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My Lords And Members Of The House Of Commons

Volume 31: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1982

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I look forward with great pleasure to my State Visit to Sweden in May and to my visits to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the West Coasts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada in February and March.

My Government consider the security of the nation and the preservation of peace their highest priority. They plan to meet NATO expenditure targets, and to seek more efficient use of the resources of the Alliance. They will honour our worldwide commitments and protect the dependent territories.

My Government will be concerned to encourage the economic development of the Falkland Islands. An appropriate defence force will be maintained there, and at a later stage they will consider, in consultation with the Islanders, their future political development and security.

My Government attach great importance to the Commonwealth and the United Nations and will continue to play an active part in both organisations. They are committed to a substantial programme of development aid concentrated on the poorest countries. They will work for balanced and verifiable measures of arms control. They strongly support both the United States proposals for significant reductions in nuclear forces and the other Western proposals on conventional forces.

My Government re-affirm their strong commitment to the European Community, and will continue to play a full part in its development. They will work with determination within the Community to sustain British interests, and, in particular, to achieve a fair solution to the Community budget problem in 1983 and beyond. They will seek early agreement on a revised Common Fisheries Policy and a satisfactory outcome to the reviews of the Community's Regional and Social Funds. They regard the accession to the Community of Spain and Portugal as an important political objective. They will support efforts to resolve the trade problems which have arisen between the Community and other countries.

My Government will continue to seek an improvement in East/West relations, which have been harmed by events in Afghanistan and Poland. They will also work towards just and lasting solutions to other international problems, in particular in the Middle East, Namibia, and Cambodia.