6. Mr. Robert Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives he plans regarding the situation in Angola; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd)
On 1 November, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed its support for UN efforts to achieve a settlement in Angola through negotiations and its willingness, as necessary, to impose further sanctions against UNITA.
Is there any justification for the continued delay in the implementation of full sanctions against the UNITA forces? We have now delayed so many times that we are in danger of losing all credibility. First, there was a delay until 1 July, then September, then another 10 days and then 1 November, and now it seems that there will be an indefinite delay. Can the hon. Gentleman tell the 334 House what progress has been made in spending the £5 million of emergency aid that the Government promised to the Angolan people, and whether he is prepared to give a commitment of further support in the light of the appalling conditions faced by the 70 per cent. of the population who live in the Government-controlled parts of the country?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member is aware that there have been discussions in Lusaka last week between the MPLA and UNITA. It is my belief that UNITA attended those talks as a result of the United Nations sanctions that have been imposed so far. It has been made clear by all the parties to those sanctions and by the United Nations that if further sanctions are necessary to bring pressure to bear on UNITA, that will be done. The fact is that some progress has been achieved so far in bringing UNITA to the table. That is the right position to be in.
As to the further aid of some £7 million announced recently, we are concentrating on the most effective use of that aid. However, it is too early to give a definite explanation of what we shall be doing.
§ Mr. Colvin
Will my hon. Friend confirm that under United Nations Security Council, resolution 864, phase 2 of the sanctions against UNITA will be imposed only if there are no further talks? Will he confirm that UNITA has now said that, notwithstanding some reported irregularities, it accepts the outcome of the elections two years ago and is prepared to sit down unconditionally and talk to the MPLA and other parties in Angola? Is that not the best way forward towards bringing peace to that tragically stricken country from the bloody civil war that is going on at present?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
My hon. Friend is right: UNITA has said what he described in similar terms, but its words must be followed by actions. That is the important point to recognise. As I have said, there were discussions last week. Clearly, it would be inappropriate to take any further action at this stage. We hope that those discussions will continue in Lusaka and that there will be a fruitful outcome.
§ Mr. Worthington
The whole House will have been appalled at the pictures shown of the situation in Angola, which Mr. John Simpson described as the worst he had ever seen. What are we doing with our partners in the European Community to reopen this window of opportunity for humanitarian aid, not just in the stricken town of Kuito, but elsewhere? What are we doing with our partners to redouble diplomatic initiatives to bring the war to an end? I am asking not about the words that we are uttering but about the action that we are taking in the United Nations and the European Community.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I thought that I had described some action. We were active in getting United Nations Security Council resolution 864, which brought pressure to bear and led to last week's discussions, as I described in my two previous answers. That is what is continuing on the diplomatic side. We have been praised by everyone for the help that we have given on the humanitarian aid side. We have been quick to respond with relief flights to the opening up of besieged cities. We have been praised by the United Nations, the media and, I believe, John Simpson for our rapid response.
§ Mr. Wilshire
As one of four Members of this House who were election observers in Angola, I got to know 335 ordinary people as well as politicians. Does my hon. Friend agree that what is happening in Angola now is a total obscenity which demands more than negotiations and more than sanctions? Compared with the obscenity of 1,000 people a day being slaughtered and others maimed, and the level of starvation of youngsters there, Bosnia—dare I say it—seems but a tragic sideshow. Will my hon. Friend therefore use his best endeavours to persuade our colleagues in the EC and the United Nations to put this obscenity behind the world and do something effective about it?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to describe the situation as he has. I think that, on a fair analysis, he will agree with me that Britain has played a leading part in bringing about last week's negotiations. The problem will have to be addressed by the parties to the problem in Angola. We have brought pressure to bear in the United Nations through resolutions which we have sponsored actively to bring UNITA to the table. There have been discussions. We have made it clear that we shall be happy to support further, more demanding resolutions than sanctions if that is necessary. Meanwhile, we have responded enormously swiftly and successfully on the humanitarian front.