HC Deb 28 October 1992 vol 212 cc1008-9
16. Mrs. Gorman

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's relations with Botswana.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Botswana's democratic traditions and record of sound economic management are widely admired. We enjoy excellent relations with Botswana and look forward to continuing our close co-operation in the future.

Mrs. Gorman

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. I am sure that he will be pleased to know that I have just come back from an excellent lunch with the Botswana high commissioner, who is an admirable woman high commissioner. She discussed with me over lunch the plight of Botswana's farmers in respect of elephant stocks. She put it to me that CITES, the convention on trade in endangered species, has prevented Botswana from marketing the tusks and hides of the elephants and is leading to severe problems in her country. She has asked me to ask the Minister whether the Government will reconsider our attitude to the CITES provisions which stop countries such as Botswana farming their elephants and creating a market in the by-products.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My hon. Friend has found a most public way of thanking the Botswana high commissioner for a delightful lunch. Great though our respect for the Botswana Government is, we still support the CITES trade ban on ivory, but we recognise that there is a growing elephant population in Botswana.

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