Jump to navigation

Vol 40 No 9

Published 30th April 1999


Diplomacy with attitude

The Labour government's ideas of an ethical foreign policy and activist diplomacy have met their toughest test in Africa's conflicts

British ministers talk boldly of 'militant humanitarianism' and 'defending civilians against terror'. They refer to Kosovo, but some African officials have asked their Western counterparts if such considerations extend to the wars enveloping almost a third of Africa's 53 states. Most Western capitals reply with a definitive if slightly apologetic 'no'. But African diplomats hope that Britain may push their continent's case in the United Nations Security Council when the international focus moves on from the Balkans. The kill rate in Africa's wars - 1.5 million in Sudan, 1 million in Rwanda, over 500,000 in Angola, 150,000 in Liberia, 80,000 in Algeria, 15,000 in Sierra Leone, and 40,000 in a few weeks in Ethiopia and Eritrea - easily eclipses the Balkans' death toll of some 400,000 dead since 1990. There is no causal relation between war casualties and diplomatic concentration.

End of preview - This article contains approximately 2554 words.

End of preview

Subscribers: Log in now to read the complete article.

Account Holders: Log in now and use your Account Credit to buy this article. No Credit? Top up your Account now.


If you have a print subscription already, click here for a password that gives you full access to the website.

If you are logged in, but still cannot access the full text of this article, email customer services or telephone us on +44(0)1638 743633.