§ 12. Sir Trevor Skeet
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited Jordan.
§ Sir Trevor Skeet
Since the Jordanians are likely to suffer a loss of$3.6 billion largely due to export reductions, transient payments and lack of remittances from the Gulf, and since it is important to maintain stability in Jordan and the middle east, what ideas does my right hon. Friend have for providing support to the Jordanian people during their crisis?
§ Mr. Hurd
My hon. Friend is right. We have a long friendship with Jordan, which will survive the disagreement we have had over the Gulf. There is no doubt that a stable Jordan is in Britain's interests. We have a bilateral aid programme, and we are also joining the substantial European Community aid programme, which amounts to £105 million, the first charge being delivered in February this year.
§ Mr. Kaufman
When the right hon. Gentleman has discussions with King Hussein and other leading figures in the Jordanian Administration, will he discuss with them the ideas which have been put to me by Mr. Peres, the leader of the Israeli Labour party, and which have been considered constructive by the Foreign Minister of Egypt and by Mr. Faisal Husseini, that Jordan can play an important part in bringing about a settlement of the Palestinian problem by helping to solve the problem of how the Palestinians should be represented?
Will the right hon. Gentleman make clear to the King and in every other circumstance the strong support of the United Kingdom Government for the strenuous and admirable effort made by Mr. James Baker to bring about a middle east settlement? Will he also publicly deplore in 1087 this House the setting up of a new settlement by the Israeli Government on the west bank, which cannot do other than damage the attempts at a peace settlement in the middle east?
§ Mr. Hurd
'We strongly support the efforts that Mr. Baker is making at the moment. We constantly urged the United States to make an energetic attempt to tackle the problem when the Gulf war was over, and Mr. Baker is now attempting to do that. Last week, in Luxembourg, he explained to us the lines on which he is working and they seemed sensible to me. Whether they will succeed is another matter.
I agree with the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) about the foolishness, to put it mildly, of the Israelis establishing, and trumpeting their establishment, new settlements on the occupied territories at the present time. That policy is wrong at all times, but particularly damaging at the present time.
One of the key problems is who speaks for the Palestinians. As the right hon. Gentleman said, Jordan might be able to play a helpful part in that. That is not certain, but it is something which is being considered, and it is worth doing so.