HL Deb 12 February 1991 vol 526 c1WA
Lord Brougham and Vaux

asked her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council on 4th-5th February.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)

A meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council took place in Brussels on 4th February. My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and my honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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 1st 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 Inter-Governmental Conference on political union, also held on 4th February, discussed ideas for a common foreign and security policy. No decisions were taken, and discussions will continue.