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David Winnick (Walsall, North): In totally condemning Mugabe's tyranny, are not Labour Members being entirely consistent? In the 1960s, we used every opportunity to denounce the tyranny of Smith's illegal regime. I do not remember too many protests from Conservative Members in those days.

Has not the time come, given all that has happened this week, for the majority in the Commonwealth to come off the fence, recognise their democratic responsibilities and suspend Zimbabwe for as long as Mugabe is in power?

Mr. Straw: In the spirit of bipartisanship, I shall gently pass over my hon. Friend's earlier remarks.

It is a time for decision by those in the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Heads of Government, meeting in Coolum, Australia last week, decided to set up the troika. They have already had the published report. There will be a further, more detailed report. The view of the House is clear from the observations that Members on both sides have made and would make if they were members of the troika.

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Mr. Andrew MacKay (Bracknell): Clearly, it is essential that the House remains united today in its condemnation of this rigged election and the abuse of human rights by Mugabe and his regime. Is the Foreign Secretary comfortable with the role that has been played by President Mbeki, especially bearing in mind this morning's press reports that South African observers have said that the election was free and fair, when clearly it was not? Will he again underline how much damage will be done to South Africa if President Mbeki makes the wrong decision at the troika, and also underline today's run on the rand, which shows that there will be terrific disinvestment in South Africa if it is seen to support the regime in Harare?

Mr. Straw: We all recognise that President Mbeki of South Africa bears a very heavy burden of responsibility not only for the economy and prosperity of his country, but, because of South Africa's size and importance, for the prosperity of the entire region and the reputation of Africa as a whole. I am sure that he will read with care the remarks that have been made by the right hon. Gentleman and many others.

Mike Gapes (Ilford, South): Does my right hon. Friend agree that in the history of Africa and especially southern Africa, minority military-backed regimes have inevitably been removed in time? If we look to Zambia, South Africa and elsewhere, we see that the trade union movement has played an important role in that process. In our response to this rigged election, should not we endeavour to reinforce our support for the mass independent trade unions in Zimbabwe as part of the process of democratic change?

Mr. Straw: My hon. Friend is absolutely right that one of the many arguments against military regimes is that they are inherently unstable and short-lived and must be replaced by democracies. As to the trade union movement, it is not coincidental that Morgan Tsvangirai himself was a leader of that movement in Zimbabwe. On support for trade unions across Africa and indeed the world, yes, we agree that it is necessary. My hon. Friend may know that the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane), has been doing a huge amount of work to ensure that we in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office better support the work of the international trade union movement.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield): Does the Foreign Secretary accept that not only this House, but the whole civilised democratic world must be united against what has happened in Zimbabwe in recent times? Does he agree that while Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF can claim a sordid victory, they certainly cannot claim any democratic legitimacy? Will he indicate to the House what action we can take to seek to protect Morgan Tsvangirai and members of the Movement for Democratic Change, the opponents of Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF? Will he also explain how we are going to help the poor people of that country, who were given a foretaste of what Mr. Mugabe would do way back in 1983-84, when he indulged in mass genocide of thousands of Matabele who opposed his Government?

Mr. Straw: The hon. Gentleman has played a consistent and commendable role in the matter of

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Zimbabwe—and, before that, of Southern Rhodesia—over many years, which I commend. He drew attention to the massacres that took place in Matabeleland in the mid-1980s. That was a shameful episode not only for Zimbabwe, but for the international community, including the United Kingdom, which failed to take action. That is another reason why the remarks of the right hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) were so ill judged. One of the things that makes the election results risible—I gather that this is the case from this morning's newspapers—is that it is said that Mugabe got a good vote in Matabeleland, where he is hated for palpable reasons. He could have got a good vote there only by methods that are never recognised in democratic and free countries. We will do all that we can to help people who have been in the lead of democratic movements of all kinds in Zimbabwe. I commend the hon. Gentleman's remarks about helping the poor people of Zimbabwe. The message that must go out from the House is that in everything we do as well as everything we say, we are working for the people of Zimbabwe and against a palpably undemocratic and illegitimate Government.

Tony Cunningham (Workington): I wholeheartedly support the condemnation expressed by my right hon. Friend this morning. Although we have heard condemnation from the American Government and European leaders, we also desperately need condemnation of this rigged election from African leaders. Does he have any plans to discuss this rigged election not only with SADC leaders, but with other African leaders in general?

Mr. Straw: My hon. Friend will find that there has been a pretty high degree of condemnation. As I said, there has been condemnation by the Nigerian leader of the Commonwealth observers and by the parliamentary representatives who formed the SADC delegation. Earlier this year, the Ghanaian Foreign Minister condemned what had happened in Zimbabwe up to that point. It would be a huge error that would play into Mugabe's hands if we were to allow the myth to develop that Africa is supporting him while the rest of the world is not. Most of Africa is shamed by what Mugabe has done and is now, thankfully, saying so.

Angus Robertson (Moray): I fully associate both the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru with the Foreign Secretary's statement and fully endorse the efforts that he is undertaking. In addition, I endorse entirely what has been said about the necessity of strong action and reaction through the European Union. Does he share with me the concerns illustrated in papers previewing the Barcelona summit, which show that common foreign and security policy questions are 25th out of 25 in order of importance on the agenda? Will he make every effort in Barcelona to try to force the issue higher up the agenda? Will he also try to push for European Union colleagues to increase targeted measures against leading ZANU-PF members, and make every effort to secure a tougher sanctions regime that is aimed solely at the governing elite and not the ordinary people of Zimbabwe?

Mr. Straw: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the support that he expressed on behalf of the SNP and Plaid Cymru. He asked about Barcelona. The reason why common foreign and security policy appears low on the

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agenda is that the summit is principally about the economic reform agenda that was set in place two years ago at Lisbon. I assure him that that does not mean for a second that Zimbabwe is low on the overall agenda of the European Union, which has acted commendably and swiftly in all that it has done, from moving back in the autumn from article 8 to article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, through to its decisions on 18 February to impose the sanctions. We will consider whether we can take other targeted measures and toughen up the sanctions regime, but as he said, in everything we do, we will ensure that such measures are targeted at the illegitimate leadership of the Government and not the people of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North): This murderous tyrant is not only wreaking terrible damage in Zimbabwe, but seeking to provoke dangerous divisions in Africa and the Commonwealth. Will my right hon. Friend ignore the irresponsible, bellicose bluster of his shadow and continue to use careful diplomacy to try to encourage the neighbouring states to recognise that this is an issue not of race or colonialism, but of universal human rights and democracy?

Mr. Straw: Yes.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood): Could there not be at least one benefit from this sad tragedy that has befallen Zimbabwe and its people, namely that we may lose for ever any residual illusions about the nature of ZANU-PF and its Marxist dictator leader, Mr. Mugabe, who has acted entirely predictably, and whose actions could to some degree perhaps have been forestalled? That having been said, will Her Majesty's Government concert with the highest intensity with the United States Government, who have a good track record in dealing with rogue states in an appropriate manner?

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