Morocco

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 7th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West 2:16 pm, 7th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of relations between Britain and Morocco. [25448]

Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Relations between Britain and Morocco are good. We recognise Morocco's significance as a stable and moderate country in a region which, though fragile, is of increasing importance to the EU.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West

I thank the Minister for his answer. Can he reassure the House that the Government will continue to do their best to help to reach a positive conclusion to the EU-Morocco fishing agreement, and to the European-Moroccan Mediterranean Association amendment, in the interests of the regional stability to which he has referred, as well as economic progress in the area, especially in view of the great suffering in Morocco due to the awful drought and its consequences?

Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

With regard to the association agreement, we support it and hope to see an agreement concluded. We favour greater access for Moroccan goods to EU markets. We would also welcome a fisheries agreement and are disappointed that one was not possible. When negotiating that agreement, it is important not to prejudice the position that we have taken for some time on the question of western Sahara.

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

How actively are the Government attempting to assist the ending of the procrastination in holding a referendum on western Sahara?

Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We are anxious to see a referendum and we are doing what we can to bring that about. It depends in the end on persuasion, and we are trying to persuade.