HC Deb 28 October 1992 vol 212 cc1011-2
22. Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the middle east peace process.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

The seventh round of bilateral negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbours started in Washington on 21 October. The atmosphere at the talks has improved considerably since the Israeli elections. Some progress was made in the sixth round, especially in negotiations between the Israelis and the Syrians and Palestinians. We have urged all parties to demonstrate courage and flexibility in their efforts to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the dispute.

Mr. Atkinson

Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that the Government, with our Council of Europe colleagues, stand ready generously to aid the permanent resettlement of the Palestinian refugees living in the appalling refugee camps in which they have been for so long, as well as to aid the Russian and Soviet immigrants into Israel proper once a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours has been signed?

Mr. Hogg

My hon. Friend is right when he says, in effect, that the conclusion of the wider peace settlement is a necessary pre-condition to the tackling of the other issues, both economic and those involving weapons, which must be resolved but cannot be resolved until the peace process is complete.