HC Deb 03 December 1986 vol 106 c930
12. Mr. John Carlisle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is yet satisfied that sufficient progress has been made by the South African Government towards the dismantling of apartheid to warrant the withdrawal of economic and other sanctions; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

No, Sir. While we do not believe that general economic sanctions would be effective as a means to end apartheid, measures of the kind agreed by the Twelve on 16 September are an important means of signalling to the South African Government the urgent need for change.

Mr. Carlisle

Does my hon. Friend accept that it would be better to dismantle the apartheid system at a time of economic prosperity than at a time of unemployment, poverty and financial disaster, which the sanctions policy will bring? Will she reject the Barclays bank way of walking away from the problem and support BP's policy for far greater investment and prosperity for those of all races in South Africa?

Mrs. Chalker

The decision by Barclays bank was an entirely commercial decision for it. It is true that any weakening of the economy brings enormous suffering, particularly to the black South Africans. I must say that BP's ideas, and its intention to spend £30 million on community projects, represent a welcome initiative. There should be more. However, it should be realised that the South African Government have fenced themselves into a corner. Although they have changed some of the restrictive laws, they have sought to introduce new restrictions, such as defining the parameters for black settlement in urban areas. Until the apartheid system in South Africa is replaced by a system with which all South Africans can agree, we shall not see, in South Africa, further investment strength or, indeed, the peace for which we all long.