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David Miliband(Archived), London
Yesterday's UN Security Council statement represents a significant step forward in the way the world has engaged with the issue of Zimbabwe. The language is unequivocal - condemnation of the regime. It won unanimous support - including South Africa as well as China. The desire for regional leadership - from the AU and SADC - clearly expressed.
Yesterday's exchanges in the House of Commons I hope clarified the difference between recognition of a state - which is necessary for diplomatic representation - and recognition of the legitimacy of a government, which is different. We of course "recognise" Zimbabwe as a country; we do not recognise the legitimacy of Mugabe's rule, not least since even he accepts that he lost the Parliamentary and Presidential election on 29 March (even if the Opposition challenger did not get 50% of the vote in the first round).
I hope they also exposed the hollow claim that we have to choose between self defeating megaphone diplomacy and silence. In every part of the world history matters. Britain's history of global engagement includes good and bad. But while we are conscious of our history, and conscious of the way it can be misused and caricatured, that history is a reason for good judgment about what to say - not a reason to say nothing.
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