HC Deb 04 March 1992 vol 205 cc298-9
3. Mr. Loyden

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives Her Majesty's Government have proposed for reform of the United Nations.

Mr. Hurd

In January, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister convened a meeting of the Security Council at Heads of Government level, which called on the Secretary-General to report on how the peacekeeping role of the United Nations could be strengthened.

We proposed the appointment of a United Nations disaster relief co-ordinator and the introduction of a United Nations arms register, and both proposals have been accepted. We have also encouraged the new secretary-general to reform the secretariat and we applaud his first achievements in that area.

Mr. Loyden

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the global position in which the United Nations was established has little relevance to today's world? Is it not true that, because of the break-up of the Soviet Union, the balance of power has shifted towards the United States? Does not that make it difficult for the United Nations to carry out a peacekeeping role? Do not the problems of the third world, which is still suffering economic deprivation, need to be addressed? Therefore, will not there be a need for radical changes in the United Nations if it is to maintain any confidence and respect throughout the world?

Mr. Hurd

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. The United Nations has found it much easier to undertake a peacekeeping role since the end of the cold war because its efforts are no longer frustrated by the clash between the super-powers. We are fortunate that the super-power that remains has no instinct or appetite for dominating the world by oppression and force.

Sir Michael Marshall

My right hon. Friend referred to the summit. Will he take this opportunity to say what progress is being made on the question of preventive diplomacy, for which the secretary-general has set a deadline of 1 July? Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that he will take fully into account the role of parliamentary diplomacy through the conference on security and co-operation in Europe, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the North Atlantic Assembly and other relevant organisations?

Mr. Hurd

The secretary-general has been asked to produce his report on a range of subjects by 1 July. I am sure that he will not neglect the parliamentary context—which my hon. Friend leads in the IPU. It is an important element in preventing conflicts reaching the stage of war.

Back to