§ 10. Mr. Desmond Browne (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
What discussions he has had with the South African Government about the outcome of the recent elections there. 
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Tony Lloyd)
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister telephoned Thabo Mbeki on 7 June to congratulate him on the ANC's victory and on the peaceful conduct of the elections. Those elections have been a resounding success. The high voter turn-out and generally efficient conduct of these elections have further strengthened the democratic process in South Africa.
§ Mr. Browne
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that the continued success of democracy in South Africa will largely depend on how able its Government are to deal with the monstrous problems they face, including massively increased crime, the spread of AIDS and endemic poverty and unemployment? Will he confirm that this Government have as foreign policy priorities an increase in trade, the continued sharing of 921 technology, continued private investment and—most importantly—the strengthening of civil society in South Africa?
§ Mr. Lloyd
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The priorities that he has set out are those adopted by the South African Government. From the Government's point of view, the increase in bilateral trade and in trade between the European Union and South Africa was fundamental. That is why we were at the forefront of ensuring that the EU moved forward on a free trade agreement with South Africa.
My hon. Friend raised the very important issue of HIV/AIDS. About 3 million South Africans are HIV positive. When he was in South Africa earlier this year, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an assistance package of £100 million, targeted on that problem. However, in all our dealings with South Africa we shall continue to give support to the democratically elected Government, who are committed to tackling the major priorities involved in improving the economic and social structure for all South Africans. That is a welcome change from previous South African Governments.