asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has studied the evidence sent to him by the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, on the British involvement in the deposition and kidnapping of Sheikh Sagr Ibn Sultan El Kassimy, Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah in the Trucial States, who was then taken by force by air from Dubai to Bahrein; what action he is taking in regard to it; and whether he will make a statement.
On recent developments in the Persian Gulf generally I would refer by hon. Friend to my Written Answer on 19th July to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and to my right hon. Friend's remarks in the foreign affairs debate on 20th July.
The Ruler of Sharjah was deposed by his family, who appointed his first cousin Shaikh Khalid bin Muhammad as Ruler in his place. The family's action was in accordance with the traditional Arab procedure for the removal of an unsatisfactory Ruler, and the document sent by my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) is not an accurate account of these events. I propose to take no further action on it.
Regarding the general situation in the Persian Gulf, would not my hon. Friend agree that an additional responsibility of the British Government is to encourage the economic and social progress in the area so that the Trucial Omanate States can reach a satisfactory political working relationship with their neighbours?
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are two Arabian customs that Her Majesty's Government seem to be pursuing with alacrity—one, the custom of the 1,001 nights and the other the death of a thousand cuts?