HC Deb 24 June 1981 vol 7 cc241-2
12. Sir Patrick Wall

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the progress of the contact group on Namibia subsequent to the American initiative.

Mr. Luce

The United States Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. William Clark, has recently held discussions with the Governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe and with representatives of the internal parties in Namibia. Consultations among the Western Five are continuing, with a view to developing proposals likely to facilitate a settlement.

Sir Patrick Wall

Has the much more realistic policy of the new American Administration on this issue got the full support of the Government? Has the question of an independent Ovamboland on either side of the Namibian/ Angolan border been considered?

Mr. Ridley

My hon. Friend knows that part of the world well. The American Government's efforts in their discussions in Southern Africa to see whether it is possible to strengthen resolution 435 have the fullest possible support of the British Government and of the other three contact group Western Powers. As regards Ovamboland, I am not in a position to say, but this point might have arisen in the discussions. I expect the group of five to meet shortly to discuss the outcome of the probings in Southern Africa.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Will the Minister please stop using the language of "Nineteen Eighty-four" in speaking about strengthening resolution 435, when the clear intention of the American Government is to weaken resolution 435? Cannot the Government come clean and say how they intend to see resolution 435 applied and what they will do to ensure that the South African Government comply with it?

Mr. Luce

Since the United States Government and the Western group of five have not yet come forward with proposals, I cannot see how the hon. Gentleman supposes that that will weaken resolution 435. The five Western Foreign Ministers, including the United States Minister, agreed in Rome on 5 May that resolution 435 was a solid basis for progress in Namibia and that we would seek to strengthen the plan to enable us to achieve agreement with all the parties and a peaceful settlement.