As a number of Governments recognise this fantasy while Her Majesty's Government and many other Governments have rightly decided that this entity does not satisfy any of the criteria for recognition, would it not be well for Her Majesty's Government to ask the United Nations Secretary-General to accept repeated invitations from the Portuguese Government to visit Bissau and see the situation for himself and on behalf of the United Nations?
The decision whether to recognise a Government rests with the individual countries. As I have told the House, we do not recognise the republic because it does not meet our criteria for recognition. These criteria are based upon common sense and are the same criteria as were used by Labour Members when they were in office.
That is a hypothetical question. If such a situation arises, we shall use the usual criteria. But the position at the moment is that the Portuguese continue to control the greater part of the territory, including the main towns and the means of communication, so the question does not arise.
The Minister has referred to the criteria required for recognition as being based upon common sense. Is it not the case that they are based upon international law? Is it not also the case that there is growing discontent in international legal circles about these criteria? Will the Government consider initiating discussion about whether the international law of recognition should be developed within, for example, the International Law Commission itself, to take account of changing political realities?
The criteria for recognition must be decided by individual Governments. We are satisfied, as were hon. Gentlemen opposite when in office, that the criteria we use are wise and sensible.