HL Deb 18 November 1982 vol 436 cc632-3

3.24 p.m.

Lord Balfour of Inchrye

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the Argentine Government's refusal to accept that hostilities in the South Atlantic have ceased, what air and sea restrictions around the Falkland Isles and South Georgia continue to be maintained by our forces.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, the protection zone of 150 nautical miles around the Falkland Islands remains in force. The Argentine Government were informed on 21st July that any Argentine warship or military aircraft entering this zone may be deemed to be hostile. The same applies to any Argentine forces approaching other British dependencies in the South Atlantic.

Lord Balfour of Inchrye

My Lords, can the Minister give us an assurance that, until the Argentine admits and recognises that hostilities have ceased in the South Atlantic, these sanctions will in no way be diminished or lifted?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, it is indeed the intention of Her Majesty's Government to keep the protection zone of 150 nautical miles until there is a change of attitude on the part of the Argentine.

Lord Shinwell

My Lords, in view of the obdurate, stupid attitude of those who are responsible for administration in the Argentine, may I ask the Minister why the United Nations does not condemn the inaction of the junta? Is our representative at the United Nations always silent on these matters when they are raised? Surely this organisation, the United Nations, which so many people even in your Lordships' House depend upon, ought to show some action in a matter of this kind and condemn that gang in the Argentine?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, of course I sympathise, as does the whole House, with the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, and I will draw his remarks to the attention of my right honourable friend. The noble Lord will, of course, be aware that our representative at the United Nations has indeed been speaking up and saying that what the Argentines proposed was unacceptable.

Lord Bruce of Donington

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the Argentinian junta, by its own communication to the political parties in Argentina, has already admitted that it itself is responsible for atrocities and oppression within its own country over the past years? Will therefore Her Majesty's Government review the whole question of their relationship with a Government which is even more oppressive than those whom many people on the other side of the House regard as the natural adversaries of the United Kingdom?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, as I am sure the noble Lord is aware, we have no relationships with the Argentine Government at the moment and there is no prospect of an early restoration of diplomatic relations.