HC Deb 29 October 1980 vol 991 cc475-6
10. Mr. Hooley

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will raise at the United Nations as a threat to peace in Africa the repeated incursions into Angola by South African forces.

Mr. Luce

No, Sir. The United Nations Security Council has already debated the matter, and paragraph 6 of resolution 475 states that the Council remains seized of the matter.

Mr. Hooley

Do the attacks on Angola derive directly from the continued illegal occupation of Namibia by South Africa? Will the Minister confirm that there is an agreed United Nations plan for peaceful transition to independence, which has the full support of the five negotiating powers but which is being obstructed only by South Africa? What pressure will be put on South Africa to cease that obstruction?

Mr. Luce

I reaffirm strongly that the British Government, together with the Group of Five, support as strongly as possible the proposal that the UN should supervise the elections in Namibia. As I said earlier, we are awaiting the report of the team that has been in South Africa for discussions. We hope that progress will shortly be made.

Mr. Amery

Does my hon. Friend agree that free and fair elections cannot be conducted in Namibia under United Nations auspices as long as the General Assembly regards only one party—SWAPO—as the sole representative of the people, when the United Nations organisation finances SWAPO and the Finnish Commissioner declares himself whole heartedly on the side of SWAPO? Does he accept that it cannot be a fair match when the referee has declared himself to be on one side?

Mr. Luce

During the discussions in South Africa last week between the UN team and the South African Government, the anxiety of the South African Government about the impartiality of the United Nations was discussed. I am sure that every effort was made to reassure them. With his experience, my right hon. Friend will know that there is a considerable distinction between resolutions passed by the General Assembly—and I have expressed the British Government's view about that resolution—and those passed by the Security Council, which has called on the United Nations to carry out free and fair elections, impartially, among all the parties in Namibia.

Mr. Rowlands

If the Minister did not like the term "broken down", which I used earlier, does he agree that the talks have at least reached a stalemate or have been baulked by the South African Government? What further action do the Government intend to take to end the stalemate?

Mr. Luce

Surprisingly, the hon. Gentleman seems to misunderstand the situation. We are awaiting the report to the Security Council from the United Nations team that has just been to South Africa. The hon. Gentleman makes repeated assumptions that the talks have broken down. He has no evidence for that. There is every prospect of progress in the near future.

Mr. Jim Spicer

Does my hon. Friend agree that it would reflect well on the United Nations if occasionally it condemned the incursions into Namibia from Angola by SWAPO guerrillas, directed not against the South African security forces but against the Ovambo people, who are being killed and maimed on an increasingly large scale?

Mr. Luce

I agree that it is singularly important to make clear, as we and the Group of Five have done, that our condemnation of violence is not one-sided. Violence from any source hinders the prospect of a peacefully negotiated settlement.

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