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We have always played a leading part in discussions with European colleagues about terrorist activities and threats from Libya and elsewhere, and we shall continue to do so. On 27 January European Community Foreign Ministers made clear their determination to strengthen co-operation to deal with all forms of terrorism and established a new group, within political co-operation, to ensure effective follow-up action.
When will Her Majesty's Government take action against those countries which harbour and train people for terrorism? Why does the Secretary of State not call in the ambassadors of those countries and let them know, in no uncertain terms, how Britain feels about countries training terrorists to carry out acts in other countries?
I assure the hon. Gentleman that wherever there is evidence of support for terrorism by foreign Governments we do not hesitate to make clear our condemnation and to take the necessary steps to deter and, if possible, to stop such support. As the hon. Gentleman said, it is unacceptable for other countries to export violence to the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that although Libya has a gangster regime, that does not justify yesterday's air piracy by Israel? Does he also agree that fighting terror with terror will only escalate lawlessness and encourage the extremists on both sides?
I have issued a statement today condemning that action. There was no evidence of terrorists on board the aircraft or of any threat to Israel's security. In our view, the interception was without justification. I agree with my hon. Friend that it is a dangerous precedent, which appears to have been in contravention of international law. Such acts can only endanger the lives of innocent people.
Will my right hon. and learned Friend acknowledge that a Libyan freighter, which has been on fire, is in Portland harbour in my constituency? With their usual hospitality, the people of Weymouth have been harbouring the crew of that freighter. Will he point out to Colonel Gaddafi and his representatives that they would do well to acknowledge that hospitable treatment, and that the Libyan Government would do well to act in concert with the hospitality that has been received?
I readily agree with my hon. Friend that the people of Libya, and of many other countries, would do well to follow the example of his constituents in respect of hospitality and courtesy, and no doubt in many other respects.
Does the Foreign Secretary accept that his comments about the forcing down of a Libyan aircraft by Israeli planes are in strong contrast with the support of Her Majesty's Government for the American action over the Egyptian airliner? Does he agree that if international law and the freedom of the airways are to be upheld, it is not for member states to determine whether aircraft have terrorists on board, and that there must be no intervention? The Foreign Secretary would do well to apply even-handedly his view on upholding international law.
I always appreciate advice from the right hon. Gentleman, but I must tell him that there is a distinction between the two cases to which he referred. In relation to the action against the Egyptian jet, it was relevant to take account of the international conventions on hijacking and hostage-taking, which make it clear that people of the sort involved should be brought to face justice by trial, prosecution or extradition. There is a difference.