Middle East

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1991.

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Photo of Mr Ernie Ross Mr Ernie Ross , Dundee West 12:00 am, 13th March 1991

In an earlier response, the Secretary of State suggested that the PLO had somehow blotted its copybook. Yet he knows as well as I do that in recent attempts by western nations to find out who represents the Palestinian people, such as the visit of the troika of Ministers last week and that of James Baker yesterday when he met Faisal Husseini, Hanan Ashrawi, the mayor of Bethlehem and the ex-mayor of Hebron among others, who are the leaders of the Palestinians on the west bank and Gaza, all delegations made it clear that the one group which speaks for them is the PLO. I hope that the Secretary of State will not go back to the old game of simply putting off discussions on the pretext that he does not know who represents the Palestinians. They have made clear who their representatives are, and unless and until we talk to them, there can be no moves towards peace.