HC Deb 21 March 1984 vol 56 cc1040-1
12. Mr. Nellist

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent developments in Southern Africa.

Mr. Rifkind

I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells).

Mr. Nellist

Does the Minister accept that South Africa's deals with Mozambique and its proposed deals with other countries in that region have been described as the carrot and stick approach? The Minister may approve of the carrot in referring to the area's stability, but does he approve of the stick when tens of thousands of South African troops have invaded that region and brought the stability to which he refers with the deaths of thousands of citizens of Angola, Mozambique and elsewhere?

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman should be aware that the historic agreement between South Africa and Mozambique has been welcomed by the Governments of both countries, by the OAU and by other front-line states as a development that they can understand and support. I hope that all hon. Members welcome the agreement, which will significantly reduce tension and increase stability and further co-operation in southern Africa.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Does my hon. Friend welcome the recent speech of the President of Gabon urging SWAPO to lay down its arms and enter into the multi-party conference in Namibia with a view to helping that country towards independence and helping it to meet the terms of United Nations Security Council resolution 435?

Mr. Rifkind

We are happy to welcome all speeches that contribute to the ending or reduction of violence in southern Africa. We do not doubt that the best prospect for Namibia lies in free and fair elections, so that the people of Namibia may elect the Government of their choice.

Mr. Deakins

Will the Minister confirm that South Africa remains a racist state in spite of recent reforms? Is the Minister aware that there is a lobby of the House this afternoon, with meetings in the Grand Committee Room, organised by the anti-apartheid movement? Will a representative of his Department be speaking at any of the meetings?

Mr. Rifkind

There will not be a representative of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at any of the meetings, so far as I am aware, but I have told the anti-apartheid movement that I shall be happy to receive its representatives if they wish to see me, as I receive many people with different points of view on southern Africa. The hon. Gentleman is correct. The policy of separate development remains the basis of South African policy, despite the recent constitutional reforms.

Back to