HC Deb 22 April 1987 vol 114 c666
20. Mr. Pike

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek early discussions with the Government of South Africa following the general election in that country to discuss moves towards ending apartheid.

Mrs. Chalker

We shall continue to press the South African Government to take early steps to facilitate the genuine national dialogue that is so urgently needed if the goal of peaceful but fundamental change is to be achieved.

Mr. Pike

Notwithstanding the words that the Minister has just used, and used in answer to earlier questions today, does she accept that, despite what the British Government claim to be their opposition to apartheid, that is not the way in which the majority of black people see the situation in South Africa? Will the Government give an assurance that, following the election in South Africa, they will make clear their view that we want to see positive, firm and speedy steps towards ending apartheid in that country?

Mrs. Chalker

There is absolutely no doubt about the Government's total condemnation of apartheid. I have said so many times at the Dispatch Box, on public platforms and in the media, and so have all my colleagues, from the Prime Minister downwards. On the elections on 6 May, it would be quite wrong for us to prescribe any solution for South Africa thereafter. We, along with our European partners and others who care about ending apartheid in South Africa forthwith, will continue to take such measures and make such representations to bring about a dialogue between all the peoples of South Africa. It is only in that way that peaceful change will be achieved.

Mr. Ashby

Are there any black African leaders in Southern Africa whom my hon. Friend is not prepared to meet to discuss fundamental changes in South Africa?

Mrs. Chalker

I am quite sure that that is some sort of trick question. I say quite genuinely to my hon. Friend and to other hon. Members that, because I believe that we will make progress only through dialogue, I shall consider most carefully any representations that are made to me to meet leaders of Governments in South Africa and the rest of Africa.