Neil Parish calls for end to trade in blood diamonds

Neil Parish calls on the Government to urge other EU states to work together to close down the trade in blood diamonds and bring about real democratic change in Zimbabwe.Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): Thank you, Mr Havard, for allowing me to make a short speech although I was late getting here. I congratulate the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr Hain) on securing this extremely important debate.I have quite good experience of Zimbabwe, as I was an election observer in 2000. I have been banned by Mugabe from returning to the country, as I was critical of the regime. This debate is one of many that we have had here that are essential to put pressure on the Mugabe regime.I have some simple points to make. ZANU-PF and the Mugabe regime need to pay for their army and their tyranny, which is why they need money. That is the blunt message that we need to convey in this debate. Blood diamonds are part of the criminal element that feeds into Government. I would go so far as to call it state-sponsored terrorism and violence. Blood diamonds feed a terrible regime that goes on destroying its people despite the so-called coalition Government in Zimbabwe.The other point that I want to raise with the Minister is that I have a lot of experience of the European Parliament. Undoubtedly, a lot of countries in Europe with colonial backgrounds have links to different countries. It is therefore important not to take it for granted that all European countries will pull together on Zimbabwe. I ask him to speak to his counterparts in France, Belgium, Germany and all the other states of Europe with past links to Africa to ensure that we pull together to put as much pressure as possible on the regime, close down the trade in blood diamonds and bring about real democratic change. All of this is part and parcel of that. The EU has an important role to play. The diamonds are getting through in various ways, and the EU can do more to pull together. Thank you again, Mr Havard, for letting me speak.| Hansard