HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc445-6
3. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about his recent discussions with the Foreign Minister of Israel.

Mr. Ennals

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Lord President in the House yesterday.

Mr. Huckfield

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that the State of Israel stands ready to make territorial concessions in return for peace and secure frontiers, and to that extent is prepared to see a resumption of the Kissinger initiative or to go to a reconvened Geneva conference? Does he recognise also that because Britain will have its own oil potential many people in Israel believe that Britain does not necessarily have to take exactly the same line as other European countries?

Mr. Ennals

It is important that the Government of Israel should be prepared to be involved with other countries in a new round of negotiations, which I hope Dr. Kissinger will feel able to resume in one form or another. I believe that there is an extremely important rôle for the United States in the next stages of negotiations. It may very well be that those negotiations would be in preparation for a Geneva conference. The Government recognise that there is a rôle for a reconvened Geneva conference, but preparation is absolutely essential. The United Kingdom is prepared to play whatever part may be most useful. Suggestions were made to us of individual unilateral initiatives. I do not think they would help, but there may come a time when there will be a rôle for Britain, either as part of a broader initiative or in any other way that may be suggested to us.

Mr. Walters

When the Foreign Secretary was in Dublin, did he discuss with his EEC colleagues the possibility of a European initiative in the Middle East which would have as one of its main aims the formulation of a realistic approach by Israel towards the Palestinians and the creation of a dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians, without which there will never be lasting settlement in the Middle East?

Mr. Ennals

Without necessarily disagreeing with the hon. Gentleman's concluding remarks, I should say that we have discussed this matter with our European partners, including the discussion in which my right hon. Friend took part in Dublin, but our conclusion is that we cannot at this moment see a useful initiative which members of the EEC could take.