HL Deb 23 May 1991 vol 529 cc325-6

11.13 a.m.

Baroness Ewart-Biggs asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to promote a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Cambodia, and what progress has been made in the peace process.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)

My Lords, we remain actively engaged in promoting the Cambodian peace process, both as a member of the UN Security Council and on a bilateral basis.

Baroness Ewart-Biggs

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that Answer, although it did not contain a great deal of new information. Can he tell the House what subjects are being discussed by the officials from the ODA and the Foreign Office who are at present visiting Cambodia? Have they met members of the Cambodian Government and did the subjects discussed include the resumption of bilateral aid between the United Kingdom and Cambodia? In view of the fact that an estimated 300 amputations per month are caused by mine explosions, can the Minister say why the ODA has withheld support to the Cambodia Trust, which has been set up in Oxford and which is trying to ship artificial limbs out to Cambodia? Is that not the best humanitarian aid that Britain could offer?

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, the noble Baroness rightly draws attention to the two British officials who are currently in Cambodia. That is but one of our bilateral contacts taking forward the peace process. They will be meeting senior Cambodian officials and will be urging the regime to respond constructively to the peace proposals now on the table. They will also be looking at the work of British NGOs in Cambodia.

I was slightly puzzled when the noble Baroness said that we should give aid to—Cambodia I think "reinstate" was the word she used. Since 1988–89 £2.25 million has either been spent on or committed to humanitarian assistance inside Cambodia; and £15 million has been spent since 1979 on humanitarian assistance for non-communist camps along the Thai-Cambodia border.

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