HC Deb 22 July 1981 vol 9 cc304-5
4. Mr. Robert Hughes

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress has been made in discussions on the future of Namibia.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Richard Luce)

The Foreign Ministers of the Five discussed the results of the visit of the United States Deputy-Secretary of State, Mr. Clark, to Southern Africa, and considered measures to strengthen the existing United Nations plan when they met in Ottawa on 20 and 21 July. I have placed in the Library of the House a copy of the communiqué issued after the meeting.

Mr. Hughes

As I have not yet had an opportunity to see the communiqué, can the Minister tell us that serious action will be taken to compel South Africa to reach real agreement on the transfer of power in Namibia? Is he aware that the continued delay in achieving such a settlement passes the initiative to South Africa, confirms South African intransigence and makes a peaceful international settlement that much more difficult to achieve?

Mr. Luce

As the hon. Gentleman will be able to see when he reads the communiqué, the five Foreign Ministers agreed that they must pursue as vigorously as possible proposals to strengthen the United Nations plan. There will be a further meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Five in September and a meeting next week of the contact group with a 'view to developing positive proposals.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

I understand the question put by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes), but does not my hon. Friend agree that considerable progress has been made in Namibia, that apartheid—that is, separate development—has been abolished by law in Namibia, and that to continue, therefore, to put pressure on Namibia and South Africa, when tremendous progress is being made towards introducing a democratic system, is counter-productive to the best interests of all the Namibians and, not least, of the Western world as well?

Mr. Luce

Any positive progress that is made in the way that my hon. Friend has described is helpful to the situation. At the same time, I am sure that he will agree that it is in everyone's interests to achieve a positive international agreement that has the support of all the parties concerned.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Will the Minister stop misusing language in describing the latest proposals as a strengthening of the United Nations plan when in practice they mean a weakening of the United Nations resolutions? Is it not a fact that there is no will or initiative, especially on the part of the American Government, to apply those resolutions, and that the longer the implementation of those resolutions is delayed the less likely it becomes that there will be a peaceful solution in Namibia and Southern Africa?

Mr. Luce

I am surprised by the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has approached the matter, since he does not know what proposals are being developed and whether they strengthen the plan.

Mr. Davies

Tell us.

Mr. Luce

That is precisely what is being worked on at present by the Foreign Ministers of the Five.