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Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a Foreign Office Minister last visited Zaire.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, visited Zaire in July 1975.

Do the Government join the United States Government in paying tribute to the activities of France, Morocco and Egypt in Zaire? Is it the Minister's view that either the Soviet Union or the Cubans have been directly involved in the recent invasion?

There are conflicting reports about the external intervention in the Shaba incident. Our position was made clear last week in the Declaration of the Nine on African affairs. We wish to respect the integrity of every country, especially in the context of the situation in Zaire.

It is not only insulting to the Africans, but extremely dangerous, when non-African powers, such as Cuba, East Germany and the Soviet Union, assist other African countries to invade another African country, thus exacerbating the cold war in Africa?

As I said, and as is contained in the Declaration of the Nine at the recent meeting of Foreign Ministers, we must respect the integrity of and non-intervention in the internal affairs of African countries.

The Minister did not answer the question whether he thought that the French and Moroccans were right in helping Zaire to protect itself against an invasion.

The request by the Zaire Government to the Moroccan Government and the French support was perfectly proper.