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Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, most people who have studied the Zimbabwean situation are grateful for the work done by the Minister and her department. Is the Minister aware that it is impossible to deal with Zimbabwe without having the greatest of respect for its people? We think very badly indeed of the Government of Zimbabwe. But whatever we think, we cannot allow those feelings of distaste to prevent us providing the fullest possible aid to those people who so desperately need it.

I would like to get my retaliation in first. I recall many of those people chastising the Government for not being strong enough on the cricket match in Zimbabwe taking precisely the opposite view and being bitterly opposed to sanctions on South Africa, especially sporting sanctions. Some of those people are on the other side of the House today.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I agree. It is an irony that we are spending 47 million in humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe. It is money which could have gone to development of that country if it had a different government who were committed to promoting the interests of the country and its people.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, it is important that good governance, human rights and the rule of law should be re-established in Zimbabwe, without which the food crisis will get even worse. What steps are Her Majesty's Government taking to persuade the African leaders, including the President of South Africa, Mr Mbeki, to live up to their undertakings under the NePAD and African union treaties to ensure that those human rights and related matters are observed?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, noble Lords will know that our policy is aimed at ensuring a stable and secure

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Zimbabwe. We shall continue to work with our partners in Africa and other parts of the world in respect of the breakdown of the rule of law, the harassment of the opposition, and the falling away of human rights which have occurred in Zimbabwe. We shall do everything we can to restore the rule of law and human rights. Noble Lords will appreciate and understand that where there is a leader and members of a government who care nothing for their own people—we are seeing the results of that with half of the population needing food aid—it is very difficult.

Lord Judd: My Lords, with reference to the questions by the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, and the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, would my noble friend agree that while effective government is the long-term answer, as women, men and children are starving, and dying of starvation, the challenge becomes all the greater, not less, to increase our assistance to ordinary people being abused by their own government, and to find ways in which the food can effectively get through? Is there a fuller part that the non-governmental organisations could be playing in this role?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I believe that the NGOs are playing an extremely full role. Noble Lords will know that some NGOs themselves have come under attack in Zimbabwe. We must do all that we can to work with them and support their work—not just the international NGOs, but also Zimbabwean NGOs, some of which are committed to reporting the many human rights abuses in that country—as well as supporting the population with respect to food aid. We shall continue to do what we can.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, is the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, aware of reports by Didymus Mutasa, a senior official of ZANU-PF, that Zimbabwe would be,

    "better off with only 6 million people"?

Does she agree that selective starvation of political opponents now seems to be the official policy of the Government of Zimbabwe? What are the Government doing to ensure that food aid distributed by Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board, which she mentioned earlier, is distributed on the basis of need and not party politics?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I am aware of those comments. We are not sure whether those comments have actually been made, but I have seen the reporting of them. If those comments have been made they are appalling. I repeat what I said earlier. We have no control on food aid going through the Grain Marketing Board, over which the Government of Zimbabwe have the monopoly. None of the UK or other donor resources is going through that channel. Our money is going through the World Food Programme and other NGOs.

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Business of the House: Standing Order 41

3.47 p.m.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That Standing Order 41 (Arrangement of the Order Paper) be dispensed with on 14th January to allow the Motion standing in the name of the Baroness Harris of Richmond to be taken before the Motion standing in the name of the Lord Grenfell.—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL]

3.48 p.m.

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Implementation of future revisions to CFE Treaty]:

On Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill?

Baroness Rawlings: I shall be brief. The Bill confers a power to make further amendments to the 1991 Act should they be required to implement future amendments to the CFE Treaty. I raised this issue during our Second Reading debate. I wish to express my concern that any such amendments will not be addressed in primary legislation. Is this not yet another example of the Government removing business from the Floor of the House where, quite rightly, important matters can receive your Lordships' full attention and input?

As the CFE Treaty deals with sensitive and important issues, I should be grateful if the noble Baroness, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, would explain why the Government have taken the decision to implement any future changes by order.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: When we discussed the issue at Second Reading, I indicated to your Lordships that Her Majesty's Government had sent out a memorandum on this subject to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. I also indicated that I wanted to listen carefully to the committee's views and in the light of those views to consider the best way forward.

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The noble Baroness may know that the committee's view is that:

    "In view of the limited nature of the power, and that fact that it will be subject to affirmative procedure, we consider that this level of delegation and control is appropriate".

Therefore, I cannot agree with the noble Baroness that this is an example of the Government removing business that should properly be dealt with on the Floor of the House. Perhaps I may point out to her that we have consulted, as we should have done, with the appropriate and expert committee on the matter and it believes that Her Majesty's Government are adopting the correct procedure.

I hope that in the light not only of my assurances but of those of the committee, she will feel able to withdraw her opposition to Clause 2 standing part of the Bill.

Lord Blaker: As I was the Member who first raised the issue of the Explanatory Notes with which we had been provided before Second Reading, I want to thank the noble Baroness for providing additional Explanatory Notes. They were extremely helpful and entirely met our needs, which is why I did not take up her further offer of a meeting.

As regards the point raised by my noble friend, I am not entirely happy with the views of the Select Committee. I would have preferred not to have the provision relating to delegated legislation in the Bill in its current form. However, as the Select Committee has taken that view, it is difficult to argue too much against it. If it were going to give an affirmative answer to this part of the Bill, I would have preferred it to have limited that more narrowly. I would have preferred it to keep the answer expressly to the point, rather than making the wider comment that:

    "There is in principle no reason why there should not be delegation of the function of implementing an international agreement".

I believe that that comment is too wide, especially when we are talking about such an important, sensitive and dangerous subject as arms control. I hope that the committee does not pursue its practice of expressing its recommendations in a sense that is wider than what is necessary to meet the problems before it.

Furthermore, I would also like to support the necessity to make affirmative resolutions, which the committee did not do in its report. That is something of an oversight.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Given that the provision is subject to an affirmative resolution, we on these Benches support the Government. We believe that at a time when the international community and the international institutions are enforcing on Iraq the principle of inspection, it is important that we accept the principle of inspection of military installations in Britain. The CFE Treaty is of limited importance compared with some other arms control treaties, but it nevertheless enshrines the principle of inspection.

I recall previous debates in this House when Members on the Conservative Benches raised the question whether Britain should be subject to the same

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level of inspection as some other states. We on these Benches would reinforce our view that international law must apply equally to all. On that basis, we support the Government and do not support the Conservative Front Bench.

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