reply that I gave to the hon. Member on 11 January at column 712. We have regularly co-sponsored resolutions on human rights in Iran at both the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. We urge that all in Turkey should enjoy the significant improvements in human rights in recent years and that Turkey abide by its international human rights obligations.
Mrs. Chalker : I refer my hon. Friend to the answers that I gave to earlier questions on this subject on 11 and 19 January at columns 721 and 255. The talks between President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash are continuing. They are due to review progress with the United Nations Secretary-General again in March.
95. Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave), during his recent meeting with the Palestine
Column 741Liberation Organisation leader, sought clarification of the status of the Palestine Liberation Organisation covenant in the light of the Algiers Palestine National Council statement.
"the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organisation has been superseded by the decisions of the PNC, the author of the Charter". We take every opportunity to welcome this sort of moderate statement and to urge the PLO to continue to fulfil the commitments made by Yasser Arafat in Geneva.
Mr. Waldegrave : None. We last pressed the Soviet authorities about Leonid Lubman at the United Kingdom/USSR bilateral talks on human rights on 26 January and they promised to give us a response. We will be following this up with the Soviet embassy.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of the recent report from Amnesty International highlighting the increase in torture of political prisoners, he will make representations thereon to the Philippines Government.
Mr. Eggar : The most recent estimate provided by Her Majesty's embassy in Madrid in January, 1989 was 160,000 British citizens permanently resident in Spain. There are many more who live in Spain for only part of the year. I am asking our embassy in Madrid for more precise figures and I will write to my hon. Friend when these are received.
Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will impress on the Soviet authorities the urgency of the case of George Samoilovich of Moscow who is seeking an exit visa for medical treatment in the West.
Mr. Waldegrave : We press the Soviet authorities about George Samoilovich at every possible opportunity. Her Majesty's embassy in Moscow has made repeated representations to the Soviet authorities highlighting the urgency of this case. During the recent United Kingdom/USSR bilateral talks on human rights, we underlined to Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Adamishin the need for Mr. Samoilovich to be given immediate permission to leave. He promised to re-examine the case and give us a quick response. We will continue to press hard until there is a satisfactory outcome.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had discussions with the European Commission on breaches of the ban on importation into the European Community of baby seal products.
Mr. Eggar : With our European partners, we have regularly conveyed to the Indonesian Government our views on the importance of respecting human rights and expressed our concern, on humanitarian grounds, in individual cases. There is evidence that respect for human rights in East Timor has improved in recent years.