HC Deb 13 March 1991 vol 187 cc935-6
8. Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on international co-operation concerning the war against drugs.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd)

We attach great importance to fighting the drugs trade and are continuing to promote effective international action, both in multilateral forums and through our bilateral contacts.

Mr. Vaz

What progress has been made in implementing any of the 33 paragraphs that form the declaration of intent issued at the end of last April by the world ministerial conference in London? Does not the fight against drugs remain one of the highest priorities for this country? Can the Minister tell us of one initiative taken by his Department in the past year that will enable us to show the rest of the world that we took the conference seriously?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, I can give many examples. I shall give a few now.

Mr. Graham

Give one.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I shall give one straight away. This coming February, the demand reduction task force is visiting Belize and the British Virgin Islands. [Interruption.] I am sorry: immediately. It has made its visit. Furthermore, we have continued with substantial aid to the Caribbean area. We have sent £8.5 million to Colombia and £6 million to the Caribbean over the past two years.

Mr. Rathbone

When will Britain be in a position to ratify the United Nations convention? Will my hon. Friend commit the British Government to continued support of the Pompidou group efforts under the new chairmanship of the Norwegians?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes, we shall be ratifying the United Nations convention soon. We give great support to the Pompidou group. As my hon. Friend knows, there will be a meeting in Oslo later this year, in which contacts with east European countries in the fight against drugs will be developed further.