HC Deb 07 March 1990 vol 168 cc865-6
9. Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that British military equipment supplied to Jordan is not used by Iraq to its benefit; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave

Careful control is exercised over our export of defence equipment. Each proposed sale is subject to stringent licensing procedures, including an assessment of foreign policy and regional security implications.

Mr. Hayes

Will my hon. Friend confirm that all weapons sold by Britain to Jordan will be used solely for that country's self-defence capability and that none of the weaponry will be used by a potential aggressor to the state of Israel?

Mr. Waldegrave

I think that it was no secret that Jordan and Iraq were close allies during the Gulf war. Jordan is fully committed to a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israel problem. We intend to continue our support for King Hussain and his regime as they are an important part of the peace process.

Mr. Archer

In view of the joint training arrangements established by the air forces of Jordan and Iraq, what possible contribution can the supply of equipment make to peace in the middle east?

Mr. Waldegrave

I know that a story in the Jerusalem Post said that joint Jordanian-Iraq training was taking place, but we believe that story to be exaggerated. It seems unlikely—we have had no such comment from anyone else —that it is threatening to Israel.

Mr. Marlow

My right hon. Friend has said that Jordan is committed to a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israel problem. Would that continue if the Israelis settled large numbers of Soviet Jews in the occupied territories? How would that affect the Government's policy on that issue?

Mr. Waldegrave

I have already quoted the Israeli Prime Minister's clear statement on this. Whether or not he was misinterpreted—I hope that he was—he aroused many anxieties in the middle east by appearing to endorse the process of the settlement of emigrés from Soviet Jewry in the occupied territories. In our view, it would be illegal for such settlements to take place.