HC Deb 24 July 1985 vol 83 c1023
2. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Mozambique.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Tim Renton)

We maintain friendly relations with the Government of Mozambique. This is happily demonstrated by the current visit to this country by the Mozambican Foreign Minister, Dr. Chissano, as our guest.

Mr. Atkinson

Will my hon. Friend confirm newspaper reports that Britain is to train and equip Mozambican army officers and NCOs? Does not the Machel regime remain Marxist, denying human rights and fundamental freedoms, and is it not coming under increasing pressure from anti-Marxist rebels? Are we convinced that we are supporting the right side?

Mr. Renton

Yes, Sir. President Machel has made clear his wish to develop relations with Western countries. We believe that we should respond positively. It is against that background that, with the full agreement of the Zimbabwe Government, we have offered to expand the British military advisory and training team in Zimbabwe to train officers and NCOs of the Mozambican army.

Mr. Meadowcroft

I am glad to hear that we have friendly relations with the Mozambique Government. Does the Minister agree that they are extremely exposed because of their relationship with South Africa? Will the hon. Gentleman assure us that there is support for the Mozambique Government and their relationship with South Africa, bearing in mind the emergency in South Africa? Does he agree that it is important that we show that we have the interests of the Mozambique Government and their independence at heart, despite the problems that must arise from the emergency in South Africa?

Mr. Renton

We have the interests of Mozambique's development at heart. Until now, South Africa has stuck by the Nkomati accord and has recently not given official support to Renamo. That has been acknowledged in Mozambique. We have an interest in the external implications of the current insecurity in Mozambique. That is one reason why we have taken the steps that I have just announced.

Sir Peter Blaker

What are the Mozambique Government's views on the proposal to impose economic sanctions on South Africa?

Mr. Renton

I am not aware that the Mozambique Government have yet expressed any view on that subject.