HC Deb 10 January 1990 vol 164 cc941-2
20. Mr. Hayward

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's current relations with Namibia.

Mr. Waldegrave

We are delighted by progress towards successful completion of the United Nations plan for Namibia and look forward to close relations with an independent Namibia.

Mr. Hayward

I welcome my right hon. Friend's reply. Does the United Nations have any further plans in relation to Namibia in terms of progress through and beyond independence and democratic government?

Mr. Waldegrave

It will be for the countries that regard themselves, as we do, as friends of independent Namibia to help in the future. I am happy to say that, next week, in response to requests from Namibia, we will be sending a Ministry of Defence technical advisory team to assess the requirements for establishing and training an army for Namibia after independence. I believe that steps of that kind—by the supporters' club, as it were, of friends of Namibia—now need to be taken.

Mr. Pike

Will the Minister ensure that Her Majesty's Government do everything possible to make sure that there are no efforts to destabilise the position as progress is made towards independence in Namibia? Will he also ensure that in negotiations on the outstanding debt incurred by the illegal regime, every support is given to reducing that debt?

As Britain created the problem of Walvis bay, which will be a problem for negotiation following independence, will Her Majesty's Government provide all possible support to ensure that that port ultimately goes to Namibia?

Mr. Waldegrave

The hon. Gentleman will agree that the pessimists who thought that progress to independence would not succeed have been proved wrong. It has been a process in which South Africa and all the parties have kept their commitments, and we should welcome that. Problems remain for the future, and Walvis bay is one of them. We thought it right not to introduce that into the process at this stage, but it must be settled in the future.