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I hope that he speaks for the rest of the European Union. Many of the southern African countries have continued to make their high-flown statements on democracy and human rights, to which they subscribe as members of SADC, the African Union and the
Commonwealth, but their actions fall woefully short of what should be expected after those declarations. In general, the silence of many of those countries has been shameful.
At the weekend, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, made a bold call for Mugabe and his henchmen to be removed from power in Zimbabwe and brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague to answer for their crimes against humanity. Last week, his brother archbishop, Desmond Tutu, also called for the Mugabe Government to step down or face indictment for their gross violations of human rights, and he said that if they refused they should be removed by use of military force. He did not go on to say what form of military force should be used, but he meant what many of us feel: in the end there will have to be some form of United Nations intervention. Both of those archbishops know what they are talking about because they were central to the struggle against tyranny in their home countries of Uganda and South Africa.
Mr. Paul Keetch (Hereford) (LD): Does the hon. Lady not recognise what the President of Botswana, who met the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister in the UK two weeks ago, has said? Botswana has been vociferous in its opposition to the Mugabe regime, calling for fresh elections. It has a huge problem with refugees coming across its border. While what she says might be true about other Southern African Development Community members, Botswana has done more than many.
Kate Hoey: If the hon. Gentleman had been here at the beginning of the debate, he would have heard me intervene precisely on that point, and if he waits until the end of my speech, he will hear me mention Botswana.
The Prime Minister deserves enormous credit for keeping Zimbabwe on the international agenda. He has not found it easy because he faced some denigration of his efforts, not only by Mugabe, which we would expect, but by some African leaders such as former President Mbeki, who has spent his last few years acting as a cosy buffer of protection for the ZANU-PF regime. As the Foreign Secretary mentioned, when the British Government were determined to get the matter discussed at the UN and called for action from the Security Council, the resolution aimed at isolating Mugabe and his elite and at upholding the will of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed in the election of March 29 was blocked. In a shameful move, South Africa led China and Russia in opposition to the resolution. If it had only been adopted then, we might already be helping to rebuild the economy and institutions of Zimbabwe.
there has been a sham process of power-sharing talks and now we are seeing not only political and economic total devastation...but a humanitarian toll of the cholera epidemic.
It is clear that the time for talking has now ended. I believe that there is no hope of a power-sharing deal with a dictator who refuses to give up any power. Despite what Jacob Zuma has said this week, and despite the continuing faith of the Tanzanian President
in dialogue, we have to be honest and accept what Zimbabweans are telling us: the power-sharing process is dead.
I hope that Jacob Zuma will not continue to pander to the views of his hosts in Namibia, where he was recently, which is a long-term ally of Mugabe. I hope that we will soon see something more worthy of his new role as President of the ANC, and that he listens to COSATUthe Congress of South African Trade Unions, which is the voice of the trade unions in South Africa.
For those of us who have been calling for international action to support the Movement for Democratic Change and Morgan Tsvangirai, it is heartening that some of the strongest voices are now to be found in Africa. On Sunday, the Kenyan Prime Minister called on the African Union to deploy troops and to intervene to bring an end to the crisis. Botswana, which has already been mentioned, wants to put an embargo on petrol and diesel exports to Zimbabwe, and I believe that that could dislodge Mugabe from power in little more than a week. Zambia has also expressed support for his removal. Although there is always concern that sanctions may end up hurting ordinary Zimbabweans, they are being hurt so much at the moment that I believe that they would support sanctions, and I hope that soon they will be calling for them.
All the southern African countries need to accept that they have to uphold the will of the people of Zimbabwe. Mozambique, which borders Zimbabwe, has been shameful. It has done absolutely nothing, and the same is true of Malawi and Namibia. Sadly, the British Government and this country have been prepared to let them get away with their destructive stance for too long. We have continued to pump taxpayers money to those countries despite their support for tyranny and corruption. That has to stop.
African leaders assume that aid will continue to flow regardless of how corrupt or repressed their people are, and they have generally been right because that is what we have continued to do. We have let those countries get away with support for corrupt countries and dictators for far too long. Regardless of the wider impact of the political and diplomatic stance of such countries in shoring up tyranny and corruption, UK taxpayers money is still being pumped in. I am not talking about food aid, but about the aid to flagship projects, which ends up being seen as helping and supporting the particular president of a country. We must start to link our policies on international development to our policies on foreign affairs, human rights and democracy. There needs to be a much more direct link between the actions taken by nations receiving aid from the Department for International Development and the policy aims of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Even after the jamboree that followed the signing of the so-called power-sharing agreement, Thabo Mbeki came out on television and jubilantly demanded that the world should pile in with financial aid. He has a real nerve to do that. People like Mbeki expect us to be there to pick up the pieces and pay for reconstruction, yet they say that we have no right to comment on the corruption and tyranny that has led to ruin in the first place. He tells the Prime Minister to keep his nose out of Africa, yet he expects us to fork out taxpayers money with no questions asked.
Why do so many southern African leaders and the African Union ruling elite keep asking what the minimum is that they have to do to get UK aid flowing back into Zimbabwe? The question that they should be asking is what more can they do to ensure respect for the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe. They seem to think that if they pull off some kind of cosmetic change, that will allow ZANU-PF to stay in power and to continue to fleece our taxpayers by persuading us to provide financial support.
Kate Hoey: I will not give way because there are a number of things that I want to put on the record. In the past couple of weeks, it has been encouraging to see the new designations announced by the United States Department of the Treasury, which impose financial sanctions on and make it an offence to do business with four people whom the American Government have called cronies of Zimbabwes Mugabe. The support of those four people is allegedly allowing Mugabe to undermine democracy, and any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to them that are found in the United States must be frozen. In addition, Americans are forbidden to conduct business with them.
It is useful to name those individuals again. Nalinee Joy Taveesin is a Thai business woman who is said to have facilitated a number of financial real estate and gem-related transactions on behalf of Mugabes wife, Grace. Ironically, Nalinee Joy Taveesin has participated in several initiatives on corruption and growth challenges in Africa and south-east Asia while secretly supporting the kleptocratic practices of one of Africas most corrupt regimes, as the Treasury department has said. Another of those four people is Mahmood Kechik, a Malaysian urologist. He was described as one of Mugabes physicians and business advisers who dealt secretly with the defence forces commander and Zimbabwes central bank governor, Gideon Gono, and others to enrich themselves and the Government illegally.
John Bredenkamp is a Zimbabwean businessman and ex-rugby captain who reputedly made his fortune smuggling tobacco and weapons for the former white Rhodesian Government. He is described by the US Treasury office as someone who has clearly been financing himself from the smuggling that he has been doing. Billy Rautenback is a Zimbabwean businessman said by the US Treasury to be close to the Mugabe Government. He has provided logistical support for large-scale mining projects in Zimbabwe that benefit a small number of corrupt senior officials. I should have added that it is alleged that John Bredenkamp isor has beenliving in this country regularly. I hope that the Government are looking into that because we cannot allow such people to be here and we should not be dealing with them in any way whatsoever. We have also discovered that the World Food Programme is using one of Billy Rautenbacks companies to transport some of the food it sends into Zimbabwe. That needs to be looked into.
I hope that our Government will ensure that we do all we can to carry out the same sort of policy in respect of those individuals. There is no easy way to make change happen in Zimbabwe, but we as a Government must continue to do every little thing that we can to tighten the screw on Mugabe, and there are things that we can
do. I am pleased that the European Union has increased the sanctions and added to the list of individuals involved, but there are still far too many people who can get their money out of Zimbabwe and into other countries.
The Foreign Office has been extremely good in pushing the Home Office to allow those Zimbabweans who could in no circumstances return to that country to remain here. Many are well educated and should be allowed to work in this country while they are unable to return. I hope that the Foreign Office has a little more influence on the Home Office than the many colleagues in the House who have been trying to get the position changed for some time.
Finally, it is time for us to stop trying to be nice to those other African countries that continue to recognise, talk to and support Mugabe. If they do not do what they should do, we should ensure that we punish them, too.
Mr. Robert Walter (North Dorset) (Con): This has been a very good debate, because the sense of agreement in all parts of the House has been commendable. I particularly congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington and Chelsea (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) on his challenging speech about nuclear weapons and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) on his speech about engagement with Syria and Iran. My one slightly negative observation about our engagement with Iran is that I was due to speak at a conference in Tehran last Sunday, but unfortunately the Iranian authorities refused me a visa.
I want to speak briefly about Africa, although not about Zimbabwe, on which the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey) spoke passionately, but about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Somalia, in the context of the European Union missions that have been deployed there in recent months and European security and defence policy generally. I want then to talk about the situation between Georgia and Russia.
I intervened on the Foreign Secretary earlier, because I am concerned about what appears to be a lack of deployment of support for the United Nations force in the Congo. There are plenty of precedents for European Union deployments in the Congo. Some years ago there was the Artemis mission and two years ago there was a fairly successful EUFOR mission to Kinshasa, which I visited. The question of who is answerable to whom was answered in that deployment. During my visit, I was involved in a meeting about security matters in Kinshasa in which the EU force commander, the force commander of MONUCthe United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congothe EU special representative and the United Nations special representative all participated.
My concern, which I raised with the Foreign Secretary, is that in the past two years the European Union has agreed to deploy eight battlegroups, but we have never deployed any of them. Two are on call nowone is a
British battlegroup and the other is a German-led battlegroupand they amount to some 3,000 troops on call, deployable at 15 days notice. The Foreign Secretary was in the eastern Congo on 1 and 2 November with the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Kouchner, who holds the presidency of the European Union. If the decision had been taken to provide that short-term assistance to the MONUC forces, those troops could have been deployed in 15 days and the situation would have been alleviated. They can be deployed only on a short-term basis, and the requirement is only a short-term requirement. If we are to have these battlegroups, and if they are to be on call, surely they should be available for short-term, dire humanitarian situations, such as that in the Congo, where some form of peace enforcement is required. If they are not to be used in such situations, what are they to be used for? They are beginning to become simply a paper commitment rather than a real commitment to any form of peacekeeping, and I would like to see that point seriously addressed.
We can deploy under the EU flag. We have a very successful mission in Chad at the present time, which is protecting refugees from the Darfur conflict. It is there under a UN mandate, and will hand over to an African Union force under UN command in March next year. Interestinglyor perhaps ironically, given the Irish referendum debateit is led by an Irish commander. General Patrick Nash is the operational commander of the mission, and one of the companies deployed in that force is a company of Irish soldiers.
That demonstrates that, under the European security and defence policy, what is described in Ireland as the triple lock really works. Such a force would deploy only with the UN mandate, and with the approval of the Irish Government and the Irish Parliament. That fits in with the kind of peace enforcement or peacekeeping role that the ESDP was designed for, and with the intergovernmental nature of the ESDP. It does not, as was suggested during the Irish referendum debate, involve a European army. It is an intergovernmental force or, if you like, a coalition of the willing.
There is a similar arrangement at the moment off the coast of Somalia, where the EU naval force is deployed. The United Kingdom is the framework nation for that force, and the mission is commanded from Northwood in London. My real concern is about duplication, however. What appear to be three international naval forces are now deployed off the coast of Somalia to combat piracy. We have the original CTF-150 force, which has engaged with the pirates; we have the NATO force, which has been there for some time; and we now have an EU force. That arrangement involves ships that are from basically the same nations but which are operating under different command structures. We still do not have enough ships, but I am not sure that duplication into three different commands will solve the problem of piracy in the long run. We really need some joined-up government.
I should like to reflect on the Georgia-Russia situation, which has already been mentioned. In the past month or so, I have visited Tblisi and Moscow, where I had discussions about the situation. In the wake of what happened at the beginning of August, the actions of President Sarkozy in the name of the European Union were commendable. He achieved some success, but I seriously question whether any other nation holding the
EU presidency would have had the same success. I believe that President Medvedev and Mr. Putin were prepared to meet President Sarkozy because he was the President of France, which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. I am not sureI say this with all due deference to the smaller member states of the European Unionthat other presidencies would have had the same success. I am thus very concerned about lulling ourselves into a false sense of security, thinking that we can use the EU in such an initiative. If we had been premature, as the Georgians would have liked us to have been, in advancing Georgias NATO membershipI support it in the long termand if an article 5 response under the NATO treaty had been made, I am concerned that we would have been looking at a far worse situation.
The conflict has real implications for NATO, EU and Russian relations. It is a frozen conflict that has moved on slightly, but it dates back to the fall of the Soviet Union. We have to remember that the two provinces, as we have described them, within GeorgiaAbkhazia and South Ossetiawere never totally integrated provinces of the state of Georgia. In fact, they were placed in the territory of Georgia by one Joseph Stalin, who just happened to be a Georgian, when he was the chairman of the Soviet Union. They always existed as autonomous units within the territory of Georgia, so there is a danger of looking at the issue too simplistically. Of course we support the territorial integrity of Georgia, but we cannot look at it simplistically in the sense that these areas must be returned as integral parts of Georgia. We need to view the situation as far more complex than that. That is one reason why I believe we will see this revert to a frozen conflict, but with the chess pieces in slightly different places.
We were all dismayed by the fact that two members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and two Council of Europe member states had gone to war in the dispute. It challenges all of us to get the situation back to a more sensible position in which we can engage with the people in South Ossetia and Abkhazia at the same time as engaging with the Russian authorities. We should engage in negotiations on an enhanced partnership agreement with Russia, while making it clear that it is unacceptable for Russia to seek to extend its sphere of influence to independent countries beyond its borders that have the sovereign right to determine their own future.
Together with Russia, the United States and our NATO and OSCE partners, we should prepare the ground for discussions on a renewed security framework in Europe, building on our previous achievements. We need to step up our efforts to seek solutions to all the remaining frozen conflicts in Europe, taking advantage, I hope, of the EUs enhanced credibility as a foreign policy actor and as a valuable counterpart to Russia with regard to issues of security and stability. The EU should further strengthen its relations with Georgia by providing full assistance with repairing the material and economic damage caused by the war and helping it to implement the reforms needed for its consolidation as a modern state based on democracy, the rule of law, good governance and a free market economy.
Finally, we must demand that Russia honour its agreement with the EU, ensuring that the EU monitoring mission that is deployed to Georgia is able to perform its tasks within the administrative borders not only of Georgia itself but of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. That is absolutely essential. I think that those borders must be opened up to that monitoring mission, as well as to the OSCE monitoring mission. I hope that the Minister who responds to the debate this evening will give us the assurance that we are not going to let up on the pressure we put on Russia to honour the obligations it entered into in the two agreements it made with President Sarkozy back in August.
Mr. Mark Hendrick (Preston) (Lab/Co-op): I want to focus on the European Unions relations with Africa in particular, following on from the hon. Member for North Dorset (Mr. Walter) who touched on a number of the issues. Many references have been made to the troubles in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Somalia, and to the role of the EU within a UN context. I want to talk about what the EU is trying to achieve in Africa, despite the problems, because there is a great deal to applaud in its efforts.
It is essential that Europe works with Africa, whether on climate change, migration, HIV or terrorism. I do not believe we can help the continent unilaterally. Clearly, working with the EU makes our efforts that much more effective and powerful. As we have seen from this debate, even the EU working as a body can be daunted by the huge obstacles to peace that many of the conflicts pose.
The EU-Africa summit held in Lisbon in December last year cemented a new Africa-EU strategic partnership, albeit one overshadowed by the attendance of Robert Mugabe and the subsequent boycott by our Prime Minister. Nevertheless, the summit ended with the signing of a strategic political partnership of equals which, according to the text, will serve to overcome
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