HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 cc715-6
12. Mr. Wallace

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he intends to take any new initiatives with regard to the Falkland Islands.

Mr. Eggar

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

Mr. Wallace

Is the Minister aware of the Defence Select Committee report published shortly before the recess, which says that our Falklands commitment represents a diversion of assets from our primary task in NATO? Should that not be a spur to the Minister and his right hon. and learned Friend to seek further talks with the Argentines and an open-ended commitment to talks? Is this not another case like South Africa, where the Prime Minister's obstinacy stands in the way of the Secretary of State making a worthwhile initiative?

Mr. Eggar

I have already made it clear to the House that exchanges on the subject of fisheries are taking place. We have no intention of entering any discussions that involve the transfer of sovereignty.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Does my hon. Friend accept that freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination are vital priorities for the British Government? Will they therefore always consult the Falkland islanders or their representatives before any decision is taken? Does my hon. Friend agree that, whether some Opposition Members like it or not, the majority view in the Falklands must be of paramount importance?

Mr. Eggar

We have always made it clear that we defend the Falkland islanders' right to self-determination.

Mr. Beggs

Is the Minister prepared to recommend that the Government of Argentina be given the right to interfere in the Falkland Islands through an Anglo-Argentine agreement similar to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, through which the Government and the Irish Republic interfere in Northern Ireland affairs?

Mr. Eggar

There is no such similarity, so the question cannot be answered.

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