HC Deb 09 November 1977 vol 938 cc657-8
10. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is prepared to take in furtherance of internationally agreed action on hijacking.

Mr. Luard

The Government played an active part as co-sponsor of the recent resolution of the United Nations on this subject and are pressing for ratification by all Government:; of the three main international conventions on aircraft security, particularly The Hague Convention on unlawful seizure of aircraft.

Mr. Miller

Will the Minister tell the House how successful the Government have been in trying to obtain additional signatories to the convention and, in particular, whether they have taken any action in concert with our European allies to act against countries providing safe refuge, whether by withdrawal of aircraft services or by other means?

Mr. Luard

It is ratification rather than signature of these conventions that is required, and we have been active. I mention the fact that we were very active in the United Nations only a week or two ago in getting a resolution passed which specifically called on all members of the United Nations to ratify their conventions. There are now about 80 ratifications of the three main conventions concerned.

The question of sanctions against Governments who shelter hijackers or agree to accept them on their territories is extremely important and one which needs to be studied further. However, our aim must he to ensure that all Governments commit themselves not necessarily to refusing to receive an aircraft but to either prosecuting or agreeing to the extradiction of those who have hijacked an aircraft.

Mr. Forman

Would it be possible for the Minister to consider inducements, as well as sanctions, against countries which may be tempted to give sanctuary to such people as a means of achieving a really complete system of security against these terrorists?

Mr. Luard

I am not entirely sure what kind of inducements the hon. Gentleman has in mind. If he will write to me about the matter, I shall consider it.