HC Deb 25 July 1986 vol 102 cc609-10W
Mr. Sayeed

asked the Prime Minister what measures Her Majesty's Government have taken since 1979 to increase the international standing of the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister

Since 1979 we have been determined to increase the international standing of the United Kingdom as a country which plays its full part in shaping world events.

We have shown that Britain is a strong and reliable NATO ally. We have reinforced Britain's commitment to national defence and the NATO Alliance while working for improved East/West relations. We have worked for balanced and verifiable reductions of nuclear and conventional weapons as well as a global ban on chemical weapons.

Britain is playing a full and influential part within the European Community. We negotiated a settlement off the longstanding budgetary dispute. We have also put forward proposals for developing the Community ob/reform the Common Agricultural Policy, to complete the internal market in goods and services, to develop the Community's technological competitiveness and to create employment.

We brought 15 years of illegality and civil war to an end and established the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

We have maintained out commitments to our dependent territories. We recovered the Falkland Islands following an unprovoked Argentine invasion. We have reached agreement with China about the future of Hong Kong and as a result of agreements reached with Spain the Gibraltar border has been reopened.

We have reached an agreement with the Republic of Ireland to establish a new framework for co-operation aimed at promoting peace and stability in Northern Ireland.

The Government have made valuable contributions to aid, disaster relief and international peacekeeping and have used Britain's permanent membership of the Security Council to pursue constructive policies at the United Nations. Britain also participate actively in the Commonwealth and many other international organizations and fully supports the institution of the international financial system.

Finally, we have supported the international rule of law and respect for human rights. We have condemned Soviet aggression in Afghanistan and Vietnamese aggression in Cambodia. With our Commonwealth friends and European partners we are working to end apartheid by peaceful means. We have played a leading part in combating the menaces of international terrorism and international drug-trafficking.