HC Deb 20 July 1983 vol 46 cc368-9
10. Mr. Warren

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the United Nations Organisation to request that they should exert further influence on Argentina to acknowledge the formal cessation of hostilities in the south Atlantic.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

We shall continue to take suitable opportunities to remind members of the United Nations, including Argentina, that the threat or use of force to settle international disputes is forbidden under the United Nations charter.

Mr. Warren

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that many people in this country are fed up with the way in which the Italians and the French are so eager to re-arm Argentina to the threshold of our defence capabilities in the Falklands? Is it not time for the United Nations, which is too eager to impose its sanctions on all who try to move towards war, to move with equal alacrity to help those who want peace? Should not the United Nations place some restraint on Israel, which is also seeking to re-arm Argentina?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I hesitate to over-estimate the capacity of the United Nations to act in such a fashion in any of the cases referred to by my hon. Friend. It is certainly regrettable that those armaments are being delivered to Argentina.

Mr. Deakins

Why are the Government refusing to submit the dispute on sovereignty of the Falkland Islands to the International Court of Justice, in accordance with our international obligations?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Because there has been a long and abortive history for many years past.

Mr. Farr

As Argentina is almost financially bankrupt, will my right hon. and learned Friend ensure that any future negotiations with or through the IMF on funds for Argentina are not proceeded with until that country recognises a ceasefire in the south Atlantic?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Under the articles of the IMF, it is not possible to attach political conditions to the relationship between the founder and member countries. It is possible to attach certain financial conditions related to the fulfilment of obligations to and by the fund. We cannot attach the conditions suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Anderson

Why cannot such conditions be imposed in international debt negotiations? Why did not the Government seek to do that on the last occasion? Why did they not impose conditions that any loans could not be used for future military purposes?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

As I have already said, it is not possible within the rules of the fund—it is designed as an organisation dealing with member states — for conditions such as the hon. Gentleman mentioned to be attached. If we sought to write into a financial organisation political and other conditions, or the power to make such conditions, that would not be fulfilling the nature of the organisation, which is a membership organisation with obligations to and from its members.

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