§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his officials will meet the British firm of consultants, Bertlin and Partners, to discuss the implications for British interests of its work on the expansion of the Red Sea ports of Massawa and Assab, which are used by the Soviet Indian Ocean fleet.
§ Mr. Alexander Fletcher
My officials are always willing to meet representatives of British firms if they consider that this would be useful.
I understand that Assab and Massawa are rarely used by Soviet merchant vessels. Support for the Soviet naval presence in the area is provided from the limited facilities in the Dahlak straits.