§ Mr. George Brown
Consultations with the inhabitants of all three groups of168W islands took place in October and November, starting with those of the Kuria Murias.
In accordance with the wishes of hon. Members I pressed for the internationalisation of Perim at the United Nations, but I received confirmation on the 1st of November that this proposal would not be entertained because it was contrary to the letter and spirit of the United Nations Resolutions. Accordingly, I have decided that in all three cases, the wishes of the Islanders should be paramount in deciding their future.
The inhabitants of Perim and Kamaran have opted in favour of remaining with South Arabia. The inhabitants of the Kuria Muria Islands have opted for reversion to Muscat. Though administered for convenience from Aden, the Kuria Muria Islands were a separate colony. They originally belonged to Muscat, which ceded them to Queen Victoria in 1854. They have close ties geographically, ethnically and linguistically with the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. They are 200 miles from the nearest South Yemeni territory, and only 20 to 40 miles from the coast of Muscat.
We accept that Perim and Kamaran form part of the People's Republic of Southern Yemen and Her Majesty's Government are ready formally to recognise the adherence to it of Perim, now that British sovereignty has ended there. An Agreement for the cession of the Kuria Murias to Muscat has been concluded with the Sultan of Muscat and took effect today. Her Majesty's Government have never had sovereignty over Kamaran and the question of cession does not therefore arise.