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Lesotho (South African Blockade)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th February 1986.

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Mr. Pike asked:

the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he received from the South African authorities on the representations he made regarding the blockade of Lesotho.

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

The hon. Member will know that the South African authorities have now lifted the blockade on Lesotho. We understand that traffic is flowing normally between the two countries.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

Will the Minister explain why the Government did not respond to the request from the former Prime Minister for assistance when it was received? The request remained on the Prime Minister's desk for seven days. Why did the Government allow the blockade to continue by not supplying the airlift that was requested?

Photo of Mrs Lynda Chalker Mrs Lynda Chalker , Wallasey

I think that the hon. Gentleman has one or two matters slightly confused. I do not blame him for that, because I can do the same thing myself. We made our concern about the blockade of Lesotho clear to the South Africans from day one. We are pleased that the restrictions have now been lifted. We have been active in Lesotho in trying to assist it and we hope that peace will now return. We shall make whatever representations may be necessary in future.

Photo of Mr Jonathan Sayeed Mr Jonathan Sayeed , Bristol East

Has my hon. Friend any reason to believe that the South African regime assisted in engineering the downfall of the Government of Chief Jonathan?