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Volume 208: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Peru.

The United Kingdom is deeply concerned at the recent suspension of constitutional government in Peru. A number of measures affecting our bilateral aid programme have recently been taken and the content of the bilateral relationship is currently under review.

President Fujimori's actions have created a democratic vacuum, with the result that the wretched people of Peru are faced on the one hand by the military, whose human rights violations are well documented, and on the other by the most ruthless terrorist group, the Sendero Luminoso, which is not content just to kill people but stuffs their dead bodies with dynamite so that they and perhaps also their neighbours are blown apart. In view of that, and in view of President Fujimori's statement that on 18 October there will be a renewal of constitutional rule, but that political parties will be excluded from the process, will the Government assure us that they will maintain the political and diplomatic isolation of Peru until the situation becomes clear and the democratic process is reconstituted?

I think that I can give the hon. Gentleman half the assurance that he wants. We are not in the business of seeking the isolation of Peru: not only with our partners in the Community but with other democratic states in Latin America, we are seeking to draw Peru back into the democratic fold. The hon. Gentleman is slightly inaccurate in saying that President Fujimori wishes to exclude political parties. I recognise that what the president said is controversial. He said that those who seek election to the constituent assembly will not subsequently be able to seek election to whatever assembly is agreed by the constituent assembly. I do not think that President Fujimori has excluded political parties from the process, as the hon. Gentleman hinted.