Debates between Lord Stevens of Birmingham and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 6th Jul 2023

Guyana: Sovereign Territory

Debate between Lord Stevens of Birmingham and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Tuesday 12th December 2023

(4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord will have noted our statement at the United Nations Security Council. I was not there but elsewhere; I cannot remember where I was on that date, but I was somewhere in the world. The United Kingdom is engaged extensively on the issue. Yesterday, the Minister for Development covered the meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and my noble friend, when he travelled to the United States, had similar discussions with our partners and allies in Washington, together with Secretary Blinken, on this issue. It is important that we stand by Guyana at this time, and I know that His Majesty’s Opposition agree. The position has been agreed and that agreement is long-standing. In Venezuela, there is a lot of political rhetoric and an election next year. We know the status of Mr Maduro. The United Kingdom does not engage with him directly and recognises that he is desperately in trouble in Venezuela. This may well all be rhetoric, but we must be mindful of that to ensure that any action taken gets a unified response diplomatically from across the world.

Lord Stevens of Birmingham Portrait Lord Stevens of Birmingham (CB)
- Hansard - -

Having been in the Essequibo region earlier in the year, I think it right that Guyana pursues this matter through diplomatic routes—the ICJ, the UN and other forums. But the fact is that the Venezuelan military is much stronger. It has tanks, jets and naval assets sourced from Russia, Iran and elsewhere. In addition to the support that the US Southern Command and the Brazilians reinforcing the border are providing, are the British Government willing to commit that Guyana will get defence support from this country should Guyana seek it to deter Venezuelan military aggression?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we have supported Guyana over a number of years. The noble Lord raises a valid point. I assure him that we are very much seized of the issues of protecting the sovereignty of Guyana. I do not want to go into what may happen. The United Kingdom, including its military assets, is engaged around the world but, for now, we are very much focused on the diplomatic channels. We are urging all partners with leverage over Venezuela and its Administration to ensure this does not escalate, and that is where our focus is.

Iran

Debate between Lord Stevens of Birmingham and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Thursday 6th July 2023

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can answer that: yes, we have recognised, both privately and publicly, that there are state actors and others who seek to target the United Kingdom and our key allies. Technology is a new tool, and we need to be very vigilant on mitigation to ensure that the private sector and our public sector services are fully protected.

Lord Stevens of Birmingham Portrait Lord Stevens of Birmingham (CB)
- Hansard - -

The UK Government rightly proscribed Hezbollah in 2019 and Hamas in 2021, both of which receive material support from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Can the Minister say whether there are circumstances in which proscription of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps would be contemplated? If so, what are they?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, as my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and I have said, on whether the IRGC is sanctioned in its completeness, we take any issue of proscribing organisations seriously. It is very much a decision for the Home Office, as the noble Lord will be aware, but we co-ordinate our activities extensively. Any decision we take in the future remains an option for us to consider, but I do not want to go further than that, nor would noble Lords expect me to.