HC Deb 07 February 1991 vol 185 c217W
Mr. Moss

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in theOfficial Report a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council on 4 and 5 February.

Mr. Hurd

A meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council took place in Brussels on 4 February. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and I represented the United Kingdom.

The Council heard a progress report from the Commission on the GATT Uruguay round. It called on the Commission to pursue multilaterally and bilaterally whatever action is necessary to achieve agreement.

Ministers agreed in principle on financial assistance for Israel, together with a symmetrical package for the Palestinians in the occupied territories. No figures have been agreed.

Ministers welcomed the decision to hold referenda in the Baltic states and expressed the hope that this would encourage dialogue with the central authorities of the USSR. No new decisions were taken on EC aid for the Soviet Union or on food and medical aid for Romania and Bulgaria.

On South Africa, Ministers welcomed President de Klerk's speech on 1 February in which he announced a programme of further political reforms. They reconfirmed their intention to ease the EC measures adopted in 1986 once legislative action is taken to repeal the Group Areas Act and the Land Acts.

The second ministerial meeting of the intergovernmental conference on political union, also held on 4 February, discussed ideas for a common foreign and security policy. No decisions were taken, and discussions will continue.

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