At a speech given at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association last week British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that “this government has put the Commonwealth back at the very heart of British foreign policy for the first time in more than a decade”.
Hague describes the Commonwealth as the “ultimate network”, saying: “It has extraordinary reach – across 54 countries, six continents and oceans and two billion citizens.
“It is united by the same principles of liberty, democracy and human rights, but at the same time it is extraordinarily diverse: demonstrating that democracy allows countries to develop in their own way, and that it provides the essential foundations for sound economic development. The Commonwealth is a powerful global brand that many millions of people around the world are proud to be associated with, as our Government and our Parliament certainly are.”
Hague goes on to say that the upcoming CHOGM in Perth, in October, has the potential to act as a catalyst in re-defining the Commonwealth “reforming its current structures and laying new plans for the future and creating the basis for a reinvigorated Commonwealth with a more ambitious remit”.
He believes that there is room for change in three key areas: 1) strengthening the Commonwealth’s work on human rights and democracy; 2) increasing the Commonwealth’s engagement on global economic issues; 3) developing the Commonwealth’s role in development and conflict prevention.
Hague concludes “It is truly an exciting time for the Commonwealth and I look forward to CHOGM, as I am sure you do, with anticipation, hope and optimism”.
To read the full speech please visit the FCO website.