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Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 11 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will review his policy regarding voting for the recognition of the Cambodian delegation at the United Nations.

With our EC partners we are reviewing our policy towards Cambodia's representation at the United Nations. In doing so, we shall be taking into account the efforts of a range of countries, notably the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to achieve a comprehensive political settlement.

Will the Minister press at the United Nations for the 12-member National Supreme Council, which represents all factions in Cambodia, to go ahead, despite the veto by the Khmer Rouge? Will he call for the cessation of all arms supplies to that area, especially from China, which supplies arms to the Khmer Rouge? Will he also ensure that a high-ranking diplomat visits Cambodia so that he can report at first hand to the Government?

The hon. Gentleman has identified a number of elements that would form a necessary part of a comprehensive political settlement. We hope that that will be done by the efforts being led by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to achieve that settlement, and to resolve the problem of the seat at the United Nations, before it comes up before the credentials committee in about mid-October.

Does my hon. Friend agree that Britain's vote on this issue should be cast not according to what other nations wish, but according to what this country thinks is right? Does he agree that our vote should not be cast in support of any organisation that has the Khmer Rouge in its membership, but should be cast for the Phnom Penh representatives, who oppose it?

As my hon. Friend is aware, we are reviewing our attitude to that important issue. He will also be aware that it was not the subject of a vote at the United Nations last year.

Is the Minister aware that the Khmer Rouge troops are now 50 miles from Phnom Penh, that thousands of refugees are pouring into that city, and that all his diplomatic procrastination is playing into the hands of Pol Pot? Surely he can say now that the Government will no longer support the seating of an illegal delegation at the United Nations, that they will support urgent action to end the arms supply and get a ceasefire, and that they will work urgently to ensure that the mass murderers are not able once again to seize power in Cambodia?

The hon. Gentleman is very well aware, as he was present at the debate last Monday, of the efforts being made by the Government in the company of the other permanent members of the Security Council to bring about a comprehensive political settlement, which is the only satisfactory way forward that will give the Cambodians the opportunity to live in peace and stability and the right to choose their own Government.