Foreign Secretary William Hague visited Egypt last week where he met the Egypt’s newly elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and then went to Baghdad where he met the Iraqi leaders. During the same week, there was human-rights abuse in both countries, especially against Christians, ethnic minorities, women and iun case of Iraq, there was a BBC film showing appalling treatment of homosexuals that boiled down to liquidation. There is no evidence that Secretary Hague raised any of those grave concerns with his Egyptians or Iraqi hosts.
Mr Hague’s 95 minutes answers to the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs today ( Tuesday 18 Sep 2012) confirmed my suspension that David Cameron coalition government continues its business as usual foreign policy sucking up to dictators and ‘friendly’ governments ignoring basic human-rights issues ( for which our brave soldiers die in Afghanistan and before that in Iraq) to pursue narrow commercial or diplomatic interests despite repeated bitter history lessons showing that such policy is counter productive. Some might question using term ‘dictatorial’ in relation to an elected president like Morsi, but as a puppet of the Islamo-Fascists muslim Brothers, Morsi shows all signs of autocratic rulers : he closes down TV stations critical of his policies, journalists charged with offense of ‘ insulting the president’, he pardons and releases from jail terrorists sentenced to life for murder, and remains silent when his followers attack broadcasting centres media outlets, churches and christian owned business. It is inconceivable that our foreign secretary was not aware of those developments in Egypt before his visit. If he didn’t know, then we waste our taxes funding a British embassy in Cairo.
When Mr Hague met the Egyptian president exactly a week ago ( and handed him an invitation from Cameron) , I asked Downing Street spokesman whether humanrights concern ( as above) was raised in Cairo. Predictably, he referred me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Four different phone calls and three emails to the FCO, were answered first by a promise to ‘ check with Mr Hauge who is traveling to Baghdad’ to find out more and get back to you. Eight days later there is no reply from the useless FCO; which I discovered over 30 years covering foreign news in Fleet Street, that it was more interested in finding excuses for failing diplomacy, cover-ups, smears and spin against British journalists who expose their despotic friends and being apologists for their friends among Arab dictators. ( I personally was subjected to a campaign of complaints to my editor from the Foreign Office and their minister David Mellor in 1988-1990 when I exposed FCO turning a blind eye to illegal arms sales to Iraq’s dedicator Saddam Hussein, then their friend )
My conclusion was Hague raised no questions about humanrights issue in Cairo or in Iraq where the official spokesman of the Iraqi government told the BBC that homosexuality was harming national interests and admitted to an official witch-hunt against gays, as the BBC documentary showed . But to give Hague the benefit of the doubt I waited until he gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee today. Labour MP for Ilford, Mike Gapes asked him direct questions on the issue. Hague gave the ambiguous non-committed standard FCO answer @ of course human rights, minorityies rights and the rights of copts are imprntant and that is why it is been taken into consideration in writing the [Egyptian] constitution curreently underaway” when Mr Gapes repeated teh question also reagrds the gays rights, Mr Hauge gave the standard reply. He did not give a direct postive reply like ” yes I made it clear to president Morsi…. ” or ” I discussed the subject with President Morsi or XXX minsster.” compare this for example with his answer to Sir John Stanley’s question about Iran’s role in Syria and whether Iran should be diplomaticall approached. His reply was ” last wek in Cairo I discussed with the Egyptian their propsal of a contact group on Syria including Iran in the groups, we discussed this fully and we pit our view.” this was not the case when he answered questions whether he directly discussed specsfic cases of human-rights abuse in Egypt and in Iraq. It seems that the Camel Corps in the Foreign Office prefer to continue the old policy that hasn’t changed in a a century, not to offend dictators’ sensibilities at the expense of the peoples’ basic rights.