HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 cc711-2
7. Mr. Rogers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European Economic Community counterparts about Government action in support of the Contadora peace process.

Mr. Eggar

The Central American peace process was discussed at the informal meeting of European Community Foreign Ministers on 3–4 October, and at the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Twelve and regional Governments on 23 September. My right hon. and learned Friend attended both meetings.

Mr. Rogers

Will the Minister tell the House whether his Government have sent a message of congratulation to President Arias on his award of the Nobel peace prize?

Mr. Eggar

Yes, indeed. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary sent a message congratulating President Arias on his award, and repeating our confidence and congratulations with regard to the Guatemala accord.

Mr. Ashby

Would my hon. Friend care to comment on the refusal of the Sandinistas to negotiate with the Contras, despite the Contras' expressed wish to negotiate with the Government of Nicaragua?

Mr. Eggar

I read that President Ortega was reported to have said that if Contra leaders returned to Managua for peace talks they would be arrested. That hardly seems to be in the spirit of the Guatemala accord.

Mr. Corbyn

Does the Minister not agree that now is the time for the British Government to make a clear and unequivocal declaration that they condemn American policy in the region, that they support the peace process now going on there, and that, as a measure of good faith, they will restore British aid to the people of Nicaragua to enable them to get out of the appalling poverty into which the war conducted by the United States has forced them?

Mr. Eggar

The hon. Gentleman has obviously been having a long holiday away from the newspapers. Together with our European Community partners, we issued a statement on 13 August supporting the accord.

Mr. Churchill

Does my hon. Friend not agree that the maintenance of stability in Central America and the Caribbean region is of importance to Her Majesty's Government? That being so, is it not strange that this year we should be giving considerably more civil aid to the Marxist Government of Mozambique, with which we have no colonial link?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is very wide of this question.

Forward to