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Lord Moyne: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his fairly reassuring reply. Can he confirm that the Government are telling the Israelis fairly sharply that by continuing to occupy this area they are promoting Hizbollah from the status of a terrorist organisation to that of a legitimate resistance movement?
Lord Chesham: My Lords, Her Majesty's Government support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon. Our support over the years of Resolution 425 of 1978 has been unswerving, but the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon is part of the overall question of the Middle East peace process. The solution will come only from a comprehensive settlement. We greatly support the talks which will begin shortly between Syria and Israel and between Lebanon and Israel as the best way to achieve a lasting settlement.
Lord Redesdale: My Lords, can the Minister say whether the Government support the resolution drafted by Lebanon under consideration in the Security Council today which demands compensation for Israel for the recent attacks? If not, why not?
Lord Chesham: My Lords, that is exactly what Resolution 425 and succeeding resolutions are all about. We warmly welcome the ceasefire and hope that it is the start of a full and final solution. We totally supported, and were actively engaged in, activities behind the scenes, but we felt that it would not be useful to have a number of different approaches being made at the same time. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister met Minister Hariri and discussed Lebanon in Moscow with Presidents Clinton and Chirac. President Hrawi transited London and was seen by my right honourable friend Mr. Hanley. The Foreign Secretary spoke on the telephone to Messrs. Barak and Christopher and exchanged numerous messages with others. We have kept in close touch with the Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian governments and also with the Americans and our EU partners.
Lord Haskel: My Lords, is the Minister aware that Israel's only demand is that the Lebanese Government should take effective control of their southern region? Does he agree that this is particularly important in view of the fact that there are 40,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon?
Lord Hylton: My Lords, I very much welcome the ceasefire. Does the Minister recall that it was necessary for the warring militias to be disarmed in and around Beirut? Do not similar considerations apply to southern Lebanon?
Lord Beloff: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the only power which can exercise decisive influence in that part of the world is the United States, particularly since the origin of the problem is the weapons channelled from Tehran via Damascus to Hizbollah? Does he agree that only the United States is in a position to put an end to that traffic?
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, can the Minister comment on remarks made by Sheik Ndurdin, a senior representative of Hizbollah, that Hizbollah would recognise Israel in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon? Is that not a step forward which requires a positive response from the Israeli Government? Further, can the noble Lord inform the House whether or not the UK Government have been pursuing this either in the United Nations or with the US Government?
Lord Mayhew: My Lords, is it not well established by now that whenever the Israelis have occupied their neighbours' territory, whether in Syria, the West Bank or Lebanon, they have aroused intense hostility which has undermined rather than strengthened their security?
Lord Chesham: My Lords, that is an interpretation which the noble Lord may choose to make. However, it does not take us forward. We are trying to achieve a total and fulfilled peace process in the Middle East, and one that will last.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): My Lords, it would not be right for me to comment on the judgment in the Blake case while an appeal is under consideration. However, I would refer the noble Lord to the following passage in the judgment:
Lord Wyatt of Weeford: My Lords, does the noble and learned Lord agree that in the judgment it is also said that no one is entitled to expect lifelong fidelity as to the matter of keeping secrets? Has he not also observed that Lord Justice Scott, who headed the arms for Iraq inquiry, denounced the Government for
The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, I do not believe that the noble Lord is making an actual quotation from the judgment in Blake. The judgment runs to some 18 pages. I do not imagine that your Lordships will find it convenient if I read all of it out at this stage, but it is a public document which I believe will repay careful study. As far as concerns the choice of Sir Richard Scott to head up the inquiry, the noble Lord has his view of that; I am sure that there are also other views.
Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone: My Lords, since we have heard from my noble and learned friend that this matter is now sub judice in the Court of Appeal, would it not be best to close the discussion?
The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, the judgment has been given. An appeal is under consideration. Strictly technically I believe that the matter is not sub judice according to the rules of the House, but I accept the sense of what my noble and learned friend said, which is why I thought that it would be inappropriate for me to comment upon the terms of the judgment. While conforming to that precept, which I laid down for myself, I thought I could give what I believe to be an entirely accurate quotation from part of the judgment.
Lord Richard: My Lords, does the noble and learned Lord agree that taking six words from an 18-page judgment and trying to form a conclusion from them is almost as fallacious as taking six words from a columnist in The Times and extrapolating from that what is meant to be the policy of the paper as a whole?
The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, I am sure that there is some underlying connection between the latter part of that question and the Question on the Order Paper. I think, and I am sure that many would agree, that if one is going to get the sense of a judgment of 18 pages one probably has to read more than six words of it.
Lord Hutchinson of Lullington: My Lords, is the noble and learned Lord aware that I must declare an interest in asking this question as I appeared for Mr. Blake at his trial in a professional capacity and secured for him the longest term of imprisonment that has ever been handed down by a British court? From that somewhat equivocal position, may I ask the noble and learned Lord to confirm that on no occasion has the Crown sought to suppress this book or contended that any secret or confidential information was disclosed? Was not the trouble here the fact that the security services failed to take the elementary precaution of seeing that there was an undertaking in Mr. Blake's terms of employment not to disclose material without express permission? In those circumstances, did not the learned Vice-Chancellor decide the case, as learned
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