HC Deb 01 July 1987 vol 118 cc489-90
11. Mr. Tony Banks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the United States Government about the level of their support for the Contra forces in Nicaragua.

Mr. Eggar

We regularly discuss important issues, including the situation in Central America, with the United States Administration, and they are fully aware of our views.

Mr. Banks

May I draw the Minister's attention to early-day motion 9, which points out that on 27 June 1986 the world court found that the United States Government were guilty, on no fewer than eight counts, of offending international law in respect of supplying arms to the Contras and their actions on Nicaragua? What will the Government do, in terms of the much-vaunted special relationship that appears, or is said, to exist between this country and the United States, to ask the United States Government when they will conform with the rulings of the international court? When will this country stop indirectly supplying arms to the Contra forces, as the Minister knows we are doing?

Mr. Eggar

There is no truth in the hon. Gentleman's wild allegations. I wish that he would withdraw such assertions, which he insists on making across the Floor of the House and for which he has no evidence whatsoever.

Mr. Baldry

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the only way to solve the problems of Central America is by political initiatives and not by armed force, and that the best way forward must still lie in the Contadora peace process?

Mr. Eggar

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The way to solve the problems in Central America is by working through the Contadora process rather than through military solutions.

Mr. Foulkes

How can the Minister state so categorically that the Blowpipe missiles that are now impounded in Panama in the ship Per Evesta were not destined for the Contras, in spite of the evidence of the Tower commission? As there is now evidence of Blowpipe missiles being supplied to the Afghan rebels also, why is Shorts, which is owned and controlled by the Government, allowed to continue to supply Blowpipe missiles behind a wall of silence?

Mr. Eggar

I might have hoped that the hon. Gentleman would have had more chance to come to terms with the reality of the situation. We are not supplying arms to the Contra rebels. We have said that quite clearly. The hon. Gentleman has had four weeks off and should not give rein to his fantasies in such a manner.

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