HC Deb 09 April 1986 vol 95 cc163-4
17. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the next meeting to take place between his officials and members of the African National Congress; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

As foreshadowed to the House on 5 March, contacts between officials and the ANC are continuing as appropriate. The central purpose of such contact is to bring home to the ANC the importance of a suspension of violence on all sides in South Africa in order to promote constructive dialogue. We have not agreed to any ministerial contact.

Mr. Adley

I welcome the decision of my right hon. and learned Friend's officials to meet the ANC. Can he confirm that the eminent persons group has also had meetings with the ANC? As the ANC represents the views of the large majority of non-white people in South Africa, notwithstanding the propaganda put out to the contrary by the South African Government, will my right hon. and learned Friend ensure that as much conversation and dialogue as possible take place so that we can try to find a solution in South Africa by peaceful means and avoid the violent means that will be inevitable if that is not achieved?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The Commonwealth eminent persons group met a wide range of people both inside and outside South Africa, including, of course, representatives or members of the ANC. That contact has been provided for because of the role that they occupy, or could occupy.

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