HL Deb 15 October 1998 vol 593 cc122-3WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give details, including dates, of any official communications they have had with the regime of Denis Sassou-Nguesso in Congo-Brazzaville, which came to power through a military coup. [HL3340]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Since Sassou Nguesso took power in October 1997 we have kept official contact with the authorities in the Republic of the Congo to a minimum. These low-level technical contacts have included discussions of consular cases, immigration and visa matters, debt reclamation and over-flight clearances and permission for British troops to land in Brazzaville to facilitate a possible evacuation of British citizens from Kinshasa.

On 30 June 1998, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Africa Director met Congolese Foreign Minister Adada in London. He left Mr. Adada in no doubt of the importance the UK and the international community place on free and inclusive electoral process in which all the key players, including former leaders Lissouba and Kolelas, could participate if they wished. He also called for the immediate withdrawal of Angolan troops from the Republic of Congo.