HC Deb 07 March 1990 vol 168 c870
16. Mr. Mullin

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed Vietnam and Cambodia with the American Secretary of State.

Mr. Maude

My right hon. Friend and I discussed Cambodia and the Vietnamese boat people with Secretary Baker on 11 December. The question of the Vietnamese boat people was also discussed on 30 January, during my right hon. Friend's visit to Washington.

Mr. Mullin

Did the Minister put it to the Americans that until they call off their war against Vietnam and end the aid, trade and diplomatic embargo against that country, and withdraw the vetoes in connection with the World Bank, the IMF and various other organisations, there will be no prospect of solving the boat people problem and the flow of refugees will continue indefinitely?

Mr. Maude

We took the opportunity to explain to the American Secretary of State that Vietnam is a country undergoing a process of reform and is a different regime from what it was. We have also made it clear to the Vietnamese that we would not feel able to resume full bilaterial relations, including the resumption of economic aid to them, unless they felt able to fulfil their full international obligations, including especially their obligations to their own people.

Mr. Lester

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the most helpful things that could now happen, following the discussions in Jakarta, would be for a United Nations mission to be allowed to go into Cambodia to verify that the Vietnamese have withdrawn and to deal with the question of Vietnamisation, which is constantly heard at every international meeting as a means of preventing further progress towards a settlement?

Mr. Maude

It is regrettable that there was not a more favourable outcome to the talks in Jakarta. The sort of mission to which my hon. Friend refers could certainly be considered again, but I do not think that it would be sensible to look at the practicalities at this stage until the framework for a comprehensive settlement is fully in place.

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