El Salvador

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th December 1987.

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Photo of Mr Calum MacDonald Mr Calum MacDonald , Na h-Eileanan an Iar 12:00 am, 16th December 1987

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends to seek to make an official visit to El Salvador in the next year.

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to visit El Salvador.

Photo of Mr Calum MacDonald Mr Calum MacDonald , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Will the Minister comment on the likely effect on the civil crisis of statements such as that made by General Bustillo, the Chief of the Armed Forces in El Salvador last Friday, in which he criticised the Left-wing opposition in El Salvador, criticised Amnesty International and made ominous warnings to the Government of El Salvador? Will he make it quite clear that the making of such a statement is utterly incompatible with the training of El Salvadorian military personnel in Britain?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

May I say, first, that no military personnel from El Salvador are being trained in Britain at the present time. The whole question of the compliance of all countries in the region with the peace agreement will be considered on 15 January by the five Presidents, as agreed under the Arias plan. It is best to suspend judgment until then.

Photo of Mr Michael Marshall Mr Michael Marshall , Arundel

Does my hon. Friend recall that the Inter-Parliamentary Union will meet in Guatemala in the spring? Will he take this opportunity to express his satisfaction with the restoration of diplomatic relations between this country and Guatemala and perhaps reflect on the part played by the British group in the IPU in furthering that process?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

Of course we look forward to the IPU meeting in Guatemala. We are delighted that we have been able to restore diplomatic relations with Guatemala and it may he possible to discuss that further in the next question.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

Is the Minister aware that while public attention has been concentrating understandably on the spectacular progress made in implementing the Central American peace plan by the Government of Nicaragua, there has been a regression in the situation in El Salvador? Death squads are back in the streets of San Salvador, two human rights activists have been murdered and the Far Right is flexing its muscles again. Will Her Majesty's Government urge President Duarte to start a dialogue with the opposition and end the murderous attacks on the civilian population?

Photo of Mr Timothy Eggar Mr Timothy Eggar , Enfield North

I do not think that the use of emotive language is very helpful in relation to what is happening in the region. May I state gently to the hon. Gentleman that full civil liberties have still not been restored within Nicaragua. Only recently President Ortega said publicly that the Sandinistas would not hand over power if they lost elections—if elections are held—but would use the army to undermine any elected Government.