HC Deb 18 February 1987 vol 110 c908
12. Mr. Freud

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the consequences for United Kingdom-Gambian relations of the proposed confederation between Gambia and Senegal.

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

The Senegambian confederation was established five years ago, on 1 February 1982. It was created by the decisions of two independent and sovereign states. We enjoy excellent bilateral relations with both states of confederation. The enduring links that we have with the Gambia, a fellow member of the Commonwealth, have not been affected.

Mr. Freud

I am grateful for that reply. Will the Minister tell the House that in the case of a complete creation of Senegambia she will take the most careful note of the concern of Gambians about the continuation of Commonwealth status?

Mrs. Chalker

Yes, of course. As I understand it, there will be no need for such a change. I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he seeks.

Mr. Grist

Will my hon. Friend give an undertaking that any economic assistance that may be agreed with Senegal, which is a high tariff area, will not reflect on the Gambia, which is a low tariff area?

Mrs. Chalker

I understand my hon. Friend's concern about this matter. Obviously this is a matter for further discussion, but in no way would we seek to disadvantage the Gambia if it decides to go forward with confederation.

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