William Hague comments on Mugabe’s attendance at this weekend’s EU summit in Lisbon:

“It is a shameful episode for Europe that President Mugabe is to be feted in Lisbon.

“Whilst I support the Prime Minister’s decision not to attend, now that Mugabe is there, it is important that Baroness Amos, the Minister representing Britain, lays his crimes bare before all those attending.

“The British people will want to know that these points have been made and that every leader attending the Summit from Europe and Africa has had to take heed. Mugabe should not go home without being made to feel deeply uncomfortable and those who welcome him should not go home without feeling ashamed."

Hague won loud applause at party conference in Blackpool when he not only called for tougher sanctions on Zimbabwe but for Mugabe to be stripped of his honorary knighthood.

This morning’s Times leader also concluded
that the summit should now be used for pointing Mugabe’s cruelty out to
him, and despaired that not only have African leaders criticised
Brown’s rightful boycotting of the summit but some European leaders
have questioned the need for it. If there is any doubt as to the extent
that Mugabe’s presence brings the summit into disrepute, read these
stats sent out by CCHQ:

  • Zimbabwe’s economy has contracted by 40% in the last decade and it is the only country in Africa which will experience negative growth in 2007
  • Four out of five of the country’s twelve million people live below the poverty line, a quarter have fled, and unemployment is at 80%
  • Four million people will be dependent on food aid by Christmas due to famine
  • The water and sanitation systems in Zimbabwe’s main cities have collapsed, and thousands are at risk of life-threatening waterborne disease
  • In violent attacks on the opposition between March and April 2007, the regime arrested or abducted 600, hospitalised 300, and killed three.

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