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Volume 375: debated on Monday 18 October 1976

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What will be the main questions for discussion at the forthcoming conference on Rhodesia; what it is, hoped to achieve; which countries have accepted or are considering invitations to take part or send observers; by whom Rhodesian groups of opinions will be represented; and what assurances they hope to give regarding the prospects of ending economic sanctions and terrorist activities supported from outside Rhodesia.

I would refer the noble Lord to my Statement on Rhodesia of 12th October. Her Majesty's Government have convened a conference in Geneva to assemble on 21st October, with a view to formal opening on 25th October, to discuss the formation of an interim Government in Rhodesia and other related matters. Invitations have been extended to Mr. Mugabe, to Bishop Muzorewa and to Mr. Nkomo. Mr. Smith has been invited to nominate representatives of the Rhodesian Front. No other countries have been invited.

Her Majesty's Government are in no position to give categorical assurances either that sanctions will be lifted immediately or that there will be an immediate cessation of guerrilla activity . Mr. Smith recognised in his statement of 24th September that all this would take time. But we have made it clear that, once the interim Government is in place, we will recommend the lifting of sanctions; and we shall certainly do everything we can at the same time to end the fighting.