Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Question on Zimbabwe yesterday

13 Mar 2007 : Column 617

Lord Avebury: My Lords, in the circumstances described by the Minister of Zimbabwe imploding, does he think that the recommendation made by the ICG—that the European Union should engage with SADC in formulating and implementing a strategy for a peaceful transition to post-Mugabe democratic rule—now stands a better and more realistic chance of success? If these discussions do take place between the EU and SADC, will the Minister ensure that one of the matters to be taken up is the humanitarian situation of the victims of Mugabe’s tyranny and in particular those who have been severely injured in the recent attacks on peaceful demonstrators?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, I believe that when these matters are resolved the suffering of people in recent days—and over a considerable period—must feature in those discussions. SADAC has a responsibility as the regional part of the African Union and plainly ought to play more of a role. In answering the question I am cautious, not because I disagree with the sentiment that lies behind it, but because I have been frustrated on too many occasions by witnessing the fact that leaders in SADAC have not been prepared to play that role. We should urge them to do so.

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