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Tuesday, 05 February 2013 20:12

 Hague: New government to continue policy on Zimbabwe

Media Release from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 14th June 2010 

The new British government has made clear there will no change of policy on Zimbabwe despite suggestions from President Mugabe that he would find it easier to deal with the Conservative party than the former Labour administration. 

In his first statement on the intractable Zimbabwe situation, the new British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said it was clear that the inclusive government formed last year after the violent elections of 2008 was not a long-term solution. 

‘This government will focus on supporting a process that gives Zimbabweans a chance to state their democratic preferences, and that leads to a stable government genuinely representing the people’s will,’ he said. ‘It is vital that elections, when held, must be conducted in a manner that allows Zimbabweans to express their opinions in an informed and free way and without fear of violence or intimidation. We will be working with the international and regional community to ensure that this can happen.’ 

Mr Hague added that the UK is currently providing its largest ever assistance package to Zimbabwe - £60 million in humanitarian assistance focused on the poorest and most vulnerable people.  The Foreign Secretary was responding to a letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for the past 8 years in support of free and fair elections. 

Full text of Mr Hague’s letter follows.  (For text of Vigil letter see Zimbabwe Vigil diary 29th May 2010: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/zimbabwe-vigil-diary-29th-may-2010.html.)  

8th June 2010 

Thank you for your kind wishes on my appointment as Foreign Secretary and for letting me know of the Vigil’s views on how the international community should respond to events in Zimbabwe. 

I am aware of the good work the Zimbabwe Vigil does in keeping alive the pressure for reform in Zimbabwe. It is dispiriting to consider just how long the people of Zimbabwe have been waiting for the opportunity to express their views in free and fair elections and to be able to contribute to the revival of a prosperous and democratic country. 

The creation of the Inclusive Government was an important step in helping to curtail the violence of 2008 and start the process of economic and political reform that the parties signed up to in September 2008. But it is clear that this is not a long-term solution. This government will focus on supporting a process that gives Zimbabweans a chance to state their democratic preferences, and that leads to a stable government genuinely representing the people’s will. It is vital that elections, when held, must be conducted in a manner that allows Zimbabweans to express their opinions in an informed and free way and without fear of violence or intimidation. We will be working with the international and regional community to ensure that this can happen. 

The UK is currently providing its largest ever assistance package to Zimbabwe - £60 million in humanitarian assistance that is focused on helping the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Funding is concentrated in the health, food security and primary education sectors. All funding is channelled through international organisations or NGOs and not through the Government of Zimbabwe or the Reserve Bank. This approach was confirmed at an international donor meeting of the Friends of Zimbabwe at the end of May. 

The EU renewed and modified its targeted measures on Zimbabwe in February to reflect the progress that had been made in the economic sector but the lack of progress in advancing political reform. Any further modifications must be agreed by all 27 Member States and should reflect progress in line with the Global Political Agreement. We welcome the renewal of dialogue between the EU and the Government of Zimbabwe as a means of helping to further the democratic process and the efforts of the reformers in Zimbabwe. 

I wish the Zimbabwe Vigil every success in achieving their aim, of a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe. 

Yours sincerely 

William Hague

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