HC Deb 12 May 1993 vol 224 cc794-6
10. Mr. Knox

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to have discussions with his European Community partners concerning the development of common European Community foreign policies.

Mr. Hurd

I meet our European Community partners regularly to discuss the strengthening of intergovernmental co-operation on foreign policy.

Mr. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this country can exert much more influence in the world when we work in unison with our European Community partners than when we operate on our own? Does he further agree that the Maastricht treaty will greatly facilitate that process and enable this country to exert more influence in the world?

Mr. Hurd

On a good many subjects, what my hon. Friend says is true. The principle on which we operate today, and which will be strengthened in the Maastricht treaty, is that where we can reach common positions we can take joint action. Where we cannot, or where specific national interests are to be pursued, individual member states must be free to do that.

Mr. Ernie Ross

Before the Foreign Secretary meets his European partners, will he take time to study the important report in Al Wasat of an interview between President Hafiz Al-Assad of Syria and Patrick Seale? In that interview President Assad recognised publicly for the first time, so far as I can recall, that both Israelis and Palestinians have to live in Palestine, and that the Syrians are for full peace with full withdrawal. He also recognised the growing opinion in Israel for peace. Will the Foreign Secretary recommend to his European partners that they support the statements made by President Assad in that interview?

Mr. Hurd

We have throughout given strong support to the discussions under the peace process. That includes discussions between Israel and Syria, and, of course, Israel and the Palestinians.

Sir Jim Spicer

Does my right hon. Friend accept that while all our attention is naturally directed towards events in Yugoslavia, other wars and civil wars are raging in what was the Soviet Union? Will he give an assurance that there will always be time to discuss those dreadful events and killings, and in particular the awfulness of the war that is developing between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Mr. Hurd

Yes, indeed. It is the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe rather than the European Community which is attempting to provide a political framework for an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and we strongly support that process.

Mr. Grocott

When the Foreign Secretary next meets his European counterparts, will he draw to their attention the important resolution of the European Parliament on 22 April, drawing attention to the tragic position in Angola where, because of the colonial legacy, Europe has a special responsibility? In particular, will he draw attention to the way in which the will of the international community is constantly being flouted by the UNITA forces? Will he take note of the contents of that resolution, which draws attention to the crucial importance of isolating the forces of UNITA from support from outside, particularly from South Africa and Zaire, and of seeing that the United States recognises and supports the Angolan Government, who represent the democratic will of the Angolan people?

Mr. Hurd

I am not sure about what the hon. Gentleman says about the colonial legacy—that was some time ago—but I believe that UNITA and Savimbi have lost, and deserved to lose, a good deal of international sympathy for failing to accept the results of the recent election in Angola. There is no alternative to discussion between the MPLA Government and UNITA, and it should be the task of all, particularly those who gave strong support to UNITA, to make sure that those discussions take place and succeed.

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