William_hagueShadow Foreign Secretary William Hague will speak in the House of Commons today about the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Here is a portion of his speech:

"My Rt Hon Friend the Leader of the Opposition spoke to Botswana’s Foreign Minister yesterday, who has called for a ban on fuel supplies to the Zimbabwean Army and Police. We hope that the government will lend its support to proposals like this which target the regime, and urge African countries to implement them. In our view, this should also involve a clear message to Mugabe from as many African nations as possible that he must now step aside, backed by the threat of action if he does not.

We hope that the Foreign Secretary will now intensify the preparations that we have called for, for the day after Mugabe, so that when a new government is in place in Harare, arrangements are already in place, backed by EU nations, for a massive programme of aid, the establishment of a Contact Group to provide diplomatic support, and assistance to rebuild the economy, reform the security services, and assist the return of Zimbabwean refugees.

Will the Foreign Secretary raise with the African Union the need to identify and quickly develop the capacity to deploy a humanitarian force to Zimbabwe at short notice if the situation were to require it? This would not be an actual force sitting on Zimbabwe’s borders, but a commitment by a group African [sic] countries to deploy troops in the event of collapse in the country, to ensure the basic functions of the state continue, that aid reaches those in need, and that a new government can find its feet. Developing such a stand-by force will take time, and the African Union should begin work on it now.

We welcome the fact that EU foreign ministers discussed Zimbabwe yesterday and agreed to add 11 more regime officials to the EU travel ban and assets freeze list. However to carry any weight with the regime, they must be scrupulously enforced, which has not been the case in recent years. Banning over 100 officials from the EU had little point when Mugabe himself was welcomed to Lisbon only last year."

A typically tigerish and detailed speech from Mr Hague. Well done.

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