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Fahd Plan

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the Foreign Secretary raised with Prince Fahd in Saudi Arabia recently the failure of the Fahd plan to make any mention of the United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 which remain in force and have always had United Kingdom support; and whether he will give an assurance that these resolutions are still supported by Her Majesty's Government.

Our policy is based on the Venice declaration of June 1980 which was in turn based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent positions taken up by the then Nine. The Government of Saudi Arabia are fully aware of th basis of our policy and our continuing support for resolutions 242 and 338. Crown Prince Fahd's eight principles are in accordance with the two basic principles of resolution 242: withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the conflict of 1967, and acknowledgment of the right of every State in the area to live in peace.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in his negotiations regarding article 3 of the Fahd plan, he will now indicate any evidence which is available to him that Israel has prevented any freedom of worship for all religions in the Holy places since the unification of Jerusalem in June 1967.

My right hon. Friend is not involved in any negotiations on Prince Fahd's eight principles. Israel's record over freedom of worship at the Holy places is good. It is, nevertheless, important that, as part of a final settlement, in the words of the Venice Declaration, any agreement on Jerusalem's status should guarantee freedom of access for everyone to the Holy places.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he accepts article 6 of the Fahd plan, which proposes an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, as a satisfactory basis for peace in the Middle East; and what response has been received from Israel to this proposal.

The Venice Declaration supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It follows that we do not exclude the possibility that the Palestinians in exercising this right may opt for an independent State, though this would need to be compatible with the other main Venice principle about the right of all States, including Israel, to exist in security. The future status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated between the parties. I understand that Israel has so far rejected Prince Fahd's plan in toto.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether for the purposes of negotiations over article 5 of the Fahd plan which calls for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to be controlled by the United Nations for a brief transitional period, he will make it his policy not to accept as an interpretation of the article that the Arab nations should thereby avoid negotiating direct with the State of Israel, as administering power of those territories following her victory in the 1967 war.

We believe that a lasting peace settlement, which will need to cover the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, can ultimately be achieved only by direct negotiations between Israel, the Arab States concerned and representatives of the Palestinian people.