HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 c720
19. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to visit the Soviet Union; and what subjects he will be discussing.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I shall be taking up Mr. Shevardnadze's invitation as soon as mutually convenient dates can be agreed. I expect to discuss a wide range of subjects, including arms control, human rights, regional and bilateral issues.

Mr. Adley

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply. I also thank him for raising with Mr. Shevardnadze the matter of the P36. Is he aware that the discussions that he started on the repatriation, of that locomotive have tended to run into the ground since he stopped talking about it? When he makes his visit, can he find a couple of minutes to re-open the subject, as it is of interest to many people in this country?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

My hon. Friend is energetic in his determination to safeguard locomotive rights. I shall bear that in mind. However, it will not be the most important item on my agenda with Mr. Shevardnadze.

Mr. Winnick

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that it will be right to raise the issue of human rights when he visits the Soviet Union, because it is a subject of concern to us all? What would his response be if the Soviet leader turned round and said, "What about the attitudes adopted by your Prime Minister, and the wrecking and destructive attitude that she adopted at the Commonwealth conference?" Are not the rights of the black majority in South Africa of equal importance to human rights in the Soviet Union?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I will tell Mr. Shevardnadze, as I so often have to tell the House about the hon. Gentleman, that he is talking absolute nonsense. In fact, I will tell him equally plainly that we are totally at one in our determination to bring about an end to apartheid as soon as possible. That is part of the consistency with which we press the case for reform within the Soviet Union.

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