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United States Of America (President)

Volume 82: debated on Tuesday 2 July 1985

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Q5.

asked the Prime Minister when she next expects to meet the President of the United States of America.

I have no plans to meet President Reagan in the near future, but I expect to meet Vice-President Bush during his visit to London tomorrow.

While we can rejoice with President Reagan that the American hostages have been freed, will my right hon. Friend recall that one of them was brutally murdered by the terrorists and that many people see this whole affair as a partial victory for terrorists? Will she join President Reagan in banning Middle Eastern Airlines until Lebanon, and Beirut in particular, ceases to be a haunt of terrorists and killers?

I agree that it is intolerable that Beirut airport should be used to launch terrorist attacks outside the Lebanon, and we have not forgotten the United States Marine who was so brutally murdered on that flight. Until the Lebanese Government can guarantee security at Beirut airport it may be necessary for the international community to suspend all services to Beirut. I hope that such action, which we will certainly support, will have the widest international backing. I shall be discussing this matter with Vice-President Bush tomorrow.

How can the international community have any efficacy in the control of terrorism when it does not observe the conventions which already exist for the control of terrorism? I refer to the Hague convention, the Tokyo convention and the Montreal convention. How can we believe that we can control terrorism through more conventions if we cannot adhere to existing international legislation?

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, we adhere to existing international legislation. I think that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the Montreal hijacking agreement, which was originally the Bonn hijacking agreement and was reaffirmed at Montebello. It has sometimes been difficult to get all nations to adhere to that. I agree that it is of vital importance in stopping hijacking, that everybody accepts that convention.

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the Secretary of State for Defence to refuse to answer a serious question on our national sovereignty, something that should concern every hon. Member? That sovereignty has been threatened by a senior military man at SHAPE headquarters and——

Order. I think that the hon. Lady is trying to carry on Defence Question Time, and in particular her question 12. I have no responsibility for ministeral answers.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Was it in order for the Secretary of State for Defence to attack hon. Members — including myself, incidentally, as I was on the delegation — who found that the——

Order. The House knows that we have a busy day ahead of us, and an Opposition day at that. We cannot carry on Question Time. I am not responsible for what the Secretary of State says, and I cannot be responsible for the attacks made across the Chamber. That is what the system is about.

Order. Is this another point of order? If it is an attempt to carry on Question Time, I shall not hear it. If it is a fresh point of order, I will.

I am looking to you for guidance, assistance and help, Mr. Speaker. A senior four-star American general threatened this country——

Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman will have to find other ways to draw attention to this senior four-star general. There will be other opportunities.

Order. I cannot give the hon. Gentleman any guidance. Long ago the House agreed that when we have Question Time we end it at the prescribed moment. We cannot continue afterwards.