HC Deb 18 November 1987 vol 122 c1060
13. Mr. Gerald Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Argentina.

Mr. Eggar

We continue to seek more normal relations with Argentina, while honouring our commitment to the Falkland Islanders. We look to the Argentine Government to respond positively to our efforts.

Mr. Howarth

Is my hon. Friend aware that Great Britain's rejection of the United Nation's resolution last night is far from humiliating and will be widely welcomed at home and in the Falkland Islands? Will he confirm that the question of sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is non-negotiable? Does he agree that what is humiliating is the enthusiasm shown by the Opposition to treat with those who invaded the Falkland Islands and cost the lives of British soldiers?

Mr. Eggar

I very much agree with my hon. Friend. Last night's debate avoided the central issue. The resolution before the United Nations sought to fudge the differences between the British and Argentine Governments. That is not possible when the differences are so fundamental. The difference is that we do not regard the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands as a matter for negotiation.

Mr. Pike

Does the Minister accept that many people will view that statement as a tragedy because, ultimately, Britain must negotiate a settlement with Argentina on the Falkland Islands? The money that was wasted and the lives that were lost by both sides were a tragedy. Will the Minister think again and assure the House that at some stage negotiations will be held?

Mr. Eggar

The whole country and the House will reject that simplistic and naive assessment. Self-determination is an inalienable right. It is a basic principle within the United Nations charter.

Mr. Jacques Arnold

Will my hon. Friend comment on the current situation of the fisheries between the Falkland Islands and the mainland of South America?

Mr. Eggar

I am delighted to tell the House that the last fishing season went extremely well. The revenue raised by the Falkland Islands Government tripled as a result of the fishing conservation zone. Applications have now been received for the 1988 fishing season and the companies involved have recently been informed of new licences that have been awarded.

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