HC Deb 29 October 1980 vol 991 cc474-5
9. Mr. Alton

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the British attitude towards recognition of the Polisario Front.

Mr. Luce

We have not given official recognition to the Polisario Front. It is not the practice of Her Majesty's Government to accord recognition to such movements. In any event, to do so in this case would be inconsistent with our policy of neutrality on the Western Sahara dispute.

Mr. Alton

Is the Minister aware that 26 of the member States of the Organisation for African Unity have now recognised the Polisario Front as the representatives of the Saharan people? In the light of that, will he reconsider the British Government's position? Can he tell us whether the position of the British Government has in any way changed as a result of the visit of Her Majesty The Queen to Morocco this week?

Mr. Luce

On the latter part of that question, there is no reason why our policy should change following the visit of Her Majesty to Morocco, a country with which we have long-standing and close relations. Our attitude to Western Sahara is one of neutrality. That is the same view as is held by all our friends in the EEC and it is up to the OAU which is seeking to mediate—and there is no unanimity within the OAU on this—to do its best to find a settlement. We will support whatever agreement is reached between the parties.

Mr. Aitken

Even if our policy towards Morocco has not changed, would it not be right for the Government to issue a strong protest about the discourtesy shown to Her Majesty The Queen in the past few days?

Mr. Luce

I take this opportunity to say that there has been no question of any insult being shown to Her Majesty. On the contrary, I am informed that she enjoyed herself during her visit to Morocco.

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