HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 c715
11. Mr. Eastham

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to pay an official visit to Cuba.

Mr. Eggar

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans for such a visit.

Mr. Eastham

I remind the Minister that in 1977 a United Kingdom-Cuban agreement was signed in the interests of technical and scientific co-operation. It was signed by the Cuban Minister, Mr. Hector Llompart, and the then British ambassador, Mr. Jackson. Since that time nothing whatever has happened, despite repeated representations from the Cuban Government. Do the Government intend to honour this agreement, or is it just a worthless pieces of paper?

Mr. Eggar

We obviously do not take lightly any agreements that we enter into. I have yet to meet the new Cuban ambassador to the United Kingdom, and this matter may be something that he would want to raise with me at that time.

Mr. Wilkinson

If my hon. Friend meets the new Cuban ambassador, will he tell him, clearly and unequivocally, that it is imperative that Cuba withdraws its forces from Angola if there is to be peace in that country and, furthermore, if a satisfactory settlement is to be achieved in south-west Africa, Namibia?

Mr. Eggar

My hon. Friend need have no fears. I shall certainly make those points to the Cuban ambassador.

Mr. Ernie Ross

If' the Minister meets the Cuban ambassador, will he support the greater flexibility in the stance of the Angolan Government, which is supported by the Cuban Government, in their approach to Angola, in seeking to resolve this matter? Would that not be a more helpful attitude, than the one expressed by the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson)?

Mr. Eggar

The most helpful attitude that the Cubans could take would be to withdraw their troops.

Mr. Churchill

Given the repeated attempts by the Cuban Government to subvert many former British dependencies in the Caribbean in recent years, and its avowed intention to continue doing so, will my hon. Friend consult his colleagues to see whether we can reconsider the level of British aid that is given to the former British dependencies in that region? Is it not strange that the combined total of aid for all these former British dependencies is less that the amount that we are giving to the Marxist Government of Mozambique, with which we have no colonial links?

Mr. Eggar

We give a considerable amount of aid to the Caribbean dependent territories. For instance, as I am sure my hon. Friend is aware, we give over £5 million per year to the Turks and Caicos Islands.