§ Mr. Stuart Holland
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what way he intends to increase the United Kingdom aid programme to Central America and the Caribbean.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
We intend to continue our substantial aid programme in this area. The needs of each country will be considered on their merits.
§ Mr. Holland
The Minister will be aware that the World bank and the Inter-American Development Bank recently have lent nothing to Nicaragua, leant on as these institutions have been in turn by the President of the United States. The President seems to have the same attitude towards multilateral lending to Nicaragua as he has to the decision of the International Court of Justice at The Hague or recent finance to the Contras via arms sales to Iran. Will the Minister take this opportunity to dissociate himself from that discrimination by one of the world's biggest powers against one of the world's least developed countries and initiate a bilateral programme for Central America and the Caribbean area, of which Nicaragua can be a beneficiary?
§ Mr. Patten
I am delighted to have the opportunity to make our position absolutely clear. We judge loans by the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank entirely on their economic and technical merits. It is important to consider the programmes in the entire area in terms of what we do bilaterally and what the European Community does. European Community aid to Central America was £25.8 million in the last year for which we have figures. The EDF VI allows more for the Caribbean—about £109.6 million. We contribute about a fifth of those figures. Our contribution to the Central American and Caribbean countries bilaterally is about £46 million. That is a substantial programme.
§ Mr. Patten
Nicaragua does not receive as much as other countries, such as Honduras, because it is not as poor.