Angola

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1983.

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Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury 12:00 am, 24th January 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government concerning economic aid to Angola.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

Her Majesty's Government's policy in Angola is to concentrate on English language teaching. A small team of English language teachers was appointed in 1981 to assist the National Language Institute in Luanda. In addition, small items of equipment are provided to Angola under the heads of mission gifts scheme.

Photo of Mr David Ginsburg Mr David Ginsburg , Dewsbury

I join hon. Members in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman and also welcome his reply. Does he agree that there is scope for further aid to Angola, especially if the problem of the seven British detainees can be resolved? Will he accept that the cost to the Angolan Government of keeping seven British detainees in prison for 18 years must be considerable and that it would be within the resources of this country to make such a sum available if the problem could be satisfactorily resolved?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern for his constituent. I do not think that it would help the prisoners if we were to link our aid programme direct to the question of their future treatment.

Photo of Mr John Sever Mr John Sever , Birmingham, Ladywood

In welcoming the Minister to his new responsibility on the Front Bench, may I apologise for the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett) who is indisposed? Will the Minister confirm that, prior to his departure for discussions taking place later this week with colleagues in Africa on the future of that continent's development, he will announce to the House that it is no longer his intention, as reported, to stay in South Africa en route to the talks?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I am greatly looking forward to my visit to southern Africa this week. The fact is that I felt it my duty to be here to answer questions. The only way in which I could answer questions today was to catch the particular aircraft on which I am flying.

Photo of Mr Harvey Proctor Mr Harvey Proctor , Basildon

May I add my congratulations to my right hon. Friend on his new appointment? Further to the supplementary question raised by the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsburg), is my right hon. Friend aware that a constituent of mine is also incarcerated in Angola? Will he draw the attention of other Foreign Office Ministers to the urgent need for a meeting between our ambassador in Angola and President Dos Santos at the earliest opportunity?

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

I understand my hon. Friend's concern for his constituent. We are currently seeking clemency for the prisoners at the highest level in the Angolan Government.