HC Deb 28 February 1973 vol 851 cc1474-5
5. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends taking any fresh initiatives to secure the implementation of Her Majesty's Government's sponsored United Nations Resolution 242, November 1967.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The policy of Her Majesty's Government in the Middle East remains to do all they can to help towards a peaceful settlement on the basis of Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. If there was any particular step which we thought could assist a settlement we should take it. But that is not the case at the present time.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the shooting down of the Libyan aircraft and the recent raid on the Lebanon by the Israelis give fresh impetus to the need to implement Resolution 242, especially with regard to withdrawal from occupied territories? Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will make our viewpoint on this matter crystal clear to the American Government?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I agree that the latest incident—the shooting down of the aircraft—has been a very grave development in a situation which is already bad enough. When the hon. Gentleman says that we ought to make progress on complete withdrawal by the Israeli occupying forces, I agree with him. We ought to. We shall make every effort to get the Israelis to agree. But no one has yet been able to marry a formula for military withdrawal with security for Israel of her frontiers.

Mr. Fidler

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that it is his view that the only way to achieve a just, viable and lasting peace in the Middle East is to bring the two sides together round the same negotiating table? Will he use his initiative to press upon Israel and her Arab neighbours the importance of getting round that negotiating table to achieve what we all desire?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I do not think that the matter can be settled until there is direct negotiation. But neither party will yet agree on the basis of a meeting. That was the hope of Dr. Jarring. But progress is being made.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

Is the right hon. Gentleman in close co-operation and consultation with the Americans in respect of their initiative in this matter?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Yes, Sir. I hope that the Americans have an initiative.