HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 c330W
Q20. Mr. Win Griffiths

To ask the Prime Minister if he plans to request a recall of his Commonwealth counterparts to consider the developing situation in Zimbabwe. [59955]

The Prime Minister

The Commonwealth Troika of Australia, Nigeria and South Africa suspended Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth on 19 March 2002. The Troika had been mandated by Heads of Government to address Commonwealth concerns on Zimbabwe. Its decision will be reviewed after 12 months. We welcomed the Troika's decision to suspend Zimbabwe at the time, and support the ongoing efforts of Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo, and Prime Minister Howard, to resolve Zimbabwe's political problems.

The Troika set out what Zimbabwe needs to do for the suspension to be lifted. It also decided to facilitate dialogue between Zimbabwe's two main political parties so that legitimacy could be restored in Zimbabwe. Talks, facilitated by South Africa and Nigeria, were scheduled for 13 May but the ruling party withdrew at the last moment. We await further information on whether or not the dialogue will be resumed.

The wider Commonwealth remains engaged on Zimbabwe, as does the Secretary-General. Zimbabwe was discussed at the meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on 15–17 May in Botswana. We continue to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe with a range of Commonwealth partners.