HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 c712
8. Dr. Michael Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom's relations with Argentina.

Mr. Eggar

We shall continue to look for ways of restoring more normal relations with Argentina, while upholding our commitments to the Falkland islanders.

Dr. Clark

Can my hon. Friend assure the House that, despite the fact that Argentina invaded the Falklands arid now will not officially recognise the end of the hostilities, Her Majesty's Government are doing all that they can to normalise relations with Argentina and to try to return to the diplomatic position pre-1982?

Mr. Eggar

I can, indeed, give my hon. Friend and the House those assurances. Since 1982 we have taken a series of initiatives to restore more normal relations. They include the lifting of all financial and trade restrictions, proposals for co-operation on fisheries conservation arid a number of other measures.

Mr. Dalyell

Do Ministers believe that it would be wise, having regard to both the British national interest and the interests of democracy throughout Latin America, to be helpful to President Alfonsin, given his domestic arid political difficulties?

Mr. Eggar

As my previous answer made clear, we seek more normal relations with the new Argentina.

Mr. Foulkes

Surely the Minister will acknowledge that the recent elections in Argentina show the increasing strength of democracy in that country. Will he confirm that the indirect talks with Argentina on fishing that have taken place under the auspices of the United States have been useful? Is it not time to take up the suggestion made by Councillor Blake of the Falkland Islands at the United Nations and start direct talks with the Government of Argentina about all aspects of fishing in the south Atlantic?

Mr. Eggar

As the hon. Gentleman is well aware, there have been some exchanges with the Argentines. Those exchanges have focused exclusively on the fisheries policy and, in particular, the conservation zone. Our aim, which is well known, is the co-ordination of fisheries management in the interests of conservation, and the avoidance of incidents. We naturally hope that something will come of those exchanges.