§ 17. Mrs. Beckett
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he proposes to take at the United Nations or elsewhere to ensure that British and other crews and their ships are not placed at risk in Iraqi air attacks on shipping in the Gulf.
§ Mr. Luce
We have given our full support to successive United Nations resolutions which seek to uphold the principle of freedom of navigation in the Gulf. A copy of the latest resolution, passed on 1 June, is in the Library of the House. Both bilaterally and together with our community partners we have called upon both Iran and Iraq to respect these resolutions.
§ 21. Mr. Douglas
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the impact of the latest developments in the Iran-Iraq war on the freedom of movement of vessels in the Persian Gulf.
§ Mr. Luce
The Iran-Iraq conflict continues to present a threat to shipping in the Gulf. As I made clear in my statement to the House on 11 July, we deplore these attacks on shipping. In the light of the attacks, the advice of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport to the shipping companies remains that they should take full consideration of the situation in the Gulf before deciding to enter and should exercise all necessary vigilance while there.
§ 52. Mr. Allen McKay
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what protests Her Majesty's Government have made to the Iraqi Government concerning air attacks on international shipping in the Gulf; and if he will seek assurances from them that this will cease forthwith.
§ Mr. Luce
We made a strong protest to the Iraqi Government following an attack on the British registered vessel "The Charming" on 1 March. A similar protest was made to the Iranian Government following the attack on "The British Renown" on 10 July. We have sought assurances from both Governments that they will respect the principle of freedom of navigation in the Gulf.
§ 56. Mr. O'Brien
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken through diplomatic channels or otherwise to ensure a further contribution towards the ending of the Iran/Iraq war.
§ Mr. Rifkind
As my right hon. and learned Friend indicated in his statement to the House on 4 July, at694W columns 318–19, he discussed the situation in the Gulf with Mr. Gromyko during his visit to Moscow. He stressed that the right way to resolve this serious conflict was by diplomatic action, and pointed out that the United Kingdom supplied no lethal weapons to either side. He also drew attention to the importance that we attach to upholding the principle of free navigation. The discussion suggested that the Soviet Union shares with the West the objective of bringing an end to the hostilities. My right hon. and learned Friend agreed with Mr. Gromyko that it would be useful to maintain contact about the conflict.