HC Deb 01 February 1995 vol 253 cc1082-4
18. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to offer his services as an intermediary in the conflict in Grozny; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe is already trying to help Russia find a solution to the tragic conflict in Chechnya. We have made clear our full support for its efforts, and encouraged the Russian authorities to offer their full co-operation. A senior British official is a member of the OSCE team which has just visited Moscow and Chechnya.

Mr. Greenway

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that the situation in Grozny and Chechnya poses serious danger to peace in Europe and the rest of the world, not to mention the hideous suffering there? If it is possible for the United Kingdom to play a stronger role, will he seek to ensure that it does?

Mr. Hurd

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already conveyed our anxieties very clearly to President Yeltsin, as we have through the Foreign Affairs Council, but we shall certainly do our best, through the European Union and direct, and now through the OSCE, which has managed to get admission into Chechnya, on the humanitarian, human rights and the political side.

Mr. Gapes

Will the Foreign Secretary make it clear to the people behind weak President Yeltsin that, if there is any move towards an authoritarian or quasi-military regime in Russia, it will have serious political and economic consequences, and that we do not believe that we can keep good relations with a country that moves towards dictatorship?

Mr. Hurd

As I said earlier to the House, our genuine support for Russia is for a reforming Russia rather than for any group of personalities. The test is the continuance of reform.

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