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Baroness Amos: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, for their comments. I shall try to address the points that have been made. On the first point of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, about seeking an assurance from the Government about staying the course on Iraq, I think that this Government have shown their absolute determination. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister and other members of the Government have made it absolutely clear that we intend to stick with the Iraqi people.
On the issue of sovereignty and political control, which was also raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, it will be a sovereign Iraqi Government and political control will rest with them. We have made that absolutely clear. Indeed, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister confirmed that only this afternoon when making the Statement in another place. Noble Lords will know that troop activity is being dealt with through an exchange of letters. There has already been some discussion of that matter.
As regards NATO, the issue here is not as explained by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. It is not a matter of NATO being a successor to the coalition. There has been discussion about the possibility of NATO engaging in training of the new Iraqi army on the basis of requests from the new Iraqi Government. I do not see any problem with that, but clearly that would be a matter for discussion between the new Iraqi Government and NATO members.
The issue of Iraqi debt will be resolved through the Paris Club. I refer to differences with respect to the percentage of debt to be written off, rather than the principle of debt write off. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, regarding his comment about elections and postal ballots, nice try! Clearly, it will be for the Iraqi Government and the UN to determine the best method in that regard. The noble Lord will not draw me on that point.
As regards North Korea, six-party talks are ongoing although they are somewhat slow. Noble Lords will know that the EU and a number of EU Foreign Ministers, including my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, have been involved in discussions with Iran and have taken centre stage in them. IAEA meetings are ongoing today and tomorrow.
We are the second largest donor to Darfur. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said that we shall look into the possibility of a no-fly zone. I shall, of course, report to the House the outcome of any discussions on that.
As regards Zimbabwe and the refugee issue, I sent a letter on 26 May, which I put in the Library of the House, which makes clear that the Botswana Government issued a press statement on 22 April in which it made reference to the number of Zimbabweans in Botswana. The statement said that in 2002, 26,214 Zimbabweans had been involved in criminal activities in Botswana, and as of 25 March 2004, some 681 Zimbabweans were held in Botswana prisons. The statement also said that between 1 January and 25 March 2004, 8,394 illegal
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Zimbabwean immigrants had been repatriated to Zimbabwe. However, we have no way of clarifying those figures. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth spoke about the number of Zimbabwean refugees in Botswana and Mozambique in October 2003 and put the figure at some 400,000 in Botswana and 200,000 in Mozambique.
The Governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank is not on the EU banned list. Noble Lords know that that list was expanded to include those at the heart of the Mugabe regime, but the Governor of the Reserve Bank is not on that list.
I rather think that the decision that was taken that Zimbabwe could not participate in Test series related to its inability to play cricket at the highest levels, rather than to anything else, due to an internal dispute with its cricketing authority.
The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, referred to the membership of the G8. The noble Baroness will know that a number of outreach events have occurred; two at this summit and others at other summits. This is a meeting involving the richest countries in the world. Discussions have occurred about whether or not the G8 should be extended. Obviously, the extension from the G7 to the G8 was one aspect of that. As with discussions about the UN Security Council and whether that should be extended, noble Lords will understand that these are difficult and sensitive ongoing discussions. However, for the time being, we have to accept that the G8 involves the richest countries in the world. The outreach events are an important element of that.
The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, referred to Israel and the Middle East. I found the noble Baroness's comments somewhat negative, particularly in view of the progress that has been made recently. The noble Baroness is normally extremely fair in addressing these issues. I do not think we can say often enough that we seek a two-state solution. There are still many who do not even agree that that is something for which we should aim. It is important that we restate that commitment.
A UN Security Council resolution has condemned what happened in Raffa. That is very important indeed. There was no veto of that resolution on the part of the United States. The Quartet has come up with a number of practical measures that need to be taken forward. I refer to the issue of security for Palestine. The noble Baroness will know that we have played a very important part in that regard. A World Bank trust fund for Palestine has been established. Progress is being made. It is not as fast as some of us would wish, but we all know that when dealing with peace processes one can take steps forward, steps back and sometimes one has to go sideways. However, the important thing is that the G8 has made the statement. There has been activity in the UN and elsewhere, and we need to concentrate on that.
I turn to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative and to trade. The write off of 70 billion dollars of debt, and the potential for the write off of another 30 billion, with the addition of 10 further
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countries to the HIPC initiative, is very important indeed. Again, I found the noble Baroness's tone on that matter somewhat negative. I cannot agree more with the noble Baroness regarding trade. We need to see an end to export subsidies. We have worked tirelessly to achieve that. The G8 has called for decisions to be made by July with respect to the framework for continuing WTO negotiations. We need to continue on that path.
Lord Blaker: My Lords, I note that the noble Baroness did not say why the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is not on the banned list. That is surprising considering that he is well known to be more important than most members of the Zimbabwe Cabinet.
Did the G8 leaders, possibly at the lunch they had with six leading African statesmen, urge the African leaders to speak out against Mr Mugabe's recent announcement that all arable land in Zimbabwe is to be nationalised with all the terrible consequences that will have for the Zimbabwe economy, which is already in a terminal state, and the bad effect that it will have on the economies of the neighbouring countries? If they expressed those wishes, and urged the African leaders to speak out accordingly, what was the response of the African leaders, and if they did not do so, why not?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, the noble Lord will know, because I have said it many times from this Dispatch Box, as has my noble friend Lady Symons, that we have had ongoing discussions on Zimbabwe with our African partners, including with a number of the leaders represented at the G8 meeting. I believe that on the previous occasion that I answered a Question on Zimbabwe I made it absolutely clear why I considered that African leaders felt able to make very strong comments in private but not in public; namely, because of the history of Zimbabwe, the perceptions of their people with regard to the role of the British Government in that, and the fact that UK governments historically have been seen as supporting white farmers and a grab for landthat is how it has been described to me by Africansand not supporting the black population of Zimbabwe when it needed to have its land back.
Lord Prior: My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware of the deep resentment of the United States and Britain that still exists, not so much regarding their part in the war but its aftermath? Will she impress on her colleagues the importance of not believing that a western-style democracy will come quickly to the Arab world or is necessarily the right answer to the problems that the Arabs face? If we try to do too much to press that, there will be an even greater reaction and greater resentment among people who are very proud and independent?
Baroness Amos: My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord heard what was said in the Statement, which is
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that the G8 made it absolutely clear that it wants to support the reform agenda of those in the Middle East. It is not a matter of us seeking to impose anything, but very much one of supporting the reform activity being undertaken in the Middle East by those countries and leaders who are moving in that direction.
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