HC Deb 25 April 1966 vol 727 cc340-1
21. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what initiative has been taken at the United Nations, since the failure of the Haradh Conference, to end the conflict in Yemen, which constitutes a threat to world peace, and to set up a generally acceptable provisional government, in conformity with the Jedda Agreement, and to secure compliance by the United Arab Republic with its international engagements.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. George Thomson)

None, Sir. Our policy towards the Yemen conflict remains one of non-involvement.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Are there not perhaps 80,000 Egyptian troops in Yemen mainly concentrated in areas adjacent to Aden? Do the Government expect them to be gone by 1968? If not, is it their policy to hand Aden to Egypt?

Mr. Thomson

The information we have according to published reports is that there are probably about 60,000 Egyptian troops in the Yemen at the moment. We are not responsible for Egyptian policy. Our desire is, while remaining non-involved, to see a peaceful settlement of the war in the Yemen.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is the Minister suggesting that there is no connection between the disturbances in Aden which are continuous and the war which has been going on in Yemen during the last few years? Do not both these conflicts germinate from the same source, namely, Egyptian interference in other Arabian countries which have independent sovereignty?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must learn to put his questions more quickly.

Mr. Thomson

No. I was making no such suggestion, but questions about disturbances in Aden are questions for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies. As to the Yemen, we stick to our policy of non-involvement and wishing to see a peaceful settlement there.

Mr. Paget

Is our undertaking to leave the Aden quite unconnected with the Egyptian undertaking to withdraw their troops from the Yemen? Do we simply withdraw, leaving the Egyptian troops to occupy Aden?

Mr. Thomson

Any question about the policy under the Defence Review should be addressed to my right hon. Friends. As concerns the Yemen, the issue there is to try to bring about a peaceful settlement of the prolonged civil war in that part of the country. I understand that talks between the U.A.R. and Saudi-Arabia are still going on, but so tar they have failed to reach agreement on how the Jedda Agreement should be carried out.

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