HC Deb 04 May 1970 vol 801 cc26-7
29. Sir R. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the efforts being made to reach early international agreement on the prevention of hijacking of aircraft.

Mr. Foley

We have not yet fully completed our soundings about the possibility of advancing the date of the conference arranged to consider the draft Convention on Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. We have to bear in mind the over-riding need to secure as wide an attendance as possible.

Sir R. Russell

Has the hon. Gentleman secured any agreement so far with any Powers for bringing this conference forward? As there has been a lull in hijacking last month, and posibly an unfortunate switch to kidnapping, does he still agree that this is an urgent matter and that agreement should be reached as soon as possible?

Mr. Foley

I agree that it is an urgent matter, and a number of Governments have agreed that there should be implementation as soon as possible of the draft Convention which has been completed. It is in the Library of the House. For many Governments whose representatives were not in the talks this is the first sight they have had of the Convention. It is therefore important that when a full conference is convened there should be full represenation mandated to give support to the Convention.

Sir B. Janner

What proposals has my right hon. Friend put forward on behalf of the Government in respect of the prevention, or attempted prevention, of these criminal acts? Is he prepared to support the view that the country which harbours these criminals should be compelled to send them back to the country in which they committed the crime?

Mr. Foley

Under the proposed Convention, a State will have the power not to send back but to prosecute such hijackers under its own law. The initiative we have taken resulted in an emergency conference of the I.C.A.O. to be held in June which will be discussing hijacking, and its terms of reference, we hope, will take up this important question as well.

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