Angola

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:18 pm on 3rd May 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York 2:18 pm, 3rd May 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the timetable for the deployment of the full UN peacekeeping force in Angola. [20432]

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The British logistic battalion began to arrive in Angola on 16 April. With our assistance, the main United Nations Angola Verification Mission force is due to deploy as from next week.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

I welcome that answer. The Minister will be aware that the Secretary-General has said that the infantry contingent of the peacekeeping force will be deployed in stages. Will the Minister assure the House that we will press for it to be deployed quickly so that the Lusaka protocol arrangements do not unwind? Does he agree that the peacekeeping process needs to be underpinned by a reconstruction programme? Who will be representing the British Government? Will we be represented at the highest level at the conference in Geneva in two months' time to discuss the reconstruction programme? Will the British overseas aid programme contribute to the reconstruction programme in Angola?

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The whole purpose of having a 600-strong United Kingdom logistics battalion is to help the deployment of the infantry as speedily as possible. Our men there, and the excellent job that they are doing, are much appreciated and valued. Of course the hon. Gentleman is right to state that the process must be underpinned by reconstruction. That is why we have allocated more than £24 million of emergency assistance from the overseas development budget to Angola since the UN appeal in June 1993. Angola is now the last remaining country in southern Africa to be brought back into democracy. We obviously trust that the UN operation will help to restore peace and to bring about reconciliation there.