§ 13. Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Indonesia concerning their occupation of East Timor; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hanley
We regularly raise the question of East Timor, including human rights concerns, with the Indonesians at ministerial and official level.
§ Mr. Corbyn
I am pleased to hear that the Minister does raise the matter with Indonesian officials. I hope that he takes the time to tell them that since their illegal occupation of East Timor in 1974, 200,000 people have been killed in what can only be called genocide against the Timorese people, but the British Government's so-called requests to cease such human rights violations have had no effect whatsoever principally—I suspect—because the Government are happy to supply virtually any guns or weapons, which can be used to kill people in East Timor, that the Indonesians wish to buy, and to promote trade with that country. Does he not realise that the Indonesian Government will move only if we cut off the supply of arms and consider at least some form of economic sanctions against them until they cease this brutal occupation of a country, their abuse of human rights and the killing of Timorese people?
§ Mr. Hanley
We remain concerned about reports of continuing human rights abuses in Indonesia and in East 1012 Timor. We certainly let the Indonesian Government know of our concerns and they are well aware that their actions are in the world's limelight. As for arm sales, all sovereign states enjoy the right, under article 51 of the UN charter, to their own self-defence. Applications to export UK defence equipment are scrutinised against established criteria and internationally agreed guidelines. We do not allow the export of arms and equipment which is likely to be used for internal repression in Indonesia or East Timor.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
I rise as an officer of the all-party British-Indonesian parliamentary group. Does my right hon. Friend accept that, in fact, overall it benefits East Timor to be part of—perhaps—the fifth largest country in the world? Although I accept the point made by the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) that there have been human rights abuses and atrocities in Timor, the very constructive contact that the Government have with the President and Government of Indonesia is very much to the benefit of the people of East Timor, and must be continued. Indonesia is an important country, in trade, political and cultural terms, going back hundreds of years, for the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Hanley
We certainly urge the Indonesian Government to discuss the matter with the East Timorese. We have no evidence that UK-supplied equipment has been used for internal oppression in Indonesia or in East Timor. If the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) has any evidence of it, I would willingly receive it. However, to my hon. Friend I say that, indeed, relationships are good and what he said was quite right.
§ Mrs. Clwyd
As the Minister is so concerned about human rights in East Timor, why do the British Government fund the training of paramilitary police, who go on to carry out human rights abuses in East Timor? Why are the Government funding a transmigration project which is moving people from Indonesia into East Timor? Why are they funding a short-wave transmitter project, which will be used to broadcast the propaganda of the Indonesian Government? Does he think that the Government will be in the same position as they were over the Pergau dam? While the National Audit Office is carrying out its survey into the allegations that I have made—that Government aid is being used illegally in Indonesia—can he stand at the Dispatch Box and tell us that he has every confidence that that aid is being used legally?
§ Mr. Hanley
The NAO, as the hon. Lady knows, is examining the question of aid to Indonesia. The review began in September and we await the result with great interest. The projects through which we contribute to the economic and social benefit of Indonesia, where 27 million people live below the poverty line despite some good economic progress, are important to those people. UK-funded projects have nothing whatever to do with any arms sales. The hon. Lady's allegations are being examined by the NAO.
§ Mr. Robert Banks
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the way forward surely is for a settlement to be achieved by bringing all the sides together, including representatives of Portugal, to solve the problem of East Timor? Does he further agree that the Indonesian Government have spent a great deal of money on investment in East Timor and achieved a great deal for 1013 the people and the infrastructure? Given that there would be guarantees of religious freedom and special status, surely the long-term future and happiness of the people of East Timor would be better served by it remaining part of Indonesia?
§ Mr. Hanley
We continue to believe that dialogue between Portugal and Indonesia under the United Nations Secretary-General's auspices offers the best chance of finding a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable settlement to the question of East Timor. The next meeting will be held in London in January 1996. I hope that the discussions will deal with substantive issues such as a reduction in the military presence and devolution. We also welcome the intra-East Timorese talks in Austria. I hope that those talks will continue and lead to progress. [Interruption.]
§ Madam Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston) is trying to ask a question and he must be heard.
§ Sir Russell Johnston
What can I say, Madam Speaker? I am sorry. A wee while ago, the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) chided the Foreign Secretary for failing to support the Australian Prime Minister in his condemnation of French nuclear tests. Does the Minister think that the Australian Prime Minister's position on the high moral ground has been affected by his recent statements absolving the Indonesian Government of any wrongdoing in East Timor? Has the Minister had any discussions with the Australian Prime Minister on that extraordinary position, which runs against all the evidence that we have?
§ Mr. Hanley
The issue was not raised when I met the Australian Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea recently. Therefore, I have nothing to say on the matter.