HL Deb 27 February 1991 vol 526 c969

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will arrange a ministerial visit to the Baltic states before next September.

Lord Reay

My Lords, at present we have no such plans.

Lord Hylton

My Lords, does the noble Lord agree that a ministerial visit in advance of the human rights conference planned to take place in Moscow in September would be a real indication of our desire to see peaceful negotiations followed by national self-determination in the Baltic states?

Lord Reay

My Lords, our long-standing practice is to avoid such visits in view of our non-recognition of the Soviet annexation of those states. In our view such visits now would not help; they could complicate an already delicate situation by giving a wrong impression of our policy.

Lord Mellish

My Lords, is the Minister aware that that statement will be received with some joy by many people? It must surely be wrong for us to interfere with the affairs of the Soviet Union—and we might at the same time not tell them to mind their own business about the Middle East!

Lord Reay

My Lords, our policy is to encourage the Soviet authorities and the elected governments of the Baltic republics to bring about a peaceful resolution of their dispute.

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