HC Deb 20 November 1991 vol 199 cc259-60
8. Mr. Dunnachie

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government support the United Nations-led efforts to send a Portuguese parliamentary mission to East Timor.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The Government support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to encourage moves by Indonesia and Portugal to resolve their differences over East Timor.

Mr. Dunnachie

In view of the appalling massacre that took place last week in East Timor, will the Government call on the United Nations Security Council to discuss East Timor? Will they press the Security Council to send monitoring teams to East Timor? What action, other than bland expressions of concern, will they take against Indonesia?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

We are not in the business of making bland expressions of concern. I was answering precisely the hon. Gentleman's question. The developments that have taken place led to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State expressing the Government's worry to the Indonesian ambassador on 13 November. Ministers are following developments most closely. The Indonesian Government have announced a commission of inquiry into the events in East Timor. We shall consider the position further in the light of that report.

Mr. Couchman

When my right hon. Friend the Minister of State next has contact with the Indonesian ambassador, will he express the abhorrence of the House at the indiscriminate shooting of men, women and children in Dili, which I visited three years ago with other hon. Members? Will my right hon. Friend stress that, if this country is to develop further productive relations with Indonesia, a most important country, such outrageous behaviour must cease?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I can certainly agree with my hon. Friend—that incident was most regrettable, particularly in light of the fact that the human rights record of Indonesia had been improving in recent years.

Mr. Foulkes

The Minister's complacency is appalling. Is he aware that the massacre in Indonesia was as intensive as that of the killing fields of Cambodia and took place in a country that Indonesia occupied illegally? As the Government are allegedly concerned about the appalling human rights record, why do they sell frigates, aircraft, missiles and armoured cars to Indonesia and provide military training for Indonesian troops? That position was intensified in September, when the Secretary of State for Defence visited Indonesia to seek out more military contracts. Is it not time that the Government stopped selling arms to a country with such a brutal regime? If they do not, they will be guilty of the worst sort of hypocrisy.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

We do not allow the export of arms and equipment likely to be used against the civil population. [Interruption.] Let me indicate the European Community declaration of 13 November, of which our support was at the forefront. The declaration vehemently condemned the violence and urged the Indonesian Government to ensure that members of the Indonesian armed forces and police in East Timor refrained immediately from using violence, and that members of the armed forces and police who were responsible should be brought to trial. We welcomed the news that the Indonesian authorities were mounting an investigation, which would have to be carried out promptly, fully and fairly.

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