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Transcript of joint news conference with the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney MP, Prime Minister of Canada, Sheraton Hotel, Harare



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P R IM E M IN IS T E R

TRANSCRIPT OF JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH THE RIGHT HONOURABLE BRIAN MULRONEY MP, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA, SHERATON HOTEL, HARARE - 14 OCTOBER 1991

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

MULRONEY: I just want to thank Prime Minister Hawke for taking the time to come down now. We're going to go back up and have dinner momentarily and continue our work. We had an excellent chance to review our bilateral relations and what we see upcoming in regard of the Commonwealth for the

rest of the week, and also some of the early views that we've had a chance to share in the last couple of weeks in telephone conversations about the Soviet Union and the roles that we may be called upon to play in respect of any comprehensive solution there by the G7 or G22 or the IMF or

the World Bank. And so we will be going back up to conclude this, but I want to thank the Prime Minister, an old friend of Canada's, and who has played a key role in the Commonwealth over the last seven years, particularly in respect of the South African question. Prime Minister.

(Prime Minister Mulroney makes opening remarks in French)

PM: Thank you Brian. I always enjoy being with my friend Brian Mulroney, except for one thing. He always pulls this trick of his bilingualism and makes me feel totally inadequate. So I will speak first in English and then in Australian. Like you Brian, I am very very pleased indeed

to renew our friendship directly and personally. It is the case ladies and gentlemen that from the first Commonwealth Heads of Government that we shared together, which was 1985 in the Bahamas, that Canada and Australia under our

respective leadership have been, I think, shoulder to shoulder at every point without any point of difference that I can recall on the central issues that have concerned the Commonwealth and which of course has been predominantly the

issue of South Africa. We took the opportunity in the pre-dinner conversation that we've already had to look at those issues. I think we have come to the conclusion that again in 1991 our positions will be, as far as we can see,

identical on that important matter. I think, Brian, it is the case that we together feel a particular sense of satisfaction when we think ... of the outrageous arrows that were sent us by some of our colleagues in the past about our

insistence upon the relevance of sanctions. We have a sense of satisfaction now to know that what we decided on together

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which we helped to implement is now bearing fruit. There is no doubt that the processes of change are underway. I think you and I are entitled to feel very pleased about that. I was also pleased to be able to share some preliminary

thinking with the Canadian Prime Minister on the question of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. Again I think our thinking in respect of those issues is running along very very similar

lines. So, Brian, we've already covered some important subjects together this evening. There's a lot more to cover in the next couple of hours that we'll have together but I'm certainly looking forward to being with you in this 1991 CHOGM.

MULRONEY: Thank you Bob.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister Hawke, this afternoon after Mr Mulroney came out from the meeting with Mr Mugabe, Mr Mugabe expressed a concern about the tying of foreign aid to the practice of human rights and democratic development in Commonwealth countries. That's obviously a theme for this CHOGM. What's your view? Should aid be tied more closely

to rights development?

PM: I think that it's inevitable that some countries are going to feel that there is an entitlement to have a concern that in countries where aid is given that practices there are consistent with those which they regard as proper

standards. One can understand that. Having said that, I don't take the view that it is for us to lecture and to hector in gatherings like this. The Commonwealth has set

itself the role at this Harare conference of looking at future directions and priorities for the Commonwealth. And indeed the special High Level Appraisal Group of ten countries of which Brian and I were members, is charged with bringing to this conference a statement which sets out the new priorities of the Commonwealth. Now I think it's an

inevitable fact that if you look at what's happened in the world - and I don't mean just in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe - but if you ask yourself what is the predominant characteristic of world events in the last

12 months, two years since we've met, it is without any question that more and more countries around the world are moving to multi-party democracies. That's a fact of life. It's inevitable that that fact is going to be reflected in

the thinking of the Commonwealth, I think.

JOURNALIST: Do I take it as a no, sir, in terms of tied aid?

PM: Well, I don't want to be half smart or even a quarter smart by responding to you in kind where you say you take that as a no. What was involved in your question, I believe, is a very complex series of questions which don't

lend itself to a yes or no. I am sensitive, I am sensitive to the concerns that countries within the Commonwealth have about others telling them how they should conduct their affairs. I'm sensitive of that. But I'm also saying that

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it's inevitable that if the Commonwealth is going to face up in 1991 to new priorities, I think the question of good governance is inevitably going to be part of that.

JOURNALIST: Could I ask both Prime Ministers, how important is the priority to be given on the human rights question at this CHOGM? Is it at the top of the agenda? Is it the matter that's going to draw the most serious discussion? Could you both give an answer.

MULRONEY: I think that the question of human rights has been at the top of the agenda for as long as I've been around. Because it was the effect of elimination of human rights in South Africa by the imposition of a policy of apartheid, which equates with the destruction of human liberty and rights, that we've been concerned with. So it is not as if this is something new. There couldn't have been any greater and more eloquent denial of human rights than a policy that involved their elimination. We seem to be on the way to having this resolved. We're not there yet and so

I imagine that that will be part and parcel of our agenda. As far as Canada is concerned, we believe that human rights form a very important component of not only foreign policy with the way we view countries. I mean there's no future

for - I mean the countries and regimes that are against political pluralism and individual rights are dead as doornails. It's just a matter of time. There's no future for them whatsoever. And democracy, political democracy and pluralism has swept everything from Latin America to Eastern Europe, to the Soviet Union. And I mean it's just a matter of time before the proponents of any contrary thesis will be

swept aside. So when Bob Hawke refers to what we have been up to since Nassau, it's really been a crusade for human rights. It's really been the defence of human rights and individual freedoms that the Commonwealth has been all about and it will be no different this time, although its articulation may vary depending on the nature of the given problem. But the fundamental problem will be there.

PM: And I think that what will be on the table this time will be constructive ways that the Commonwealth can help those countries who want to be helped in these issues. Just to give an example - the Commonwealth within the last twelve months or so has been engaged in response to requests that have come from Commonwealth countries in providing, for

instance, teams to observe elections that they be fair. Now that's not something that the Commonwealth seeks to impose upon its members, but they were conscious of the fact that the Commonwealth could provide that service. I think those

sorts of things are going to increasingly be part, in my guess, of what the Commonwealth will be doing.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what about those countries in the Commonwealth that don't want to be helped? What are you going to be able to do with regard to them? Will you be able to bring any pressure to bear on them to improve their human rights record?

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PM: Well, I think that the statements that will be made by the Commonwealth out of this Conference - the Communique that will come - I have no doubt that it will, amongst other things, refer to standards in respect of human rights and to the extent that that can have a persuasive effect upon relevant members, so be it. It should be the case. We can't talk about these things and say that they are not relevant to all of us - I believe they are. But the Commonwealth is not an organisation which, by force, imposes

itself upon its members. It, by definition, has to do things by setting of standards and persuasion.

MULRONEY: Nor can this be viewed in isolation as an agenda item. It fits in with the other parts of the agenda which deal with economic development. Australia and Canada, for example, on a per capita basis, are among the largest donors of aid and development in the world. And we do this to try

and bring about greater prosperity. But if that same prosperity is going to be eliminated by political decisions that eliminate human rights, or limits human rights, or cause the absence of political pluralism when we know full that prosperity is a corollary of political pluralism and

individual rights. We have to talk about these things, directly. The only thing that is sure, in terms of political equations, is that if you eliminate individuals rights your economy is going to go down the tubes eventually. It's just a matter of time. You can't have one, you can't have economic prosperity and the dead hand of the elimination of individual freedoms. And Australia's prosperity and growth and Canada's and so on is a result of a liberal democratic system based on fundamental respect for human values and human rights. And anybody who tries to

invent a theory at variance with that is going to go the way of the East Europeans and the Soviet Union. And I think that we have to make that case, as Bob Hawke, I've heard him, Bob Hawke, make it for seven years at these meetings, very directly. We've had the occasion to make it ourselves

and I think we probably will again.

JOURNALIST: Is that a tough sell, Prime Minister Mulroney, talking to some people in the Commonwealth about human rights? As you're saying, it's going to take time. Is that what you're saying?

MULRONEY: I don't think it's a tough sell. They're either going to deliver prosperity or they're going to be chucked out. I mean, what do you think, that people are operating in a vacuum, they don't know what's going on around the world? They've removed leaders in the Soviet Union and

Eastern Europe. Do you think they're going to put up with intolerance at home now, and the lack of political expression, the lack of individual freedom? Of course not. They're just as smart as anybody else. And for someone to be associated with the Commonwealth, in my judgement, is to accept the value and the value of these individual freedoms and the wisdom of pursuing a course of political pluralism which allows those to flourish. And anybody who does that

is going to extinguish both his own economic opportunities

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at home and probably greatly abbreviate his own political career.

JOURNALIST: Does that go so far Prime Minister Mulroney as to - have you considered through the week continuing to talk to other Commonwealth leaders about tying aid to development? Do you think it's something that is not even worth bringing up, given the sort of resistance that you know there's going to be to it?

MULRONEY: Well, look, we've just cut off all aid to Haiti. We just terminated all assistance to Haiti. I've just indicated to the (...) we don't want Haiti sitting around that table at the ... That we are going to join with the

organisation of American states in squeezing that illegal coup de tat. They are usurping the rights of a democratically elected President of Haiti. Whether he happens to be perfect or not is irrelevent at this moment. The important thing is that he was democratically elected. And so if you're asking me whether Canada will shy away from

tying its aid policies, we won't shy away at all. We have an instance right now in Haiti where we've cut off all aid, and we'll cut off more things to make the point.

JOURNALIST: And does that go for here within the Commonwealth as well?

MULRONEY: We've done it in other cases and we may again.

ends