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The Prime Minister: I agree strongly. On my hon. Friend's first point, he is right, and that continues to be a major priority for the Government. His second point is also important. Part of the discussion at the G8 was about how we ensure that we put in place guidelines on the way in which companies operate in Africa. The more that companies report exactly what money they are paying to Governments, the more likely is transparency and therefore a reduction in corruption. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for all that he has done in campaigning long and hard on the issue. It is partly because of the activities of people such as him that the matter now features so prominently on the agenda.
Tony Baldry (Banbury): No fair-minded person would doubt the Prime Minister's commitment to Africa, but he must surely accept that the additional aid for Africa from the G8 summit is fairly niggardly. Given that President Bush, having announced the millennium challenge account at Monterrey, was not prepared to commit any further funds to Africa, would it not be more appropriaterather than trying to pretend that something is there that is not thereto have a special summit for Africa that focuses on its real needs and tries to find the real resources that are necessary if we are to take it forward into the 21st century?
The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman's comments echo some of those made by the non-governmental organisations, but he is being a little unfair. The fact is that at Monterrey, as a result of the American commitment to an additional $5 billion and the European commitment to an additional $7 billion, there was a substantial uplift in aid. The agreement at Kananaskis was for countries to decide how much money they give in their own way, and we expected that half or more of that would go to Africa. Given that only twoperhaps threeof the G8 countries give as much as 50 per cent. to Africa, that is a big uplift in itself. Overall aid to sub-Saharan AfricaI speak from memoryis about $12 billion to $13 billion, so to increase that by 50 per cent. is fairly significant.
The hon. Gentleman is right to say that we have to go far further, and we probably would have wanted to go further, but we still achieved a significant amount. Other thingsI would single out conflict resolutionare as important as aid money. A particular view that I hold is that probably the single most important thing that we can do for central Africa is to get that conflict resolved and some stability in place. These are potentially rich countries, and if we can combine conflict resolution with access to our marketsit is scandalous how many tariffs against African goods remain in developed countries' marketsthat, as much as the aid package, will contribute to the rebirth of Africa.
Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough): Was my right hon. Friend able to raise within the G8 the issue of American steel tariffs? Does he agree that that rather selfish unilateral action by such a major country flies in the face of the wider message that the G8 as a whole is trying to promote in the context of Africa, NEPAD and the wider development for which we all need to take responsibility?
The Prime Minister: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. We made it clear that we strongly disagree with imposing steel tariffs. We are seeking exclusions for British companies and I believe that approximately 20 have been granted. We are pressing for many more. Some 30,000 tonnes of British produce will be exempted, but we shall continue to press for more. Although I appreciate the American position, it is in the interests neither of world trade nor of the American steel industry. It is better to compete freely and openly.
Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley): The Prime Minister said that the Conservative party has no policies on Zimbabwe. I shall offer him one. I support Zimbabwe's exclusion from NEPAD, yet recently Mr. Mugabe was able to travel to Rome for a Food and Agriculture Organisation summit without a peep of protest from the Government. His chief of police, who is a very sinister man, was able to travel to Lyon, similarly without a peep of protest from the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary. Is not it insulting to the 3,000 white farmers who are about to be expelled by the end of August and the 800,000 black farmers and employees who have also been expelled by Mugabe's thugs to tell them that we can do nothing more to help them and that we cannot even enforce a travel ban on Robert Mugabe?
The Prime Minister: The travel ban is enforced on Mr. Mugabe but he cannot be prevented from travelling to the Rome summit, as the hon. Gentleman knows. However, let us be clear that whether or not he goes to the Rome summit will not affect the position in Zimbabwe. This can be done only by action by the other countries in the region and the ability of people in Zimbabwe to make a difference.
Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton): I congratulate my right hon. Friend on upholding the right of the Palestinian people to elect a President of their choice. I have returned from a working visit to Israel and the occupied territories during which I held discussions with people from a wide spectrum of opinion. I assure my right hon. Friend that a four-page speech by President Bush that contains two pages of instructions to the Palestinians and two paragraphs of exhortations to the Israelis will not advance the peace process that we all support, especially when the current charade of dismantling Israeli shanty town settlements leaves in place 145 settlements that violate international law. The decent Jewish leadership that took over from the British was able to suppress the terrorism of Begin and Shamir only when it had the integrity of an Israeli state to defend. Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the genuine movement towards suppressing the evil terrorism among Palestinian extremist groups can happen only when a Palestinian state has its integrity to defend?
The Prime Minister: First, I know that my right hon. Friend takes a great deal of interest in and has spoken passionately and persuasively on the issue for many years. I am doing my best to help the process, and I believe that that means supporting America's initiative. A state is merely a constitutional theory unless it contains institutions that can give life to it.
The most important priority is security and rebuilding the security infrastructure in the Palestinian territory. We will help in any way that we can to achieve that. The Americans are working urgently on plans to ensure that it is done. Let us suppose that we get a political process going again. We need a way to indemnify ourselves, if I can put it like that, against the next suicide bomb.
If another suicide bomb explodes and terrible carnage ensues, and more civilians die and the process collapses, it will be a long time before we get another realistic process in place. We need a valid security infrastructure with integrity so that we can be sure that the Palestinian authorities are doing everything possible to bear down on terrorism. That would mean that if any extremists who wanted to wreck the process and were hostile to the concept of Israel managed to carry out a terrorist attack, it would not derail the process. In the longer term, however, there are elements in President Bush's speech that offer us a clear way forward, provided that we engage intensively to bring that about.
Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy): The Prime Minister fairly said that much needs to be done after this conference. May I remind him that, in March, a UN conference called for some 10 times more aid than was being offered at this most recent conference? Will he tell the House when the $60 billion being asked for by the African countries will be achievable, and when the all-important trade rules will be relaxed in Africa's favour?
On trade, the recommitment to the Doha process was absolutely vitalin particular, the focus on the phasing out of agricultural subsidies. The challenge for the developed world is to come up to the mark on the reality of our position on trade, so that it matches the rhetoric of free trade that we preach in the developed world. That involves arguing our position strongly in Europe, the World Trade Organisation and elsewhere, and we shall carry on doing that. We need the united support of the House and the help of other allies to do so.
Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): Economic conflict and collapse in Africa often feed into wars and conflicts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Behind that is often currency speculation, which produces the economic collapse in the first place. Is the G8 taking seriously the problems of currency speculation, and what proposals is it coming up with to deal with them?