HL Deb 24 June 1991 vol 530 c32WA
Baroness Macleod of Borve

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council on 17th and 18th June.

The Earl of Caithness

A meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council took place in Luxembourg on 17th and 18th June. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Minister of State (Mr. Garel-Jones) represented the United Kingdom.

The Council adopted the food credit regulation for the Soviet Union. It reached a political orientation on a regulation covering technical assistance for the Soviet Union and instructed the Committee of Permanent Representatives to continue its work.

The Council agreed that participation in the negotiations on a European energy charter should be limited to European countries (including the USSR) and the non-European members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Council decided that other countries may accede to the charter at a later stage and, together with representatives of international organisations, may be invited to attend the negotiations as observers.

The Council agreed on a mandate for the Presidency in its negotiations with EC staff unions on pay arrangements.

EC and EFTA ministers reviewed progress in the negotiations on a European Economic Area, which will extend the Single Market to the EFTA countries. Representatives of the two sides will meet again in Salzburg next week to discuss the next steps. The UK will continue to contribute constructively to these negotiations, with a view to their early and successful conclusion. We strongly support the idea of a European Economic Area, which will bring significant economic and practical benefits to the European Community and EFTA.

Ministers issued a statement welcoming the abolition of the Population Registration Act in South Africa. They also agreed that EC sanctions against Iraq should be maintained. They decided to give active support for the role of the UN in Northern Iraq and to examine with the UN Secretary General what further humanitarian assistance could be provided for those in need in Southern Iraq.