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Council Of Foreign Ministers

Volume 983: debated on Friday 25 April 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 21 and 22 April.

My right hon. and noble Friend represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 and 22 April.The Council discussed final preparations for the European Council in Luxembourg on 27 and 28 April. Ministers agreed that the adaptation of the financial mechanism and provision for supplementary Community expenditure in the United Kingdom provided the appropriate basis for an immediate solution to the problem of the United Kingdom contribution to the Community budget. My right hon. and noble Friend emphasised that such a solution must be a durable one and that the Community needs to find a better balance in its budgetary expenditure if the present unacceptable situation is not to re-emerge.The Council discussed the preparation of the Community's position for negotiations with Turkey in the framework of Turkey's association agreement with the Community. This subject was remitted to officials for further urgent work, taking into account the political importance of Turkey's relations with the Community.Ministers considered the question of the Community's relations with the Gulf States and the recent contacts there have been with those states about possible economic co-operation agreements with them.Agreement was reached in principle to accept an application from Zimbabwe for accession to the Lomé convention once such an application was formally made by Zimbabwe to the ACP/EC Council of Ministers, which will meet next month in Nairobi.The Council agreed on directives for the Community position in negotiations for a new international tin agreement.The Council approved draft directives for negotiations with Egypt on a voluntary restraint arrangement for cotton yarn. A Co-operation Council with Egypt took place on 21 April.There was a ministerial level negotiating meeting with Spain, in the context of Spanish accession negotiations, on 22 April.Meeting in political co-operation the Foreign Ministers issued a statement expressing their concern about recent developments in South Lebanon, in particular the brutal murder of two unarmed soldiers in the Irish battalion of UNIFIL. The Nine gave strong support to the efforts of the contributing countries to ensure that UNIFIL is permitted to fulfil its mandate. A copy of the statement issued is being placed in the Library of the House.As regards their discussions on Iran, I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made to the House on 23 April by my hon. Friend the Minister of State.—[Vol. 983, c.464.]