Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27 March 2001.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook Foreign Secretary 12:00, 27 March 2001

I agree absolutely with the comments of my right hon. and learned Friend. We will not accept it the first time President Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe says no. I welcome the statement by the Secretary-General that he will continue to press for the delegation to be received. The reason that the Zimbabwe Government seek not to receive it is that they know full well what a serious step it is for Commonwealth Foreign Ministers to agree to send a delegation. I hope that they will stop pretending that this is all a British conspiracy, when it was a decision taken unanimously—unanimously—by eight representatives of Commonwealth countries representing those members of the Commonwealth charged with keeping close tabs on violations of human rights. I believe that the delegation must be met. If not, that will send a strong signal to all the Commonwealth countries.