Kenya

Oral Answers to Questions — Overseas Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd May 1995.

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Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale 12:00 am, 22nd May 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on multilateral aid to Kenya following recent political developments. [23919]

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

There is no direct connection between the levels of support provided by the International Monetary Fund/World bank and political developments. The IMF and World bank have both had recent concerns about some aspects of the economic programme, which they are continuing to discuss with the Government of Kenya.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale

The Minister is surely aware of recent events in Kenya, including the arrest and harassment of Opposition Members of Parliament and the interference with the presses which publish Finance magazine and People Weekly. Will he undertake to consider those matters alongside the economic issues at the Paris Club meeting of donors on 26 July? Will he confirm that the international community cannot be expected to continue to assist Governments which act in that repressive manner?

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

I agree with the broad thrust of the right hon. Gentleman's comments. I know of his long-standing interest in the welfare of Kenya and of course we share his concerns about the deterioration of the political atmosphere in that country in recent months, particularly the arrest of Opposition Members of Parliament and the destruction of the free press.

At the Kenya donors meeting in December last year the United Kingdom delegation made it clear that the future provision of balance of payments aid was subject not only to continued implementation of economic reform but to continued improvement in the overall political situation and progress in the fight against corruption. As the right hon. Gentleman said, there will be a meeting of Kenya aid donors in July. We will attend, as will the Government of Kenya. The right hon. Gentleman and the House may be assured that there will be some very frank talking at that meeting.