HC Deb 03 December 1980 vol 995 cc252-3
8. Mr. Renton

asked the Lord Privy seal what new initiatives he is considering in order to facilitate the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan.

Mr. Hurd

The Government supported the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November which called upon the Secretary-General to appoint a special representative with a view to promoting a political settlemant. The Government believe that a settlement must involve the withdrawal of Russian troops and the freedom of Afghanistan to live under a Government of its choice.

Mr. Renton

Does my hon. Friend recall that Christmas Day marks the anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, an anniversary which may now be celebrated by a Russian invasion of Poland? Does he think that all the talk about detente and the United Nations resolutions of the past 12 months have had any effect on Russia whatsoever? Does he agree the the West must take much more concerted action about export credits and bans on high technology and on grain sales if it is to have any influence over Russia?

Mr. Hurd

I agree with the spirit of what my hon. Friend said. As he knows, certain measures have been taken in the economic sphere. As he also knows, we would have wished these measures to have been more vigorous in some respects.

Mr. Deakins

What has happened to the Foreign Secretary's proposal for a neutral non-aligned Afghanistan?

Mr. Hurd

The proposal has been taken up not only by the European Nine but in a slightly different form by the Islamic Congress. I think that it now represents a consensus of view in the whole of the non-Communist world. We continue to believe that only in that direction can a satisfactory resolution be found.

Mr. Whitney

Will my hon. Friend again consider consulting the rest of the international community on the possibility of seeking what I might call a Zimbabwe-type solution for Afghanistan so that we can have another form of Lancaster House talks, internationally monitored elections and the voice of the people of Afghanistan being given the same freedom of expression as was the voice of the people of Zimbabwe?

Mr. Hurd

We are ready to consider proposals for a conference, but those proposals must be based on the stand taken by the United Nations, not on the bogus stand taken by the Soviet Union and its Afghan satellites in their proposals of May this year.