HC Deb 11 January 1989 vol 144 c824
2. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to seek to pay an official visit to Afghanistan.

Mr. Eggar

My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to visit Afghanistan.

Mr. Bowis

I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will find an opportunity to do so when Afghanistan is free and independent. In the meantime, will my hon. Friend and my right hon. and learned Friend press the Soviet Union to ensure that it lives up to its promise to be out of Afghanistan by 15 February? Will my hon. Friend urge upon the Soviets that their good faith depends on this? We do not want to hear any more nonsense about partitioning Afghanistan or about insisting that the Communists take part in Afghan government in the future, given that the people there have rejected that?

Mr. Eggar

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The Soviet Union must honour the Geneva commitment to withdraw all its forces by 15 February. If Russian troops were to stay, not only would that be a breach of the agreement, but it would prolong a senseless war. The: present regime in Kabul is doomed.

Mr. Atkinson

Does my hon. Friend recall that negotiations between the European Community and Comecon were suspended in 1980 as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan? Those negotiations have now resumed. Will they be suspended if the Soviets do not leave Afghanistan as promised?

Mr. Eggar

I have to say to my hon. Friend that we must work on the present assumption that the Soviets will withdraw by 15 February.

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