United Kingdom and the Commonwealth
SPECIAL MEETING ON CMAG: CONCLUDING STATEMENT (07/06/00)
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG) met at Marlborough House, London, on 6 June 2000 to consider the situation in the Fiji Islands and in Solomon Islands. CMAG unamimously condemned the use of armed force against Fiji's democratically elected Prime Minister and decided that Fiji should be suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth, pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law. The Group also expressed deep concern over the action by militant groups against the democratically elected government in Solomon Islands and called for the immediate return to constitutional government and the rule of law.
COMMONWEALTH MINISTERIAL ACTION GROUP MEETING (03/05/00)
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its thirteenth meeting in London on 2 May. The Group welcomed new members, Australia, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. CMAG reviewed developments in The Gambia, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. The Chairman made a statement on Zimbabwe in which he welcomed the Commonwelath Secretary General's visit later in May.
TALKS WITH COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY GENERAL ON ZIMBABWE (14/04/00)
Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, and Don McKinnon, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, held talks in London on 13 April which focused primarily on Zimbabwe. Mr Cook welcomed the announcement that a high-powered delegation from Zimbabwe will take part in negotiations in London within the next 2-3 weeks and restated Britain's willingness to help fund 'a transparent and orderly' land reform programme in the country. Mr McKinnon expressed the concern within the Commonwealth over the situation in Zimbabwe and welcomed the latest positive signs that the government is willing to engage in dialogue 'in a situation that looked to be spiralling out of control.'
HM THE QUEEN'S VISIT TO AUSTRALIA (20/03/00)
Commencing a two-week visit to Australia, The Queen delivered a keynote speech to leading figures of the Australian government in Sydney on 20 March. Her Majesty paid tribute to the 'energetic role' Australia continues to play in the Commonwealth and its contribution to peacekeeping in Papua New Guinea and East Timor. She reiterated that the future of the monarchy in Australia is an issue for the Australian people; 'whatever the future may bring, my lasting respect and deep affection for Australia and Australians everywhere will remain as strong as ever,' she said.
COMMONWEALTH DAY MESSAGE FROM HM THE QUEEN (13/03/00)
Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Day message this year deals with the 'Communications Challenge'. The advance in modern-day technology brings a new challenge, she says, 'of how to use rapid communication responsibly and for the common good.' The onus must now be on finding ways 'to use ever faster communications to bring greater harmony and understanding both within each of our societies and between them, and thereby to strengthen the Commonwealth.'
THE MODERN COMMONWEALTH AND THE UK (01/02/00)
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
Durban, South Africa, from 12-15 November 1999 provided
an opportunity to reflect on how the modern Commonwealth
has changed over the last 50 years and to look back on past
achievements. More importantly, it provided an opportunity
for Heads of Government to begin to consider what role the
Commonwealth can most effectively play in the global
community of the 21st century.
This 'Focus International' paper examines the UK's crucial role in and commitment to the Commonwealth.
QUEEN'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO THE COMMONWEALTH (25/12/99)
The text of Her Majesty The Queen's annual speech to the Commonwealth is available on the Royal Insight website.
WPQ: DURBAN CHOGM (18/11/99)
In response to a written Parliamentary question, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has set out the outcome of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban, South Africa, 12-15 November 1999.
THEMES OF CHOGM COMMUNIQUE (15/11/99)
At a press briefing in Durban, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has highlighted the main themes of the final declaration to be issued by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at the end of their four-day summit. The communiqué is very strong on Pakistan, Mr Cook said, and will mandate CMAG to continue to monitor Pakistan and 'to maintain its work on making sure that there is a commitment across the Commonwealth to the Harare Principles.' At Tony Blair's prompting, a review of the Commonwealth in the 21st century has also been agreed by Heads of Government, Mr Cook said, and Britain will sit on the review committee. The review is 'not an expression of dissatisfaction with the Commonwealth,' Mr Cook stressed, but is necessary 'to make sure that the forces of globalisation help to promote development' and are of benefit to both developed and developing members states alike.
SPEECH BY HM THE QUEEN IN MOZAMBIQUE (15/11/99)
Her Majesty The Queen has delivered a speech at a state banquet in Maputo during her first visit to Mozambique. Mozambique's accession to the Commonwealth was extremely welcome, the Queen said, and its membership 'adds a new dimension to the rich relationship between Britain and Mozambique.'
COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON PAKISTAN (14/11/99)
Commonwealth Heads of Government, meeting in South Africa, have issued a statement in which they endorse CMAG's decision to suspend the military regime in Pakistan from the councils of the Commonwealth, pending the restoration of democracy in the country. Heads of Government have requested CMAG to keep 'to keep the situation in Pakistan under review and be prepared to recommend further measures to be taken by the Commonwealth if progress to democracy is not made speedily.'
COMMONWEALTH INSTITUTE (13/11/99)
The British Government has announced that the Commonwealth Institute in London is to become, for the first time, an independent, pan-Commonwealth agency. The announcement provides a signal of the British Government’s continuing commitment to the Commonwealth at the time of the 1999 CHOGM.
'OPENING OF THE 1999 CHOGM' (12/11/99)
HM The Queen has officially opened the 1999 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban. In her opening speech, The Queen paid tribute to Emeka Anyaoku for whom the Durban summit is the last CHOGM as Secretary General of the Commonwealth. She said that in its fiftieth anniversary year, a 'notable milestone for the Commonwealth', she is reminded of what makes the association what it is today: 'the many strands of a shared past have been woven together in a forward-looking spirit of understanding, tolerance and friendship.' The organisation is needed more than ever if we are to resolve the conflicts and grasp the opportunities of the 21st century, she concluded.
FOREIGN SECRETARY REPORTS ON INITIAL CHOGM DISCUSSIONS (12/11/99)
In an interview for Sky TV, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has reported on the first discussions that have taken place at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban. On Pakistan, Mr Cook said that Heads of Government had robustly endorsed the position that 'military regimes have no place around the table of the meetings of the Commonwealth' and there must be an early return to democracy. Mr Cook added that part of the proposals put forward to the Heads of Government is an extension of the remit of the Ministerial Action Group so that 'we can look at any country which is persistently and clearly violating the principles of human rights, democracy, good governance, set out in the Harare Declaration.' Mr Cook also spoke of Britain's support for the candidacy of the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Don McKinnon, as next Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
COMMONWEALTH MINISTERIAL ACTION GROUP MEETING, DURBAN (11/11/99)
Ahead of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Durban, South Africa, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has reported on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting. CMAG's report to the Heads of Government, unanimously agreed by all parties, deals with the current issues in front of CMAG such as The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, he said. On Pakistan, Mr Cook said that CMAG would be recording its concern about the charges that have been brought against Nawaz Sharif and others.
STATEMENT BY HM THE QUEEN ON THE RESULT OF THE AUSTRALIAN REFERENDUM (06/11/99)
In a statement issued by Buckingham Palace, The Queen has commented on the result of the Australian referendum in which the proposal to alter the constitution of Australia to establish a republic was not passed.
FORTHCOMING MINISTERIAL VISITS (05/11/99)
The Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will accompany Her Majesty The Queen on State Visits to Ghana (7-9 November 1999) and South Africa (9-11 November 1999). He will then attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Durban from 12-15 November 1999. Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain will accompany Her Majesty The Queen on a State Visit to Mozambique on 12 November 1999. Mr Hain will then travel to India for an official visit.
FOREIGN SECRETARY SPEECH AT ROYAL COMMONWEALTH SOCIETY (28/10/99)
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will give a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the Royal Commonwealth Society this evening. The Foreign Secretary’s speech will highlight next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Durban, HM The Queen’s State Visit to Africa, and set out themes for the Commonwealth’s agenda for the next century.
'WHY THE COMMONWEALTH MATTERS' (28/10/99)
In a keynote speech at The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Foreign Secretary has looked forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban next month and HM The Queen's State Visit to Africa. He set out what he saw as the themes for the Commonwealth in the next century: sustainable development, education and Information Technology, promotion of democracy and good government.
COMMONWEALTH MINISTERIAL ACTION GROUP MEETING ON PAKISTAN (18/10/99)
The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has emerged from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting, which has suspended Pakistan from membership of the Commonwealth, saying that nobody should be 'under any misunderstanding of how firm, clear and strong this message is.' 'There is nothing left that we could suspend them from that was open for us to do,' Mr Cook said.
FCO HOSTS COMMONWEALTH STUDENT FORUM (08/10/99)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will host a one-day student forum about the Commonwealth on 8 October. The forum will be held in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Locarno Suite.
BARONESS SCOTLAND’S VISIT TO THE CARIBBEAN (13/09/99)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, will visit the Caribbean from 14-20 September. This is her first overseas visit as a Minister. She will travel to Antigua, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago.
'A NEW BEGINNING FOR NIGERIA - A NEW BEGINNING FOR AFRICA' (04/05/99)
Following the recent recommendation of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to lift the suspension on Nigeria's membership of the Commonwealth, FCO Minister of State Tony Lloyd has delivered a speech to the Financial Times conference on the prospects and challenges now facing the country. The importance of a strong, democratic Nigeria goes beyond our bilateral relationship, Mr Lloyd said; 'an unstable region needs a role model, and the world needs to know that there is hope for Africa.' The UK is now leading the way in rebuilding the valued partnership lost 'during the darkest of periods for Nigeria' under Abacha and Mr Lloyd paid tribute to the achievements of General Abubakar who has steered Nigeria through the transition period, improved Nigeria's human rights, and set the country on the road to economic reform.
STATEMENT ON NIGERIA (30/04/99)
Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd has issued a statement welcoming the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group's recommendation to lift the suspension on Nigeria's membership of the Commonwealth.
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LONDON DECLARATION: STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER (27/04/99)
Prime Minister Tony Blair has made a statement on the 50th anniversary of the London Declaration which established the modern Commonwealth. 'Fifty years on from the London Declaration, we can look back with pride at the Commonwealth's record,' Mr Blair said. 'Britain in particular can thank the Commonwealth for the diverse, exciting and multi-cultural nation we have become.'
HM QUEEN'S COMMONWEALTH DAY MESSAGE 1999 (08/03/99)
In the 50th anniversary year of the modern Commonwealth, Her Majesty The Queen delivers a Commonwealth Day message focussing on the theme of music. 'Music knows no differences of language, no national boundaries... The variety of music illustrates our diversity; its common tones and harmonies bring us together. Just like the Commonwealth.'