HC Deb 22 May 1985 vol 79 cc996-7
7. Sir William van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on his talks with the Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea on 24 to 25 April.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

On 24 April I held talks with the Foreign Minister on Papua New Guinea. Mr. Giheno and I were also present at the meeting between my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. The subjects covered included matters of concern in the south Pacific and East-West relations.

Sir William van Straubenzee

Apart from the pleasure given to this country by the visit of the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, did my right hon. and learned Friend have the opportunity to consider the remarkable economic development of that country, much of it with British participation, both private and official, and does he envisage further opportunities for participation in that laudable objective?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I agree with my hon. Friend about the success of economic development in Papua New Guinea and its importance, because total British investment now approaches £250 million. We are also backing, through the Export Credits Guarantee Department, the finance for the first stage of a new project at OK Tedi Mining Ltd. and have also made a renewed offer of aid and trade provision funds to cover a feasibility study for the further development of Jackson airport. All those represent opportunities for Papua New Guinea and for ourselves, of which both sides are taking advantage.

Mr. Tom Clarke

During these discussions, did the Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea express his concern about Indonesia's external policies—those that involve East Timor that might have consequences for Papua New Guinea?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

There was no specific discussion about that. We welcome the steps taken by Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian Government to resolve their border problems.

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