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Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about Britain's help with military training for Namibia.

In response to a request from the president-elect, we sent a fact-finding team to Namibia in January to assess the requirements for establishing and training an army after independence. I am glad to tell the House that, following discussions with the future Government of Namibia, we have agreed to help with military training for the new Namibian defence force under the United Kingdom military training assistance scheme. We shall be assisting in the establishment of a Defence Ministry and the creation of a Namibian defence force able to carry out the tasks placed on it and sustainable in resource terms. The advance party of our military training team arrived in Namibia today, 13 March, and will start work immediately. The main body of the training team is due to arrive shortly after independence. I believe that this assistance and other help, which we as friends of Namibia are providing, are important in helping Namibia to establish itself successfully as an independent country and as the newest member of the Commonwealth.