HC Deb 03 March 1982 vol 19 c257
5. Mr. James White

asked the Lord Privy Seal if the Secretary of State, during his forthcoming visit to Syria, will urge the Syrian Government to enter into direct peace negotiations with Israel.

Mr. Hurd

In the search for a peace settlement in the Middle East we take every opportunity of urging all parties in the region to indicate their willingness to enter into negotiations with each other. My right hon. and noble Friend's forthcoming visit to Syria will provide a further opportunity to emphasise the need for such negotiations.

Mr. White

When the Foreign Secretary visits Syria, will he attempt to clarify whether President Assad said that he would never recognise Israel? If so, will he do everything that he can to make sure that that is changed?

Mr. Hurd

The hon. Gentleman will know that Syria accepted resolution 338 of the Security Council, which embodied a reaffirmed resolution 242. Therefore, the position of the Syrian Government in that respect is clear.

Mr. Walters

Will my right hon. Friend confirm to the Syrian Government that the so-called annexation of parts of Southern Syria and the Golan Heights is regarded as totally unacceptable?

Mr. Hurd

We have made that clear. As far as we are concerned, internal actions and measures taken by the Israeli Government have no international effect and are void.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Has the Minister considered the repeated assertion that Israel requires secure borders? Does he not feel that that should also apply to other countries in the region? Are they not also entitled to secure borders?

Mr. Hurd

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

During the visit, will my right hon. and noble Friend draw the attention of the Syrian Government to the fact that they have not had an ambassador here for far too long and that it is necessary to have an ambassador at the Court of St. James if Syria's case is to be expressed consistently and forcefully in the media?

Mr. Hurd

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks. There may be good news on that front before long.

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