HC Deb 03 March 1982 vol 19 cc179-80W
17. Mr. Weetch

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will initiate discussions with EEC Foreign Ministers concerning keeping the peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Hurd

The Ten Foreign Ministers regularly discuss the Middle East at their meetings and remain committed to the principles of the Venice Declaration. The agreement of four members of the Ten to contribute to the peace-keeping force in Sinai has the backing of the Ten.

19. Mr. David Watkins

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the importance of the issue of Palestinian self-determination to peace in the Middle East, he will encourage Israel to enter into direct negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Mr. Hurd

As the Venice Declaration makes clear, we believe the Palestinian people should be able, within the framwork of a comprehensive peace settlement, to exercise fully their right to self-determination. We take every opportunity of urging all parties, including Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, to enter into negotiations and we shall continue to do so.

23. Mr. Campbell

asked the Lord Privy Seal if Her Majesty's Government will take steps to involve Jordan in the Middle East peace process.

Mr. Hurd

We are in close touch with the Jordanian Government in the search for a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. We take every opportunity of urging all parties in the region to indicate their willingness to enter into negotiations with each other. We shall continue to emphasise the need for such negotiations to Jordon, which clearly has an important role to play.

35. Mr. Geoffrey Robinson

asked the Lord Privy Seal which of the inter-Arab conflicts will be discussed by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs during his forthcoming two Middle East visits.

Mr. Hurd

Agendas for discussion have not yet been arranged for my right hon. and noble Friend's forthcoming visits to the Middle East. However, I expect he will he discussing most of the causes of instablility and conflict in the area.

48. Mr. Walters

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on progress towards peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Hurd

Final preparations are now being made for the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and the return of this territory to Egypt. As part of a contribution by four European countries, British troops will help in the monitoring of the Israeli withdrawal by operating a headquarters unit. Meanwhile the Ten are continuing their contacts with the parties to look for ways of making progress towards a comprehensive settlement.