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<p> <strong>Introduction<br><br></strong>The relationship between the United Kingdom and Ghana is strong and vibrant, much like the wonderful city of Accra. It is rooted in our long-standing economic, political and cultural connections, our shared values, and the deep links between our peoples. With a half a million strong British-Ghanaian Diaspora community in the UK that is dynamic and prosperous and an ever-growing contingent of British businesspeople basing themselves in Ghana, the future of this relationship is being built on firm foundations.<br><br>These links provide a solid basis for us to pursue our shared commitments to the eradication of poverty, to democracy, good governance and the rule of law, to countering transnational threats such as climate change and narcotics trafficking and to promoting the continued growth of prosperous and equitable trade relations. After all, this is the challenge of the present: to build the future. And it is precisely because your foundations are so strong that I see Ghana providing leadership for west Africa, the wider continent and indeed the world.<br><br><strong>Prosperity<br></strong>A commitment to shared prosperity has always been at the centre of the UK’s partnership with Ghana. Our development programmes in Ghana stretch back fifty years and our Department for International Development continues to assist some of the most vulnerable Ghanaians. These programmes are an important part of our countries’ relationship and are worth celebrating, but on this visit my focus is towards our shared goals for business and trade.</p> <p>Recent commercial activity shows how successful UK-Ghana partnerships have already been. British companies have been key players in the now producing oil sector as well as in other extractive industries; in developing telecommunications networks across the country; in the financial services sector; in the cocoa industry and in other areas of agribusiness. During Vice-President Mahama’s successful visit to the UK last year he led the UK-Ghana Investment Forum 2010 – the opening dinner of which I was delighted to attend. The forum showcased the range of sectors which already enjoy Ghanaian/UK collaboration, as well as future opportunities for British business.<br><br>Ghana is one of the UK’s 14 priority markets in Africa and it is easy to see why:  the country has already reached middle income status, has weathered the global economic downturn far better than Europe and the US, and has a forecast GDP growth rate of 7%; 15% if we include oil revenues. These are growth rates that we in the UK look upon with rather envious eyes.<br><br>With such a positive story to tell, Ghana is an attractive prospect for British businesses – not only as a place to invest directly but also as an increasingly important market for goods and services.<br><br>In part this is because, British businesses recognise that Ghana is a stable place to do business. While there are still concerns about both the regulatory framework and the risks to both reputations and profits from corruption, most UK companies share our view that Ghana’s environment is the most investor-friendly it has ever been. The Ghanaian government is focussed on further improving the ease with which companies can do business here and continues to take a robust approach to tackling corruption. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2011 report has Ghana jumping ten places in a year – from 77 to 67 in global rankings of ease to do business.  These impressive efforts are important for British businesses and can serve as a model for other growing West African economies, who want to attract trade and investment.</p> <p>It is widely acknowledged that to build sustainable economic growth across the region, there needs to be greater intra-country trade within Africa.  Trade between countries currently accounts for less than 10% of Africa’s total trade – in some countries it is lower than 5% - compared to Europe where 62% of trade is within the European Union. This is something I know that Ghana and other African countries want to address and Britain is keen to support efforts to develop regional integration. So we are launching an African Free Trade Initiative to work with international partners in delivering an integrated programme of technical assistance, investment and political support in support of the AU’s vision for regional integration.<br><br><strong>Ghana as regional exemplar<br></strong>It is not just economic achievements that set Ghana out as a model for the region. Ghana’s prosperity is founded upon good governance and rule of law and is rightly held up as a beacon of democracy in the region and across the continent – and it’s not just us saying it. President Obama’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa was to Ghana for precisely this reason.<br><br>Improved governance and rule of law is the key to unlocking Africa’s potential.  And we are committed to working with African countries seeking to turn that key.  A good example is the work that UK officials have undertaken since 2006 alongside their Ghanaian counterparts as part of Operation Westbridge, a law enforcement programme which tackles drug trafficking into Ghana.  Operation Westbridge has been so successful that it has been extended to Nigeria, resulting in combined seizures of over 600 kilograms of Cocaine, 250 kilograms of Heroin and close to 2000 kilograms of Cannabis.  This is important news for West Africa where drug trafficking represents a major threat to the security and development of the region and it is important news for the UK too as these drugs frequently end up on our streets.  I applaud the strong personal interest that President Mills has taken in the fight against drugs.  Ghana’s determined approach to combat drug trafficking is another instance where you have set an example to countries around the world.<br><br>Now if Ghana is the beacon of democracy one, sadly, does not have to look far to see where the shadows fall. The situation in Cote d’Ivoire makes it clear that the threat of violent, undemocratic action by those who refuse to recognise the will of their people remains as real as ever. Former President Gbagbo’s actions can be held up in stark relief to those of Ghana’s politicians. Your last election was one of the most closely contested I have heard of, coming down to a few thousand votes. Yet both sides were clear that there are no winners when leaders put their own interests ahead of those of their people.<br><br>The interventions by the West African regional community, ECOWAS, in Cote d’Ivoire have demonstrated to Africa and the world the region’s commitment to finding a solution to the challenge of undemocratic behaviour. And it is from this context that Ghanaian leadership on democracy, religious tolerance, human rights and the rule of law stands out. You can speak with a moral authority and experience that is impossible to ignore, or to discount as Western interference.<br><br>Ghana also provides important leadership in the Commonwealth– as Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, and with membership on the Eminent Persons Group, you have the opportunity to take this leadership forward. Elections in 2011 and 2012 in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin and Mali afford other opportunities to do so. We will do all we can to support and encourage you in further pursuing a leadership role.<br><br><strong>Climate Change<br></strong>And your voice has been influential on Climate Change too. You were one of the first African nations to sign the Copenhagen Accord and your efforts to promote a serious collective African response to the threat of Climate Change have caught the world’s eye – as did our successful partnership in Copenhagen on the finance panel. Building up this momentum is vital.</p> <p>We are all too aware that climate change poses huge threats to Ghana and the whole of Africa.The effects vary across the continent; however they are increasingly being felt with rising sea-levels in Ada in the Greater Accra region and Keta in the Volta region, and droughts and changing weather patterns in many areas.  So we need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to this threat.  With 53 countries the chorus of African voices, when singing in unison, will resound around the world.  As hosts to the next meeting, the focus will be on Africa and it provides you with an even greater opportunity to shape the debate. I hope that Ghana continues to play a prominent role among African nations on this issue.<br><br>Here too the Commonwealth can play its part. We would like to see continued discussions of climate at the next CHOGM, due to take place in Australia in November. As a member, Ghana has the opportunity to influence and set a strong example ahead of COP 17.<br><br>The UK is committed to its partnership with Ghana on this critical Climate Change agenda. Speaking in New York last September, British Foreign Secretary William Hague described climate change as “perhaps the 21st Century’s biggest foreign policy challenge, along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons”. He argued that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity –as it does for every country in the world. As the world becomes increasingly networked, the impacts of climate change in one country or region will affect the prosperity and security of those in others.<br><br>We believe the ultimate goal is the creation of a legally binding global agreement on climate change and we remain committed to seeking multilateral solutions. That is why the UK worked hard with international partners for the best possible agreement at the Cancun negotiations last December. After weeks of tough negotiations, and from an unpromising start, our Foreign Secretary was able to welcome the final agreement as an “excellent result”.<br><br>Not only has it moved forward key issues such as deforestation, but it provided funding for developing countries as the greatest burden should not fall to those who have done the least to cause the problem and who are least able to deal with its consequences.<br><br>Following Cancun, the UN process is back on track with renewed purpose and there is much to be done as we work towards Durban.  We look forward to working with you in the run up to this just as we look forward to working with you across the board on our many areas of shared interest.  <br><br><strong>Conclusion<br></strong>I want to finish by returning to consider the strength of our bilateral relationship and the opportunities that offers both our countries. There is so much that binds Ghana and the UK: our people-to-people links, our shared values of democracy and rule of law, our aspirations for prosperity and security and our deep and genuine desire to tackle the world’s climate change dilemma.  I look forward to seeing the outcomes from this genuine partnership, anchored in its firm foundations.<br><br>President Mills, on his visit to the UK in May 2009, referred to the “umbilical cord” that ties our two nations. It is testimony to the strength and maturity of our nations and our respective national pride that the transition from the colonial period to Ghana’s independence was smooth, and that our relationship has since evolved from that of mother and child to one of mutual respect. There is no place for the UK to lecture Ghana about its policies, but to help identify where UK assistance can most usefully be provided, and where the UK and Ghana can work in harmony for mutual benefit. The democratic progress made by Ghana over the last 20 years is a lesson for us all. There may be 79 different languages in Ghana, but you speak with one voice for democracy. And I believe there is much that the UK can learn from Ghana’s ability to unite different ethnic groups, migrant populations, traditional and modern leadership, honouring and respecting chieftaincy while promoting the rapid development of modern technologies, seen with the almost saturating effect of mobile phones.<br><br>Ghana’s ability to build coalitions within society – chiefs, churches, politicians, businessmen and women – is indicative of the single-minded purpose shared by the nation. As the UK experiences a rare period of coalition government, perhaps there is a specific lesson for us there.</p> 2011-03-29 00:04:56 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=556160082 Henry Bellingham "The relationship between the UK and Ghana is strong and vibrant" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Institute of Economic Affairs, Accra
<p>Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a privilege to speak here in the Kuwaiti National Assembly in this very special year when you celebrate half a century of independence from Britain and, together, we mark the twentieth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s forces.  </p> <p>When Saddam invaded your country two decades ago, two world leaders immediately saw what was at stake.  President Bush and Prime Minister Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher put the issue with characteristic candour. “Iraq’s invasion”, she said “….defies every principle for which the United Nations stands.  If we let it succeed, no small country can ever feel safe again. The law of the jungle would take over from the rule of law.”</p> <p>Britain, America and a great alliance of Arabs and non-Arabs alike came here to stand with you in your darkest hour and show that proud and independent nations should not be trampled into the desert sand. I am particularly proud to be in Kuwait today with Margaret Thatcher’s successor as Prime Minister, and the man who helped lead that remarkable coalition to victory: Sir John Major. He joins me today in paying tribute to the British servicemen and women – and all their colleagues in the Coalition forces – who fought here and to remember in particular those who gave their lives for Kuwait’s liberty including 47 British servicemen.</p> <p>Their sacrifice is honoured every day by the sovereignty of this Parliament and by all you have achieved as a nation, not only in the 20 years since invasion, but in the 50 years of independence.</p> <p>Now once again this region is the epicentre of momentous changes, but pursued in a very different way. History is sweeping through your neighbourhood. Not as a result of force and violence, but by people seeking their rights, and in the vast majority of cases doing so peacefully and bravely. Across the Arab World, aspirations are stirring which have lain dormant.</p> <p>They can take inspiration from other peaceful movements for change, such as the Velvet revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, the civil rights struggle in America, or the peaceful transition to democracy in Muslim countries like Indonesia.</p> <p>It is too early to say how things will turn out. Too often, in the past, there has been disappointment. But there are some grounds for cautious optimism. Optimism, because it is the people – especially the young people – who are speaking up. It is they who are choosing to write their history – and doing so for the most part peacefully and with dignity. It is they who are showing that there is more to politics in this region than the false choice sometimes presented between repression and extremism.</p> <p>As I said in Downing Street ten days ago, and as I repeated yesterday in Cairo, this is a precious moment of opportunity for this region. Just as we stood with Kuwait in 1990 to defend your right to self-determination, so we stand today with the people and Governments who are on the side of justice, of the rule of law and of freedom. It is not for me, or for governments outside the region, to pontificate about how each country meets the aspirations of its people. It is not for us to tell you how to do it, or precisely what shape your future should take. There is no single formula for success, and there are many ways to ensure greater, popular participation in Government. We respect your right to take your own decisions, while offering our goodwill and support.</p> <p>But we cannot remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success, and that each country should find its own path to achieving peaceful change. Here in Kuwait you have set out down this path. So, here – here in this country – here in this Parliament – here is the right place to speak of these things.</p> <p>Britain and Kuwait share a long history of Al Sadaqa (friendship) from the time the first British ships called into Kuwait in the 17th Century through the treaty of Al Sadaqa in 1899 right to the present day. And my argument today is this. Yes, ours is a partnership based on a shared economic future. As we need our economies to grow and diversify in this challenging globalised world. And yes, ours is a partnership to deliver shared security interests. Not least as we confront the terrorist threat we face from extremism. But crucially, far from running counter to these vital interests of prosperity and security, I believe that political and economic reform in the Arab world is essential not just in advancing these vital shared interests but as a long term guarantor of the stability needed for our relationship to strengthen and for both our societies to flourish.</p> <p>Economy</p> <p>The friendship between our countries was born from trade between two maritime nations. Indeed it was the captain of an English ship, “The Eagle” who made the first accurate survey of Kuwait Bay in 1777. And today trade remains a great engine of growth and opportunity not just for Britain and Kuwait, but right across the region. But anyone who thinks this trade is just about purchasing oil on the one hand and selling manufactured goods in return is completely out of date. It’s much more complex and diverse.</p> <p>From the new international airport to be built here in Kuwait to Yas and Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi and Education City in Qatar British companies are playing a pivotal role in exciting and ambitious development plans across the Gulf. In turn the Gulf countries are investing heavily in Britain, like the Kuwait Investment Authority which has its overseas headquarters in London and has invested some £150 billion over the last fifty years, the majority of it in the UK.</p> <p>As your economies grow and diversify, Britain is in an excellent position to help you make the most of these opportunities. Our timezone. The English language. The easiest access to the European market. Superb universities. And our culture and sport from next year’s Olympics in London to formula one motor racing and premiership football teams supported across the Gulf region.</p> <p>Already today the UK exports more goods and services to the Gulf than to China and India combined. Right now, the value of trade and investment between Britain and Kuwait alone is already over £1 billion a year. And the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser and I have today set a new challenge to double this over the next five years.</p> <p>Security</p> <p>Advancing our shared economic interests also requires security and stability. We value our security co-operation with Kuwait and the Gulf highly. Over 160,000 British nationals now live in the Gulf but the security of the Gulf doesn’t just affect the British nationals living here it affects the British people back at home too.</p> <p>The continued failure of the Middle East Peace Process to achieve justice for Palestinians or security for Israelis the threat of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and the growing threat from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are not just security problems for the region, but security problems shared by the whole world.</p> <p>We must be clear about the Middle East Peace Process. In responding to the most recent developments in the Middle East, there is a serious risk that governments will draw the wrong conclusion and pull back. I draw completely the opposite conclusion.  Far from pulling back we should push forward.</p> <p>We need to see an urgent return to talks so that people’s legitimate aspirations for two states can be fulfilled through negotiations. Just as the Palestinian Authority needs to shoulder its responsibility to tackle violence from the West Bank Israel needs to meet its Road Map obligation to halt illegal settlement activity as the Resolution Britain supported at the UN Security Council last Friday underlines.</p> <p>The result should be two states, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both, and a fair settlement for refugees. This is not just a problem of rights, territories and people, complicated as they are it is a recruiting sergeant for terror an excuse for authoritarianism and a cause of deep-rooted instability. A lasting settlement would be the greatest step along a new path for this region. The same unity of purpose and message is necessary for the threat coming from Iran.</p> <p>As the whole international community has made clear in successive Resolutions of the UN Security Council Iran must comply with its international obligations. We have offered Iran the hand of friendship. But the response has been disappointing and gravely concerning. We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over this region nor accept interference by Iran in the affairs of its neighbours.</p> <p>Meeting the threat of extremism</p> <p>In understanding the nature of the threat to our security we cannot ignore the threat to all our countries from international terrorism. As we have seen, Al Qaeda has mounted attacks on places as far apart as Saudi Arabia and the United States and in recent months we have seen attempted suicide plots in Sweden, Denmark and in my own country.</p> <p>The fact a bomb was put on a plane in Yemen last October and carried to the UAE to Germany to Britain en route to America shows the threat we all face, and how together, as friends and allies, we can deal with it and save lives. Indeed, I believe this is the most important global threat to our security. And it comes from a warped extremist ideology that tries to set our societies against each other by radicalising young Muslims all across the world.</p> <p>Let me be clear. I am not talking about Islam. Islam is a great religion, observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. I am talking about the extremist ideology of a small minority. An ideology that wants a global conflict between Muslims and the rest of the world, and in the process sets Muslims against Muslims. It is this extremism that is the source of the global terrorist threat.</p> <p>Now, of course, increasing our security co-operation is a vital part of how we meet this threat. And above all it is vital that we challenge the warped thinking that fuels the extremist ideology. But as I argued in Munich earlier this month, we, in the West, must also do much better at integrating young Muslims into our society.</p> <p>People should have a positive identity with the country in which they are living. We in Europe have to recognise that without a society to integrate with or a proper sense of  belonging our Muslim communities risk becoming isolated and young Muslims in particular  become more prone to the poisonous narrative of separateness and victimhood that can lead to extremism.</p> <p>Recent developments</p> <p>And a similar risk of young people turning the wrong way applies in the Arab world too. Young people yearn for something better, for their rights to be respected, and for responsible and accountable government. They want systems and societies they can believe in.</p> <p>One of the most remarkable things about the historic events we’ve seen in Egypt and Tunisia in these past weeks is that it is not an ideological or extremist movement but rather, a movement of the people – an expression of aspiration predominantly from a new generation hungry for political and economic freedoms.</p> <p>A British businessman who had been in the square in Cairo during the demonstrations told me how when the extremists turned up and tried to claim the movement as theirs they were shouted down and disowned.</p> <p>This movement belongs to the frustrated Tunisian fruit seller who can’t take his product to market. And to the students in Cairo who can’t get a fair start, and the millions of Egyptians who live on $2 a day. In short, it belongs to the people who want to make something of their lives, and to have a voice. It belongs to a new generation for whom technology – the internet and social media – is a powerful tool in the hands of citizens, not a means of repression. It belongs to the people who’ve had enough of corruption, of having to make do with what they’re given, of having to settle for second best.</p> <p>For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk.  So, the argument went, countries like Britain faced a choice between our interests and our values.  And to be honest, we should acknowledge that sometimes we have made such calculations in the past. But I say that is a false choice.</p> <p>As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse. Our interests lie in upholding our values – in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law. But these are not just our values, but the entitlement of people everywhere; of people in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.</p> <p>So whenever and wherever violence is used against peaceful demonstrators, we must not hesitate to condemn it. The whole world has been shocked in the last few days by the appalling violence which the authorities in Libya have unleashed on their own people.</p> <p>Violence is not the answer to people’s legitimate aspirations.  Using force cannot resolve grievances, only multiply and deepen them. We condemned the violence in Bahrain, and welcome the fact that the military has now been withdrawn from the streets and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has embarked on a broad national dialogue.</p> <p>If people’s hunger for a job and a voice are denied there is a real risk that the frustration and powerlessness people feel and the resulting lack of connection with the way their country is run: can open the way to them being cut off from society or worse drawn to more violent and extremist responses. That’s a problem for the Arab world but it’s a problem for the rest of the world too.  </p> <p>That’s why I think political and economic reform in the Arab world is not just good in its own right but it’s also a key part of the antidote to the extremism that threatens the security of us all.</p> <p>Reform, far from undermining stability is a condition of it.</p> <p>How do we support economic and political reform?</p> <p>So how do we support economic and political reform?</p> <p>I believe two things are important. The first is to understand that democracy is a process not an event. And important though elections are, participatory government is about much more than the simple act of voting. Democracy is the work of patient craftsmanship it has to be built from the grassroots up. The building blocks have to be laid like the independence of the judiciary, the rights of individuals, free media and association, and a proper place in society for the army. It can’t be done overnight. And if you want evidence of that just look at the history of Britain, a constitutional monarchy which has evolved through time, and where so many of our rights under our laws predate our right to vote by 700 years.</p> <p>My second belief is this. Political and economic reform is vital but it has to be pursued with Al E’htiram with respect for the different cultures, histories and traditions of each nation. We in the West have no business trying to impose our particular local model. The evolution of political and economic progress will be different in each country. But that’s not an excuse, as some would argue, to claim that Arabs or Muslims can’t do democracy – the so-called Arab exception. For me that’s a prejudice that borders on racism. It’s offensive and wrong, and it’s simply not true.</p> <p>Oman established a Human Rights Commission for the first time last year in Oman. Qatar is now considered to be among the twenty least corrupt nations in the world. Above all, just look around this National Assembly elected by universal suffrage where every community is represented where men and women sit side-by-side and where Ministers are held to account.</p> <p>This movement for change is not about Western agendas it’s about the Arab people themselves standing up and saying what they want to happen. And it’s about governments engaging in dialogue with their people to forge a way forward, together. The security and prosperity of this region will come hand-in-hand with development towards more open, fair and inclusive societies.</p> <p>The question for us is simply whether we in the West play a role in helping to ensure that change delivers as peaceful and stable an outcome as possible. And I believe we should – by looking afresh at our entire engagement with the region, from our development programmes, to our cultural exchanges and to our trade arrangements.</p> <p>Conclusion – A new chapter in our partnership</p> <p>So I come here today offering a new chapter in Britain’s long partnership with our friends in this region. Over generations we have built a partnership based on our shared interests in prosperity and security. But in a changing world ours must now also be a partnership that recognises the importance of political and economic reform.</p> <p>I know that for many these are days of anxiety as well as hope – anxiety about the risks that come with change; the risk of military power entrenchment; the risk of a slide into violence extremism; the risk of sectarian or internal conflict. For sure, the path will be an uneven one. But a sober assessment of the risks need not mean succumbing to pessimism.</p> <p>While this story does not yet have an ending there is a more hopeful way, as we have seen in the television pictures of young people across the region, and as we have seen in the way the Egyptian army refused to turn on its own people. And we know one more thing:  in the end, twenty-first century economies require open societies.  </p> <p>As I said in Beijing, so here in Kuwait:  “I am convinced that the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together.” We all need to adapt to give our young people new ways of making their voices heard and their opinions felt. A job, and a voice. Active citizens with a say in effective, accountable government.</p> <p>As the 18th Century British liberal conservative, Edmund Burke once said, “A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.”</p> <p>And I believe that the most resilient societies rest on the building blocks of democracy: Transparency and accountability of government and the removal of corruption. The freedom to communicate. A fair stake for all – an education, a job, the chance to build a business and the space for participation in politics, and shaping your society.</p> <p>In short, reform – not repression – is the only way to maintain stability. There are some who argue that the Arab world is destined to decline or simply accept second best. They look backwards to the great age of Arab learning: law, science, arts and architecture, and say that something went wrong, and cannot be recovered. But I believe the best is yet to come.</p> <p>As a new British Government renews it partnership with the Arab world, I look from the new cities of the Gulf shores to the, diversity of the Near East and North Africa. And I look forward to a future that is rich in prosperity strong in defence and open in its handling and pursuit of political and economic reform. It’s a future we must build together.</p> 2011-03-29 00:04:58 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=555228182 David Cameron Prime Minister urges reform in the Middle East uk.org.publicwhip/member/40665 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>It is clear, as I stand here today, that we are witnessing potentially the biggest geopolitical events of the last decade.</p> <p>It is a moment of huge significance for the people of North Africa and the people of Europe.<br></p> <p>Just a few hundreds miles to the south, in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, people are seeking greater rights, fairer distribution of wealth and demanding more open political systems.</p> <p>I intend to talk today about Europe’s response.</p> <p>That has been the focus of my meetings today with Council President Van Rompuy, Commission President Barroso and Commissioners Ashton and Fule.</p> <p>I would like to very warmly welcome President Barroso’s call this morning for a “pact for democracy and shared prosperity”.</p> <p>I especially welcome his insistence that we must have greater conditionality in our approach and much greater political and economic openness towards North Africa.</p> <p>Like other European Governments, our immediate focus is on helping the remaining British nationals in Libya leave.</p> <p>And doing whatever we can to ensure that the Libyan people are free from Colonel Qadhafi’s malign rule as soon as possible.  </p> <p>We have seen today that Qadhafi is still waging war on his own people.  </p> <p>His continued brutality has now created a full-blown humanitarian crisis.</p> <p>The UK is playing its part by flying in shelter, blankets and water, delivering aid today by ship to Benghazi and air-lifting six thousand refugees home from the Tunisian border.</p> <p>I also welcome the increase in EU humanitarian aid announced earlier today by President Barroso.</p> <p>This is a region vital to UK and EU interests.</p> <p>If people in the UK ask why, I would point at the efforts in recent weeks to rescue British nationals caught up in the turbulent events, at the level of human migration from North Africa to Europe, at the level of trade and investment between Europe and North Africa, and its importance to us in terms of energy, the environment and counter-terrorism.  </p> <p>North Africa is just 14 miles from Europe at its closest point, what happens to our near neighbours affects us deeply. In the past, Europe has sought to build a partnership with North Africa, but failings on both sides have held us back.  </p> <p>Now that we have witnessed the immense courage of unarmed protestors raising their voices in Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia, in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli, we Europeans need to respond quickly and boldly to their bravery.  </p> <p>They have created an unexpected and game-changing turn of events in Europe’s neighbourhood: we must provide a game-changing response too.</p> <p>Our response must be guided by the nature of the changes that we are witnessing.</p> <p>Although Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are very different countries, the root causes of these uprisings and demands for change elsewhere in the region are similar:</p> <p>First, a lack of economic opportunity. The region as a whole underperforms economically. The benefits of globalisation are passing these people by. Economic growth per head was just 6.4% between 1980 and 2004 – that’s less than 0.5% annually.  </p> <p>Second, the presence of youthful populations without a voice or a job: 60% of the population is under 25 and youth unemployment is high.</p> <p>Third, an increasing sense of frustration at the closed and unjust nature of these societies. No North African country is assessed as “Free” by Freedom House’s most recent survey. Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya are all judged as “Not Free”.  </p> <p>Fourth, they have been effective precisely because the protests came from directions the regimes least expected – from people whom the regimes assumed had resigned themselves to the status quo.</p> <p>Fifth, high food prices, the spark that lit the bonfire.</p> <p>For some of us, there is a strong historical parallel here.  </p> <p>A similar movement of change swept across central and eastern Europe in the 1990s. The European Community responded to that opportunity in magnificent fashion. By offering a path to re-joining the European family, the European community ensured the entrenchment of liberal democracy across a swathe of our continent.</p> <p>When it comes to North Africa, there is no certainty about the outcome. Transitions take decades and they don’t always turn out for the best. Our own example, in Europe, tells us that from the rubble of war we can create a Union of prosperity, democracy and the rule of law.</p> <p>But this is not always guaranteed.  </p> <p>Change can be for the worse, as well as the better. The hunger of those living on the other side of the Mediterranean for freedom and opportunity is clear.  </p> <p>Our European model can help inspire them. And that is precisely why Europe must play its part. It is unquestionably in the EU’s interests to uphold its liberal values – the right to peaceful protest, freedom of speech and of assembly, and the rule of law. These values are sometimes referred to as ‘Western values’ - but only by people who do not know their history.  </p> <p>While much of Europe had still to emerge from the Dark Ages, the Baghdad of Haroun al-Rashid saw a flowering of free religious debate and openness to learning from non-Muslim sources.  </p> <p>The truth is that these liberal ideals of equality, law and self-determination cannot be claimed by any nation, or hemisphere.  They are global values with global force. The strategic context for Europe also compels us to be bold in our thinking.</p> <p>For example a free, prosperous and stable North Africa can help in reassuring Israel that it can live in peace with neighbouring open societies and give Palestinians their rights.  </p> <p>For those of us concerned by Iran’s activities in the region, a free North Africa will help isolate rather than entrench Iran’s influence.  </p> <p>Recent events highlight the importance of other neighbours too, especially Turkey.</p> <p>As a Muslim majority country, a NATO member and a country firmly committed to the path to EU membership, and a state with a vibrant multi-party democracy, it provides a valuable example for other societies.  </p> <p>Turkey’s warm relations in the region offer benefits in terms of achieving the openness and respect for human rights that we all support. Another tangible recent example of the help Turkey can offer is their readiness to represent the UK’s interests in Libya when our Embassy was forced to suspend its operations, and I wish to warmly thank Turkey for that assistance.  </p> <p>Turkey has not just been helping us. In total Turkey has evacuated over 3300 foreigners from at least fifty-two different countries, many of them European. They are now sending significant aid to relieve the growing humanitarian crisis.</p> <p>What, then, is Europe’s recent record in building a partnership with North Africa?</p> <p>Mixed at best.</p> <p>We do have polices such as  the European Neighbourhood Policy aimed at countries which, unlike Turkey, do not have a cast iron case for EU membership. But our hopes for our southern neighbourhood policy and our approach towards North Africa as a whole have not been fulfilled.  </p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Not because of policies, processes or money, but because of a lack of will, we have allowed autocratic regimes to get away with only making a pretence of reforming. We have imposed minimal conditionality and then failed to insist even on those low standards.  </p> <p>We have failed because we did not express our belief in the values of open societies.</p> <p>We have supported the important goals of economic opening and reform.</p> <p>But the EU has done nothing like enough to use its weight to support open, plural societies more broadly.</p> <p>We have also got our starting point wrong:</p> <p>Rather than building a genuine partnership with North Africa, we have focused narrowly on certain areas of cooperation without engaging meaningfully on political reform.  </p> <p>This has given the impression that we seek to keep North Africa stable but distant.  </p> <p>The events of the past few weeks have demonstrated the short-sightedness of this approach.    </p> <p>Of course, the lack of will was reciprocated on the other side.</p> <p>We were working predominantly with governments that paid lip service at best to our values and ideals.</p> <p>But those governments have been swept away.</p> <p>We now have a chance to work with partners who want our help, share our values and want a genuine partnership.</p> <p>As we radically re-shape our approach to North Africa, the EU has to develop a strong, enticing offer that lies between warm words and blank cheques at one extreme and full EU membership at the other.  </p> <p>The UK will argue unashamedly for a full and engaging offer to be made.</p> <p>This is not about imposing Western democratic models and prescribing outcomes, but about supporting those in the region who want a more open society.</p> <p>We know that reform must be a home-grown process and leadership must come from within countries.</p> <p>Yet the international community, especially the EU, can act as a powerful support and inspiration to those countries who want open, plural societies.</p> <p>As Prime Minister David Cameron has said, you cannot impose democracy from 30,000 feet.<br></p> <p>But you can support democracy from across borders.</p> <p>Being adherents of the international rule of law does not mean being neutral about the kind of world we want to see and the kind of nations we want to deal with: open, free, democratic societies.</p> <p>We should never hold back from advocating our belief that freedom and the rule of law are the best guarantees of human progress and economic success.  </p> <p>If we agree on the need for a full and engaging offer, what sorts of actions should we take?</p> <p>In the UK we see three main areas for action:</p> <p>First, values.  EU policy should be guided by clear principles linking values – the values shown in Tahrir Square – to engagement:  but this must come with conditionality.</p> <p>We must never again accept paper thin commitments that are not pressed home.  </p> <p>But let me be clear that this is a conditionality based on the values the protestors in Tahrir Square and elsewhere have demonstrated their passion for: values they cherish and we want to support.</p> <p>The EU should provide a more ambitious offer to those governments which work towards the values their people are insisting on, linked with tougher conditionality for those that ignore them.  </p> <p>So we must raise our ambitions for the European Neighbourhood Policy.  </p> <p>Second, a broad and inclusive economic offer that draws on the EU’s position as a global economic superpower and supports a process of economic opening to complement and reinforce greater political openness.</p> <p>There are many models of greater economic integration with countries that neighbour the EU – from Turkey and the Balkan states on a membership path to the east and to our northern EEA partners.</p> <p>We should be looking at these models for inspiration when it comes to North Africa.  </p> <p>Successive UK Governments have been consistent advocates of dual economic and political liberalisations.</p> <p>That may have many dimensions – and it is not for me at this stage to specify them.</p> <p>However the UK is calling on the Commission and other Member States to look at bold alternatives to provide the people of North Africa with greater economic opportunity and prosperity.</p> <p>We as Europeans also need to review urgently the institutions and instruments available to us or potentially available to us for working with the region, including the EIB, Union for the Mediterranean and ENPI funds.  </p> <p>All of need to reconsider how best they can support North Africa.  </p> <p>There are a number or proposals to do this.</p> <p>We should act fast and not allow this to become the subject of familiar political wrangling.  </p> <p>We need real progress at the Special European Council on the eleventh of March.  </p> <p>Europe, together with other shareholders, should consider how best the EBRD’s expertise in transition and private sector development could be shared to the south.</p> <p>Let me be very clear here on one specific point.  </p> <p>Citizens of these North African countries - and migrants making their way through them - are not going to stay put in North Africa if there are few economic opportunities there: they are going to make their way to Europe through one means or another.  </p> <p>Our task is to help North Africa offer prosperity to its own people, not act as a stepping off point to Europe.</p> <p>The region overall does not lack capital – this is in many respects a resource-rich region.  What we need is a radical change in the way we provide assistance to make it more effective and to help unlock the potential that already exists.</p> <p>Third, the EU must also do more to cultivate the civil, political and democratic institutions that underpin successful open societies.  </p> <p>The EU has an enormous amount to offer in terms of know-how and institution-building, not least because of its earlier experiences with central and Eastern Europe.</p> <p>The UK will seek to lead by example.</p> <p>On top of the short term humanitarian relief that we are providing for the Libyan people and those who have fled to Tunisia and Egypt, we have already pledged an initial £5 million of UK funding to support reform projects across the region.</p> <p>Including in Tunisia and Egypt, to help support access to justice, freedom of expression, democratic institutions and civil society. But this is just a start.  </p> <p>We will transform the role and capacity of organisations such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, which can help to broaden political participation.</p> <p>And as a Government we will make further resources available to further this work.  </p> <p>I have today written to all the leaders of the UK’s main political parties urging them to encourage their parliamentarians to support this initiative.</p> <p>While I believe Europe must be the centrepiece of our response to North Africa, it must not act alone.</p> <p>The G8 and G20 will want to play a role too.</p> <p>The UK Government, through its Department for International Development, is also already working closely with organisations like the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Islamic Development Bank.</p> <p>Of course the process of deepening political and economic freedom cannot be delivered by Governments alone.  </p> <p>That is why I am delighted that the Open Society Foundations, under the leadership of George Soros, are supporting major new initiatives with emerging civil society in the region.<br></p> <p>They are working with experts from previous transitions; supporting transitional justice and legal empowerment of the poor; bringing together Arab constitutional experts and lawyers; and strengthening journalists in newly open democracies to be critical 'watchdogs' in the transition.</p> <p>These are exactly the sort of 'people to people' initiatives that the region needs.</p> <p>The EU has always been at its best when responding to changes in the world around it. That is at the heart of its creation.  </p> <p>So it was in tackling German reunification.  </p> <p>So it was in responding to the re-emergence of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. So it must be again in response to events in the North Africa.</p> <p>The EU cannot take for granted its effectiveness and legitimacy.  It operates in a world in which power is shifting fast, in which there is greater uncertainty and unpredictability.  </p> <p>This is a pivotal moment in shaping the EU’s long term purpose and role in the world.</p> <p>And this is a precious moment of opportunity for the region.  </p> <p>Precious because it is the people, especially young people, who are speaking up, and they are doing so for the most part peacefully and with dignity.  </p> <p>They are showing that there is more to politics in the region than the choice between repression and extremism.</p> <p>It is precious, but potentially fragile too.  </p> <p>There is no certainty about the outcome. This is why Europe must play its part.</p> <p>Everyday on our television screens, we are witnessing the courage of ordinary people taking to the streets to demand greater freedom.  </p> <p>The countries of the European Union need to match their bravery and get behind this movement for change.  </p> <p>They are creating a new world.  </p> <p>We need a new response.</p> <p>So: we need genuine partnership of values with conditionality, a bold new European economic offer and a step-change in our fostering of political pluralism and open societies.</p> <p>What happens in North Africa impacts on every community in Europe.  </p> <p>This is happening in our back yard.  </p> <p>The EU, individual member states, businesses, and civil society – all of us need to step up to the plate.</p> <p>2011 is certain to be a defining moment for North Africa and the region as a whole.  </p> <p>But it is a defining moment for Europe, too.  </p> <p>I hope together we can rise to the challenge."</p> 2011-03-29 00:04:52 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=559492682 Nicholas Clegg Building Open Societies: Transforming Europe’s Partnership with North Africa uk.org.publicwhip/member/40528 02 March 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK Representation to the EU, Brussels
<p>You may think, after 2 decades, that climate diplomacy has come a long way. We have built a mountain of words. But the view from the top of it shows we have hardly started.</p> <p>Today I want to talk about the way ahead, as seen from the top of that mountain.</p> <p>We face a simple choice. We can do what we think we can, knowing it will not suffice. Or we can stay focussed on what needs doing, knowing that to do it we must find the will to expand the limits of the possible.</p> <p>Our mission as practitioners of foreign policy is to summon collective will among nations in order to protect national interests. We now need to make the climate project - not just the negotiation but the project - central to that mission. We should have done that long ago.  </p> <p> <strong>Why Climate Change is Different</strong> </p> <p>Humanity has never faced a problem like climate change.</p> <p>Unlike poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism it affects everybody.</p> <p>Climate change is a ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down. Once the burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exceeds any given level, the climate it represents is gone for good.</p> <p>We normally respond to problems by doing our best. If that’s not enough we try again. The ticking clock means that the first attempt has to succeed. The essence is not what we must do but how quickly we must do it.</p> <p>Climate change is systemic risk with a deadline and without the option of a bailout.</p> <p>We need to make the global economy essentially carbon neutral in little more than a generation, and resilient to the climate change we cannot now avoid. That means aligning national choices, rooted in national politics, to build national economies that are carbon neutral and resilient.</p> <p>For diplomacy, this is an existential test. What is required is has some features in common with what we have accomplished at existential moments in the past. But the sheer effort it asks of us must match any we have ever summoned – and then some.</p> <p> <strong>How We Got Here</strong> </p> <p>Shortly before the Earth Summit in 1992 a tense conversation took place. A senior State Department official telephoned Michael Howard, Margaret Thatcher’s Environment Secretary. He tried to reopen an earlier understanding reached with the US by Howard’s predecessor Michael Heseltine. In a forensically argued defence that became legendary with officials, Howard held the line. The understanding stood.</p> <p>At stake was the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was duly agreed at Rio. It had many fathers but those involved certainly felt that Michael Howard’s tenacity had kept the US on board.</p> <p>Under the Convention, industrialised countries aimed to “return their emissions……to 1990 levels”. Despite this non-binding commitment, their actual emissions kept rising. But that possibility had at least been anticipated.</p> <p>The Convention requires Parties to review from time to time the adequacy of their commitments against the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. In 1995, the first such review gave rise to the so-called Berlin Mandate, launching negotiations on a new set of commitments. That concluded in 1997 with agreement on the Kyoto Protocol, which put binding caps on emissions from industrialised countries.</p> <p>But no treaty is stronger than the political foundation beneath it, and Kyoto’s was fragile. All along there had been tensions: over the level of ambition; the division of effort between rich and poor countries; how binding the promises made should be; and whether they should be based on outputs – emission caps across the economy – or inputs, in the form of pledged policy commitments. Ironically it was the US that persuaded Europe to go for binding caps.</p> <p>The tensions originated in national politics. Indeed in the US, by 1997 the Gingrich revolution had completely altered the political context. A resolution passed by the Senate shortly before the Protocol was concluded made it look unlikely that it would secure the 67 votes in that Chamber needed for ratification. As Kyoto was being born, some, especially in the US, were already rushing to write its obituary.</p> <p>In 2001 the new Bush Administration announced that it would not ask the Senate to ratify the Protocol. If Russia too defaulted, Kyoto would indeed be dead. Uncertainty over Kyoto’s fate became a diplomatic black hole, sucking the life out of all attempts to move forward, beyond 2012 when the first cycle of Kyoto caps expires.</p> <p>Russia’s decision in 2004 to ratify, a product of informal diplomacy, pulled us out of the gravitational field, and opened the way for the push to Copenhagen.</p> <p>There followed a series of moves, many initiated by the UK, to build political momentum.</p> <p>In 2005, an international conference in Exeter got the growing alarm of scientists onto front pages. The Gleneagles G8 Summit made climate an issue for leaders. The Stern Review in 2006 made it an economic issue. Margaret Beckett’s debate in the UN Security Council in 2007 made it a security issue. Some tried to prevent that debate, but many of the world’s poorest countries were impatient to testify to the insecurity they were by now feeling as a result of climate-related stresses.</p> <p>The EU’s adoption that year under German Presidency of binding targets for 2020 without waiting for a new agreement challenged others to move from “after you” to “follow me”. And climate change clearly mattered to the new US President, elected the following year.</p> <p>As Copenhagen approached, the limits of the possible really did seem to be stretching. The major economies agreed to try to keep climate change within 2ºC. Many governments made new national pledges.</p> <p> <strong>So what went wrong?</strong> </p> <p>As William Hague has said Copenhagen was a failure of will not of process. Too many saw the risk to growth and jobs of promising too much as more dangerous than an inconclusive Summit. Too few saw climate change as an urgent threat to national interests.</p> <p>Thanks to outstanding Mexican diplomacy, Cancun got the train back on track. Chris Huhne played a key role in persuading participants to set aside their most intractable differences to be dealt with later. That allowed progress elsewhere, and a cathartic healing of Copenhagen wounds. The global conversation at the heart of the climate project, though still frail, remained alive.</p> <p> <strong>Where We Are</strong> </p> <p>Standing on top of our word mountain, what have we got; what has changed on the way up; what have we learned?</p> <p>We aim to avoid a danger threshold of 2ºC.  Our national carbon pledges now have the authority of the UN. But they would in aggregate carry us closer to 4ºC than 2ºC.<br><br>The difference matters. Below 2ºC, there is thought to be a lower risk of passing tipping points that could trigger self-amplifying climate instability. The risk is much greater that the first such tipping points lie somewhere between 2 and 4ºC. So we will need to make full use of the new adequacy review agreed at Cancun.</p> <p>The pledges are also non-binding. They are held in limbo by a triple lock. The US will not make more contractual promises than China, which will not be internationally bound at least without greater domestic ambition from the US. Many of the most vulnerable countries, as well as Europe, insist on a binding regime.</p> <p>We are building frameworks to help developing countries deal with climate risk, deploy low carbon technologies and keep forests standing. Developed countries have promised to mobilise $100 bn annually by 2020 for these frameworks.</p> <p>This whole architecture will operate in the open, with transparency rules to ensure that commitments are seen to be met.</p> <p>Real progress, yes. But between the transformational promise and its fulfilment like Augustine the world still hesitates – we still hesitate. We have started to will the ends but not yet the means. Yes, but not now.  Yes, but not us.</p> <p>And times have changed.</p> <p>True, science now tells us climate change is a more dangerous and urgent threat than we first thought. Experience supports this. Countries on the edge, from Australia to Bolivia, Cuba to Pakistan are being hit by the kind of damage the climate models warned about. New studies, like the one published last week on the floods in the UK of the year 2000, are detecting ever more clearly the human fingerprint in extreme weather events.</p> <p>But 20 years ago, the future seemed ours to shape. The iron curtain had opened reuniting a continent in freedom. Globalisation promised a new wave of affluence.</p> <p>Now, at least in the OECD, we are anxious, as we try to convalesce from the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Cheap energy is gone and rising oil prices threaten the recovery. Jobs, pensions, savings and living standards feel less secure. Terrorism casts a shadow. Politics is less trusted.</p> <p>True, the emerging economies quickly regained momentum, pulling us all forward. But that momentum also locks in carbon emissions and drives up resource prices.</p> <p>So two decades on there is more reason to act. But decisive action requires confidence and there is less of that around. Expanding the limits of the possible is a tougher ask than it was when the barriers at so many checkpoints in the landscape of possibility had just been swept away.</p> <p>There are lessons to learn.</p> <p>First, science is no longer enough. The science-driven climate project achieved a lot. But Copenhagen was its apogee.  Science alone cannot take us further. As Tom Burke tells us, we now need a politics-driven climate project.</p> <p>Second, climate security is imperative for prosperity, security and equity; for food, water, and energy security; for the open global economy, cooperation and the international rule of law. This is not just another environmental issue. We were wrong to treat it as one and must stop doing so.</p> <p>Third, systemic risks must be neutralised before they trigger systemic crises. The economic theory that guides our decisions undervalues resilience. The compass it gives us is not fit for purpose.</p> <p>Tunisians first came onto the streets in protest at high food prices, driven up by climatically-intensified supply shocks. Climate change is a stress multiplier. It is hard to imagine a more effective engine than our interconnected insecurities over climate, food, water and energy for driving angry young people onto the streets of crowded cities. It cannot be switched off in a high carbon economy.</p> <p>So the fourth lesson is that this is a today problem not a tomorrow problem. Politically it is about us not our grandchildren. We need to begin the heavy lifting now: not only because we have to if we want to avoid those tipping points, but also because climate change seems increasingly to be biting hard already.</p> <p> <strong>The Choice</strong> </p> <p>Our efforts so far have made little impression in the one place that really matters, in the real economy. Low carbon capital flows remain small compared with the investment flowing into the high carbon economy, locking in emissions for the lifetime of each new car, building or power station.</p> <p>There can only be one test of the choice we now face. Will it divert the river of capital quickly enough to keep us within 2°C?</p> <p>We need to send a signal so strong, so convincing, that it aligns countless individual choices. It has to be a global signal, made through the UN, to give us the common purpose we need, and to make our response feel unstoppable.</p> <p>There are only two approaches.</p> <p>There is bottom up. National commitments come together in a package, updated from time to time in a process of “pledge and review”. The commitments can be reflected in national legislation. But laws drive action more predictably in some countries than others. The regime is not internationally binding.</p> <p>A politically binding promise is easier to make than a legally binding one. That is because it is easier to break if keeping it becomes politically difficult.</p> <p>People can see through the phrase “politically binding”. It conveys no inevitability. It is a weak signal. It says: “we will make the easy choices, but will probably shy away from the difficult ones.</p> <p>The other model also includes bottom up pledges. But there is in addition a top down action-forcing mechanism.</p> <p>Parties hold themselves accountable under international law for keeping their promises, and for tightening them in accordance with the 2°C goal. This says: “we accept we cannot control the clock; but we know we need to move at the pace it sets and shall do so”.</p> <p>Neither model is currently capable of securing consensus. In any case, we should address the question of what is necessary before asking what is more likely to be negotiable in current circumstances.</p> <p>It is simply not credible to argue that bottom up alone offers what we need. Only a binding regime can create a force field strong enough to align those countless choices. Only a binding regime can convince those whose capital allocation decisions shape the economy that a high carbon business model will expose them to greater risk and hit their returns harder than betting now on low carbon; that governments in other words are serious; that these promises will be kept even if the going gets rough.</p> <p>A leading investor in British infrastructure recently told me that his company would not invest in our low carbon transition. He admired our ambition, but the politics would get too difficult and we wouldn’t stay the course. We will. But our policies will fail if investors don’t believe us.</p> <p>All commitments need not be equally binding immediately. It just needs to be clear that the regime will revolve around an expanding set of binding emission caps across the whole economy, compatible with the 2ºC threshold, with more countries coming in as they become more prosperous.</p> <p>Kyoto embodies this. The essence of Kyoto is its binding caps not its distinction between developed and developing countries. Abandoning Kyoto now would be seen as giving up on top down. Many would see it as giving up altogether. But there is plenty of scope over successive cycles for newly prosperous economies to take caps.</p> <p> <strong>Only Diplomacy</strong> </p> <p>To bind or not to bind. Right now we seem trapped between the necessary and the merely impossible.</p> <p>But there is a way out. Law is an output from politics not an input. We must establish the political conditions necessary to support the climate treaty we need.</p> <p>That is a job for foreign policy. It is not about the negotiations themselves and cannot be done inside the negotiations. It is not primarily about international climate policy. It is about national debates on security, prosperity and equity, and how climate change speaks to them.</p> <p>Most foreign policy elites have yet to embrace and act on this. It would not be harsh to call that a failure of diplomacy.</p> <p>Diplomats have focussed more on what can be accomplished within the negotiations themselves, as if a global negotiation could drive national politics. But as we found at Copenhagen and accepted at Cancun, if there is no alignment of purpose no negotiated text can bridge the gap. The diplomacy we now need must build that alignment.</p> <p>Diplomats have done this kind of thing before.  </p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats on either side helped build a shared imperative that operated across frontiers like a political force field, organising entire societies and, yes, legitimising countless individual choices. That is what we need to do now.</p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats like George Kennan forged doctrines that made sense of those choices. The climate project will fail without a doctrine of climate security, which we do not yet have.</p> <p>In the Cold War, because failure was unthinkable, the effort was served not limited by economics. The climate project too needs that overriding clarity of purpose. But this time there is only one side and we are all on it, and the effort will actually support the economy by getting us off the oil hook and easing the resource stresses that now threaten us.</p> <p>Now as then, technology is the key. Then it was missiles we hoped never to fire, to avoid Mutually Assured Destruction. Now we need Mutually Assured Construction of the infrastructure for a low carbon world.</p> <p>Again we must summon shared will between nations, through a collective reappraisal of national interests to take account of an existential threat and to drive a challenging but available response.</p> <p>Diplomats engaged existentially with the Cold War, and we now need to do so on climate change.</p> <p>We need to make the low carbon economy feel more like an opportunity; climate risk feel more threatening; a binding treaty feel more necessary and achievable.</p> <p>There is more debate around the world now about where future growth will come from than there has been for a generation. That is a consequence of the economic crisis and the realisation that we are moving from abundance to scarcity.</p> <p>So the first task for diplomats is to ensure that the answer to the growth question, in all the major economies, is low carbon growth.  </p> <p>That’s why David Miliband got us working with China on low carbon growth and why we welcomed China’s decision last year to establish low carbon economic zones encompassing 350 million people.</p> <p>Without climate security, we will lose control of food, water and energy security.</p> <p>So the second task for diplomats is to build a shared doctrine of climate risk. This needs to animate those in all countries to whom leaders turn for advice on what is necessary to ensure national security. This must establish 2ºC as an imperative.</p> <p>That’s why my colleague Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is working with security elites in many countries to build a shared approach to climate security, and why with partners we now want to bring this issue back to the UN Security Council.</p> <p>As in any political landscape there is a tension between those who want to go faster, and those who do not: the forces of high and low ambition. Out of this tension come the mandates that officials take to the climate negotiations.</p> <p>The third task for diplomats is to strengthen the forces of high ambition everywhere so that negotiators will have mandates that allow them to make promises that are more ambitious, more binding.</p> <p>There is only one way to do that. It is not to lecture others on their interests, but to do ourselves what we want others to do: to say again, “follow me”. Diplomats need to make the foreign policy case for higher ambition at home.</p> <p>Renewal</p> <p>This calls for a renewal not just of climate diplomacy but of diplomacy itself.</p> <p>I claimed earlier that climate change was an existential challenge for diplomats. In fact the true challenge comes from the underlying condition of which climate change is a manifestation.</p> <p>That condition is the unprecedented degree of interdependence that has come with globalisation. This is not a marginal adjustment to the context within which diplomacy is practiced – a kind of diplomatic externality. It forces us into a frame of reference that differs fundamentally from anything diplomats have experienced before.</p> <p>Interdependence confronts us with new problems, and makes familiar problems more acute. We need climate security, yes, but also resource security, financial and macroeconomic stability, and an open global economy. We need to neutralise the risks arising from global pandemics, state failure, mass displacement of people, international organised crime, and nuclear proliferation.</p> <p>These interconnected problems threaten the system conditions for security, prosperity, and equity in an interdependent world.  They can only be resolved by creating the political conditions for convergent responses across national and sectoral boundaries at a sufficient level of ambition.</p> <p>There are no hard power solutions to the problems of interdependence. But unless we can deploy soft power effectively against them, they will certainly give us hard power headaches. We must learn to use soft power as a precision instrument: not just as an attractor but to achieve specific political outcomes.</p> <p>Welcome to a world with no abroad.</p> <p>In such a world, the question for diplomats is no longer who has the most power. It does not matter how much power you have if you cannot use it to secure what you need. We need to ask how we can harness and direct the forces unleashed by interdependence. How can we bend into alignment the way nations see their interests when the system conditions we all need depend on it.</p> <p>That truly is our existential question. If we diplomats do not answer it, nobody else will: not our colleagues in Ministries for climate, energy, agriculture, development, trade, or even finance. Yes they can design policy regimes in the areas for which they have responsibility and expertise. But only we can push up the level of shared ambition that animates those regimes by connecting them to the political impulses and narratives of others. And if we do not do this, foreign policy itself will become ever less effective as the crises of unmanaged interdependence increasingly overwhelm our ability to cope.</p> <p>Through a renewal of diplomacy we can shape the destiny of the societies we serve. Through business as usual diplomacy we can allow events to shape it for us in a way that pleases noone (to borrow from Carlyle). It is our choice.</p> <p>Climate change is at the fulcrum of that choice. A successful response to climate change will ease many of the other stresses and make interdependence easier to deal with. But if we fail, climate change will multiply those stresses to the point where the system conditions will not hold.</p> <p>The British Foreign Office has invested more than any other Foreign Ministry in the kind of climate diplomacy I have described, working alongside and in complementarity with our colleagues in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Our experience is not only helping to establish more favourable political conditions for success on climate. It is also telling us a lot about how to renew our profession. As a senior colleague recently put it, what we are doing on climate is a model for 21st century diplomatic excellence.</p> <p>It is teaching us that if we want others to act we must do so ourselves. William Hague has urged that foreign policy flow through the veins of domestic departments. That means domestic policy must flow through our veins too. It becomes our responsibility to shape policy in areas previously regarded as exclusively domestic.</p> <p>We must get better at dealing in language and narrative as well as policy. Narrative gives meaning to policy. It binds coalitions. The forces of low ambition on climate have used it skilfully. You cannot deal with climate change if you cannot talk about it.</p> <p>We must get better at engaging beyond governments. That means using network diplomacy to understand the perspectives of businesses, the media, NGO’s, academics, faith communities, and to build alliances with them.</p> <p>We must distinguish more clearly between process and outcomes. We diplomats revel in process. But we must use it rigorously to change conditions in the real world. There are too many communiqués that nobody reads except those who negotiated them.</p> <p>Never ask “what can we agree?” before asking “what needs to be agreed?” If there is a gap, focus on the political conditions not just the text. Get ahead of the event horizon. Ask where the politics need to be not at the end of the current crisis or the next conference, but over a political cycle. Invest now in new impulses that might change the game in five years.</p> <p>My profession is full of outstanding people: talented, brave, dedicated to public service, even - though nobody wants to be accused of it - visionary. But seen from the outside, we can appear a somewhat tired elite, closed and set in our ways, complacent even, at risk of being overtaken by the complexities of interdependence.<br><br>I am sometimes asked why the British Foreign Office puts so much effort into climate change, consistently under 3 consecutive Foreign Secretaries.</p> <p>The security and prosperity of over 60 million British people depend on a successful global response to climate change. The taxpayer pays for the Foreign Office in order to maintain the external conditions for Britain’s security and prosperity. That makes it our core business to deploy to the fullest extent possible the assets of foreign policy in support of the shared effort on climate across a government that David Cameron is determined to make our greenest government ever.</p> <p>We do this, in other words, because it is our job. But we will only succeed in our job if you make it yours as well.<br></p> 2011-03-09 23:07:01 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=556158082 John Ashton Climate change: "A ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down" None 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>“This afternoon I want to talk to you about the challenges we face today on energy security and how taking a geopolitical perspective can help navigate government and business towards a stable supply of energy. This is a subject close to my heart and one that I have been engaging with since the 1980s when I was Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy under Margaret Thatcher.<br></p> <p>The energy challenge facing the world is how we balance meeting the increasing global demand for affordable and secure energy, while at the same time tackling climate change.  Maintaining a sufficient supply of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy is essential for global growth and development. With world energy consumption expected to double in the first 50 years of this century, with the majority outside of OECD countries; access to resources becoming ever more difficult; and climate change increasingly urgent, the energy challenge we face is complex and multi-faceted.</p> <p>Japan is a net importer of fossil fuels. The UK too is becoming more reliant on oil, gas and coal from overseas. We therefore share the pressures being exerted on world energy markets by the rapid growth of China and other emerging economies who are hungry for abundant and affordable energy. The importance of these countries will only grow – as both consumers and producers of conventional fuels and new technologies. Therefore engagement with them is essential.<br></p> <p>At the same time, access to existing and untapped resources is becoming more difficult. And much of the world’s energy infrastructure lies in severe environments such as the Arctic. Even where physical access is easier – such as in Iraq’s huge and fully-proven oil reserves – political and security risks add heavily to the challenges, and the costs.</p> <p>This new energy landscape requires a different, more agile diplomacy than in the past, to guarantee both our energy security and our wider safety. Energy issues are clearly both drivers of, and driven by, geopolitics. It is therefore right that energy policy is a high priority for our Foreign &amp; Commonwealth Office. We recognise that the UK needs to work bilaterally and multilaterally to address the opportunities and challenges that the international environment poses. The present Middle East political turmoil presents an acutely vivid picture of the dangers to conventional energy patterns. Like Europe, Japan draws substantial oil supplies from that region. We must do all we can to ensure  that legitimate aspirations for democracy and freedom are balanced with orderly political evolution in the countries and societies of the Middle East region, and to allow the peoples of the Arab world to work  out their future in a context of stability.</p> <p>Another key consideration around energy security is the threat of climate change. We have to recognise the dangerous impact of conventional fuels on the climate and look to a future of cleaner, more sustainable energy technologies.  The UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron has promised that our coalition government will be the greenest British government ever. I believe that our ambitions for energy security and greater climate security march together. If we lose sight of either of these goals we will sacrifice both.</p> 2011-03-29 00:05:02 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=556329982 Lord Howell The future energy challenge uk.org.publicwhip/lord/100308 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ)
<p> <strong>MR BELLINGHAM’S SPEECH ON PROSPERITY AND NIGERIA, LAGOS</strong> </p> <p> <strong>The UK Prosperity Agenda – growth, open markets and good governance</strong> </p> <p>Very pleased to be here at the Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence in Lagos, on my first visit to Nigeria as the UK’s Minister for Africa. Today, I want to talk about the UK’s Prosperity Agenda and what the UK aims to achieve in partnership with Africa, and specifically with Nigeria. I want to talk about how we will work together to achieve those aims, including improving access to markets and championing the governance reforms that go hand-in-hand with economic growth.</p> <p>Last December I set out this agenda in a speech at Lancaster house in London.  My key message was that we need to recognise the great opportunities available in Africa. Of course we want British businesses to make the most of the trade and investment opportunities on offer but more importantly we want African countries themselves to harvest the fruits. It is in all our interests to turn these opportunities into sustained growth. Nigeria is in a prime position to achieve this: according to latest figures the economy is projected to grow by 7.4% in 2011. With the right reforms and approach from government that growth can stimulate further opportunities for business and make a real difference to the lives of millions of Nigerians.</p> <p>The UK Government firmly believes that open and free trade is the way to increase global wealth. We have recently published a Trade and Investment White Paper that makes this case clear. In particular, it sets out our ambitions on the Doha Development Agenda, our commitment to ensure that developing countries can access trade finance, and our support for stronger African regional integration through the African Free Trade Initiative. <br></p> <p>But regional agreements can only go so far, which is why Doha is vitally important. The current Doha negotiations are potentially worth a staggering £110bn to the world economy annually. Remember that this round was based on the principle of ensuring that it wasn’t just the developed countries that would benefit: developing countries need to see real benefits too. So 2011 is a make or break year for Doha. All countries, including Nigeria, have a role to play in ensuring that we reach a conclusion that stands to benefit everyone.</p> <p> <br><strong>Where Nigeria fits in to the UK agenda</strong> </p> <p>These last few days I have been able to meet with many of Nigeria’s political leaders of all affiliations. One clear theme ran through those discussions: the strong will and resolve to develop a renewed partnership between the UK and Nigeria that builds prosperity for both our countries on the solid base of our long established friendship.</p> <p>And with good reason. We are partners on the global stage. The UK and Nigeria both sit on the Security Council of the United Nations this year and we have been working hard together in New York to address shared challenges to global stability. A telling recent example has been Cote d’Ivoire, where Nigeria has spoken with a strong voice to defend the principle of democratic succession.</p> <p>It is around such values and principles that our countries come together as members of the Commonwealth, to which the UK Government has pledged renewed attention and resources. We look forward to working with Nigeria at the Heads of Government meeting in Perth and beyond to reinvigorate this unique family of nations which promotes democratic values, development and prosperity.</p> <p>And Nigerians in diaspora play such a significant role within that family. In the UK, Nigerians are prominent in every sector of society; in law and medicine in sport and music– and in politics. Increasingly British Nigerians are re-investing in Nigeria. I want to encourage that enterprise, and deepen my own engagement; something I plan to do over the coming months.</p> <p>In my opening remarks I said I wanted to see British businesses making the most of opportunities in Africa. The potential here in Nigeria is huge. One of the world’s leading financial analysts at Goldman Sachs recently predicted that, with the right reforms, Nigeria would be the world’s fifteenth largest economy by 2050.  </p> <p>And Nigerians can make that happen. Nigeria’s population – the largest in Africa - is young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial.  I want to encourage British companies to forge partnerships with Nigeria, exporting their goods and expertise, in education, construction, financial services, and the energy sector to a willing partner. Some British companies are already here: Standard Chartered Bank, Diageo, PZ Cussons, JCB and many more have major investments in Nigeria, and that’s without mentioning the oil and gas industry. But there is scope for more.</p> <p> <strong>Nigerian progress on governance reform</strong> </p> <p>Here in Lagos, I am seeing that economic potential being realised hand-in-hand with improved governance. In my short time in this city, I have been struck by its size and strategic significance as well as its dynamism, energy and abundant optimism. I do not underestimate the challenges for those charged with the responsibility of running it and planning its future, given its rapid growth and the demands placed on the public services, environment and critical infrastructure.</p> <p>But it’s clear to me from my meetings how far the current  State Administration under Governor Fashola has brought the city in a relatively short time – and based primarily on tax revenues. Improved business-friendliness, including in security and infrastructure, are factors that make an impact internationally and will attract the attention of worldwide investors – as we have already seen in terms of record levels of commercial enquiries from the UK.</p> <p>Progressive policies make a genuine difference too. For example the openness to public-private partnerships, business-friendly tax regimes, and a clear commitment to accountability in public office all contribute towards growth. While some features of Lagos are unique –the size and productivity of its port and population - but what is happening here is raising the bar of accountability and performance for other States and cities too. The UK is excited about Lagos. We want to be a part of its future, as it grows in African and global importance.</p> <p>The reforms necessary to enable economic growth and attract investment are also being made at the national level. The UK applauds Central Bank Governor Sanusi’s drive to address the widespread financial malpractice that had threatened to undermine Nigeria's banking system.</p> <p>One of his first acts was to commission a sector-wide audit that exposed significant frailties and diminished capital bases across several banks: the latter the result of imprudent and sometimes improper lending. This has led to the removal, and in some cases prosecution, of eight CEOs.</p> <p>He has now established an Asset Management Company to soak up some of the sector's remaining bad debt and to encourage a return to private sector lending. International recognition has followed: Governor Sanusi was recently named Central Bank Governor of the Year for Sub-Saharan Africa by Emerging Markets Magazine. This is deserving recognition for the pace, quality and courage of reform that he has brought about.</p> <p>I know many of you here will agree that Nigeria’s power and energy sectors require both legislative reform and investment if they are to act as a force multiplier for the economy.  President Jonathan has recently expressed confidence that a new Petroleum Industry Bill may be passed before the end of the current legislative session in May. Bringing about a more coherent regulatory structure and improving transparency in the industry is greatly needed. At the same time, it’s important that any Bill encourages further necessary investment that will allow Nigeria to take full advantage of its natural resources in a sustainable, responsible way.</p> <p>The President has also made progress on improving domestic power supply a priority, launching a Power Road Map last summer. I am sure that British firms will be competing hard to bring their expertise to this ambitious project. We want to help keep the lights coming on all over Nigeria.</p> <p> <strong>The UK’s Prosperity plans in Nigeria</strong> </p> <p>For all the reasons I’ve mentioned today, the UK is committed to making our Prosperity agenda work here in Nigeria. There are two main strands to that: upping the tempo of our commercial engagement, and working with Nigeria on the reform programmes necessary to create the enabling environment for growth.</p> <p>On the first strand, my ambition- and I firmly believe we can achieve it- is to double bilateral trade by 2015. My visit here, during which I have taken the opportunity to talk with the leaders of the Nigerian business community, signals the start of a year of renewed commercial engagement by the British Government.</p> <p>Next month, I will speak at an event to promote British investment in Nigeria at Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium, and the next day we’ll hold another event at Old Trafford in Manchester. The Lord Mayor of the City of London will visit Nigeria later in the year and UK Trade and Investment will continue to drive forward their hugely successful work to introduce UK firms to the market.</p> <p>Let me provide you with an example of the work they do: UKTI has recently forged a link with Dun &amp; Bradstreet, the world’s foremost credit agency. One of the most difficult aspects of doing business in Nigeria, indeed around the world, is how to build trust between different companies; Nigeria has suffered as a result of a poor reputation. This provides a process so that UK companies can commission a D&amp;B report on any company that approaches them. The D&amp;B number is then valid worldwide and gives the company credibility. In reverse we encourage Nigerian companies to ensure validation by applying for a D&amp;B number. We are officially launching the process in March 2011.</p> <p>I’ve already spoken about the importance of Doha. The Prime Minister urged action to conclude the Doha Development round this year when he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. We’ll keep working on that too.</p> <p>But to reap the long term benefits of trade and investment, it is very important that the UK works with Nigeria on the second strand of the Prosperity agenda to promote good governance, including through economic and democratic reforms. These reforms will underpin sustainable growth for Nigeria.</p> <p>Our Department for International Development is already very active in Nigeria. Its programmes have raised incomes for farmers and are expanding access to financial services and creating jobs in targeted sectors. Advisory work on infrastructure and business is creating the conditions for more private sector investment and wealth creation.</p> <p>In recent weeks and months, events in Tunisia, Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire have renewed the world’s attention to the principles of democracy and self determination. The UK firmly supports democracy and believes that believe that individuals should be free to make choices about how their life is governed.</p> <p>We want to help embed Nigeria’s democratic structures and so are committed to working with Nigeria to deliver credible and peaceful elections in April.  We have worked with electoral experts, with civil society, with the judiciary, national assembly and the national electoral commission to help achieve that, and to build those institutions for the long term.</p> <p>In my meetings this week, I have urged Nigerian leaders to deliver the open and peaceful elections that they have promised, and that Nigerians deserve. That means campaigns free from inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech, and zero tolerance for any attempts to manipulate the outcome. Our Prime Minister, our Foreign Secretary and the Commonwealth Secretariat who visited this country in recent weeks have all given the same messages over the last six months. It is now time for Nigeria’s leaders to make good on their promises. The world is watching.</p> <p>We are convinced that well-run elections, in which Nigerians can credibly choose their new Government and elected representatives at all levels, represent the path to a prosperous and peaceful future. I can assure you that the UK, with partners in the international community, will do all we can to support that process.</p> <p>As I have said this morning, the UK’s prosperity agenda is about partnerships that build growth in our own countries and in the global economy. This week, I heard a Nigerian proverb that says “A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity.”  I am determined that today and in the future, the UK and Nigeria will sit down together. Thank you.</p> <p> <br></p> 2011-03-29 00:05:06 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=554538882 Henry Bellingham The UK Prosperity Agenda – growth, open markets and good governance uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 17 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lagos
<p>Chancellor Schüssel, Dr Tiroch, Governor Nowotny, Ambassador Christiani, your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.</p> <p>The first thing to say is that it is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to speak here on my first visit to Vienna as the British Minister for Europe.  And it is a rare pleasure to be the guest of three different institutions all at the same time.  So I’m glad to be part of what I still think of as the re-launch phase of the Austro-British Society – and my thanks go to Dr Tiroch, and to Ambassador Christiani, and all the Presidium of the Society who have worked so enthusiastically to bring the Austro-British Society back to life.</p> <p>And I’m honoured too to be a guest in these elegant surroundings at the heart of the Austrian National Bank. I understand that this building was originally intended as a place in which to print money, but it assumed its function as the Bank’s headquarters just at the point where, with the introduction of the Schilling, the key task was to break with the era of money printing and the crippling inflation that came with it.</p> <p>And last but not least I am grateful, Chancellor Schüssel, to you, and to the Austrian Foreign Policy and UN Association for co-hosting this event – and I salute your association’s role as a focal point for discussion and ideas about the broad European and global issues for which Vienna – with its place at the centre of Europe and as the location for so many international organisations– acts as an effective forum.</p> <p>Now of course there is nothing new about Vienna as a meeting point for international affairs.</p> <p>I’m a keen historian as well as politician and no historian can come to this city and be indifferent to buildings that still resonate with the echoes of the Vienna Congress whose 200th anniversary is now just a few years away.</p> <p>And I had a great treat this afternoon because the Ambassador generously squeezed 30 minutes out of my official diary after lunch and we went to the Staatsarchiv to see the original documents of the Congress of Vienna with the seals of all the leaders in place, Metternich at the head.  And of course the long list of European leaders who swept into town for that Congress is as familiar to many of you here in the audience as is, I suspect, the caustic summary of their roles quoted in Egon Friedell’s “Kulturgeschichte der Neuzeit”:</p> <p>“Der Kaiser von Russland liebt für alle; der König von Preußen denkt für alle; der König von Dänemark spricht für alle; der König von Bayern trinkt für alle; der König von Württemberg frisst für alle …. Und der Kaiser von Österreich zahlt für alle.“</p> <p>“The Tsar of Russia falls in love for everyone; the King of Prussia thinks for everyone, the King of Denmark speaks for everyone; the King of Bavaria drinks for everyone; the King of Württemberg eats for everyone … and the Emperor of Austria pays for everyone”</p> <p>Now I will leave it to the Austrian members of this audience to reflect on the value-for-money.  But I’d observe that there’s no role attributed at all to the British presence.  This may have been because the British monarch wasn’t there in person, but was represented by his Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh.  A portrait of whom I have hanging behind my desk at the Foreign Office now. Or perhaps it was because the British delegation was attracting attention in - how shall I put it - other ways.  A contemporary British historian, Adam Zamoyski, in a recent study of the Congress, quotes a contemporary diarist’s view that:</p> <p>“Everyone is complaining about the lack of breeding of the English and their ladies.  There is no kind of rudeness and gaucherie which they do not commit.”  </p> <p>And he continues with the disturbing comment:</p> <p>“The image of the British delegation was not improved by the behaviour of the British Ambassador.”</p> <p>I hope that, in that respect too, times have now changed.</p> <p>Fascinating though it is to recall the Congress and the way it reshaped the map of Europe, my focus tonight is on the future, not the past.  And it’s on our current shared efforts to set out and implement a vision for a Europe of strength and stability.</p> <p>It’s a future from which, once again, Vienna looks out on the world from a central position; from the perspective of a city for more than 40 years of the post war age confined at the eastern end of Western Europe.  But a city now, once again, at the centre of a united Europe, in a country at the heart of a region where the old barriers have come down and new opportunities have multiplied.</p> <p>And I will argue tonight that today’s Europe - notwithstanding the serious economic challenges we face – is above all a region of opportunity.  Above all, of opportunity for countries like Austria and Britain, whose economies rely heavily on export success and on an ambitious approach to investing in emerging markets.  </p> <p>For both our countries, the opportunity lies not in a European Union that is standing still, but from being part of a dynamic European Union that is on the move and which is active in exercising its transformational power.</p> <p>And it’s that dynamic, outward-looking aspect of the European Union that I want to talk about tonight. In particular, I want to set out Britain’s strong commitment to an ambitious agenda for enlargement, and not least to rebut two false propositions:</p> <p>The first, that the EU should set more modest enlargement aims. The phrase “pause after Croatia” is one too frequently heard -  that it should rather just concentrate on putting its own house in order; and</p> <p>Second, the charge that the UK supports enlargement only because it wants to overburden the EU and make it less successful.</p> <p>Now it will be no shock to you to hear me say that I believe that the EU has its faults, and my country, my Government is determined to work within the EU to improve those shortcomings. But those deficiencies need to be set in the balance against the truly historic achievement of establishing a model for a community of nations governing relations among themselves according to the rule of law. That is a model of political development that has enabled the EU through its policy of enlargement to entrench democracy, the rule of law and human rights in parts of our continent where those traditions were crushed for most of the 20th century.</p> <p>British support for enlargement goes back a long way. Margaret Thatcher is not normally thought of as an enthusiastic European. But in her famous Bruges speech she declared at a time when it was is not fashionable, nor even believable, that it was important for all to remember that Prague, and Warsaw and Budapest were also great European cities. And I was delighted when I went to the opening of the new headquarters of the Commission and the European Parliament in London recently, to be told that they included Mrs. Thatcher’s speech in their selection of great speeches on the subject of Europe made by British political leaders.</p> <p>And as Chancellor Schüssel said, I was working in the Foreign Office at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as Political Adviser to our then Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd. I remember watching the news bulletins and I remember each day receiving the telegrams from our Ambassadors reporting the changes that were sweeping across Central and Eastern Europe. And I remember the pivotal role played by Austria. The reports of Foreign Minister Alois Mock symbolically cutting through the border fence with his Hungarian counterpart  - an act that then paved the way for that Pan European picnic, came to be a significant milestone on the path to the reunification of Germany. And what I recall from that time was a real sense of the continent of Europe at last coming together again after the fracture of 1914, a division that had been made far worse and more deeply entrenched by the events of World War II and then the Cold War.</p> <p>I am not exaggerating if I say that this was probably the single most exciting and welcome set of international events in my lifetime. During this time of great change, the artificial political barriers between East and West in Europe were swept away. The peoples of East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Baltic States and others shared the values and the aspirations of their Western neighbours and they demanded the same democratic and political freedoms.</p> <p>When I compare the history of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 with that of the continent in the 1920’s and 30’s what is striking is that this time around freedom, democracy and the rule of law have been sustained and strengthened instead of being a passing illusion. The key to this was the magnet of attraction that is the EU, proving how effective and dynamic EU enlargement can be. Yes, there were experiments with democracy in Central and Eastern Europe after the First World War but for reasons that you will understand better than I, they did not take root and work. But it was different after 1989, because it was in the context of a European Union where vital support and encouragement was offered to those countries as aspirant member states. That is why we in Britain were and are so enthusiastic about enlargement, because it is a momentum that builds stability, security and prosperity across Europe.</p> <p>I believe it would be a profound mistake to let this momentum stall. We are a continent steeped in history, but we must not become mired in it. In a changing world, whose economic and political weight is swinging eastwards, the European Union will remain strong only if it is outward-looking and continues to grow. That is why we in Britain are strong supporters of the EU neighbourhood policy and believe that membership of the EU should be open for any European country that wants to join, and can meet the rigorous accession criteria.</p> <p>Today both Croatia and Iceland are well on track to meet those criteria and I know that both the UK and Austria look forward to welcoming them as member states in the near future. But tonight I want to consider the case for some prospective member states, whose accession is a little further down the line:</p> <p>When I speak of the fracture of Europe in 1914, it was of course in the Balkans that the first crack appeared with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Both Austria and the UK share the strong conviction that an active and activist EU has an essential role to play in the Western Balkans: promoting modern, reformed states and institutions, and entrenching stability there.</p> <p>We are unequivocal in our support for all the countries of the region achieving future membership of the European Union.  This is the vital strategic goal: shared security and prosperity built on a firm foundation of democracy and the rule of law. We want to see the Western Balkans back in Europe, extending stability and success to a part of the world where conflict is still an all too recent memory.</p> <p>To achieve this I believe that the governments of the Western Balkans need to display real political leadership and demonstrate that concrete steps are being taken to fulfil the membership criteria.  We are very clear that the region must meet these criteria. We will not countenance the criteria being adapted to the region.</p> <p>But we need to match their commitment by providing support, encouragement and technical assistance to the Western Balkans.  We have underlined that the European Union and the wider international community should sharpen its focus on the region, and pursue an active approach that will deliver results. </p> <p>So how do things stand? As you know the countries of the Western Balkans have made good progress, though problems remain. The European Union has a critical role to play in supporting the search for resolutions to these problems. It is fundamentally in our interest to have secure, prosperous neighbours and to help remove obstacles to these countries’ accession. We can help resolve disagreements between countries and promote necessary reforms within them.</p> <p>Take, for example, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we are urging political leaders to form new coalition governments quickly and with the EU reform agenda at the heart of their programmes. The UK believes that the EU will then need to take a proactive and further role in driving forward reform progress. And we see an equally important ongoing role for the EU and the wider international community in preserving stability and in upholding the Dayton agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.</p> <p>Or look at Serbia and Kosovo. We strongly support the dialogue facilitated by the EU between Belgrade and Pristina that is now beginning, and the opportunity which it offers to build a positive relationship that moves both countries, and I stress both countries, along their paths to EU membership. Last year’s work on a United Nations General Assembly resolution and the agreement to establish a dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo demonstrates how the EU can exert a stabilising and forward-looking influence in region.</p> <p>A third telling example is the internal situation in Albania where a co-ordinated European and international approach is crucial. </p> <p>Ambassador Lajcak has been instrumental in recent days in trying to calm a dangerous political crisis. We now need to urge Albania’s political leaders to resolve peacefully the long-standing political stalemate in that country and put Albania back on track to accession.</p> <p>I know that both Austria and Britain will continue to work within the EU to help all the countries of the Western Balkans to realise their potential as prospective member states. Indeed, the Western Balkans provides the key test of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.</p> <p>But now I’d like to make the case for another country of immense potential and test slightly more controversial waters by moving to discussion of Turkey.</p> <p>Clearly, Turkey is a hugely important partner for the European Union. It is a market full of opportunity for European business and a pivotal country in its reach and influence into the Middle East and the Islamic world.</p> <p>I think it is hard to challenge any of those propositions.  But clearly current EU member states find it harder to coalesce around a view that these facts add up to an argument for Turkey joining the European Union.</p> <p>We in Britain will continue to argue that they do: that membership for Turkey would enhance Europe’s economy, strengthen Europe’s influence and offer Europe the opportunity to extend and entrench democracy, human rights and the rule of law through modernising and reforming Turkey’s political and economic structures in harmony with European institutions and European values.</p> <p>Let me take these factors briefly in turn.</p> <p>The economics are plain: Turkey is already Europe’s 6th and the world's 16th largest economy. The OECD estimates that Turkey will be the third fastest growing country after just China and India by 2017. Turkish membership would play a major part in Europe’s long term prosperity. The European Union already has a Customs Union with Turkey and accession would resolve many of the current problems businesses are experiencing with that Agreement.</p> <p>Second, Turkish membership would make the EU a weightier actor on the global stage, increasing its influence in international relations. Turkey’s regional influence is considerable, for instance in the Balkans it has far greater leverage than many individual EU countries, and its position at the intersection of three areas of strategic importance, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus, would contribute significantly to the European Union’s growing security capabilities. Turkish membership could also make a real difference to tackling security and terrorism issues, helping to combat the radicalisation of Muslim communities within Europe and to reach out to the Islamic world.</p> <p>Today in North Africa and in the Middle East we hear the demand of a new generation for political reform, for the right to have their say in shaping the destinies of the countries in which they live. At such a time I would far rather the Islamic world, and particularly the young people of the Arab and the wider Muslim world, looked to Prime Minister Erdogan as their model political leader rather than to a Mr Ahmedinejad, and a Turkish voice in EU decision-making would give us far greater credibility in our dealings with our North African and Middle Eastern neighbours.</p> <p>And third, the path to European Union accession has prompted the most dramatic democratic reform process in Turkey in decades, with improvements in freedom of expression, human rights and rule of law. Turkey is on the move, its population is young, dynamic and forward-thinking - Turkey is now the world’s 4th largest Facebook network- we need to help it to continue in the right direction.</p> <p>I do not believe that these benefits can be fully captured if we are not prepared to focus on Turkish accession as something that – in time – really can and should happen. The British government believes that the European Union must work hard to keep Turkey’s accession on track. Of course, like all prospective members, Turkey must meet the accession criteria and take the difficult decisions to implement the reforms necessary to join, for example, by making the changes needed to meet the tough benchmark requirements to open Chapter 8 on competition.</p> <p>The most important obstacle on Turkey’s path to accession is of course the division of Cyprus. Divisions on the island are deeply entrenched. But it is important that we help the leaders of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots to show statesmanship and courage in the months ahead. The status quo in Cyprus is a profoundly unattractive option – everyone loses. In contrast, the rewards of a settlement would be enormous – political, economic and security benefits not only to all Cypriots, of both communities, but to Turkey itself, to the rest of the Europe, and to the entire eastern Mediterranean region. The UK is strongly committed to achieving a settlement and we will continue to support the UN and work closely with the parties involved.</p> <p>I’ve focused so far on a range of countries with which an accession negotiation is either under way or is at least in prospect in the near to medium term. But the European vision should not stop there. We should commit ourselves I believe, with renewed energy, to a European perspective for the countries of the Eastern Partnership.</p> <p>The EU should seize this opportunity to apply its transformational power over a still wider area, giving incentives for change, encouraging transparent and accountable practices in both business and government.  There is a lot at stake: we’ve seen what has happened in Belarus over the last two months; and I have seen for myself that in Ukraine in the last ten years there has been progress, but it is progress that we cannot take for granted.</p> <p>The Eastern Partnership can deliver these changes, and that is why the UK strongly supports it.  But I believe that Europe needs to change its rhetoric: if the Eastern Partnership is to achieve its potential, it needs to generate enthusiasm for participation amongst its partners.  Too many of them see it as an alternative to membership, and that is because we’re spending too much time telling each other that it is not an accession instrument.  It isn’t; that’s true. But nor is it, or should it be, a dead end for our partners in the East of Europe.  It can help them further along the path to an eventual membership application, if that is what they want.  We need to be open and welcoming about this.  Engage in our ambitious Eastern Partnership, embrace reform, commit yourselves to the acquis, and in due course you will be in a better position to apply for full membership and will be encouraged to do so. No-one should be under any illusion, this is not going to happen overnight, but we owe it to our partners and to ourselves to leave that door open. And when you talk to political leaders, most obviously at the moment in Moldova, you see that the appeal of the EU, the magnets that I referred to earlier, of EU membership, is what continues more than any other factor to drive forward support for both political and for economic reforms.</p> <p>That is the British vision of a dynamic, outward-looking Europe. I hope it is clear to you that we see this as a profoundly positive agenda; not a negative one. It is focussed on a shared strategic objective: a continent of Europe reunited, prosperous and confident on the world stage. So let me finish by returning to those two false propositions. To those who argue that we should be taking a more modest approach to enlargement, I counter that a bold enlargement programme plays to Europe’s strengths. The entrenchment of stability and democracy, the Single Market, the free movement of workers, the collective approach towards developing a low carbon economy – these great successes of the European Union are founded upon the principle that together the countries of Europe are greater than the sum of our parts. I believe that principle still stands. Of course the workings of the European Union can be improved, and we are determined to be actively engaged in doing so, but halting the momentum of enlargement is absolutely not the solution to Europe’s internal problems.</p> <p>And when pessimists and cynics suggest further enlargement would overburden the European Union, would grind it to a bureaucratic halt, I am reminded of a memorable line of the great Austrian writer and intellectual Robert Musil, who satirized the naysayers of artistic innovation with the words:</p> <p>Man möchte sich gern über den Fortschritt freuen, wenn er bloß ein Ende hätte.</p> <p>Let us not be short-sighted in seeking to place limits on the potential of the European Union. We have seen since 2004 that enlargement has extended the Single Market by an additional 104 million consumers. This has created greater trade and investment opportunities within Europe and made us more competitive in the global market. We need to continue along this path if we are to build and maintain a stable, prosperous European space.  Far from diluting or degrading the European Union, successful enlargement and neighbourhood policies are a testament to its enduring coherence and strength.  In Britain it is our recognition of the great benefits of belonging to the European Union that motivates us to champion extending those benefits to all countries in our continent who meet the accession criteria.</p> <p>Not many years from now we’ll be looking back on the role Vienna played 200 years ago in setting out a vision for a new Europe.  Two centuries on, I look forward to Britain and Austria working together again to realise our shared outward-looking ambition for a modern and successful Europe.  </p> 2011-03-29 00:05:07 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=551942282 David Lidington EU enlargement - a UK perspective uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 15 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Vienna
<p>It is a pleasure to be here at the Munich Security Conference and to share a platform with two such distinguished speakers. It is one of the first principles of security that you must look ahead to anticipate the evolution of future threats, even during times of austerity, which is why I would like to speak today on the subject of cyber security.</p> <p>Cyberspace is changing the way we view and conduct foreign policy as well as transforming our everyday lives.</p> <p>The political upheaval in Egypt is a recent example. The Egyptian government tried to shut down the internet and mobile phone networks and broadcasters like Al Jazeera.  The CEO of Vodafone called me just before to discuss the attempt made yesterday by the Egyptian authorities to send messages to all their supporters via the Vodafone network.  Twitter and Google created a ‘speak-to-tweet service’ so that Egyptian citizens could circumvent government controls. And NGOs like Amnesty International sent live updates about casualties via Twitter. There are also reports of authorities in third countries blocking internet searches for the words “Egypt” and “Cairo”.</p> <p>The internet, with its incredible connective power, has created opportunity on a vast and growing scale; unlocking economic potential, revolutionising access to information and requiring democratic governments to be more transparent.</p> <p>It has transformed traditional notions of hierarchy and authority.</p> <p>It blurs geographical boundaries, allowing people on opposite sides of the world to communicate at the speed of light and to organise themselves around a sense of anger or common identity. As a colleague of mine Lord Howell has written, “for better or worse we are destined to be all connected, rich and poor, developed and developing, benign and malign, small and mighty”.  </p> <p>But there is a darker side to cyberspace that arises from our dependence on it.</p> <p>We rely on computer networks for the water in our taps, the electricity in our kitchens, the ‘sat navs’ in our cars, the running of trains, the storing of our medical records, the availability of food in our supermarkets and the flow of money into high street cash machines.</p> <p>Many government services are now delivered via the internet, as is education in many classrooms. In the UK 70% of younger internet users bank online and two thirds of all adults shop on the internet. This is not a phenomenon confined to any one part of the world. In less than 15 years the number of web users has exploded from 16 million in 1995 to more than 1.7 billion today, more than half of whom are in developing countries. By 2015, it is said that there will be more interconnected devices on the planet than humans.</p> <p>Along with its numerous benefits, cyberspace has created new means of repression, enabling undemocratic governments to violate the human rights of their citizens.</p> <p>It has opened up new channels for hostile governments to probe our defences and attempt to steal our confidential information or intellectual property.</p> <p>It has promoted fears of future ‘cyber war’.</p> <p>It has enabled terrorist networks to plan atrocities, flood internet chat rooms with their ideology and prey on the vulnerable from thousands of miles away.</p> <p>And it provides rich pickings for criminals. On-line criminals steal the identities of ordinary citizens. They empty bank-accounts, extort money from firms and defraud government departments, and cost the global economy as much as $1 trillion annually.</p> <p>The threat</p> <p>The intelligence reports I see as Foreign Secretary show that just one criminal computer programme can harvest over thirty gigabytes of stolen passwords and credit card details from over a hundred countries in a matter of days, causing millions of pounds worth of fraud. Over 40,000 pieces of sensitive information and financial data are traded on the online black market every day, amounting to 13.2 million criminal transactions every year.</p> <p>Government systems are being targeted too. ZEUS is a well-known piece of malware that attempts to steal banking information and other personal details. In late December a spoofed email purporting to be from the White House was sent to a large number of international recipients who were directed to click on a link that then downloaded a variant of ZEUS. The UK Government was targeted in this attack and a large number of emails bypassed some of our filters. Our experts were able to clear up the infection, but more sophisticated attacks such as these are becoming more common.</p> <p>Last year the national security interests of the UK were targeted in a deliberate attack on our defence industry. A malicious file posing as a report on a nuclear Trident missile was sent to a defence contractor by someone masquerading as an employee of another defence contractor. Good protective security meant that the email was detected and blocked, but its purpose was undoubtedly to steal information relating to our most sensitive defence projects.  </p> <p>And last month three of my staff were sent an email, apparently from a British colleague outside the FCO, working on their region. The email claimed to be about a forthcoming visit to the region and looked quite innocent. In fact it was from a hostile state intelligence agency and contained computer code embedded in the attached document that would have attacked their machine. Luckily, our systems identified it and stopped it from ever reaching my staff.</p> <p>We have excellent defences and protective security is a fundamental part of cyber security. But these are the kinds of threat we are now facing every day, and our concept of what it means to be ‘secure’ must adapt in response.</p> <p>Defences at home</p> <p>As a new Government we have moved quickly to counter these threats.</p> <p>We have produced a new National Security Strategy which ranks cyber attack and cyber crime in our top five highest priority risks.</p> <p>We have provided £650 million of new funding for a national cyber-security programme, which will improve our capabilities in cyber-space and pull together government efforts.</p> <p>We have established a new Ministerial Group on cyber security which I chair.</p> <p>And we have boosted the UK’s cyber capabilities with the establishment of a new Defence Cyber Operations Group, incorporating cyber security into the mainstream of our defence planning and operation.</p> <p>Cyber space presents new opportunities to those who seek to act against us, but it also gives us new means of protecting our interests. We are working with the private sector, to ensure secure and resilient critical infrastructure and the strong skills base needed to seize the economic opportunities of cyber space, and to raise awareness of online threats among members of the public.</p> <p>Need for agreed international norms in cyberspace</p> <p>But being global, cyber threats also call for a collective response.</p> <p>In Britain we believe that the time has come to start seeking international agreement about norms in cyberspace.  </p> <p>Cyber-security is on the agendas of some thirty multilateral organisations, from the UN to the OCSE and the G8. NATO’s Lisbon Summit in November launched a new programme to defend NATO’s communication systems from cyber attack. But much of this debate is fragmented and lacks focus.  </p> <p>We believe there is a need for a more comprehensive, structured dialogue to begin to build consensus among like-minded countries and to lay the basis for agreement on a set of standards on how countries should act in cyberspace. How this dialogue is organised is up for discussion.  But we need to get the ball rolling faster.</p> <p>To this end, the UK is prepared to host an international conference later this year to discuss norms of acceptable behaviour in cyber-space, bringing countries together to explore mechanisms for giving such standards real political and diplomatic weight.</p> <p>We do not underestimate the difficulties ahead. Many countries do not share our view of the positive impact of the internet, and others are actively working against us in a hostile manner.</p> <p>However as liberal democracies we also have a compelling interest in supporting democratic ideals in cyberspace, and working to convince others of this vision.  When we talk about defending ourselves against cyber threats, we also mean the threat against individual rights to freedom of expression that is posed by states blocking internet communications. The free flow of ideas and information is an essential underpinning of liberty. The UK is determined to be at the forefront of efforts to safeguard freedom of expression on the internet, working with industry and likeminded governments.</p> <p>So in Britain’s view, seven principles should underpin future international norms about the use of cyberspace:  </p> <p>·         The need for governments to act proportionately in cyberspace and in accordance with national and international law;</p> <p>·         The need for everyone to have the ability – in terms of skills, technology, confidence and opportunity – to access cyberspace;</p> <p>·         The need for users of cyberspace to show tolerance and respect for diversity of language, culture and ideas;</p> <p>·         Ensuring that cyberspace remains open to innovation and the free flow of ideas, information and expression;</p> <p>·         The need to respect individual rights of privacy and to provide proper protection to intellectual property;</p> <p>·         The need for us all to work collectively to tackle the threat from criminals acting online;</p> <p>·         And the promotion of a competitive environment which ensures a fair return on investment in network, services and content.  </p> <p>We are open to the ideas of others and we have already begun to discuss cyber with our allies in Washington, Paris, Berlin, Canberra and elsewhere.  We must widen the debate over the coming year. We have a major opportunity to promote the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime, which the UK will look to do when we chair the Council of Europe from November. Here, as in every debate about how to fashion collective responses to the security challenges of our time, Britain is ready to play its part.</p> 2011-03-29 00:05:09 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=545383882 William Hague Security and freedom in the cyber age - seeking the rules of the road uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 04 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be able to address the distinguished range of speakers and guests here at the annual Oslo Energy Forum. Following on from an interesting panel discussion, I’d like to talk about the crucial role gas can play to address the acute energy challenge facing the world.</p> <p>There is no doubt that for the UK gas will continue to play a crucial role. In 1981 1% of power generation came from gas. We have heard today that this figure has rose to 47%. This is the trend.</p> <p>The energy challenge is how to balance meeting the increasing global demand for affordable and secure energy – mostly outside of OECD countries - while simultaneously tackling climate change. Maintaining a sufficient supply of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy is essential for global growth and development. With world energy consumption expected to double in the first half of this century; access to resources becoming ever more difficult; and climate change becomingly increasingly urgent, the energy challenge we face is complex and many sided.</p> <p>We must also remain aware of the short term volatility and the ever present interplay between energy issues and geo-politics. We look today at unfolding events in Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Iraq and they will all have an effect on energy security.</p> <p>But though the challenge is great, the creativity and dynamism of our energy industry is greater. The British government is dedicated to ensuring that we develop the technologies and capabilities necessary to meet our future energy and climate needs. In last month’s UK-Norway Prime Ministerial Joint Statement of Priorities we underlined our commitment to developing new and sustainable energy technologies.</p> <p> <strong>New technologies increasing gas supply</strong> <br></p> <p>New technologies are revolutionising the way the world views energy reserves. Unconventional sources are being unlocked like never before, and unconventional gas reserve estimates are rising rapidly. Previously non-viable deposits of coal bed methane, and unconventional tight and shale gas, are now being made accessible through technological advances, especially in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.</p> <p>North America is a demonstration of the unconventional gas revolution. Five years ago the US was a net importer; now the US is a gas independent and even an exporter of gas. Today, total US gas reserves are estimated to be able to meet between 50 to 100 years of US demand.</p> <p>These developments represent not just a success story for the United States, but for the world. There is potential to produce unconventional gas in Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, Australasia, Africa, South America – in fact on every continent. And it is not just potential: we are already starting to see wider development outside the US, especially in Australia. Although uncertainties and obstacles remain, the IEA estimates that unidentified or undeveloped unconventional gas could extend the world’s gas reserves by as much as two hundred years.</p> <p> <strong>Increasing gas demand and LNG</strong> </p> <p>But the story of natural gas is not a future built simply on supply side technology improvements. It is a future being built on fundamental changes in the dynamics of global demand. The number of nations importing LNG has more than doubled over the last decade and trade is evolving from traditional A to B movement to multi-point, multi-basin delivery. As gas becomes a more tradable commodity, supplies should become more reliable and costs fall. The importance of natural gas in the world’s energy mix only stands to rise with this change in the market dynamic.</p> <p> <strong>The role of gas in tackling climate change</strong> <br></p> <p>Some have speculated that western governments’ ambition to tackle dangerous climate is incongruent with their commitment to meeting the energy challenge. This is a mistake. In the shorter and indeed the medium term, as we transition to a low carbon economy, natural gas is likely to become increasingly prominent in the energy mix. Gas is the cleanest fossil fuel under traditional generation. It generates 50% less carbon per kilowatt hour than coal, and generates a mere fraction of its nitrogen dioxide emissions. Moving towards gas provides a realistic pathway to achieving major greenhouse emission reductions. As western governments continue to feel the aftershocks of the global economic slowdown, in the shorter term many economies will increasingly turn to natural gas in order to meet their international climate obligations.</p> <p> <strong>Carbon capture and storage</strong> </p> <p>With the addition of Carbon Capture and Storage to gas generation, we are offered the possibility of natural gas becoming a permanent feature of the low carbon future. Gas power stations fitted with CCS see a 90% net reduction in CO2 emissions.</p> <p>The individual elements of CCS technology are available today. Transport, capture, reinjection, and underground storage are all immediately deployable. But to succeed we need to prove their economic viability on a commercial scale to producers and consumers alike. Therefore demonstration projects are crucial. The United Kingdom is working closely with Norway to develop and demonstrate CCS technology. The Mongstad project in Norway is an excellent illustration of this. We would urge all countries, particularly gas producers, to invest in developing this technology.</p> <p>In the UK we are already looking at the impact of new gas developments on our own predictions for future energy mix. As our gas production from the North Sea declines, we expect our dependence on imported gas to increase from around 30% now to 50% by 2020.  </p> <p>Governments can support the development of CCS not only through demonstration projects, but also by introducing energy policies that price in the true cost of carbon. The European Union is helping to shape – politically and intellectually – the conversation about climate and energy. Both as the European Union, and as the UK, we will continue to work closely with Norway on this.  </p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong> </p> <p>Ladies and gentleman. I have briefly outlined the energy challenge facing the world. I believe natural gas will play a crucial role in offering the solution, a stepping stone to the more distant future. New technologies have fundamentally redefined how we view our gas reserves and supply, and will fundamentally impact the world’s energy mix. The world’s obligation to tackle climate change means a world that increasingly demands natural gas, and if CCS works, a world which will demand natural gas for decades to come. This could allow gas to be even more than a bridge or a stepping stone to a low carbon future, but to be part of the destination also.</p> <p>Thank you for your attention.<br></p> 2011-03-29 00:05:11 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=546139382 Lord Howell "Reflections on natural gas and the future of energy" uk.org.publicwhip/lord/100308 03 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Norway
<p>I am delighted to be back in Australia as Foreign Secretary of Britain’s new coalition government. I am grateful to the Lowy Institute for the opportunity to speak here on the subject of the Commonwealth in a networked world.</p> <p>It is a rare sight to see a British Foreign Secretary in Australia, or in New Zealand where I go tomorrow. In fact, I am the first to visit either country in nearly 20 years. Millions of British visitors have made their way here in that time – quite a few of them on a one-way ticket it has to be said - but not a single serving Foreign Secretary. We came to government convinced that this was a glaring omission in Britain’s foreign policy, and I am very pleased to be able to put it right within our first year in office.</p> <p>I am also glad to be able to express in person Britain’s deep sympathy and support for the Australian people after the terrible flooding in Queensland. Our hearts go out to you, and have been lit up by the courageous fortitude with which you have faced this national calamity.  I visited Brisbane this morning with your Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. The devastation was overwhelming, but it was no match for the courage, tenacity and sheer resilience of the people I met. We will help in any way we can, as a sincere friend.</p> <p>Another function of good friends is to keep us grounded, as I have been reminded very recently by Kevin Rudd himself. I doubt that many of you will have missed the fact that this month England succeeded in retaining the Ashes and winning a Test series on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years.<br>This was so unusual that Kevin actually contacted me about it on Twitter. He posted a message to his followers asking for advice about handling the delicate diplomatic encounter posed by my visit.</p> <p>He need not have worried.</p> <p>‘<em>Ask how their World Cup Bid went</em>’ was one crushing reply.</p> <p>Another said ‘<em>remind him of our medal tally in the Commonwealth Games</em>’.</p> <p>I’ll skip lightly over other jibes about our weather and comparisons between white sand and chilly pebble beaches, to the wit who suggested that the Ashes were a ‘<em>present to England for Prince William and Kate’s upcoming wedding</em>’.</p> <p>With the World Cup in New Zealand later this year and the Olympic Games in London in 2012, we have many epic sporting contests to come.<br>For the truth is that not only are you Australians hard to beat, you are hard to keep down.</p> <p>One of my favourite Australia stories is about the Bushranger Matthew Brady, which I owe to your great historian Robert Hughes. Brady was declared a wanted man in 1824 by the local British Governor, who put a price on his head and plastered bills around town demanding his capture. Brady’s response was to post a ‘wanted’ bill of his own, saying that he was greatly concerned that a dangerous Governor was at large and he would give twenty gallons of rum to any person who captured him. That fearlessness is one of the qualities that most springs to mind when any of us in Britain think of Australia.</p> <p>I also relish the story of the enterprising duo who came to Australia in 1794, and who made up for their lack of business experience by having the foresight to bring the first encyclopaedia to the continent. Given that the journey to Australia took nearly a year back then, they would have had plenty of time to study it. History relates that they started by looking up the entry under ‘beer’ and making some of that. Then they progressed to ‘soap’, before culminating with ‘ship’, and building a trading vessel from scratch. Coming from a great beer-producing region of the United Kingdom, North Yorkshire, I find the order that they tackled their projects immensely cheering. Perhaps they intended to fall back on the consolations of beer if they failed further along the line.</p> <p>I am here in Australia with my Defence Secretary colleague Liam Fox to represent Britain at the Australia-UK Ministerial Dialogue, with a new Government on both the British and Australian sides. We have had intensive discussions about the most pressing issues in international affairs, including counter-terrorism, cyber security, nuclear proliferation, Afghanistan and climate change.</p> <p>Few other nations work so closely and instinctively together in foreign affairs as we do. When diplomacy fails, we fight together on the battlefield and on the high seas, as we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the Gulf of Aden, and our intelligence services work side by side every day. In all these areas our partnership with Australia is one of our greatest assets in world affairs already.</p> <p>But my visit is also the product of a decisive change in the foreign policy of the United Kingdom.</p> <p>We are consciously shifting Britain’s diplomatic weight to the East and to the South; to the economic titans and emerging economies of Latin America, the Gulf and of Asia, where we have not been as active in recent years as circumstances warranted. These are the markets of the future, and as the old club of so-called developed nations gives way to a wider circle of international decision-making, they may also come to hold the balance of influence in international affairs.</p> <p>We are not turning away from Europe or from our indispensable alliance with the United States. America will remain our single closest ally and we will be an active and activist member of the European Union.  We will support its enlargement, the effective use of its collective weight in the world, the strengthening of its single market, and proposals to promote economic growth.</p> <p>But at the same time we must pursue a distinctive British foreign policy that is aligned with Britain’s other national interests and geared to our security and prosperity. This requires Britain to look East as never before, to new sources of opportunity and prosperity and for solutions to threats to our security.<br>Furthermore, one of the defining characteristics of the new global environment is its networked nature. Today influence rests on a whole range of shifting economic and political connections between states, which have multiple ties and networks of their own – more akin to a “facebook” of international relations than to the rigid relationships of the past. Your Foreign Minister describes Australia’s response to this world as “creative diplomacy”. Our response in Britain is to say that we must avoid the strategic shrinkage of our international influence. We cannot allow our diplomatic presence in the world to wither, as it has done in some regions in the recent past. And we must ensure that Britain is fully connected to new economic and diplomatic networks, including by playing a leading role in the G20 and working to unlock the potential in the Commonwealth.</p> <p>Because of the networked world, we will also pay much greater attention than previous governments to nurturing essential alliances and friendships, and to building new ones.</p> <p>Strong bilateral relationships underpin our economy, our influence in world affairs and our ability to protect our security. They enable us to be more effective in multilateral bodies – whether it is the EU, the G20 or the UN Security Council.  For it is a striking fact that while the world is becoming more multilateral, bilateral relations between states remain as important as ever. Tip O’Neill famously said that ‘all politics is local’. I would argue that, ultimately, all foreign policy is bilateral. Multilateral bodies enable agreements which have the legitimacy and credibility of broad international agreement, and are a vital part of British diplomacy. But the decisions they reach are the product of a myriad of bilateral relations between them, and require effective bilateral diplomacy as well.</p> <p>So we do not subscribe to the view that Britain has to choose between Europe or the United States or the Commonwealth, or to static notions of Britain as a ‘bridge’ between different parts of the globe. Instead our foreign policy has to become more expeditionary and agile. In our short time in office we have already begun a new initiative to strengthen our ties with the countries of the Gulf; we have brought a halt to Britain’s diplomatic retreat in Latin America; we have put new emphasis on our relations with Japan and with Turkey; we have agreed with China that we are partners for growth; we have sought an intensified special relationship with India, and we are thinking seriously about ways to work with Australia and others to reinvigorate the Commonwealth.<br>This is the backdrop to my visit.</p> <p>We count ourselves fortunate to have such a staunch friend and ally in Australia, as well as an economic partner of the first order. Our relationship is based on common interests and mutual respect, as well as powerful living ties of history, sentiment, ideals, common traditions and yes, healthy rivalry. We feel these bonds every time that misfortune strikes one or another of us, as it struck Queensland this month or indeed New Zealand in the Pike River mining disaster. In Britain we also feel an immense pride and gratitude when Commonwealth citizens serving in our Armed Forces are recognised for their bravery and outstanding service. Time and again, Australia has come to the aid of our citizens in trouble, whether in the aftermath of the Bali bombings in 2002, or more recently in Laos. Where we can, we return the favour – not because of any treaty, but because of the deep ties that bind our two countries. These bonds should not be taken for granted, or neglected.  Under our Government Britain will look more to Australia, and indeed to New Zealand, than our predecessors did - and I myself look forward to visiting again later this year.</p> <p>But while we are proud of the history and the sacrifices and achievements that bind us, the strongest and most productive period in our relations should lie ahead of us, not in the past. Our ambition is to reconnect with Australia and to open a new era in our bilateral relations.</p> <p>I am talking about the future, but there is probably just one thing worth saying about the past, which has at times cast a shadow over UK-Australia relations. The early history of modern Australia is also the history of Britain’s democratic development. European settlement of Australia began at a time when you could still be hanged in Britain for “impersonating an Egyptian” or cutting down a landowner’s ornamental shrub, when only one in ten British men had the vote and women had no vote at all, and when the failings of our own society were sometimes projected overseas with cruel effect. In the twentieth century, the difficult years around UK entry to European Union are also still relatively fresh; when many in Australia felt that Britain had turned its back on an old friend and on the Commonwealth as a whole. But we should not be prisoners of any of that history, which is as far removed from contemporary realities as night from day.</p> <p>The networked world opens whole new opportunities for our relationship: for our companies to collaborate and use each other’s economies as springboards for access to new markets; to work together to tackle poverty, and when we choose to combine our diplomacy and intelligence efforts. In the G20 and at the UN, we are more effective when working together.</p> <p>You are a dynamic and growing economy and a key member of the new and rising networks in Asia, which is a nerve centre of new economic activity. You are a major player in a region of great importance to our collective security, with powerful links with China and the economies.</p> <p>We are home to the world’s largest foreign exchange market, its biggest insurance market and one of the two largest centres in the world for fund management and international legal services. We are at the heart of the world’s largest single market, ranked the easiest place in Europe to do business and the number one location for European headquarters. More than 330,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year and many Australian companies already use Britain as a springboard into the European market. By 2014 we aim to establish the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20, making the UK still more attractive as a destination for business.</p> <p>In the EU, we are the leading voice for free trade and against the throttling currents of protectionism. Like Australia we are a great trading nation, the 6th largest exporter in the world.  Trade has driven our growth throughout our history. We will support EU Free Trade Agreements with Canada, India and Singapore among others, just as we are at the forefront of those calling for the EU to introduce temporary tariff waivers for Pakistan in the aftermath of their terrible floods last year. The conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda this year is the UK’s number one trade priority, and we will be a staunch advocate of the lowering of barriers to trade in the G20.</p> <p>And finally the UK and Australia are also equal partners in one of the most enduring networks in the world, the Commonwealth.</p> <p>This year Australia will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, which we see as a great opportunity for the Commonwealth to assert and renew itself as a force for democracy and prosperity, and to speak out clearly on the issues of our time.</p> <p>In preparing this speech I looked back at the FCO archives and found a paper from 1973 which said “so much has been written about the Commonwealth that it is almost impossible to say anything new”. This was momentarily discouraging.</p> <p>But in reality the Commonwealth’s unique character as a network is only now becoming apparent, in ways which could not have been anticipated when its eight founding members declared themselves “united as free and equal members, freely cooperating in the pursuit of peace, liberty and progress” in 1949.</p> <p>Today it is a growing organisation of fifty-four countries, spanning every continent and containing a quarter of the world’s governments and every major world religion. 800 million Hindus, 500 million Muslims and 400 million Christians live in the Commonwealth. It contains India, one of the world’s most populous countries, and Nauru, one of its smallest. This diversity within democracy is the Commonwealth’s unique attribute.</p> <p>I firmly believe that membership of the Commonwealth makes a difference to all its members, large and small – whether they are most concerned with accessing development support and technical assistance, or looking for new opportunities for trade.</p> <p>In a world in which democracy and human rights are under assault in many quarters, the Commonwealth stands against oppression, racism and religious intolerance, giving it the potential for real moral authority as an international organisation if it is prepared to seek such a role. It is not a club of the West, but a free association of equal members from all over the globe. Its achievements are often unsung – from helping to bring an end to the monstrous injustice of apartheid to aiding Sierra Leone in its return to stability. It has brokered agreements between troubled neighbours in Africa, helped calm tensions during contested elections in fragile democracies, and advised small states in international negotiations and at the UN.</p> <p>In this period of transition in world affairs, greater cooperation among the member states of the Commonwealth and more effective action to promote the values that bind us and that ultimately make us secure, are prizes worth striving for.</p> <p>But if this is still not enough to persuade the sceptics of the value of the Commonwealth, there is a growing economic dimension to its success.</p> <p>First, over $3 trillion in trade happens every year within the Commonwealth. Its combined GDP nearly doubled between 1990 and 2009. By 2015, its share of world GDP as a whole is forecast to have grown by 15% in 35 years. It contains several of the world’s fastest growing economies that will shape the global economy of the future, including India, South Africa, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore, and five members of the G20. The middle class in the Commonwealth has expanded by nearly one billion people in the last two decades, and it contains 31% of global population as a whole, representing a huge and growing consumer market.</p> <p>Second, the relative importance of intra-Commonwealth trade has increased significantly over time. Over the last two decades the importance of Commonwealth members to each other as sources of imports has grown by a quarter, and by a third as destinations for exports. More than half of Commonwealth countries now export over a quarter of their total exports to other Commonwealth members.</p> <p>And third, the Commonwealth also gives us ready-made links to other networks which can benefit all its members. For example, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia link us to ASEAN and make up a quarter of its entire GDP, while Canada is the third largest economy in the Commonwealth and an important gateway to the USA for many countries, and Britain is a gateway into the EU. Forty four of the G77 countries are members of the Commonwealth, as are thirty-eight of the Non Aligned Movement, nineteen of the African Union, twelve of the Caribbean Community and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, ten of the Pacific Island Forum, and seven of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. There is huge scope for our partnerships within the Commonwealth to help us all to compete in these markets.</p> <p>So the Commonwealth’s connections, economic success and commitment to free trade and democracy have the potential to contribute significantly to the prosperity of its members. In Britain we hope the Commonwealth will become a leading voice in the global economy, working to liberalise trade, break down barriers for international business, resist protectionism and contribute to the Doha Development Agenda. We congratulate Australia on its decision to host the Commonwealth Business Forum alongside CHOGM in Perth, and for drawing attention to these opportunities.</p> <p>We would also like to see the Commonwealth assert an even greater role in development, conflict prevention and building democratic institutions in the coming years. One third of the Commonwealth’s two billion people still live on less than one dollar a day. For many of its members, the Commonwealth’s support in development is one of its most important functions. We are already doing our part to help, and development aid to Commonwealth countries is a substantial part of Britain’s aid programme. We see scope for an even greater Commonwealth role in fragile states. For example, we hope to see the Commonwealth in a position to offer real assistance to the Zimbabwe of the future, which when freed from the grip of the past will be in dire need of help with its shattered institutions.</p> <p>But therein lies a real choice for the Commonwealth.</p> <p>Will it make the leap necessary to live up to its ideals fully, make a greater contribution to its citizens and have a bigger impact on world affairs, or will it continue to tread softly?</p> <p>To what extent will it be prepared to speak out as an organisation against those who violate the principles of democracy and human rights? And can the Commonwealth expect to live up to the hopes and expectations of its young people and remain relevant as an organisation unless it does so, without sliding into irrelevance in their eyes?</p> <p>Will its governments seize the opportunities of the networked world to increase the prosperity of all its citizens, expanding trade and cooperation in new and innovative ways and playing a greater role in world economic affairs?</p> <p>These profound questions about the future need to be answered consensually since the Commonwealth belongs to all its members, but in Britain we hope that the Commonwealth will make this leap and adopt the reforms necessary to make these hopes a reality.</p> <p>We welcome the work of the Eminent Persons Group which is preparing recommendations on the future of the Commonwealth, and has an excellent Australian representative Justice Michael Kirby. We hope that this will trigger a proper debate about the future role of the organisation, and how we connect with the aspirations and expectations of our citizens and make the most of the immense potential this organisation has.</p> <p>So we welcome the leadership your government has shown in the run up to this pivotal CHOGM which could redefine our Commonwealth.  Australia has a unique contribution to make to the future of the Commonwealth, as one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world. You invented the secret ballot, gave women the vote decades before we did in Britain, and introduced freedom of information in 1982, many years before it was introduced in the UK. It is one of the features of thriving democracies that the debate about democracy never ceases, and in fact our own Government has begun a programme to bring about comprehensive renewal of our political system. The process of learning from other countries is never complete, and applies to the oldest as well as the newest members of the Commonwealth. We also welcome your leadership over Fiji, and we share your hope that the day will come soon when conditions in that country allow it to take its place around the Commonwealth table once more.</p> <p>For my part and in line with the approach I have described, I am strongly committed to ensuring that our traditional friendships within the Commonwealth are strengthened and nurtured.  They are built on generations or indeed centuries of ties between peoples.</p> <p>As British Foreign Secretary one means I have to strengthen and develop those links is the Chevening scholarship programme for international postgraduate students hoping to study in the UK. I have decided that from this year a greater proportion of our scholarships will go to support students from Commonwealth countries.</p> <p>These then are our hopes: to reinvigorate the Commonwealth for the benefit of all its current and future members and in support of democracy, human rights, prosperity and free trade, and to enjoy even more thriving ties with Australia in foreign policy, security and in trade.</p> <p>The 1971 valedictory telegram of one of our High Commissioners to Australia had this reflection on our relations. He wrote that our “old relationship was predominantly a family one, and had that quality of boredom with which such relationships are too often attended.  Each side took the other for granted. But even then, he could observe that the “relationship has evolved into something quite different: a consciousness of the strong common interest existing between mature and independent equals”. Over time that feeling between our nations has only grown. Now, we hope, is the time for those interests and that understanding to come into their own, so that within the Commonwealth, in our economic relations, and in our common endeavours for international peace and security, the best days in our relationship will be yet to come.</p> <p> </p> 2011-03-29 00:05:13 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=536723182 William Hague The Commonwealth in a networked world uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 19 January 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lowy Institute for International Policy
<p>I am delighted by the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience here in Hong Kong, the financial heart of Asia. I have been a frequent visitor here in the past, as I have been to the Chinese mainland, but it is a pleasure to return now as Foreign Secretary of Britain’s coalition government.<br><br>Hong Kong’s economy is on a roll. It continues to be a highly attractive place to do business. As one of the world’s leading global financial centres and host to 70 of the world’s 100 largest banks alone, it is a shining example of Asian success and the opportunities this region has to offer. The Heritage Foundation last week again rated it the freest economy in the world – for the seventeenth time. Its independent judiciary is robust.  Its civil service is a model. Moves last year towards more representative elections were welcome.  Debate is vigorous. You have shown that “one country two systems” is working.</p> <p>For some it may be counter-intuitive that a Foreign Secretary would come to address a financial forum. But the choice is very deliberate. We know that foreign policy and economic success go hand in hand. It is one of the tasks of British foreign policy to advocate Britain as a home for business and investment and to contribute to our economy. This comes on top of all our necessary work to reduce conflict, alleviate poverty and avert threats to the flows of trade and people on which all our economies depend. It is essential for British citizens, at a time of economic difficulty, that we strain every sinew make every effort, in foreign policy to support their jobs and livelihoods as well as to maintain their security.</p> <p>We also know that as economic weight and political influence shifts to many of the countries of the East and the South, British diplomacy has to shift its weight accordingly. Many of these countries are also the same ones that we need to work with in multilateral organisations and in matters of security, so there is a double imperative for this shift in emphasis. Successful international cooperation to tackle climate change, prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and stem international terrorism all require intensive exchanges with partners in Asia, and this is a major component of our stronger ties with the emerging economies in this region.</p> <p>One of the missions of the Foreign Office I lead is to make the new connections that help support British-based businesses as they seek out opportunity in these countries, as well as advance other British interests. So in our first nine months as a new British Government we have started a new wide-ranging initiative to broaden our ties with the Gulf States in diplomacy, defence, trade, culture, education and health; we have called an end to Britain’s retreat from Latin America, we have set out to reinvigorate our ties with Japan; we have called for a new Special Relationship with India and we have launched a new partnership for growth with China. After I leave Hong Kong on this visit, I will be the First British Foreign Secretary to visit Australia and New Zealand in nearly twenty years.</p> <p>We have appointed an excellent new Minister devoted solely to promoting UK trade and investment, Lord Stephen Green. As ex-Group Chairman of HSBC, he needs little introduction to you.  And of course we have taken the tough decisions in the UK needed to get a grip of our nation’s finance and set it on the path to recovery and growth. We are hardwiring a commercial focus into our foreign policy so that we become more agile in cultivating the relationships that Britain needs to prosper well into the future.<br></p> <p>We will work hard to support British businesses as they look East to the opportunities in Asia, while urging companies and governments in Asia to continue to look West to Britain as a natural home for trade and investment and for access into European markets. And as a third strand, we will also work with our partners in Asia and around the world on reform of the international financial system, removing international barriers to free trade and promoting low carbon growth. So this is the approach you can expect from the Government of Britain; reinvigorating bilateral ties, investing in relationships in the emerging markets, championing the UK and working to strengthen the international system.</p> <p> <strong>Importance of Asia</strong> </p> <p>There can be no doubt of the importance of Asian markets. By 2030 Asian consumers are forecast to spend around $32 trillion annually, comprising about 43% of worldwide consumption. Asia’s strong and sustained growth has acted as a linchpin for global trade during the global economic downturn.  Japan and China represent the two largest world markets for luxury goods, a vital industry for the UK.  Asia continues to lead the global recovery.</p> <p>So the economic compass of British businesses should be pointing firmly East, and indeed many are already doing so. This region played host to over £84 billion of the stock of outward foreign investment from the UK.  Last year, a £10 billion increase on the previous year and 8% of all British overseas investment. UK exports of goods to the region last year amounted to £22 billion.  This represents around 10% of the UK’s total export revenue, while the UK also ranks alongside Germany as the largest European investor in China.  Even so, a report card for the UK’s trade relationship with Asia would read ‘good but could do better’ and we are ambitious for what we can achieve in the future.<br></p> <p>A particular focus of our diplomatic efforts must be on China. <br></p> <p>Last November our Prime Minister led the UK’s largest ever trade delegation to Beijing, leading to tangible benefits for business on both sides.  Among these were the launch of a new $500 million UK-China investment fund, announcement of the first UK Chinese banking joint venture and agreement by Rolls Royce to supply £750 million worth of aircraft engines to China Eastern. Last week the Vice Premier of China was in London for a highly successful visit during which deals worth £2.6 billion were signed, including a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to sales of 40,000 vehicles this year.  Agreement too was reached between BP and the China National Offshore Oil to conduct deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.<br></p> <p>We have also agreed with the Chinese senior leadership that the UK and China are 'Partners for Growth'. Our economies are becoming increasingly complementary, and we have a strong shared interest in making the most of our bilateral trade and investment relationship, keeping our markets open to each other and working together to make the case globally for free trade.</p> <p> <strong>What Britain has to offer</strong> </p> <p>For the UK has much to offer and there are many reasons why Asia’s entrepreneurs and investors should cast their gaze to Britain, while our companies look East. Our unrivalled concentration of capital and capabilities in London and our other financial centres means that more overseas financial institutions and investors choose to do business in, and with, the UK than any other country. We are one of the world’s most open economies, a launch pad into Europe and the home of the world’s number one international financial centre.<br></p> <p>The UK is also home to the world’s biggest insurance market, and one of the two largest centres in the world for fund management and international legal services.  The World Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit and OECD have all found the UK to be the easiest place to do business in Europe, with the strongest business environment on the continent and the lowest barriers to entrepreneurship in the world.  As a result more than a 1/3 of a million  new companies are registered in the UK every year. By 2014, we also aim to establish the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7, making the UK even more attractive as a destination for business. </p> <p>London is soon to be home to the biggest dedicated court in the world.  Scheduled for opening close to the Royal Courts of Justice, the new business court will provide a dedicated centre for international business legal cases. We know we have strong bonds and cooperation with other legal jurisdictions in Asia and look forward to working with you as this facility opens. Like Hong Kong, the UK has a well founded reputation for nurturing its skills base, meaning that the UK also possess both the services and skills to respond to the needs of emerging markets.</p> <p>We are already the location of choice for companies’ European headquarters, a position that we are keen to retain. London is home to offices, branches or headquarters of almost every major international bank and financial institution in the world. The UK’s regional city centres also remain an integral part of the UK’s package, contributing to its depth and diversity.  We continue to draw in foreign investments attracting over 1 ½ thousand new investments in the last financial year.</p> <p>For example the UK enjoys an enviable position as one of the largest recipients of Chinese investment in Europe.</p> <p> <strong>Risks and rewards of a networked world</strong> </p> <p>The complexity of the world’s modern economic and financial systems has led to record levels of interdependence between economies. Global trade volumes have grown to five times their 1980 level. In that same period, the global stock of Foreign Direct Investment has grown almost 10 fold. Global banking assets held overseas have risen from around 20% of global GDP to around 60%. London is the hub of that system, with more cross border lending originating there than in any other city. <br></p> <p>In order to reap the benefits of our networked financial world- afforded by the instant communication and ease of transfer of goods, currency and services- we must continue to work together to ensure that we adequately regulate the international financial system, open up markets and develop low carbon growth.<br></p> <p>Regulation is not about stifling international commerce but making sure that the global financial system works for all and supports the growth of trade and industry. We wish to remove barriers to trade and are staunchly anti-protectionist. That is why we are lobbying international partners to conclude the Doha round this year, which would boost to the global economy in these difficult times; adding $170 billion to the global economy each year. <br></p> <p> <strong>Low carbon growth</strong> </p> <p>Just as our economic fortunes are tied together by international financial systems, so too are they linked by the direct and indirect consequences of climate change. While individual weather events can rarely be linked with certainty to climate change, climate change models tell us that extreme weather events, including floods, droughts and heat waves, are likely to become more common as the world warms.  <br></p> <p>Low carbon investment not only mitigates against the threats posed by climate change but also provides potential for profitable investment in fast growing markets. <br></p> <p>We are committed to creating a Green Investment Bank to enable businesses to obtain the finance they need for green growth. Some of our Asian partners are doing the same with South Korea basing its next stage of economic development on a five year green growth plan and China’s investing more than anyone else in clean energy in recent times. The financial sector has an important role to play in allocating investment to sustain low carbon growth in Asia.</p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong> </p> <p>There are clear reasons for British and Asian business to seek one another out as business partners of the future. Asia and the UK both have significant legacies as historical international traders. History teaches us that where trade and industry is concerned, those who look ahead to foresee changing and emerging prospects and to act upon them, are the ones that prosper. This is a process of evolution and change which comes naturally to successful businesses, and one which we know Governments must emulate. It is our strong hope and belief in the British government that the UK and Asia can prosper together in this way in the years to come.<br></p> 2011-03-29 00:05:17 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=535455782 William Hague Asia and Britain - Partners from East to West uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 17 January 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hong Kong
<p><strong>4.30 pm</strong> <br><br><strong>Joseph Johnson (Orpington) (Con):</strong> I am grateful for the chance to hold this debate, which will be the last in Westminster Hall this year. I am indebted to the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr MacShane) for sparing time in the pre-Christmas rush to be here, as well as to the Minister for indulging my interest in the subject in a conversation in the Tea Room a fortnight ago, during which he suggested that I apply for this debate. I hope he is not now regretting that I was successful in the ballot.<br><br>The subject is undeniably topical. Anybody doubting the transformational impact of the internet on diplomacy need look only at how the dissemination of hundreds of thousands of sensitive US diplomatic cables through the WikiLeaks website is rocking Governments throughout the world. That was why I entered the ballot, because I wanted to see whether I could draw some preliminary lessons from the WikiLeaks affair. Before I turn to WikiLeaks directly, however, I want to point out that the internet presents opportunities for, as well as threats to, our diplomats. New internet tools have extended the reach of our ideas by circumventing politically motivated censorship and enabling citizens living in oppressive regimes to exercise their rights of free expression, if unfortunately only on a stop-go basis.<br><br>The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, like many other diplomatic services, has developed a substantial "digital diplomacy" initiative in recent years. A more web-savvy FCO has our diplomats blogging and tweeting away as they make Britain's case in an informal way with audiences around the world. The FCO is also experimenting with intensive online campaigns, notably its Nuclear 2010 campaign in support of UK objectives for the review of the non-proliferation treaty, the campaign to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the campaign to shape global opinion during the London G20 summit. However, there is no easy-to-download app for every diplomatic challenge the UK faces. Adapting to new technologies is never easy for big organisations.<br>Recent events have shown how easily the same internet technologies can usher in as many diplomatic disasters as breakthroughs. The fateful decision in June 2010 of a former US army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, to give some 260,000 US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, the website dedicated to publishing confidential material, has been a wake-up call to foreign services around the world. I would like to reflect on some of the lessons that we might learn from the recent experience, which I believe marks a watershed in the relationship between diplomacy and the internet.<br><br>It is three weeks since The Guardian, along with four other news organisations- The New York Times, El País, Le Monde and Der Spiegel-began publishing extracts from the cables that Julian Assange had directly or indirectly made available in the first instance just to them. As yet, they have neither dumped the entire dataset into the public domain, nor published names that would endanger innocent individuals. I believe they have so far acted in a responsible manner. I have spoken to other newspaper editors who said they would have behaved in exactly the same way. I fundamentally disagree with Senator Joseph Lieberman, who accused The New York Times of "at the very least an act of bad citizenship".<br><strong> <br>21 Dec 2010 : Column 438WH</strong> <br><br><strong>Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab):</strong> I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the language of both Senator Lieberman and my friend Vice-President Joe Biden, who described Assange as a terrorist. None the less, the names were given of three senior Thai officials animadverting on the sexual and other behaviours of the Crown Prince. If a courtier in Buckingham Palace did that, presumably not an awful lot would happen to him, but I am not so sure about Thailand, so I do not think the hon. Gentleman is right to say that all the revelations are harmless. In the Kremlin, Putin's people have said that they now know the names of some of these people and they will be taking action. I would be quaking in my boots thanks to The Guardian and Assange because of some of the names put on the web.<br><br><strong>Joseph Johnson:</strong> It is regrettable if people have been put in a position that makes them vulnerable to reprisals. I was not aware of the instance to which the right hon. Gentleman refers or of the fact that Putin had said that he was in a position to take action. I suspect that part of that may be bluff. Perhaps he wishes that he knew who was responsible.<br><br>Foreign policy in this country and in many democracies that are otherwise healthy is fundamentally and woefully underscrutinised. In Britain, for example, a Prime Minister can sign international treaties and take a country to war without a vote in Parliament. Foreign Office questions in Parliament come round only once every five sitting weeks. The culture of bipartisanship and the parochial nature of domestic politics stifle scrutiny of foreign policy making, but WikiLeaks is starting to change some of that. We can see that millions of people around the world, many of them in countries that have been denied a free media, have glimpsed truths about their rulers and Governments that had previously been hidden from them or that they had merely suspected. The Guardian is right to claim that the cables have revealed "wrongdoing, war crimes, corruption, hypocrisy, greed, espionage, double-dealing and the cynical exercise of power on a wondrous scale."<br><br>The fact that there has been public interest in an airing of these documents-or a large majority of them-is beyond question. We have learned from the revelations, among thousands of other things, that Saudi Arabia and other Arab Governments sided with Israel in urging the US to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb; that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN leadership, demanding e-mail addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers, credit card details and frequent flyer numbers; that there could be a shift in relations between China and North Korea, with suggestions that Beijing might not intervene if the reclusive regime in Pyongyang collapsed; that there are concerns over Pakistan's growing instability, the security of its nuclear weapons and suspicions that the Inter-Services Intelligence is backing the Taliban in the war in Afghanistan; that there are suspicions of corruption in the Afghan Government, with one cable alleging that Vice-President Zia Massoud was carrying $52 million in cash when he was stopped during a visit to the UAE; that Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations, with one cable describing the country as a "virtual mafia state"; that there is a close relationship between Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, which is causing intense US suspicion; and that US commanders, the<br> <br><strong>21 Dec 2010 : Column 439WH</strong> <br><br>Afghan President and local officials in Helmand have privately been critical of the UK's military operations in Afghanistan.<br><br>Those are just a few of the highlights that have been picked up and republished by thousands of newspapers and all other forms of media organisations all over the world. There will be more to come, but what is clear is that there is massive global interest in this extraordinary deluge of information. That is not because Assange and the "information-must-be-free" brigade at WikiLeaks have given these documents a global circulation, but because thousands of editors at hundreds of media organisations in dozens of countries throughout the world have all judged that there is a compelling public interest justifying publication.<br><br>It is possible to start drawing some lessons from the WikiLeaks saga. Just as the Supreme Court ruled in the Pentagon papers case more than three decades ago, it is, first and foremost, for Governments to protect their own secrets. It is not the job of the media to do so, unless there is a compelling national security reason to hold back from publication. The WikiLeaks affair has reignited the debate about where the line should be drawn between the right to a free press and freedom of speech, and the interests of national security. It has intensified what is an eternal and essentially unresolvable conflict. On the one hand, we defend and demand freedom of expression and the ideal of a free press but, on the other hand, we accept the limits to those freedoms in the interests of national security.<br><br>Those at the freedom-of-expression end of the debate have hailed Assange as a hero for revealing double-dealing and hypocrisy around the world. He is called the new Jason Bourne by Jemima Khan, the Ned Kelly of the cyber age by members of the press in Australia, and a libertine 007 by those who note his fondness for martinis. They point out that people living in countries with repressive Governments who lack a free media have a great hunger to read what their rulers have been saying and that we deny them that right at our peril.<br><br>To such people, it must appear hypocritical for the US to argue that the internet can be a force for transparent and democratic Government, and for accountability and democracy around the world, and then to condemn as "nihilists" those who use internet technology to allow greater scrutiny of US foreign policy making. I have considerable sympathy for that line of argument-what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.<br><br>I have not been persuaded by those on the national security side of the argument who have accused the WikiLeaks founder of being an information or info-tech "terrorist", to use the word cited by Vice-President Biden, which was mentioned earlier by the right hon. Member for Rotherham, and of putting the lives of civilians and troops in danger. Thus far, as I said earlier, I think that the redaction of names and other sensitive information by The Guardian and the four other media organisations entrusted with the cables has been extremely diligent and painstaking. Of course, any broader distribution of the cables beyond this core group of responsible media organisations might considerably increase the risks to individuals named, especially if standards of care drop. For the moment, however, I am yet to be <br><strong> <br>21 Dec 2010 : Column 440WH</strong> <br><br>convinced that the release of the cables will increase the vulnerability of the US to attack, as has been rather melodramatically suggested.<br><br>I also take with a pinch of salt the way in which US diplomats have been touring TV studios invoking the sanctity of diplomatic communications, as per the Vienna convention on consular relations. That international treaty was signed in 1963 by 172 countries. Among other things, it guarantees the inviolability of the diplomatic bag and other communications from embassies back to their home countries. I am sceptical, first, because it is states that are signatories to that convention, rather than media organisations, and, secondly, because of the revelation in the leaked cables that the US seems to use staff in some of its embassies as part of a global espionage network tasked with obtaining not only information from the people whom those staff meet, but a wealth of personal details, including even DNA material.<br><br>A second lesson is that it would be dismaying if there were now to be an attempt in the US to prosecute Julian Assange for his role in publishing the documents. I say that because I think that such an attempt would conflate the role of the media with that of espionage, which in turn would have a chilling effect on investigative journalism, the purpose of which is to unearth "what they don't want you to know". It would be one thing if Julian Assange had encouraged, helped or conspired with Bradley Manning to leak the material, but Assange claims-and there is no reason at this point to disbelieve him-never to have even heard the informant's name until he read it in an article in Wired magazine that mentioned Manning's arrest. I am no lawyer, but unless it can be established that there is a bona fide ground for Assange to be charged under the US Espionage Act, he surely deserves to be regarded as a publisher and a journalist, which in a US court of law would entitle him to protection under the first amendment to the US constitution. From the limited information that is publicly available, I see little substantive difference between Assange's role and that of The Guardian, The New York Times and others in running the story contained in the cables that he passed on to them. Neither he nor they were the original leakers.<br><br>Thirdly, the WikiLeaks affair shows us that technology is making it much more difficult to keep information confidential. It has exposed the extent to which internet technology makes possible security breaches on a scale that was unimaginable in an era of paper-based communication. As Sir Christopher Meyer, the British ambassador to the US in the Blair years, has pointed out, paper would have been impossible to steal in such quantities. The cables themselves came from a huge secret internet protocol router network-a database that was kept separate from the ordinary civilian internet and run by the Department of Defence in Washington. Since the attacks of September 2001, there has been a move in the US to link up archives of Government information in the hope that key intelligence no longer gets trapped in information silos or "stovepipes". This database can be accessed not only by anyone in the State Department, but by anyone in the US military who has security clearance up to the secret level, a password and a computer connected to the database, which astonishingly covers more than 3 million people, including Private Bradley Manning.<br><br><strong>21 Dec 2010 : Column 441WH</strong> <br><br>The US Government have now announced a thorough review of the principles on which they share the information that they collect-I am sure that the Saudi King, for example, will be relieved to hear that. Safeguarding sources is critical to any information-gathering exercise and after such a breach, rebuilding the trust of many thousands of sources will be a painstaking exercise. The US's experience is therefore a salutary lesson for all other diplomatic services around the world. I will be interested to know whether the Foreign Office proposes a similar review.<br><br>We are at a watershed in relations between the Government and the new internet media. The UK Government have a clear choice as to whether to promote a transparency agenda or to seek the false comfort of the old culture of secrecy and repression. I would prefer Britain to choose to become a more open and less secretive society, rather than to leave it to the likes of Julian Assange to force openness upon us. Rather than tightening further our draconian Official Secrets Act and threatening to prosecute journalists and whistleblowers, Governments should focus on making more information available and protecting only that which can cause substantive harm.<br>It is worth noting that none of the released documents were classified as top secret and much of the information in the 6% of documents classified as secret was already publicly known. Furthermore, these documents were likely to be released anyway in the course of freedom of information requests.<br><br>Of course, media organisations must exercise caution when revealing possibly sensitive information that could endanger lives, and this country should respect defence advisory notices when they are reasonably issued. However, new technologies have the potential to transform diplomacy and foreign policy making for the better in the long run. Studies of the effects of right-to-information legislation in numerous countries have found that there has been little impact on the amount of information that is recorded and that opinions have not been blunted following an increase in transparency. There is no chilling effect. In fact, according to Article 19, an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, the quality of some documents has improved, because the people writing them know that they will become public one day. They therefore focus on the provision of real political analysis rather than tittle-tattle and colour.<br><br>Officials have a duty to pass on important information, and that is not lifted because of fears that it one day may become public. By forcing greater transparency in foreign policy making, I believe that WikiLeaks will ultimately have a beneficial effect on the conduct of diplomacy. Let us continue to embrace the new technologies, not smother them at birth.<br><br><strong>4.47 pm</strong> <br><br><strong>Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab):</strong> I have consulted the hon. Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson) on this debate, both in the House and by e-mail. I congratulate the hon. Gentleman, a distinguished former correspondent of the Financial Times, on raising this issue. One of the most thoughtful Foreign Office Ministers is here with us. His colleague, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Taunton <br><strong> <br>21 Dec 2010 : Column 442WH</strong> <br><br>Deane (Mr Browne), mentioned in the main Chamber the concept of a private realm of information, which was new "dip speak" to me. I do not know whether the Minister will expand a bit on that.<br>I agree in part with the argument made by the hon. Member for Orpington: the victimisation and the turning of Mr Assange into some kind of hero are wrong. He is quite a squalid customer who is lapping up all the publicity that he is getting at the moment. The quicker we can forget about him, the better.<br><br>I do not agree that private communications should be made readily available, for the simple reason that the British diplomatic service is understaffed and one of the smallest, although of the highest quality, in the world. It works on complete frankness in paper communication. If that becomes impossible because people think that their real-time thoughts-which may be relevant on the day but perhaps not so accurate with the hindsight of longer reflection-cannot be transmitted because they can end up on the front page of a paper, the decision-making process here in our nation's capital will suffer.<br>Most of the material that I saw as a Minister could have been put straight on to the web. In that sense, I agree with the hon. Gentleman, but equally, he comes from a paper that takes foreign affairs seriously. It is extraordinary that we now learn that the International Committee of the Red Cross provided concrete evidence-<br><br><strong>Miss Anne McIntosh (in the Chair):</strong> Order. May I invite the Minister to make the winding-up speech?<br><br><strong>4.49 pm</strong> <br><br><strong>The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt):</strong> Miss McIntosh, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship- [Interruption.]<br><br><strong>Miss Anne McIntosh (in the Chair):</strong> Order. I remind the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr MacShane), who speaks from a sedentary position, that he did not request permission to speak from the hon. Gentleman who introduced the debate, the Minister or the Chair.<br><br><strong>Alistair Burt:</strong> I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson) for his considered words on this issue, for raising topical and challenging questions, and for his immense courtesy in letting me have sight of his remarks before the debate so that I did not have to take them unwittingly from his computer.<br><br>There is no doubt that our information world has changed. The internet can be accessed from most homes in the UK and can be used as a force for mass communication and mobilisation. Much more information is published by the media, and government is more transparent than it has ever been. The internet has changed how we all communicate, the audiences that we can reach and the manner in which we speak to them. All that has happened at the same time as, although it is unconnected with, a loss of trust in those in authority and those who govern, and a deepening scepticism about what is kept private or secret by Governments, or indeed anyone.<br><br>I do not intend to comment on specific information released into the public realm in recent weeks, or on any legal issues affecting Julian Assange. What I want to <br><strong> <br>21 Dec 2010 : Column 443WH</strong> <br><br>discuss, and what I believe is essentially at issue in this debate, is the question of how much privacy there should be in the public realm-if I may gently correct the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr MacShane), for whose presence at such an important debate I am grateful.<br><br>I think that my hon. Friend and I agree that there is a need and a place for some privacy in the public realm and other areas of life. Otherwise, it would be impossible for lawyers, doctors, journalists, scientists and other professionals to keep confidentiality in their work and before they reach conclusions that are ready to be made public. Premature exposure could threaten the integrity of such conclusions or prevent them from being reached at all. "Work in progress" is not a term to discard lightly.<br><br>An important distinction must be drawn between journalism and history. It is essential for information to be published and made accessible in due course to complete the historical record, uphold accountability and contribute to our understanding of the past. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office considers many documents ready for release after 30 years of storage, and most are, but journalism is not yet history, although perhaps it is history in progress. Live journalism shapes and influences events as they develop. When journalism breaches the confidentiality of diplomacy, it can threaten the ends that that diplomacy seeks to achieve. In diplomacy, the ability to negotiate in private confers freedom to broker agreement, and it is essential that that space remains. The basis of effective diplomacy continues to be trust between individuals and between states. There is thus space and reason for privacy.<br><br>The importance of free, frank and strictly confidential communication between Governments, and between Ministers and their diplomats, has been proved many times in history, from the formation of NATO to the western response to the Soviet Union, recent events such as climate change, peace and security debates at the UN, and the future of NATO. Diplomatic confidentiality has been severely strained by the release of sensitive diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks. The Government unequivocally condemn the unauthorised release of classified information. The leaks and their publication are damaging to national security in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. They are reckless, because they compromise the vital ability of Governments and diplomats to operate on the basis of confidentiality of information.<br><br>WikiLeaks confuses transparency and accountability with irresponsible attempts to undermine Government. The leaks undermine the trust and relationships that allow us to gather sensitive information as we pursue objectives in the UK's national interest on such issues as one might expect-Iran, the middle east peace process, counter-terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation-and as individuals put their jobs, livelihoods and lives at stake to give us honest accounts of what is happening on human rights, politics and governance. Simply removing names from documents does not put that right. Sometimes, in a context unknown to an unsighted editor, the source of a comment is instantly recognisable, even with no name, to the parties involved. Security is thus unwittingly but recklessly compromised.<br><br><strong>21 Dec 2010 : Column 444WH</strong> <br><br>As my hon. Friend said at the beginning of his speech, it is those who bravely and candidly tell us what is happening under repressive regimes-those who offer insights that enrich our understanding and improve our policy, and without which we would be poorer-who are betrayed by WikiLeaks. I do not think that he is arguing with me about the need to keep some things private; the issue is what is kept private. To respond to his question, we are alert to the threat of unauthorised access, and we are doing all we can.<br><br>When WikiLeaks gives newspaper editors the power to choose which cables to release, what stories to write and how to spin them, it transfers a crucial power away from a democratically elected Government into the hands of an opaque elite. Governments are elected with a mandate to keep everyone's interests at heart; editors are employed with a mandate to sell news. The internet may be democratic at the point of download, but it does not have to be democratic at the point of upload.<br><br>We must also consider the unintended consequences for the conduct of diplomacy of the leaking of sensitive and secret diplomatic cables. The inability to hold conversations in private, in the confidence that they will remain private, will mean diplomats are more guarded about what they say to each other. That point has been made. They will inevitably commit fewer of these exchanges to paper, and our historical record will be severely damaged as a result. Transparency is therefore not well served.<br><br>It is also important to emphasise that WikiLeaks must be judged quite separately from the internet. My hon. Friend is right: the internet has in many ways empowered the individual and provided otherwise impossible insights into closed societies. There is no doubt that in many ways diplomacy has benefited from the internet age. Our ambassadors tweet, our Ministers blog and our main web pages are viewed, on average, more than 4.2 million times a month. Thousands of British citizens rely on our website for up-to-the-minute travel advice and foreign policy news. During the ash crisis in April this year, the FCO's social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter enabled us to listen to stories as they developed and to dismiss inaccuracies. Digital tools offer us the means to take diplomacy further into the public arena and reach audiences-in the blogosphere, in social media-with whom we could otherwise make no connection.<br><br>The job of diplomacy is to influence, explain and facilitate the delivery of our foreign policy goals. Increasingly that is not done state to state. Multiple global organisations that are not part of a Government impact constantly on our lives, whether they are multinational corporations or terrorist groups. Such digital conversations-often taking place in the local languages, from Vietnamese to Tagalog-open up new opportunities for diplomacy and enable us to talk about our work in new ways and in new places. Look, for example, at the Foreign Office blogs on human rights day, when members of staff around the world described their human rights work. Look, too, at the work of Ambassador John Duncan in bringing the mysterious world of the negotiations on the non-proliferation of nuclear arms into the light. That digital commentary explained, enlightened and ultimately strengthened wider support for our position in the negotiations.<br><br><strong>21 Dec 2010 : Column 445WH</strong> <br><br>The best of the web is where one engages and listens, not just where one broadcasts. Through blogging and social media, we can listen to how people view our work and monitor how the world views us, giving us the ability to adjust our behaviour accordingly. The internet age will continue to open up new possibilities and we will change the way we work as the world changes around us.<br><br>Our Government are open. We are committed to the principle and practice of freedom of information, and we handle the release of information routinely. In contrast to leaked documents, those releases are governed by a transparent system-a system of balanced judgment and careful consideration, which takes into account the interests of all, by the elected and not by the self-chosen. The positive and negative consequences of releasing information into the public realm are weighed against each other, and if it is in the public interest to release information, that information is released. If we as politicians and civil servants are accountable for those judgments <br><br><strong>21 Dec 2010 : Column 446WH</strong> <br><br>about the public interest and the release of information, that helps to ensure that, for the public, the system is open, fair and democratic.<br>It has become fashionable but lazy to assume that anything done behind the curtain of democratic government is done against, not for, the common interest, and that there is only self-interest, not public interest. The work of thousands of people on behalf of this country demonstrates that that is simply not true, and it is time for elected Members and democratic Governments to say so.<br><br><strong>Miss Anne McIntosh (in the Chair):</strong> I thank all those who have been involved in the proceedings in Westminster Hall throughout the year and wish you all a happy Christmas.<br><br>Question put and agreed to.<br><br><strong>4.59 pm</strong> <br><br>Sitting adjourned.<br><br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:05 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=479234682 Alistair Burt Westminster Hall debate: Effects on Diplomacy of Internet Technologies uk.org.publicwhip/member/40435 22 December 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Westminster Hall, 21 December 2010
<p> <strong>Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham<br></strong>"Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, many thanks for coming to Lancaster House this morning. I am delighted to have this opportunity to talk to such a well- informed audience. And to be addressing such a large audience, larger than in the House of Commons!<br><br>It has been a little over six months since the Prime Minister asked me to become Minister for Africa in the Foreign Office. Those months have been extremely busy.  I have made visits to Uganda, Sudan, Libya, DRC, Kenya, South Africa and Angola. There are many Heads of Mission here today whose countries I have not yet been to. But at the current rate of over one country a month I am on track to visit all 53 states in Africa by our next general election in May 2015!  These trips allow me to see firsthand the challenges and opportunities facing Africa.<br><br>The challenges are well known. In parts of Africa, many people still live in terrible poverty and suffer a constant threat of violence and the abuse of their human rights. Indeed, this week we have been shocked by the deeply concerning images on YouTube of a young woman being flogged in Sudan. We, along with international partners, condemn such cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.<br><br>Britain has been, and will continue to be, a leader among countries defending the rights and responding to the needs of poor people in Africa. This is demonstrated by the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to a foreign policy in which the promotion and protection of human rights around the world is indivisible from our efforts to bring security and prosperity to Britain, and, of course, in Africa as well. And it is demonstrated by our plans to devote 0.7% of Gross National Income to international aid from 2013, despite these tough economic times. Indeed, we are the first country in the G20 to set out exactly how we will do so.<br><br>But when I meet with African leaders and speak with African people the topics that come up time and again are not just the challenges, but the huge opportunities – brought about by the expansion of the middle classes, the influx of foreign direct investment, and the extraordinary impact of mobile telephony.<br><br>The British government recognises this change in the conversation.<br>We want to support African countries to seize the opportunities before them and are injecting new energy into partnerships to build growth.  Our development assistance will help promote broad-based wealth creation, recognising that aid is a means to an end not an end in itself. And this government believes global business – including British businesses - can make an absolutely vital contribution here and we will do all we can to foster further commercial ties, open up trade and deepen investment.<br>Today I want to set out for you what we are already doing towards this, in the context of our ongoing work with African partners to prevent conflict, improve governance, protect human rights and manage the challenges of climate change. It is our firm belief that our support to address these issues mutually reinforces our efforts to deliver prosperity.<br>I recently returned from four days in Angola, an emerging economic and political power on the continent and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer. This is a country whose economy is projected to grow 8.8% next year, according to World Bank figures. Indeed, in the first 9 months of this year, UK exports there have risen by 69%. In recent years, Angola’s non-oil sector grew on average by 11% per year. Education, construction, financial services, power and water are all key sectors for Angola’s growing economy and these are areas where UK businesses are now looking to invest. This investment in Angola’s future is very much in our mutual interest.<br><br>But, of course, Angola’s story is not unique. Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world. There has been significant and sustained growth across the continent in retail, agriculture, transport and telecoms, bringing much needed investment and development to African economies. And further opportunities will open up as economies diversify, expand and reach more people.<br><br>Britain wants to be a trusted partner for governments and businesses working to realise Africa’s immense potential and we will focus our efforts in three areas:<br>- firstly, ensuring that British businesses are able to make the most of the trade and investment opportunities on offer;<br>- secondly, helping Africa  trade more across the continent ;<br>- and thirdly, removing barriers to Africa’s goods in global markets, including our own and the EU.</p> <p>Firstly, through effective commercial diplomacy and the efforts of UK Trade and Investment we are working to increase the presence of British companies across Africa.  The Foreign Secretary has established a new Commercial Diplomacy Taskforce to spearhead this effort.<br><br>In parts of Africa, commerce really is thriving. South Africa is our largest trade partner in Africa. This is a place where we have been doing business for a long time, and where the relationship runs deep – we speak the same language, play the same sports and drink the same wine! During my visit two weeks ago I made it clear that we must keep building on this and so we have set ourselves a challenging goal to double bilateral trade by 2015. By working together – the UK and South Africa; governments and business - I am confident we can achieve this.<br>And the opportunities are there in a range of sectors. For example, Pearson, one of the world’s leading publishers, is set to continue their expansion in southern Africa by acquiring a 75% stake in SA CTI Education group for £31m. This will enable them to meet the growing demand in South Africa for career-advancing higher education. It is this kind of mutually beneficial partnership that we can hold up as an example and look to promulgate throughout the African continent.<br><br>UK Trade and Investment, to whom I pay tribute for their hard work, are present in 14 markets in Africa. They are an absolutely invaluable resource and have helped a broad range of companies to success: everything from emergency housing in East Africa to ICT in West Africa, and all points and sectors in between. <br><br>And I am keen to play my part. In November I met the Foreign Minister of Senegal and discussed what opportunities there might be for British companies to access the mining sector in his country. We agreed that the forthcoming UK-Senegal investment forum next March would promote those opportunities. Over the last fortnight in Africa I discussed numerous commercial prospects on behalf of the companies travelling with me. All Ministers stand ready to do this on their overseas trips as and when appropriate.<br><br>But let me be clear: our support for trade will not come at the expense of our values. We will never shy away from challenging human rights abuses and raising our concerns over human rights whenever and wherever those concerns arise.<br><br>Indeed, it is absolutely vital that both governments and companies make wealth creation work in a positive way that contributes effectively to African growth and development. That is why I applaud the Angolan government’s ambition to devote 30% of its own national budget to social development and housing, to address their own abject poverty and the dire conditions in which millions of their citizens still live.  Deploying the proceeds of growth equitably through society will be crucial to Africa’s graduation from current levels of aid towards long term prosperity.<br>British companies can also serve as role models in Corporate Social Responsibility. Diageo’s ambitious pan-African Water of Life scheme responds to Millenium Development Goal 7 and aims to provide one million people with access to water every year until 2015. When I was in Luanda I had the privilege of participating in the opening of GlaxoSmithKline’s new operations there. They will deliver vaccines to millions of Angolans and they told me about dynamic plans for CSR and community projects to improve access to medicines in the country. These efforts are often delivered in partnership with African business. For example, Safaricom, part-owned by Vodafone, has become a national leader in CSR in Kenya. And there are many other British and African companies providing an excellent example across the continent, helping entrench a sustainable and equitable approach to doing business.<br>Secondly, we want to help Africa trade across the continent. We want to do this because intra-country trade currently accounts for less than 10% of Africa’s total trade – in some countries it is lower than 5% - compared to Europe where 62% of trade is within the European Union.<br><br>I’m glad that the African Union has an exciting vision to create an African Economic Community by 2028 and there are already successful examples of regional economic communities in Africa.  In East and Southern Africa 26 countries are now working to establish a single Free Trade Area covering half the continent, while in West Africa, 15 countries are preparing to implement a customs union, with a common external tariff. <br>But it is not solely a question of overt trade barriers such as tariffs. ‘Behind-the border’ constraints and infrastructure bottlenecks add to the difficulties of doing business across borders. According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2011” Report, it takes just 5 days and $456 to export a standard container from Singapore, compared to 54 days and $5,491 from the Central African Republic.<br><br>Supporting African trade is a key priority for this government and the Prime Minister secured international community support for this agenda at the recent G20 Summit.  But businesses have a role to play here too, by demonstrating to African governments the great benefits of integrated markets.<br><br>Thirdly, with only a 3.5% share of worldwide trade, Africa remains largely absent from global markets. For long term prosperity, Africa needs to increase its export revenue.<br><br>That’s why the UK will continue to lobby for developing countries to have access to international markets.  We support the calls for all G20 countries to join the EU in granting Least Developed Countries 100% Duty Free Quota Free access. We support the development of friendly Economic Partnership Agreements and we are pleased that the EU is trying to make it easier for countries to benefit from these agreements. And we pushed hard at the G20 Summit for a revival of the Doha Round. A successful conclusion to this round makes sense as it could boost the global economy by a staggering £110bn annually and make a huge difference to Africa.<br><br>We also want to encourage African companies to export and invest in Britain. Our language, membership of  the Commonwealth to which 19 African countries belong,  and the large African Diaspora in the UK makes us a natural partner for African businesses looking to expand into global markets. This is not just an aspiration. During my visit, the Angolan bank BAI, the Banco Africano de Investimentos, announced their plans to open a London branch. A very positive, encouraging development indeed. Perhaps they can look to the model of South African health care company Netcare, which does 50% of its £2.3bn business in the UK, working through 48 sites, including 6 Nuffield hospitals.</p> <p>So the potential for growth is clearly there- but we cannot overlook the significant challenges standing in the way. Instability and conflict, poor governance and corruption, abuses of human rights and poverty, the impact of climate change. These are obstacles that cannot be sidestepped, but must be overcome. If not, millions of Africans will continue to suffer terrible hardship as a consequence. This government will work with African partners to address these challenges and our new foreign policy architecture, including the formation of a National Security Council, enables us to provide effective, coordinated support.<br><br>The Foreign Office enjoys a close working relationship in Africa with colleagues from the Department for International Development and other government departments. On my travels, I have been extremely impressed at the way they work together, often collocated in the same offices. For example, we’re implementing joint (FCO/DFID/UKTI) anti-corruption strategies overseas, supported by the development of a UK Bribery Act, which will tackle both the grievances of UK companies trying to do business in Africa and also the damage to poverty reduction and economic growth done by corruption.<br><br>We remain wholeheartedly committed to supporting African efforts to reduce instability and conflict. Our National Security Strategy places particular emphasis on conflict prevention because we understand that, in an interconnected world, tackling problems at their roots safeguards our own security and prosperity.<br><br>We are, and will continue to be, major contributors to the UN and AU peacekeeping budgets and in particular we are working through these institutions to develop stability in Somalia, and maintain it in Sudan. We also have an important diplomatic and political role to play. For example, in recent weeks we have worked closely with our friends and partners in West Africa to encourage them to take a robust position on the political crisis in Cote D’Ivoire.<br><br>That crisis demonstrates how improved governance is vital for consolidating gains in economic growth and prosperity.  Perceptions of political stability inevitably have an impact on investor confidence, so an early resolution that respects the democratic will of the majority will be important for the country’s economic prospects.    <br><br>As I have said, deploying wealth equitably through society will be essential for prosperity in the long run. In Ghana and Tanzania, with their strong institutions, they have been able to turn exciting opportunities to turn wealth from hydrocarbons into benefits that can be shared across society.  Yet elsewhere in Africa similar opportunities can be exploited by elites, who secure profits for themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens.<br><br>Proper political accountability can change this. So we support efforts to make elections credible and contribute to election monitoring directly and through the EU, Commonwealth and AU in countries such as Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and DRC. But holding successful elections is only part of the story. We need to encourage the development of transparent and accountable institutions, strong civil society and a free media. And the promotion of improved governance goes hand in hand with our firm support for the protection of people’s rights.<br><br>In Zimbabwe we see an example of where a previously strong economy was systematically undermined by a government willing to visit the worst abuses of human rights on the people.  It is good to see some economic progress being made under the Inclusive Government. This must now be matched by political progress leading to credible elections and we are ready to support the work of the Southern African Development Community going forward.  <br><br>Finally, as the Foreign Office Minister responsible for climate change, I am acutely aware of the challenge Africa faces as a result of global warming. During my visit to Kenya, I saw how the country was struggling to cope with severe drought. Many African nations lack the capacity or resources needed to adapt to these environmental changes and in today’s interconnected world it threatens to undermine the prosperity and security of all nations.<br><br>So we are very pleased with the outcomes of the Cancun Climate Change Summit last week. In particular, we welcome the establishment of a Green Climate Fund, which will help developing countries with their transition to low carbon.<br><br>I hope I have demonstrated this morning that this government takes a multi-dimensional approach to Africa. It is an approach motivated by our shared values, interests and prospects. We recognise that our efforts to promote economic growth cannot stand apart from our work to prevent conflict, improve governance, protect human rights and manage the impact of climate change. These are the only foundations on which long term prosperity can be built. <br><br>So we want to build a trusted partnership across agendas: economic to environmental; defence to development. We have much to build on.  But I believe we can and must do more to support long-term economic growth across the continent. British companies have a major role to play in this, with their strong tradition of engagement around the globe and knowledge of world markets.  Supported by our world-leading diplomatic presence, we can make a great contribution to Africa’s economy, from which we all stand to gain. The time is right; the opportunities are there. <br><br>Ten years ago, Kofi Annan asked leaders from government and business to come together, saying:<br><br>"open markets offer the only realistic hope of pulling billions of people in developing countries out of abject poverty, while sustaining prosperity in the industrialized world."<br><br>It is time we responded to that call and built a strong UK and African partnership, across government and business, that enables us to deliver lasting prosperity together.<br><br>I look forward to working with you. Thank you."<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:08 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=415424682 Henry Bellingham UK and Africa: Delivering Prosperity Together uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 16 December 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lancaster House, London
<p>Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for being here today and thank you to ERIS for sponsoring the launch of the Government’s “How to Note: on Electoral Assistance”. <br><br>It won’t surprise you very much to hear that I start with the assumption that proper elections are vitally important. I do, after all, have a vested interest: as a politician the course of my life depends on them. I am here today because of the mandate I have received to represent the people of Taunton Deane in Somerset as their Member of Parliament. And personal experience has taught me that a politician can never take that mandate for granted. My re-election in May was in fact the first time an MP was re-elected in my seat since 1992. And I will never forget the first election I contested, standing in Enfield Southgate in 1997, when Michael Portillo, the then Defence Secretary, famously lost his seat. Indeed, that defeat was regarded as so seismic that a Channel 4 poll ranked it, rather surprisingly, as the third greatest TV moment of all time.<br><br>With the launch of this note, I want to take this opportunity to set out for you the government’s approach to supporting elections and democracy around the world and to reassure you that we understand elections are only a part, necessary but not sufficient, for the advance of democracy.<br><br>But let me start by saying I think elections are important for two fundamental reasons. One - because I believe that individuals should be free to make choices about how their life is governed. And two – because as a citizen, and perhaps even more so as a Member of Parliament and Minister in government, I believe the ability of individuals to hold the state to account is fundamentally important. <br><br>Credible elections enable this: they reflect the views of the population and ensure that those views are respected by those chosen to represent them in Parliament and government; they require the executive to be mindful that they will be held accountable for their actions; they are a check against abuses and the arrogance of power. <br><br>From my perspective as someone who stands in elections, they expose me to debate and a healthy competition of ideas. The process is almost Darwinian as ideas are tested and challenged until only the strongest survive. They encourage genuine engagement with the electorate. I listen to what people say - their different opinions and priorities - and in return give them my views so that people understand what I will work for if elected and what I will do on their behalf. People are then free to make a distinct political choice between candidates and vote for the one who they think will represent them most effectively.  And this is a practical, ongoing process. Next week I will be meeting with students in my constituency to discuss Coalition policies that they, perhaps, do not agree with.<br><br>In a representative democracy, candidates should not be swept along on gusts of popular opinion but should stand by principles and policies that they believe are in the best interests of society. A proper electoral process enables the case to be made for these ideas. It is an important exchange that ensures government is democratic, not demagogic.<br><br>But does this mean elections are the full answer - that if individuals are able to vote they are enjoying democracy to the full? Of course not. Elections are a signature of democracy, but not the whole story.<br><br>In too many countries, elections have become a means of consolidating personal and party power, rather than a means by which power can be transferred according to the will of the people. The entire purpose of the election can be skewed and subverted, often by the incumbent government, to create an unlevel playing field and to actually maintain the status quo. Such elections are merely democratic window dressing and do little to advance the individual freedoms of the people to choose their form of government. They intend to confer a stamp of legitimacy onto an illegitimate regime.  <br><br>Recent elections in Burma serve as a particularly insidious example. As you will all know, the military junta held elections for the first time in 20 years. The British government does not believe the 7 November elections were free, fair or inclusive. Instead they were a sham process that reflected a regime intent on entrenching its grip on power rather than an expression of the views of the Burmese people. Although some consider the very fact of elections was a step forward, there are others who argue that, with such a severe curtailment of freedoms underpinning the process, it would have been more honest to have no elections at all. <br><br>The strength of what lies beneath an electoral process is vital to its legitimacy. In my adult lifetime, the British government has changed only twice:  in 1997 when New Labour ended 18 years of Conservative government; and this year when our Coalition came to power. These were major changes that overturned years of a particular party holding office, in which Secretaries of State not only lost their posts in government but also their seats in Parliament. But they enjoyed the acquiescence of the defeated party, and the acceptance of those who voted for the defeated parties. <br><br>The same cannot be said everywhere in the world, where weak institutions and absence of rule of law can mean that election results are disputed violently, sometimes at great cost to the population. The recent events in Cote d’Ivoire serve as a troubling example and we welcome the strong stance taken by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union. They have sent a clear and unequivocal message that Africa’s institutions are determined to uphold democratic principles and to take robust action against those that seek to frustrate the will of the majority.  <br><br>The UN validated the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission confirming that Mr Alassane Ouattara won the elections. The ECOWAS Summit resoundingly reinforced this position. The United Nations Security Council and the African Union have also called for the election results to be accepted. We will continue to engage closely with our African and other international partners in support of a resolution that respects the will of the Ivorian people. <br><br>And, as I have been explaining, elections themselves are not enough. There needs to be much more if individuals are to enjoy the freedoms to which they are entitled.  The goal must be real democracy– that is moulded to the specific requirements of any given country. There are fundamental elements to democracy, without which it would cease to be democracy, but how best to represent people is an evolving process not an end state. This is evident from our own democracy in Britain, which over the last hundred years has seen the introduction of universal suffrage, the lowering of the voting age and will soon undertake a referendum on electoral system reform.<br><br>As the Foreign Secretary has said: <br><br>“We have to recognise that other countries are likely to develop at different paces. Democracy rests on foundations that have to be built over time: strong institutions, responsible and accountable government, a free press, the rule of law, equal rights for men and women, and other less tangible habits of mind and of participation, debate and association. Elections alone do not create a free and democratic society.”<br><br>While we understand that democracy develops over time, this is not an excuse for those societies without democracy not to change. We will continue to support its advance worldwide because we believe democracy is the system of government that best allows for individual freedom and gives power to citizens. So what are the elements of democracy that need to be present for individuals to enjoy their freedoms?  <br><br>Firstly, it requires the rule of law. Without it, the “tyranny of the majority” can undermine freedoms for the minority. All societies contain people with different interests, many of them competing. The rule of law provides a framework to manage differences and to resolve them peacefully.  <br><br>Rule of law means having accountable police who serve the public interest, an independent judiciary and a party political structure that can hold governments to account. People need to have confidence that the state cannot act with impunity. In Zimbabwe in 2008, there was no such confidence as Government-sponsored actions prevented people from exercising their democratic rights without fear of violence and intimidation.<br><br>Secondly, democracy is intrinsically linked with human rights. They are not the same but they cannot survive long without each other.  In a democracy each individual is equally important. One person, one vote - no more, no less. But for that to be a reality, the right to freedom from discrimination needs to be protected.  <br><br>Democracy needs debate and at the heart of this is freedom of expression. Freedom of expression allows for challenge, and it allows for change. Democracy needs to be participative. We must protect “grassroots” rights, such as the right, and popular tradition here in Britain, of any citizen to organize public meetings, where they can express political views without fear of repression. The media and internet are powerful tools for realising these freedoms.  But many countries impose severe limitations on these platforms. Print and broadcast media are censored. Bloggers are monitored. Facebook, even, is blocked. <br><br>Countries must only restrict freedom of expression if it is absolutely necessary to protect the rights of others – to privacy or to freedom from discrimination – or genuinely in the interests of public safety or national security, in line with international law. But there is a legitimate private realm. A balance needs to be struck between transparency and the loss of confidentiality. I do not believe that Wikileaks are right to publish secret US documents. No more than it is right for Government to put citizens’ NHS records or confidential tax returns into the public domain. There is a private realm even within an open, free society. <br><br>Thirdly, the civil society that underpins a truly democratic system cannot operate without the actions of committed individuals. I can think of no better example than Aung San Suu Kyi whose integrity and determination are truly humbling.  Her choice to work outside the bogus electoral process demonstrates that elections cannot be our only goal. They must come hand in hand with a strong civil society in which freedom of expression and civil disagreement is embraced by Government and people alike. We will maintain pressure on the regime in Burma to ensure that her release brings about genuine dialogue and further prisoner releases.<br><br>And there are many other inspiring examples. We should never forget Neda Agha-Soltan, killed during the crackdown on protests following the disputed Iranian elections in 2009.  Those who stand up against oppressive regimes deserve our admiration and support. They are often targeted by the state, either directly through threats or actual violence, or indirectly through controlling their sources of finance. Their lives are threatened; the lives of their family are made difficult.  And yet still they go on, striving at great personal cost to bring about change for the people of their countries.  <br><br>And we must never underestimate the change that can be achieved. A formative moment in my lifetime was seeing the joy of thousands of young people at the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. A generation of people liberated from the oppression of authoritarian government after a struggle that had lasted many decades and cost many lives. It was a moment that resonated around the world and has left an indelible mark on history. <br><br>Lastly, democracy needs effective political institutions. It needs opposition parties that are not marginalised and have a stake in the system because they know that in a credible democracy they have the opportunity to win power. It needs a transparent legislature and independent bodies that can hold the government to account.  <br><br>So as I have said, Britain supports democracy worldwide because we believe it is the system of government that best allows for individual freedom. But is not only about values: supporting democracy is also in our enlightened national interest. There is correlation between societies that are secure and prosperous, and those that enjoy participative democracy. Democracy assists the peaceful pursuit of political change and the management of power in society. Elections act as the automatic stabilisers of accountability on governments that might otherwise pursue destabilising or irresponsible policies. It is essential to long term security. We also believe that democratic societies are more prosperous in the long run. Democracy creates the right framework for poverty alleviation, reduces corruption and supports sustained economic development.<br> <br>The British government is determined to support the hopes and ideals of those seeking democracy around the world. The launch of this new DFID/FCO guidance on election assistance puts some of these ideals into practice.  It reflects what I have talked about here this afternoon.  It recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Democracy is a universal ideal, but it can have many different forms. The way we act to support elections and democracy in each country will be different depending on the context and needs of the country. Our approach is practical, recognising where we can and even where we cannot make a difference. We will focus on where we can have impact – and often this in countries where some elements of democracy are already present.  But we will not shy away from the difficult cases. As the Foreign Secretary made clear in his speech a few months ago on Values:<br><br>“This does not mean that we will overlook human rights abuses in some countries while protesting about them in others.  We should never turn a blind eye to countries that display the trappings of democracy while violating basic human rights.” <br><br>In all our Posts overseas we support projects to entrench the many elements of democracy. For instance in Mexico, thanks to British assistance there is now a coordinated method to register and monitor attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, enabling the media and civil society to confront and lobby the Mexican authorities. In Azerbaijan we supported a project that organised an independent, 1500 person strong election mission. And in Indonesia for the first time grass roots civil society organisations have the tools to analyse the performance of local legislatures and hold their elected representatives to account. These three examples provide a snapshot of the important work that Britain is doing across the globe.<br><br>What is less tangible, but perhaps just as significant, is the power of our example and our relentless advocacy of democracy in the UN, the EU and in bilateral country relationships around the world.  <br><br>I hope that what I have said makes clear to you that the British Government is taking a comprehensive approach to support the advance and improvement of democracy. This guidance we launch today demonstrates that we believe in the international standards for elections and that we believe in supporting others to reach them. <br><br>Now I happy to hand the floor over to my colleague, the Minister for International Development, who will speak about democratic politics and development and the work we do on the ground in support of democracy work around the world.<br><br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:16 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=387934682 Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne speaks on Government's approach to supporting democracy around the world uk.org.publicwhip/member/40600 13 December 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign & Commonwealth Office
<p>It is an honour to address you as Deputy Prime Minister of the new Coalition Government in the UK.</p> <p>I’d like to thank our hosts, President Nazarbayev and Chairman-in-Office Saudabayev, and the OSCE Secretary-General and Secretariat.</p> <p>They deserve enormous credit for bringing us together like this, for the first time in over a decade. For the first time this century.</p> <p>35 years ago our predecessors came together, driven by their common needs, and created a space in which conflict became less likely.</p> <p>The question now for us is: can we make it unthinkable?</p> <p>I believe we can. But it will require a renewed commitment to each other, to the principles that govern our partnership: liberty, security, peace, and the rights and freedoms on which this organisation was founded.</p> <p>In the 21st Century, authority can never be sustained by military power: it depends on moral leadership.</p> <p>The new UK government takes that extremely seriously.</p> <p>In our early months we have set in motion action to increase democratic accountability in our own political system.</p> <p>We are enhancing the privacy and personal freedom of our citizens; including through a review of measures to counter terrorism.</p> <p>And, on the global stage, we have given clear commitments to international development, to multilateralism, and to the rule of international law.</p> <p>As we take these steps, we look to our friends here to make similar progress.</p> <p>Allowing us, together, to write the next chapter for the OSCE.</p> <p>A new era of openness and cooperation, built on our shared values, spanning from Vancouver to Vladivostock.</p> <p>But to do that, we must be candid and active where major hurdles remain.  </p> <p>Not least on arms control and confidence building – the bedrock of the OSCE. We need a serious effort to restore Europe’s arms control treaty regime, and all participating States must honour in full their obligations under the Vienna Document.</p> <p>And where conflict still persists, we must seek resolution in good faith and with conviction.</p> <p>On Moldova, our aim is to resume formal discussions on Moldova/Transnistria as soon as the new Moldovan Government has formed, and new energy must be injected into the 5+2 process.</p> <p>On Nagorno-Karabakh, we welcome the statement signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan and by the Minsk Group co-Chairs. Progress towards a settlement of this conflict would be truly historic and we urge all parties to grasp this opportunity to find a durable peace.</p> <p>And, on Georgia, the UK, like the vast majority of states represented here, unequivocally recognises Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally-recognised borders.  </p> <p>Russia must meet its ceasefire commitments and withdraw its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.</p> <p>Re-establishing an OSCE Mission in Georgia is a matter of urgency, and we urge all parties to engage constructively at the Geneva talks.</p> <p>President Saakashvili’s announced willingness to make a non-use of force declaration is welcome. Let us hope this encourages all parties to commit to a resolution by peaceful means.</p> <p>I would also like to congratulate the Chairmanship for their emphasis on OSCE engagement in Afghanistan.</p> <p>The ODIHR must continue its good work in supporting democracy there.</p> <p>And the UK is grateful for the contribution many states here make, whether it’s through troops, trade, aid, logistical support, or, crucially, to Afghanistan’s Northern Supply Route.</p> <p>It is vital that these rail and air corridors are maintained and enhanced.</p> <p>And it is right that we focus our efforts on Afghanistan’s Northern border – the front-line against the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people. A critical frontier in the fight to keep our own people safe. The UK encourages the OSCE to continue securing that border.</p> <p>And I can confirm today that we will be providing extra funds to the OSCE Border Staff College in Dushanbe, equipping Afghan officials to take on more of the responsibility themselves.  </p> <p>I would also like, briefly, to mention another conflict of great concern - between North and South Korea.</p> <p>The recent attack by North on South was indefensible. Such unprovoked aggression demands global opprobrium, and the OSCE was right to make a statement in recognition of that.</p> <p>So let me take this opportunity to reiterate the UK’s strong condemnation of the attack, and our support for South Korea.</p> <p>On these and other conflicts, what is essential is that we are steadfast in our defence of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law.</p> <p>These commitments have always been at the core of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security.</p> <p>They are not a reflection of Western values; not Eastern values either. They are the fundamental rights of all people, everywhere.</p> <p>Yet, still, there are participating states who are not meeting their commitments.</p> <p>The suppression of dissident voices. The mistreatment of minorities. Flawed elections. These continue. And where they do, they are an affront to the promises each of us has made.</p> <p>So the UK is clear: it is the duty of every state here to treat its people, all people, with dignity and respect.</p> <p>Blocking election monitoring, silencing the free media, wrecking the growth of civil society –these actions cannot be hidden; they cannot be ignored; and they drive us apart at a time when we are better off together.</p> <p>We urge all participating states to embrace the rights and values that underpin the OSCE.</p> <p>We believe that is how we will deliver a renaissance for this unique and important group, helping us bring peace and prosperity to our citizens and the wider world.  </p> <p>It will take political will. But, a generation ago, the leaders of OSCE states succeeded in forging one of the most inspiring political partnerships of their time.</p> <p>We should aim for nothing less.</p> <p> <br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:19 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=270800682 Nicholas Clegg Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's OSCE Summit Speech uk.org.publicwhip/member/40528 01 December 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Kazakhstan
<p>"Madam Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for that introduction.  In 18 years in the House of Commons, you hear a great many speeches.  One of the speeches which is most etched in my own memory was one I heard many years ago, not in the House, but as a student at Cambridge.  The speaker was not a politician, but a lawyer, a judge. In fact, one of the most distinguished judges that England has produced. Lord Denning, 90 years old, and only recently retired (to the undisguised relief of most of the Law Lords of his time) spoke for 50 minutes, without a note, to a hall that was packed to the limits of the fire regulations and some way beyond.   </p> <p>As Denning’s soft Hampshire burr recalled the famous cases over which he had presided and the legal principles which he had adduced, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Indeed the only interruption to his flow came when the law students in the audience laughed and applauded with delight when their speaker recited, in those short almost staccato sentences that were his trademark, passages from some of his leading judgements. It was a bit like devoted fans cheering with pleasure and recognition when their pop idol launched into a medley of his greatest hits.</p> <p>One of the judgments which Lord Denning cited that day was from the 1974 case of Bulmer versus Bollinger. His words about the impact of the European Communities Act 1972 are still quoted in political arguments today.</p> <p>“The treaty does not touch any of the matters which concern solely the mainland of England and the people in it. These are still governed by English law. They are not affected by the Treaty. But when we come to matters with a European element, the Treaty is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back.”</p> <p>He went on:</p> <p>“Any rights or obligations created by the Treaty are to be given legal effect in England without more ado. Any remedies or procedures provided by the Treaty are to be made available here without being open to question. In future, in transactions which cross the frontiers, we must no longer speak or think of English law as something on its own. We must speak and think of Community law, of Community rights and obligations, and we must give effect to them.”</p> <p>Now it is, to say the least, quite rare to find anyone who is able to express legal dicta in language which is close to poetry. Few, if any, of us here could lay claim to Tom Denning’s gifts. But I doubt that anybody in this audience would deny that in the 38 years since the European Communities Act became law, we have seen the influence of European law upon our own jurisprudence become greater and more pervasive.</p> <p>That has been the logical consequence of incorporating the doctrines of direct effect and the primacy of European law into our own system.  But I believe it is another aspect of Denning’s judgment in Bulmer v Bollinger which also deserves to be stressed and which is directly relevant to legislation which the Government has introduced into the House of Commons and is due to receive its second reading early next month.  Lord Denning was clear that European law was binding because a sovereign Parliament had decided that it should be so. In his words,</p> <p>“Parliament has decreed that the Treaty is henceforward to be part of our law.  It is equal in force to any statute.”</p> <p>Or,</p> <p>“The statute is expressed in forthright terms which are absolute and all embracing.”</p> <p>Or again,</p> <p>“The supreme tribunal for interpreting the Treaty is the European Court of Justice at Luxembourg.  Our Parliament has so decreed.”</p> <p>The principle of parliamentary sovereignty, the doctrine that European law has effect here for one reason only, namely that that authority has been conferred upon it by Acts of Parliament and that its authority subsists only for as long as Parliament so decides, has been upheld consistently by our courts. In 2003, in the case of McWhirter and Gourier versus, of all people, The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Court of Appeal ruled,</p> <p>“That it is fully open to Parliament to repeal or amend the 2002 Act [that was the Act ratifying the Treaty of Nice], just as it may repeal or amend the European Communities Act 1972.  That is the ultimate guarantee of constitutionality which is in place here.”</p> <p>But what is also true is that, in recent years, the argument has been advanced that we are now in a different legal order and that European law has now acquired an autonomous authority which has superseded the traditional doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. This argument was advanced most vigorously by the prosecution in the so-called Metric Martyrs case (Thoburn v Sunderland City Council) in 2002. On that occasion, the court rejected the plea, instead asserting, in the words of Lord Justice Laws, that,</p> <p>“Parliament cannot bind its successors by stipulating against repeal, wholly or partly, of the European Communities Act. It cannot stipulate as to the manner and form of any subsequent legislation. It cannot stipulate against implied repeal any more than it can stipulate against express repeal. Thus there is nothing in the European Communities Act which allows the Court of Justice or any other institutions of the EU, to touch or qualify the conditions of Parliament’s legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom.”</p> <p>What the Government has now decided to do is to place beyond doubt that constitutional position and to guard against any risk that common law jurisprudence might drift towards accepting the arguments put by the prosecution in the Metric Martyrs case by placing the principle of parliamentary sovereignty in relation to European law upon a statutory footing. The European Union Bill therefore includes a clause which writes explicitly into statute that EU law continues to have effect in this country because Acts of Parliament have so provided, and as the Foreign Secretary put it in October,</p> <p>“What a sovereign Parliament can do, a sovereign Parliament can undo.”</p> <p>The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is an essential part of this Bill but it is not going to be enough to address the political and constitutional problems between the people of this country and the EU. Let me be clear that this Government believes that it is in the national interest of the United Kingdom to be a member of the European Union and to be a very active and positive participant in its work.</p> <p>We think that membership of the EU not only brings us enormous economic advantages but that when the 27 countries of the European Union can find a common position on external issues, for example in agreeing earlier this year to a strong package of sanctions against the Iranian nuclear programme, that is something which gives the United Kingdom greater diplomatic leverage globally.</p> <p>But if we are going to make that case successfully, we need to do more to address the deep felt sense of disconnection which exists between the British people and the institutions and decision-making processes of the EU.</p> <p>In one recent opinion poll, 47% of the British people said that they would be happy if the UK left the EU altogether, and in a Eurobarometer survey only 20% of our citizens said they tended to trust the European Union.</p> <p>And before anybody jumps in and says there is something unique about British attitudes towards the EU and that this is all down to the Daily Express and stories in the newspapers or to insufficient enthusiasm amongst British politicians for initiatives from Brussels, let’s not forget that referendums in Ireland, in France, and in the Netherlands, not to mention the current mood of public opinion in Germany, have demonstrated in the last few years that this sense of public disaffection is very far from being confined to one country.</p> <p>The European Union Bill which the Government published a couple of week s ago and which will be debated at Second Reading on 7 December this year sets out quite deliberately to give new powers both to the British people and to Parliament to hold this and future governments to account for how Minsters take decisions on behalf of the United Kingdom within Europe.</p> <p>The Bill will require that if in the future there is a proposal to amend the EU treaties or to propose a new replacement treaty which would constitute a transfer of power or competence from the UK to the EU, the government of the day would have to have the consent of the British people in a national referendum before that could be agreed and that treaty or treaty amendment ratified. There will be a referendum lock on any such treaty or treaty amendment, a lock to which only the British people will hold the key.</p> <p>Now I know that the use of referendums in our constitution is still a matter of some controversy but I think that now we are living in a world in which both recent British constitutional practice and the expectations of the British people mean that attitudes and practices need to change. In the years since 1997, we have had referendums in Scotland, Wales, Greater London and the North East of England on proposals for the devolution of power. In Northern Ireland, we have had a referendum on the Belfast Agreement.</p> <p>In effect, the practice has developed that serious constitutional change, and especially change which affects profoundly the powers exercised on behalf of the people by Parliament, should require the endorsement of the people themselves, and I think that something else reinforces this mood for change in our constitutional practice.  That is the development of new technology that make direct democracy a practical, and in the eyes of many people, an attractive option in polities comprising many millions of citizens. In Periclean Athens, the citizens could all assemble in the market place and cast their votes in person. Today we are very close to the point where it would be possible, at least in theory, for every citizen to assemble online and participate in a virtual meeting to take a decision on behalf of the country.  And indeed millions of people now spend their Saturday evenings sitting in front of their television screens and voting by pressing the red button on their handsets usually it seems in order to make certain that Ann Widdecombe is not excluded from Strictly Come Dancing.</p> <p>And there is a serious point here. That habit of participatory democracy, even if it is confined on Saturday evening to the fairly trivial aspects of life, generates an expectation that this is the right way in which collective decisions should be taken. Conversely, a sense that the really important decisions about the way in which this country is governed are taken by politicians, perhaps with the use of heavy parliamentary whipping and curtailed debate through the use of the guillotine, reinforces public alienation from the political process. There is no doubt in my mind that one reason for the depth of public disaffection from Europe in this country is the powerful sense of resentment felt by British people at having been denied a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty although our nearest neighbours in the Irish Republic were able to have their say.</p> <p>As many of you here will know, the present government has already stated publicly that we will not agree to any new European treaty or treaty amendment which would transfer powers or competences from this country to the European Union. And that commitment is binding on the coalition for the entire duration of this Parliament.</p> <p>But we are planning for the long term. As we all know, there are now essentially two ways in which Treaty change can be agreed. First, there is the Ordinary Revision Procedure, under which a Convention and an Inter-Governmental Conference can agree any amendment to the Treaties. We may see the shorter form of this process used for the Protocols which the Irish and Czechs were promised. But in general the complexity, the long duration and frankly the political arduousness of this process means that treaty change under the Ordinary Revision Procedure seems unlikely to be attempted again in its full form unless there is a collective agreement across the EU that some new and very significant package of treaty changes are desirable, in which case it seems to me apparent that such a proposal would be of sufficient importance to justify a referendum.</p> <p>Under the Lisbon Treaty, we now also have the Simplified Revision Procedure, under which the European Council can decide to amend an aspect of that section of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which deals with internal policies. Under our present law, any such change under the Simplified Procedure would only require an affirmative vote in both Houses of Parliament. And with party discipline and the pressures exercised by party whips, it is easy to see how this process could undermine public confidence still further. So one change we are making in the European Union Bill is to ensure that in future any amendment to the Treaty on the European Union or to the Treaty on the Functioning of European Union, under either revision procedure, would require primary legislation, a full Act of Parliament, before the United Kingdom would be able to ratify that change. That parliamentary lock would apply even to those categories of treaty amendment which would not in addition require a referendum of the British people because they did not transfer any power from this country to the EU. It is a very significant addition to the powers of Parliament to hold to account Ministers for the decisions which they take on our behalf in Brussels.</p> <p>But, as I have said, where a treaty change would transfer competence or power from this country to the EU, we plan to insist not just on an Act of Parliament but also on a referendum of the British people. Since Lisbon,  the different types of EU competence and the extent of each type of competence has been set out clearly in the Treaties and any extension of competence would under our new legislation trigger a referendum.  Power, on the other hand, is not so clearly defined, and so I want to draw out here what for the purposes of our Bill the Government means for the purposes of our Bill by a transfer of power. First, it means the giving up of a UK veto in a significant area of policy - because that would mean that the UK would lose, and lose fundamentally, the ability to block a future measure made under that Treaty article.  There are a large number of vetoes in the Treaties, and many of them are important and sensitive, for example in areas such as foreign policy, tax, justice and home affairs. It is right that any Treaty change that would transfer from unanimity to qualified majority voting the way in which decisions were taken over those key areas of policy should require the consent of the British people before the Government could agree to such a change.</p> <p>But it is also clear to us that it would not be in the national interest to hold a referendum over giving up of the veto over more minor or technical measures such as, for example, a proposal to change the numbers of Advocates-General in the European Court of Justice. In order to be clear about when a referendum would be needed we are therefore listing in the Bill those Treaty Articles which would require a referendum before Britain could give up a veto and these are listed in a Schedule. I should stress that this does not mean that individual measures properly agreed by unanimity under these articles would require a referendum. It means instead that unanimous agreement is currently needed for such legislation, and that any attempt to remove the need for unanimity would require the consent of the British people.</p> <p>Second, a transfer of power for the purposes of the Bill would also include a Treaty change which conferred on an EU institution or body the ability to impose further obligations or sanctions on the United Kingdom or on individuals and organisations within the United Kingdom.</p> <p>And it is this particular point which has been the subject of some press attention and claims have been made, inaccurately, that Ministers will be able to use a “significance test” on any future treaty change. That is simply not true. The Bill places an absolute and unqualified referendum lock on the transfer of competence, the creation of new EU competence, or the removal of limits to existing competences and also upon a whole raft of specified policy areas. So, for example, the Government would have no choice about whether to hold a referendum before agreeing to the United Kingdom joining the euro, or joining a common European army, or giving up control of United Kingdom borders.</p> <p>Where, however, the only reason for a proposed treaty amendment being caught by the referendum lock is that it would, while not transferring or extending competence, confer upon the EU the ability to impose new obligations or sanctions on this country, we do need to be able to distinguish between important and minor changes.</p> <p>For example, the EU already has competence to act in respect of environmental policy. Let us imagine a situation in which a limited and precise treaty amendment were proposed to establish a new system for the allocation of carbon credits, under a European emissions trading scheme, perhaps with some new institution to carry out that work and set the rules. It would not seem to be sensible to have a national referendum just on that topic. Rather that is something I believe most people would accept ought to be left to be determined by Parliament which of course would still have to authorise such a treaty change by Act rather than just by resolution. What we are not doing is giving Minsters untrammelled powers of discretion. When a Minister, under our Bill, is required to make a statement on whether a proposed change requires or does not require a referendum, that Minister will have to give reasons and those reasons will have to refer to the criteria set out in the legislation itself. Not only that, but, like any executive ministerial decision, that Minister’s judgement will itself be challengeable by way of judicial review. So there will be very strong incentives for Ministers to stick to both the letter and spirit of the law, and not to sidestep the requirement to seek a referendum.</p> <p>We have also tried to provide clarity by setting out in precise terms certain categories of treaty change which would not require a referendum. The accession of a new country to the EU doesn’t in itself transfer powers from this country to Brussels, so no referendum would be required for any accession treaty if all it did was to provide for the accession of that State - though of course each accession treaty would require approval by Act of Parliament. Nor are we saying a referendum would be required for a treaty change which, while it would have to be agreed and ratified by all Member States, would not apply to this country.  Finally, the Bill does not cover any use of the EU’s existing competences as defined in the Treaties, as those competences have already been transferred and the extent of those competences is set out clearly in European law.</p> <p>The Bill will also give Parliament more control over whether the Government can agree to a number of other important EU decisions, sometimes referred to as the self-amending provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. These decisions, known as ‘passerelles’ or ‘ratchet clauses’, contain built-in mechanisms, which allow for modifications to the EU Treaties or the exercise of one-way options without recourse to either of the formal methods of Treaty change; though as you will be aware, there is no one agreed, legal definition of what constitutes a passerelle or a ratchet clause.</p> <p>We have identified three types of clause under this umbrella: clauses which allow for a change of legislative procedure; clauses which allow for changes in voting procedure; and clauses which allow for the expansion of the scope of a particular article allowing the European Union to act. Because of the lack of a definition, and because the Government’s aim is to ensure that our proposals are as clear as possible to Parliament and the public, we have set out on the face of the Bill which Treaty articles would require additional levels of control.  </p> <p>The EU Bill will require Parliament to approve each use of a ratchet clause in an Act of Parliament before the Government can agree to their use in the Council or the European Council; an increased level of parliamentary control which will allow both Houses the opportunity to consider each measure carefully.<br>  <br>Articles which add to what can be done within existing areas of EU competence will require approval by an Act of Parliament. Examples include proposals to add to the list of criminal offences on which the EU can legislate or to add to the list of criminal law procedures on which the EU can legislate.</p> <p>And, as with the treaty changes, if any such measure based on one of the passerelle clauses were to propose a transfer of power or competence, the Bill makes clear that a referendum of the British people will be required.</p> <p>Where we have decided that giving up a veto is significant, we need to put a referendum lock over any way of giving up that veto in the Treaties. Any other approach would be illogical – there is no point putting a lock on the ability to give up a veto by Treaty change if the British Government of the day could then give up the very same veto without a referendum simply by using a ratchet clause. So this covers the Simplified Revision Procedure, and also six other specific provisions in the Treaties which allow for vetoes to be given up without formal Treaty change, for example in social policy, the environment, common foreign and security policy and European Union finance.</p> <p>There are also a number of specific, one-way decisions which transfer competence from the UK to the EU. So joining the Euro would require a referendum to be held; as would any proposal to move to a common EU defence; to participate in a European Public Prosecutor; or to extend the powers of that Office if the UK were already a participant.</p> <p>These provisions provide Parliament and the British people with a key role in determining whether the future use of any of these so-called self-amending provisions in the Treaties can be used; and is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to rebuild trust and reconnect the British public with decisions taken in Brussels.</p> <p>There are some additional proposals which would require a vote rather than a Bill in both the House of Lords and Commons as a result of the EU Bill. These are mostly articles which modify the composition or rules of procedure or statutes of existing European Union institutions or bodies. Examples would include proposals enabling the General Court of the EU Court to organise its workload by establishing specialised chambers to deal with certain types of cases, or proposals which change the rules of the European Investment Bank.</p> <p>This is, I believe, an ambitious and important piece of legislation. It will give powers to the British people and to Parliament which they have never previously enjoyed in respect of decisions about our engagement with the European Union. The Bill will also give people the assurance they are entitled to expect that the sovereignty of Parliament and the ultimate right of the people themselves to decide which powers should be delegated for collective decisions within Europe and which should be maintained as distinct national competences, are both being properly safeguarded. And given those safeguards, I believe that people in the United Kingdom will be more willing to support policies and positive work within the EU to defend and promote the interests of our country.</p> <p>Now, I am not tonight going to talk about the immediate crisis facing the Eurozone, hugely important though that it is. Events are moving very fast. But if I look beyond that immediate crisis what seems to me to be the most urgent task facing every Member State of the European Union is how to restore our competitiveness in a globalised economy, competitiveness which is being eroded not only by the emerging economies of Latin America and the Far East but also by the United States of America. Europe frankly needs to spend less time fretting about institutional relations and treaty changes and devote its energies and its political priorities to policies which are going to promote growth, jobs, investment and competition. We need to both deepen and widen the single market, having a further drive towards a genuine single market in services, and creating single markets in the digital economy and in energy. Europe needs to renew its efforts to secure a multilateral trade deal and complete the Doha round in 2011 and push ahead with bilateral free trade agreements with other countries and regions, following the successful conclusion of the negotiations with South Korea by accelerating work on free trade agreements with India, Canada and the Mercosur countries. And Europe should rediscover its ambition to cut the costs and complexity of the regulations which it imposes on businesses throughout our continent. This is something which President Barroso committed himself to doing when he was first elected as President of the European Commission and the British Government looks forward to working closely with him and his team to make that ambition a reality.</p> <p>Europe needs to resist the temptation to become introverted. The test of European cooperation and European unity should never be the height of its barriers against the world outside. If I were asked to single out the greatest success of the European Union in the decades since its creation, I would pick even ahead of the single market, the EU’s achievement in entrenching democracy, the rule of law and human rights in those parts of our continent - Spain, Portugal, Greece, Central and Eastern Europe – where those values and traditions were crushed for most of the 20th century.  And today, it is the hope of EU membership which drives both political and economic reform in the Western Balkans and the countries of the Eastern Partnership and the British government is determined to do all within our power to ensure that that path towards full EU membership remains open to our neighbours.</p> <p>It is in our interests as a country for the nations of Europe to work together to enhance the prosperity and security of our continent and for us in Britain to be an active player in shaping the priorities of the European Union. But it is for the British people to determine the nature and extent of the powers that they wish to share with our European neighbours. What our new legislation seeks to do is to ensure that it is the people ultimately who retain the power to decide.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:27 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=249892682 David Lidington "It is in the national interest of the UK to be a member of the European Union" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 26 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>I would like to take some time this morning to outline how the British Government sees its role in Europe. And in doing so to dispel some myths along the way.</p> <p>You may well have the image in your mind of Britain as a reluctant European. Disengaged, troublesome, not a team player and, effectively, not seeing itself as in Europe or European.</p> <p>Well I am here this morning to say that that is simply untrue. The bad press and undeserved reputation of the UK in Europe has gone on for too long. It is time for we looked hard at the reality of this. In particular in the context of Europe in this century</p> <p>Perhaps four or five hundred years ago our relationship wasn’t so great. But let’s look at our shared respect for linguistic and cultural diversity, our constitutional monarchies, parliamentary democracies and of course our membership of NATO and the EU. Spain and the UK have great sea faring pasts that have continued with our Atlanticist viewpoint and global trading status. The wider world has been, and continues to be, economically, politically and culturally important to us both.</p> <p>The free movement directive has seen the face of Britain and Spain change more dramatically than at almost any point in both our histories. 1.5 million nationals of EU member states now live and work in the UK, whilst around a million Britons live in other EU member states. 40% of these in Spain, with another 600,000 or so spending a good part of their time here. We are not just as a Government but as a people, and as a nation, engaged in Europe. Spain has over 2 million nationals of other EU member states living on her territory. 40,000 Spanish students study in the UK. For both the UK and Spain, freedom of movement and the opportunity to live, work and study in each other’s countries and that of other EU member states are fundamental to our way of life and the career aspirations of the younger generation.</p> <p>Our cultural background and traditions here are key. We have seen Spain set up the Alliance of Civilisations with Turkey and many other countries to explore the roots of polarisation between societies and cultures today and to recommend a practical programme of action to address the issue. Similarly for Britain, the Commonwealth brings together 54 member states to co-operate within a framework of common values and goals including the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance and similarly important principles.</p> <p>We have enthusiastically embraced the single market, the need for urgent action to address global warming and the desires of European countries on the periphery of the EU to join.</p> <p>But let’s be honest we have both done so with national interest in mind. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that. We, the UK, have stood up for our interests on, for instance, the budget and defence. Spain is well known for its position on the EU Patent.</p> <p>It is in both our interests to see the EU succeed. But it must do so by addressing the challenges of the 21st century, and not those of the 1950’s. There are urgent challenges ranging from our loss of competitiveness, global warming, poverty and the growing unpopularity amongst the people of Europe for the EU itself. The world is changing rapidly and dramatically. Europe must face up to these changes. You don’t only have to look at public opinion polls in the UK. This can also be seen in Germany. And through the referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland. So this disaffection is not simply a British phenomenon.</p> <p>Being an engaged and ‘good’ European nation is about helping Europe meet these challenges of a rapidly and dramatically changing world.</p> <p>Today I’d like to take you through in more detail our approach to the Single Market and economic recovery, climate change and enlargement. An approach which I believe demonstrates our positive and active engagement with Europe in defence of our national interests.</p> 2011-03-24 23:07:30 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=137290682 David Lidington Engaged and attuned: Britain as a good European uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 18 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office European Commission offices, Madrid, Spain
<p>Good afternoon and thank you all for coming to hear me speak today. I am delighted to be back at Georgetown. It has been quite a few years since my last visit in 1982 at the tender age of 21, when I spoke in a debate about British policy in Northern Ireland. I am glad to say that that policy has since been successful, with a great deal of support from the United States. One of the reasons I was  keen to come back was the very enjoyable weekend I spent here after the debate, about which I will only say that students at this University know how to have a very good time.</p> <p>This is my first major foreign policy speech in the United States since the formation of the new coalition government in Britain, between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.<br>I am here to speak on the theme of international security. But those of you who follow our politics as avidly as we do yours may have some curiosity about our first coalition government in sixty-five years.</p> <p>It may have surprised you, as it did many in Britain, that such passionate political adversaries were able to form a coalition in just five days after our remarkable General Election in May. If you watched any of the televised leaders’ debates between the three Prime Ministerial candidates – the first ever in Britain although such debates have  long been a feature of the American political landscape – you may have been even more astonished that we agreed an actual programme of government in the same short period.</p> <p>Our politics are famously adversarial. William Wilberforce - a God-fearing man who devoted his entire political life to the abolition of the slave trade, who is one of my political heroes - wrote that when he first came into Parliament in the 18th century "you could not go to the opposition side of the house without hearing the most shocking swearing". Being even-handed he went on to say that "it was not so bad on the ministerial side, though not I’m afraid from their being much better than their opponents".</p> <p> <br>In fact we were in such uncharted waters during the coalition negotiations that the journalists camped outside were reduced to seeking symbolism in the sandwiches. One paper reported significantly that the Conservative negotiators "were eating traditional chicken, beef, or egg sandwiches" while "the Liberal Democrats were munching on tuna, and cheese and onion".</p> <p>But we worked through our political and dietary differences to achieve a government in the national interest, one that was made possible by the steady evolution of both our parties in Opposition. For since David Cameron took the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2005 we have become a more socially liberal Conservative party, while under Nick Clegg’s leadership the Liberal Democrats have become more economically liberal. This has allowed us comprehensively to occupy the centre ground in British politics, at a time when strong fiscal policies are needed to overcome the largest budget deficit our country has ever faced outside a world war and to lay the foundation, we hope, for growth, recovery, and a fairer and more prosperous society.</p> <p>Britain last had a coalition government under very different circumstances, during the dark days of the Second World War. Winston Churchill was called upon then to form a coalition that represented as he put it, the nation’s "united strength" at a time of immense danger. In one of the first of the 1,750 private telegrams he exchanged with President Roosevelt during the war, Churchill described countries being "smashed up, one by one, like matchwood" as Hitler’s armies swept inexorably across Europe. Indeed by the time he had been Prime Minister for just thirty-six days, Demark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and France had all fallen, leaving Britain dangerously exposed until the formation of the alliance with the United States and with the USSR.</p> <p>Today, it is hard for any of us to comprehend such a threat to our national survival. But the Special Relationship as we now know it, between the United States and United Kingdom, was forged and tempered in those fires.</p> <p>In the 1940s a story did the rounds about a young man preparing for a career in the Foreign Office who was asked what he thought were the most important things in the world. Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied: "Love, and Anglo-American relations." I don’t know if that question still features in our interview process, but our indispensable relationship with America is at the heart of our view of Britain’s place in the world.</p> <p>Our close cooperation in global security has always been at the core of our relationship and gives it much of its compelling force and unique character. On top of our cultural and commercial links we have a relationship in defence, nuclear issues and intelligence that is without parallel anywhere in the world. We also have an extraordinarily close working partnership in foreign policy, as I observe every day in the Foreign Office and enjoy in my relations with your formidable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.</p> <p>Ours is a relationship in which each side has its own distinct identity and interests and where we will sometimes disagree.</p> <p>But  today it is impossible to imagine a mortal threat to each other’s security that we would not face together, or support each other in confronting.</p> <p>The US-UK relationship is still special, still fundamental to both countries, still thriving and still a cornerstone of stability in the world.</p> <p>In addition to our cooperation on Afghanistan and on Pakistan, we work together on a daily basis to address Iran’s nuclear programme and to avert nuclear proliferation in the Middle East;<br></p> <p>US efforts to restart negotiations on a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict have the wholehearted support and active engagement of the United Kingdom;<br></p> <p>We work side by side on the Western Balkans, where the creation of new states is over, but long term stability and prosperity has yet to be fully realised;<br></p> <p>We are in close agreement over Sudan, which Secretary Clinton and I discussed this morning after the special session of the United Nations Security Council yesterday, which I chaired; and she attended;<br></p> <p>We are working urgently in the area of counter-proliferation to secure loose nuclear material, limit illicit trafficking in nuclear weapons’ technology, and to uphold the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty;</p> <p>And above all, we share unprecedented cooperation against terrorism. As the Secretary of State responsible for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service and our signals intelligence agency GCHQ, I witness every day, sometimes every hour, that our relationship saves lives and is indispensable to the security of both our countries. The disruption of the recent Al Qaeda cargo plot against aeroplanes flying to the US, thanks to the efforts of our intelligence services and our partners including Saudi Arabia, is the latest telling example of this bond.</p> <p>This is why I have chosen to give my speech on security here in America. Our government is determined to stand foursquare with the United States and our allies to confront the security challenges of the 21st century as robustly as we faced those of the past.</p> <p>In Britain we have never shirked - and under this government never will shirk - the international responsibilities conferred on us by our economic and military strength, our alliance in NATO and by our membership of international organisations.</p> <p>In Britain we have always been restless and outward-looking in disposition as a people, ready to pay a price to confront threats to international security or to help those less fortunate. We have a proud history, underpinned by broad consensus across much of our society about where our national interests lie and the country we wish to be.<br></p> <p>We are the fourth largest financial contributor to the United Nations and one of the largest international aid donors, working across the world from Burma to Yemen to alleviate poverty and support human rights. We are ardent advocates of free trade and the reform of international institutions, including a more representative UN Security Council, a wider European Union and an expanded NATO. We have arguably the best record among the nuclear weapons powers in fulfilling our nuclear disarmament commitments, while remaining committed to our minimum independent nuclear deterrent for ultimate self-defence and as a contribution to the indivisible security of the North Atlantic Alliance. And with our allies we have also shown an extraordinary resilience and determination when military sacrifice has been required. Over the last twenty years the US and Britain have fought five major military campaigns side by side in the Balkans and Iraq during the Operation Desert Storm, and in recent years in Afghanistan and Iraq. In most of these conflicts we provided the second largest contingent of troops of any nation while bearing some of the hardest fighting. Our indomitable Armed Forces are making great sacrifices in Afghanistan at this very moment, alongside those of the United States.</p> <p>As a nation we are far from immune from mistakes in foreign policy – no country is. But I am confident the UK will continue to be one of the strongest and most effective actors in world affairs in the years ahead. There will be no reduction in Britain’s global role under this British government.</p> <p>But maintaining this ambition for ourselves as well as others does not mean standing still or going about everything in the same way as before.</p> <p>Indeed, as a new Government we knew that urgent changes were needed.</p> <p>For ten years our country has been engaged in continuous military commitments overseas, without any assessment of Britain’s strategic interests in the round or the changes taking place around us.</p> <p>Meanwhile the economic underpinning of our strength in defence and foreign affairs had been weakened, as economic development in other nations outstripped our own, even before the financial crisis struck home. And when it did, we were spending more servicing the interest on our national debt than on our annual defence, diplomacy and development budgets combined.</p> <p>There was also a gap between where we really needed to focus our diplomatic effort to maintain our prosperity and security, and where that effort was actually being channelled. We had neglected to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation and the emergence of new economic powers and markets. For example we are still exporting more as a nation to Ireland than to India, China and Russia put together, and more to Denmark than to the whole of Latin America – a region of 20 countries and 576 million people.</p> <p>But added to this, we could also see that the conduct of world affairs has changed dramatically over the last decade. First, economic power and political influence are diffusing around the globe, particularly towards the South and East. Second, the circle of international decision-making is growing wider, and new configurations of countries are emerging who do not always fully share our approach to international issues. Third, international relations are no longer the sole preserve of governments, as civil society, business and individuals play an increasing role. So as I think of it, while the world is becoming more multilateral it is also becoming more bilateral at the same time. We have to reinforce our bilateral relationships and to become more adept at leveraging new forms of influence.</p> <p>In Britain we have taken a series of steps in our first six months in office to put our country on a stronger strategic footing in the future.</p> <p>We have established a new National Security Council, the first of its kind in Britain. It brings Ministers and the chiefs of our Armed Forces and Intelligence Services together each week, to consider our strategic interests in the round and to ensure that foreign policy runs through the veins of the whole of government. This week for example it held its first meeting on the security implications of climate change. It has brought coherence to the oversight of Britain’s effort in Afghanistan, conducted the first review of our country’s strategic defence and security needs in more than ten years, and produced a new National Security Strategy.</p> <p>It did so against an extremely challenging financial backdrop – including a defence budget that was overcommitted to the tune of £38 billion. To put this in context for you this is larger than our entire annual defence budget, which is why the process was urgent. We have taken difficult decisions which could not be put off any longer.</p> <p>But I must correct the mistaken idea that we are in some way sacrificing our national defence to meet budget deficits. Strong defences require strong finances. The decisions we have taken are necessary beyond question and will ensure that Britain will be able to defend all its territories and meet all its commitments, including to NATO’s target of 2% of gross domestic product spent on defence. It will allow us to emerge stronger in the future when our economy grows. This should be good news for our allies, and a timely reminder to potential adversaries that Britain still packs a punch on the world stage.</p> <p>As Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech in London on Monday, in addition to having the fourth largest defence budget in the world the UK will be one of the few countries able to deploy a fully-equipped Brigade-sized force anywhere in the world, plus the required air and maritime assets on an enduring basis. With the Joint Strike Fighter and Typhoon, the Royal Air Force will have some of the most capable combat aircraft money can buy, backed by a new fleet of tankers and transport aircraft. The Royal Navy will have a new operational aircraft carrier, new Type 45 destroyers and seven new nuclear-powered hunter killer submarines, the most advanced in the world. And we will renew, our nuclear deterrent, Trident, our ultimate insurance policy in an age of uncertainty.</p> <p>This month we also signed a new Defence Treaty with France. The two largest military powers in Europe will now come together in practical ways to increase our military capability and impact, contributing to NATO and Europe’s ability to be more effective in security and defence. This goes alongside our close cooperation in foreign policy with Germany and our highly active involvement in all the foreign affairs discussions of the European Union, which extends the impact and weight we bring to bear in foreign affairs. In recent months for instance we have been instrumental in strong EU leadership on Iran and on the Balkans.</p> <p>Above all we have made no reduction whatsoever in our commitment to the war we are fighting with the United States and our allies in Afghanistan. Alongside our unwavering support for the mission which remains vital to our national security, we will increase our investment in protected vehicles, drones and equipment to counter IEDs, ensuring that our troops have the tools they need. In addition to agreeing the new Strategic Concept which will strengthen the NATO Alliance and chart a clear course for the future, this weekend’s NATO summit in Lisbon will commit the Alliance to a long-term partnership with the Afghan people. It will mark an important starting point for our strategy to transfer responsibility for security progressively to Afghan forces.</p> <p>So Britain will remain a first rate military power and a robust ally of the US and in NATO well into the future. As Secretary Clinton recently said, the UK “will remain the most capable partner” for US forces.</p> <p>But defence policy must be the instrument of a strong and clear-sighted foreign policy. Today it is not enough to protect our citizens in their communities and within our borders. Our whole way of life requires international trade and travel, the safe flows of goods and people, open seas, secure energy supplies, access to technology, a sustainable global economy and climate and food security. In a networked world, we need to be able to address threats before they reach our shores, and to use diplomacy, development and our intelligence services to help avoid the need for military action which is a last resort.</p> <p>It is this rounded approach to foreign policy and security that will be a hallmark of the new British government. Foreign policy is not just about making the right decisions now, but also about positioning our country for the long term so that we can ward off threats and harness positive trends in the world.</p> <p>In Britain this means that we need not only a strong and thriving transatlantic alliance and a leading role in Europe, but also a distinctively British approach to the building of new partnerships around the world, in North Africa, in Asia, in Latin America and in the Gulf - the parts of the world where economic opportunity increasingly lies and where solutions to pressing international challenges also need to be sought. In some cases this will be in parallel to efforts by the US and in support of common goals. In others we will act on our own in pursuit of our own national interest, which we will never neglect to do.</p> <p>In our first months in office we have launched an initiative to forge closer ties with our historic partners in the Gulf. We have intensified our dialogue with Turkey and renewed ties with old partners like Japan and emerging powers such as India. Last Tuesday I gave the Canning Lecture in which I called a halt to Britain’s retreat in Latin America, and called for a diplomatic advance to begin. We will be building our relations with Brazil, Chile and other Latin American states in the years ahead. And we have set out to reinvigorate Britain’s activity within the Commonwealth – a unique network of 54 nation states underpinned by a common language, common attitudes, and by a commitment to the rule of law and good governance.</p> <p>We are also placing a much greater emphasis on conflict prevention in our National Security Strategy. We are increasing the amount we devote to international development, so that from 2013 we will spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. Within that we are doubling our investment in aid for fragile and unstable countries over the next five years, so that we will spend nearly a third of our aid budget in fragile and conflict-affected states. This assistance will help to create security in some of the poorest countries in the world. We continue to place significant emphasis on the soft power aspect of our influence – another area where your Secretary of State has set a powerful intellectual lead with her advocacy of "smart power" – which in our case includes the British Council and BBC World Service.</p> <p>And we are meeting head on the insidious and growing threat to our national security from cyberspace. Persistent and sophisticated cyber attacks against our national systems are happening every day – against our banking networks, our intellectual property and of commercial infrastructure. There are over 1,000 targeted attacks on UK Government networks every month. If unchecked, they threaten our prosperity, our defence capabilities and indeed the very heart of our national security.</p> <p>Cyberspace, of course recognises no borders and no nation can defend itself effectively alone. The United States has demonstrated truly impressive leadership on cyber security and our cyber partnership with the US is of the first order. We are working towards a joint UK-US approach to this challenge, and devoting an extra £650 million to our own national programme.</p> <p>We will need robust defences, in this and other areas, so that our nations can benefit from the immense potential of cyberspace in a safe and secure way. But we must do so without undermining the flow of ideas, information and people. This has been essential to our prosperity and growth and is a key underpinning of liberty, allowing citizens to challenge their leaders and hold them to account. If in our response to genuine security threats, we inadvertently halted the last half-century's march to greater freedom of communication, then the terrorists and criminals who currently exploit internet openness really would have won. The UK is determined to seek the right balance between security and freedom.</p> <p>For we cannot protect our security or influence unless we also champion our own values. Unless we stand up for democracy, the rule of law, political freedom and human rights, and unless others perceive that we do this, we weaken our security and prosperity over the long term.</p> <p>In our lifetime and that of our parents the United States has been not only the "arsenal of democracy" without which tyranny might have prevailed but has also been, because of its extraordinary political diversity and the power of its example, a source of hope and inspiration to millions of people mired in conflict or oppression elsewhere in the world. My belief and my hope is that the United States will always continue to fulfil this indispensable role in world affairs, and it will find in the United Kingdom a redoubtable ally.</p> <p>We all have to recognise that in a networked world deviations from our own values or actions that are seen to cut across international law, are quickly detected and instantly spread across the world. In our international diplomacy we not only have to convince our allies or would-be partners, but we have to bear in mind a sceptical global audience of seven billion pairs of ears and eyes. As a politician I would be the first to say that we cannot hope to convince everyone, or always prevail in international courts of opinion, but neither can we ever ignore them.</p> <p>If we are to maintain our influence in the world we must always seek to retain the moral advantage. Our adversaries have shown that there are no depths to which they will not stoop. But we, as democratic states, will always be judged by the highest standards. This is something on which the coalition government in Britain and the US administration are in close accord.</p> <p>We have taken early action to make clear that we will not be complicit in torture or mistreatment. We have published the guidance we give our intelligence and military personnel on the treatment of detainees held by other countries and we have decided to hold an independent Inquiry to consider the allegations that Britain may have been complicit in the past, so that we can learn the lessons and enable our security and intelligence services to get on with their job of making us – and our allies - safe.</p> <p>So we are confident that Great Britain is equipped to face the security challenges of the next decade and beyond and to stand firm with its allies. We have a clear long-term vision of Britain as an active global power and the closest ally of the United States. In a networked world the UK is now equipped to play not a shrinking but a growing and increasingly effective role – both in promoting our interests and in helping meet the major world challenges, and so there will be no shrinkage of the UK’s global role in the lifetime of this British Government.</p> <p>In the years ahead our intelligence services will continue to work in the most dangerous parts of the world, detecting threats to our security and supporting that of our allies. Our aid workers will continue to be in the front line of combating deprivation, insecurity and hopelessness. Our Armed Forces will continue to be the backbone of our defence and to train others around the world. Our diplomats will remain among the very best it is possible to have, working from one of the largest diplomatic networks of any country, with new partners as well as our oldest allies. And our government will work to harness all the instruments of our national power more effectively than in the past.</p> <p>So ours is a foreign policy that will be based firmly on our own enlightened national interest, consciously geared to securing prosperity for our own citizens but always connected to the needs of our allies. It will uphold our values and defend human rights, without which we cannot hope to see stability entrenched and democracy more universally enjoyed, and it will protect the security of the United Kingdom - without which we imperil all we have achieved and hold dear, and in support of which there is no single more important alliance than our unshakeable partnership with the United States of America.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:32 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=117662682 William Hague International Security in a networked world uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 17 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>“It is an honour to chair the Security Council for the first time, for what is the most important event of the United Kingdom’s Presidency this month.</p> <p>This is a defining moment for Sudan and its people, as they enter the final stages of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It is a period of great risk and therefore a situation that the Security Council cannot ignore; but it is also a time of opportunity, and a chance to achieve greater stability in Sudan that the world cannot let go by. It is vital that the international community stands united and steadfast in its support of the CPA.  </p> <p>I am therefore grateful for the outstanding international leadership being provided by President Mbeki, the UN Secretary-General and Special Representative Menkerios and Joint Special Representative Gambari. And I welcome the intense interest shown by all those who have travelled long distances to be present today, and the enthusiasm I have encountered in other Security Council members to hold this meeting.</p> <p>We are all only too conscious of the tragedy of Sudan’s past:  over fifty years of suffering, more than two million people dead and many millions displaced, not only in the South but also in Darfur, where conflict continues; and in eastern Sudan and other marginalised areas of the country.  </p> <p>The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement brought the Sudanese parties together in an unprecedented manner.  They put aside their differences and ended 40 years of civil war, opening the prospect of a new stage in Sudan’s history. The international community must now come together and support the parties as they work to cement the gains achieved in the last six years.  </p> <p>A stable Sudan will help build security and prosperity in the region. It will mean that Sudan does not again become a base for terrorism, or a source of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries. And most importantly, it will help the Sudanese people receive the tangible benefits of peace that have eluded them for so long.  </p> <p>Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development visited Sudan last week.  He made clear that the UK is determined to help improve the lives of the Sudanese people.  But only if peace is kept and conflict avoided, will development succeed and those lives truly be improved.</p> <p>Colleagues,</p> <p>We are now in the final stages of preparation for the referenda.  As we have heard from the Secretary-General and President Mbeki, there has been progress in recent weeks. I welcome the arrival of the Secretary General’s high level monitoring panel in Khartoum on Sunday to monitor the process so far, and the work of domestic and international observers.</p> <p>Voter registration began as scheduled yesterday.  This is the first of a series of essential steps. Early indications suggest that registration is proceeding in an orderly manner.  We must all encourage timely and calm completion of this process.  </p> <p>We have also been encouraged by political talks between the parties over the last few weeks.  Good progress is being made. President Mbeki has summarised for us today his invaluable work to bring the parties together to address issues of fundamental and long term importance to both North and South, including citizenship, security arrangements, natural resources, assets and liabilities and the North/South border.</p> <p>Success depends on the actions of the parties themselves and I welcome the commitments made by both parties: at the High-Level meeting here in New York on 24 September, in the Framework Agreement which President Mbeki is helping to negotiate, and in their statements here today.  </p> <p>In recent weeks, both sides have made concessions and stated their determination to avoid a return to war.  I do not underestimate how difficult this process is for the parties.  But I do not believe that any of the remaining differences on the key issues cannot be bridged.  We will continue strongly to support President Mbeki’s efforts to help the parties reach agreement.  </p> <p>This must include an agreement on Abyei as a matter of urgency.  Tensions there are rising.  We must ensure that it does not become the flashpoint it has been in the past.  I urge the parties to work with the communities on the ground to reassure them that their rights will be protected, whatever political agreement is reached.   And I urge both North and South to ensure that their military deployments in the area do not contribute to instability.</p> <p>Colleagues,</p> <p>The international community must also be ready to support the parties’ work on the long-term issues affecting each side beyond the referendum and whatever its outcome. The UK, with others, has taken a leading role on the handling of Sudan’s international debt. The US has made a series of bold and imaginative offers of early action towards normalisation of its relationship with Khartoum, which we welcome strongly.  </p> <p>The African Union continues to play a vital role in helping the North and South to bridge their differences.  The Arab League and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also making important contributions.</p> <p>The United Nations, with over 30,000 peacekeepers on the ground in Darfur, the South and along the border, is central to the international community’s work in Sudan. Its role is vital, giving political support to the ongoing negotiations, practical support to the referendum process and protection to civilians. I welcome the UN’s planning to prepare for humanitarian contingencies around the referendum, and I encourage the Sudanese authorities to actively support these preparations.  </p> <p>Much international attention is understandably focused on North/South issues in Sudan.  But we must not lose sight of the situation in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have suffered and died.  We must work intensively with all parties involved towards a peaceful and inclusive political settlement, addressing the violence and insecurity, including by combating impunity and supporting the peace talks in Doha.</p> <p>I welcome the role played by the Chief Mediator, Djbril Bassolé, and the support of the Government of Qatar. I urge all parties to participate in peace talks to put a definitive end to the misery in Darfur. Access for humanitarian workers and peacekeepers must be improved and kidnappings in Darfur must end.</p> <p>Colleagues,</p> <p>In the coming months, there will be few greater challenges for the international community, the United Nations and the Security Council than Sudan.  What I have heard today from our four distinguished briefers convinces me that there can be peace and stability in Sudan, if the parties commit to peace. They will receive the strong support of the international community if they do so.  The UK stands ready to play its part, based on our historic and enduring commitment to all the people of Sudan, to seize the opportunity for the secure future their country deserves.”</p> 2011-03-24 23:07:42 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=93202682 William Hague "A stable Sudan will help build security and prosperity in the region" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 16 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY<br><br>"I am delighted that the Foreign &amp; Commonwealth Office is hosting the official launch of the UK India Business Leaders Climate Group report today.<br></p> <p>The work of the Group is an essential strand of our commitment to build an enhanced partnership with India.</p> <p>Our two countries are natural partners.  <br></p> <p>We share traditions of open democracy, liberal economics and a commitment to effective international institutions. India, the world’s largest democracy, is a vibrant country and home to innovative, world class businesses. It is playing an increasingly important role in meeting today's global challenges: from restoring economic stability, to countering terrorist networks, tackling poverty and addressing climate change. You, the business leaders of today, are building the new India which is playing its role alongside the world’s major economies.</p> <p>The British Government is working in a targeted and systematic fashion to secure Britain’s economic recovery, promote open markets and improved financial regulation. Britain is a partner of choice for any country seeking to invest and do business in Europe.</p> <p>We face a challenge in building the recovery. That is not the false choice between low carbon growth and high carbon business as usual. Rather, the dilemma is how to structure our economies in a sustainable, low carbon, way so that our long-term growth and prosperity is assured.</p> <p>Business plays a critical role in this. British and Indian governments need to involve you in our conversation about the sort of economy we wanted to build together.  </p> <p>That is why I am so excited about this report, prepared by the cream of British and Indian business. It constitutes a serious step forward for collaboration between the UK and India on the low carbon business opportunities that will drive our future economies and create the jobs of tomorrow.</p> <p>I commend your excellent work and that of the co-chairs, Rajan Bharti Mittal and Sir Stuart Rose.</p> <p>I am particularly encouraged by the Group’s recommendations on joint demonstration projects, innovative financing instruments, joint research and development programmes, and skills exchange. And you have rightly emphasised the need for effective regulatory frameworks.</p> <p>The British Government stands ready to support the Group in realising its vision of UK and Indian businesses collaborating on low carbon opportunities.</p> <p>And I know that there is real appetite in India for movement on this issue too. India deserves the international acclaim it has received for its commitments to ambitious action on renewable energy and on energy efficiency. It has made the strategic choice to invest in solar power on an impressive scale. In this way, Indian companies are helping to set the global standards for the low carbon technologies of the future, thereby showing that the low carbon economy also brings prosperity.</p> <p>When our two Prime Ministers met in July of this year, they agreed to explore initiatives that would create resources and incentives to help businesses deploy renewable energy, particularly for the poor. I invite the UK India Business Leaders Climate Group to help us address this challenge.</p> <p>At the same time, to realise your wide ranging vision, I encourage the group to reach out to other progressive businesses in both the UK and India. You have the opportunity to do that through your proposed business to business implementation partnerships.</p> <p>Finally, let me say how entirely fitting I feel it is that this event is being held here in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The threat of dangerous climate change is one of our age’s greatest foreign policy challenges. It is impossible to have food, water, or energy security without climate security. They are interconnected and inseparable. They form four resource pillars on which global security, prosperity and equity stand. Each depends on the others. In short, we cannot guarantee our security or prosperity if we do not provide an effective response to that challenge.</p> <p>A global climate change deal under the auspices of the UN will offer the most legitimate way of doing so, as well as providing the clearest framework for business. We are now just two weeks away from the sixteenth Conference of Parties on climate change in Cancun. We have a chance in Cancun to regain momentum and make progress.  Cancun may not get us all the way to a full agreement. But it can put us back on track to one.</p> <p>It is vital that that we build on what is agreed at Cancun and use foreign policy levers - and practical business to business collaboration across borders – to forge a global consensus for more concerted action.<br>That’s why we need groups like the UK India Business Leaders Climate Group, with the vision to see and exploit the great economic opportunities of the low carbon revolution.</p> <p>By so clearly setting out the business case behind a rapid shift to a low carbon economy, this report can have an impact beyond the UK-India context as well.</p> <p>I congratulate the group on its vision and foresight. You are doing vital work and I know that with your track record in delivering results, you will realise the vision set out in the report and help create the sustainable, low carbon business that will drive our countries’ economies in the future.</p> <p>Thank you."<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:45 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=79880682 William Hague UK India Business Leaders Climate Group report launched uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 15 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p></p> <p>Twenty five years ago I came to Hong Kong as a student.</p> <p>The year was 1985.</p> <p>Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher had recently signed the historic Joint Declaration.</p> <p>The remarkable story of the successful handover of Hong Kong and the great progress Hong Kong has continued to make is an example to the world of what can be achieved when two countries cooperate in confidence and with mutual respect.<br> <br>Since then, China has changed almost beyond recognition.</p> <p>China’s National Anthem famously calls on the people of China to stand up Qi lai qi lai (stand up, stand up)</p> <p>Today the Chinese people are not just standing up in their own country they are standing up in the world.</p> <p>No longer can people talk about the global economy without including the country that has grown on average ten per cent a year for three decades.</p> <p>No longer can we talk about trade without the country that is now the world’s largest exporter and third largest importer And no longer can we debate energy security or climate change without the country that is one of the world’s biggest consumer of energy.</p> <p>China is on course to reclaim, later this century, its position as the world’s biggest economy the position it has held for 18 of the last 20 centuries. and an achievement of which the Chinese people are justly proud.</p> <p>Put simply: China has re-emerged as a great global power.</p> <p>Now people can react to this in one of two ways.</p> <p>They can see China’s rise as a threat or they can see it as an opportunity.</p> <p>They can protect their markets from China or open their markets to China.</p> <p>They can try and shut China out or welcome China in, to a new place at the top table of global affairs.</p> <p>There has been a change of Government in Britain and a change of Prime Minister.</p> <p>But on this vital point there is absolute continuity between my government and the Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.</p> <p>We want a strong relationship with China. Strong on trade. Strong on investment. Strong on dialogue.</p> <p>I made that clear as Leader of the Opposition when I visited Beijing and Chongqing three years ago.</p> <p>And I repeat it as Prime Minister here in China’s capital today.</p> <p>In the argument about how to react to the rise of China I say it’s an opportunity.</p> <p>I choose engagement not disengagement.</p> <p>Dialogue not stand-off.</p> <p>Mutual benefit, not zero-sum game.</p> <p>Partnership not protectionism.</p> <p>Britain is the country that argues most passionately for globalisation and free trade.</p> <p>Free trade is in our DNA.</p> <p>And we want trade with China. As much of it as we can get.</p> <p>That’s why I have with me on this visit one of the biggest and most high-powered delegations a British Prime Minister has ever led to China.</p> <p>Just think about some of the prizes that the rise of China could help to bring within our grasp.</p> <p>Strong, and sustainable growth for the global economy.</p> <p>Vital progress on the Doha trade round which could add $170 billion to the global economy.</p> <p>A real chance to get back on track towards a legally binding deal on emissions<br>Unprecedented progress in tackling poverty.</p> <p>China has lifted 500 million people out of poverty in just thirty years.</p> <p>Although there is still a long way to go – that’s more people lifted out of poverty than at any time in human history.</p> <p>You can see the results right across this enormous country.</p> <p>When I worked in Hong Kong briefly in 1985, Shenzhen was barely more than a small town, surrounded by paddy fields and waterways.</p> <p>Today it is a city larger than London. It makes most of the world’s iPods and one in ten of its mobile phones.</p> <p>And there are other benefits too in tackling the world’s most intractable problems.</p> <p>I welcome the fact, for example, that more than 900 Chinese doctors now work in African countries and that in Uganda it is a Chinese pharmaceutical firm that is introducing a new anti-malarial drug.<br> <br>So I want to make the positive case for the world to see China’s rise as an opportunity not a threat.</p> <p>But China needs to help us to make that argument to demonstrate that as your economy grows, so do our shared interests, and our shared responsibilities.</p> <p>We share an interest in China’s integration into the world economy, which is essential for China’s development.</p> <p>If we are to maintain Europe’s openness to China, we must be able to show that China is open to Europe.</p> <p>So we share an interest in an international system governed by rules and norms.</p> <p>We share an interest in effective cooperative governance, including for the world economy.</p> <p>We share an interest in fighting protectionism and in a co-ordinated rebalancing between surplus and deficit countries.</p> <p>These interests, those responsibilities are both economic and political.</p> <p>Let me take each in turn.</p> <p>First, economic responsibilities.</p> <p>Let’s get straight to the point.</p> <p>The world economy has begun to grow again after the crisis. </p> <p>But that growth is very uneven. </p> <p>Led by China, Asia and other emerging markets are growing quickly. </p> <p>But in much of the advanced world growth is slow and fragile and unemployment stubbornly high.</p> <p>We should not be surprised at this. </p> <p>The crisis has damaged many advanced economies and weakened their financial sectors. </p> <p>They face major structural and fiscal adjustments to rebalance their economies. </p> <p>This is true of my own country. </p> <p>We know what steps we need to take to restore the public finances and rebalance our economy towards greater saving and investment and greater exports. </p> <p>And we have begun to take them.</p> <p>But for the world economy to be able to grow strongly again - and to grow without creating the dangerous economic and financial instabilities that led to the crisis, we need more than just adjustment in the advanced world. </p> <p>The truth is that some countries with current account surpluses have been saving too much while others like mine with deficits have been saving too little.</p> <p>And the result has been a dangerous tidal wave of money going from one side of the globe to the other.</p> <p>We need a more balanced pattern of global demand and supply, a more balanced pattern of global saving and investment. </p> <p>Now sometimes when you hear people talk about economic imbalances, it can seem as though countries that are successful at exporting are being blamed for their success.</p> <p>That’s absolutely not the case.</p> <p>We all share an interest and a responsibility to co-operate to secure strong and balanced global growth.</p> <p>There is no greater illustration of this than what happened to China as the western banking system collapsed Chinese exports fell 12 per cent growth dropped to its lowest point in more than a decade and some 20 million jobs were lost in the Chinese export sector.</p> <p>Changes in the structure of our economies will take time.</p> <p>What is important is that the major economies of the world have a shared vision of the path of this change: what actions countries should avoid; what actions countries need to take and, crucially, over what period it should happen. </p> <p>This is why the G20 – and the meeting in Seoul - is so important. </p> <p>Together we can agree a common approach. </p> <p>We can commit to the necessary actions.</p> <p>We can agree that we will hold each other to account.</p> <p>And just as China played a leading role at the G20 in helping to avert a global depression so it can lead now.</p> <p>I know from my discussions with Premier Wen how committed China is to actions to rebalance its economy. </p> <p>China is already talking about moving towards increased domestic consumption better healthcare and welfare more consumer goods as its middle class grows and in time introducing greater market flexibility into its exchange rate.  </p> <p>This can not be completed overnight but it must happen.</p> <p>Let’s be clear about the risks if it does not about what is at stake for China and for the UK - countries that depend on an open global economy. </p> <p>At the worst point of the crisis, we averted protectionism.</p> <p>But at a time of slow growth and high unemployment in many countries those pressures will rise again already you can see them.<br> <br>Countries will increasingly be tempted to try to maximise their own growth and their own employment, at the expense of others. </p> <p>Globalisation – the force that has been so powerful in driving development and bringing huge numbers into the world economy could go into reverse.</p> <p>If we follow that path we will all lose out.</p> <p>The West would lose for sure. But so too would China.</p> <p>For the last two decades, trade has been a very positive factor in China’s re-emergence on the world stage.</p> <p>It has driven amazing growth and raised the living standards of millions.</p> <p>Trade has helped stitch back China’s network of relations with countries across the world.</p> <p>We need to make sure that it does not turn into a negative factor.</p> <p>Just as the West wants greater access to Chinese markets so China wants greater access to Western markets and it wants market economy status in the EU too.</p> <p>I had very constructive talks with Premier Wen on exactly this issue yesterday.</p> <p>I will make the case for China to get market economy status in the EU but China needs to help, by showing that it is committed to becoming more open, as it becomes more prosperous.</p> <p>And we need to work together to do more to protect intellectual property rights because this will give more businesses confidence to come and invest in China.  </p> <p>UK companies are uniquely placed to support China’s demand for more high value goods for its consumers.</p> <p>Our Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai – which won the Gold Award for the best Pavilion design – was a showcase for so many of Britain’s strengths from advanced engineering to education from great brands to great pharmaceutical businesses from low carbon to financial services to the creative industries.</p> <p>In all these areas and many more, British companies and British exports can help China deliver the prosperity and progress it seeks.</p> <p>We can be part of China’s development strategy, just as China is part of ours.</p> <p>A true partnership of growth.</p> <p>In recent days, Britain has won new business worth billions of pounds involving companies across the UK and cities all over China. including a deal between Rolls Royce and China Eastern Airlines for 16 Airbus 330 aeroengines worth £750 million and inward investments worth in excess of £300 million</p> <p>This is all in addition to at least £3bn of business which British companies have secured as part of the Airbus contract concluded with China last week and a further £2 billion of investments by Tesco to develop new shopping malls over the next five years.</p> <p>And with nearly 50 of Britain’s most influential culture, education and business leaders joining me on this visit I hope these deals can be just the beginning of a whole new era of bilateral trade between our countries.</p> <p>Achieving this would be a real win-win for our two countries.</p> <p>So if China is prepared to pursue further opening of its markets and to work with Britain and the other G20 countries to rebalance the world economy and take steps over time towards internationalising its currency that will go a long way towards helping the global economy lock in the stability it needs for strong and sustainable growth.</p> <p>And just as importantly, it will go a long way in securing confidence in the global community that China as an economic power is a force for good.</p> <p>But China does not just have new economic power.</p> <p>It has new political power.</p> <p>And that brings new political responsibilities too.</p> <p>What China says – and what China does – really matters.</p> <p>There is barely a global issue that needs resolution, which does not beg the questions: what does China think, and how can China contribute to a solution?</p> <p>China has attempted to avoid entanglement in global affairs in the past.  But China’s size and global reach means that this is no longer a realistic choice.</p> <p>Whether it’s climate change or development, health and education or global security, China is too big and too important now not to play its part.</p> <p>On climate change, an international deal has to be fair.</p> <p>And that means that countries with different histories can’t all be expected to contribute in exactly the same way.</p> <p>But a fair deal also means that all countries contribute and all are part of an agreement. </p> <p>And there’s actually a huge opportunity here for China.</p> <p>Because China can really profit from having some of the most efficient green energy in the world.</p> <p>On international security, great powers have a bigger interest than anyone in preserving stability.</p> <p>Take development for example, China is one of the fastest growing investors in Africa with a vital influence over whether Africa can become a new source of growth for the world economy.</p> <p>We want to work together to ensure that the money we spend in Africa is not supporting corrupt and intolerant regimes.</p> <p>And the meeting of the UN Security Council which the British Foreign Secretary will chair later this month provides a good opportunity to step up our co-operation on Sudan.</p> <p>As China’s star rises again in the world, so does its stake in a stable and ordered world, in which trade flows freely.</p> <p>Today, China is the world’s second biggest importer of oil, and Sudan is one of your most important suppliers.</p> <p>So China has a direct national interest in working for stability in Sudan.</p> <p>And four fifths of your oil imports pass through the Malacca Straits.</p> <p>So like Britain and the other big trading nations, you depend on open sea lanes.</p> <p>And like us, your stability and prosperity depends in part on the stability and prosperity of others.</p> <p>Whether it’s nuclear proliferation, a global economic crisis or the rise of international terrorism, today’s threats to our security do not respect geographical boundaries.</p> <p>The proliferation of nuclear material endangers lives in Nanjing as well as New York.</p> <p>China is playing an active role in helping to prevent conflagration over North Korea.</p> <p>We have been working with China in the UN Security Council to keep up the pressure on Iran and China’s continuing role here is vital if we are to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.</p> <p>In your own region, I believe China can work with us to improve the situation for the Burmese people.</p> <p>And China is one of the few countries that Burma will listen to on this point.</p> <p>But political responsibilities are not just about how one country interacts with another those responsibilities also apply to the way a country empowers its own people.</p> <p>It is undeniable that greater economic freedom has contributed to China’s growing economic strength.</p> <p>As China’s economy generates higher living standards and more choice for Chinese people, there is inevitably debate within China about the relationship between greater economic freedom and greater political freedom.</p> <p>I recognise that we approach these issues with different perspectives. I understand too that being in government is a huge challenge.</p> <p>I’m finding that running a country of 60 million people.</p> <p>So I can only begin to imagine what it is like leading a country of 1.3 billion.</p> <p>I realise this presents challenges of a different order of magnitude.</p> <p>When I came here last I was Britain’s Leader of the Opposition.</p> <p>Now we’ve had a General Election.</p> <p>It produced a Coalition Government, which combines two different political parties – the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats - with different histories and political philosophies, working together for the good of our country.</p> <p>The Labour Party is now the official Opposition, with a constitutional duty to hold the new Government publicly to account.</p> <p>Indeed if I were not in Beijing this Wednesday afternoon, I would be preparing for my weekly session of Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons, where MPs question me freely about the whole range of government policy.</p> <p>All the time the government is subject to the rule of law.</p> <p>These are constraints on the government, and at times they can be frustrating when the Courts take a view with which the government differs but ultimately we believe that they make our government better and our country stronger.</p> <p>Through the media, the public get to hear directly from people who hold different views from the government.</p> <p>That can be difficult at times, too.</p> <p>But we believe that the better informed the British public is about the issues affecting our society the easier it is, ultimately, for the British government to come to sensible decisions and to develop robust policies that command the confidence of our people.</p> <p>I make these observations not because I believe that we have some moral superiority.</p> <p>Our own society is not perfect.</p> <p>There is still injustice which we must work hard to tackle.</p> <p>We are far from immune from poverty and the ills that afflict every nation on earth.</p> <p>But in arguing for a strong relationship between our countries, I want a relationship in which we can be open with each other, in which we can have constructive dialogue of give and take in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.</p> <p>The rise in economic freedom in China in recent years has been hugely beneficial to China and to the world.</p> <p>I hope that in time this will lead to a greater political opening because I am convinced that the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together.</p> <p>In some respects it already has.</p> <p>Ordinary Chinese people today have more freedom over where they live what job they do and where they travel than ever before.</p> <p>People blog and text more.</p> <p>It’s right to recognise this progress.</p> <p>But it’s right also that Britain should be open with China on issues where, no doubt partly because of our different history and culture, we continue to take a different view.</p> <p>There is no secret that we disagree on some issues, especially around human rights.</p> <p>We don’t raise these issues to make to us look good, or to flaunt publicly that we have done so.</p> <p>We raise them because the British people expect us to, and because we have sincere and deeply held concerns.</p> <p>And I am pleased that we have agreed the next human rights dialogue between our two governments for January.</p> <p>Because in the end, being able to talk through these issues – however difficult – makes our relationship stronger.</p> <p>So let me finish where I began.</p> <p>China’s success – and continued success – is good for Britain and good for the world.</p> <p>It’s not in our national interests for China to stumble or for the Chinese economy to suffer a reverse.</p> <p>We have to make the case and I hope China will help us make the case that as China gets richer, it does not follow that the rest of the world will get poorer.</p> <p>It is simply not true that as China rises again in the world, others must necessarily decline.</p> <p>Globalisation is not a zero sum game.</p> <p>If we manage things properly, if we win the arguments for free trade, if we find a way to better regulation, we can both grow together.</p> <p>But if we don’t, we will both suffer.</p> <p>I referred earlier to Britain’s Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, “the Dandelion”</p> <p>We are extremely proud that it won a coveted prize, and that it proved so popular with Chinese visitors.</p> <p>It is, in its way, a symbol of the strength and the potential in our relationship.</p> <p>Two different countries, past and future Olympic hosts, on far sides of the world, sowing the seeds of a flourishing relationship in the future, a relationship which has the potential to grow and to bloom.</p> <p>Proof, perhaps, that Confucius was right when he said “within the four seas all men are brothers”</p> <p>Yes, there we will be storms to weather.</p> <p>Yes, there will be perils to overcome.</p> <p>Yes, we will have to persevere.</p> <p>But it will be worth it – for Britain, for China and for the world.</p> 2011-03-24 23:07:48 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=30996682 David Cameron Prime Minister: "We want a strong relationship with China" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40665 10 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Beida University
<p>It is an honour to be the first British Foreign Secretary to give the Canning lecture, 200 years after the dawn of Latin American independence. It is an apt moment to recall a proud chapter in the history of Britain and the Americas, and to re-launch our relations on a modern footing. I am grateful to Canning House for the invitation.</p> <p>Latin America’s struggle for independence is surely one of the most remarkable and colourful episodes in history. Its leaders endured exile, hardship, betrayal, imprisonment and - in the case of Francisco de Miranda - two very close brushes with the French guillotine. They experienced stunning military victories and the frustration and reverses of nation-building. They died with their work incomplete. Yet out of a struggle that saw hundreds of thousands perish, they laid the foundation for the success of modern Latin America, even though that success took generations to come to fruition. Their charisma and bravura in the face of overwhelming odds are as captivating today as they were in the 19th century.</p> <p>Britain came to be more closely associated with the independence movements than any other world power. London was a centre of activity for its leaders and supporters. Simon Bolivar travelled to and from London on a Royal Navy warship. Members of the British Legion fought and died in decisive battles, when bloodied and weary, they were thanked by Bolivar as “the saviours” of his country. We were the first country in Europe to recognise Mexico and played a key role in the establishment of an independent Uruguay.  It was Britain that negotiated the terms of the independence of Brazil from Portugal. And our politics and literature were the source of ideas that helped shape Latin America after independence, while also having a personal impact on individuals. In 1822, while the military struggle was still raging and General Bolivar was criss-crossing the continent at the head of a revolutionary army of thousands, he insisted that his young nephew “learn the values and manners of a gentleman” by reading the letters of Lord Chesterfield, whose portrait by Gainsborough I regularly admire because it hangs in Chevening House, the residence of British Foreign Secretaries today.</p> <p>Important battles of ideas were also being fought and won in Britain at the same time. These include the suppression of the 18th century slave trade, which Canning and colleagues after him did so much to halt in Brazil and around the world. Less well known is that while revolution was gathering pace in Venezuela, while Bolivar’s famous delegation to Britain was being conceived and while Britain was deep in the Napoleonic Wars, Canning sat at his desk in the Foreign Office one night and wrote a letter of farewell to his wife. The next day at dawn on Putney Heath he met the Secretary of State for War, Lord Castlereagh, with pistols drawn, for an extraordinary duel. Canning took a ball through the thigh and both men had to resign from the government. We can only guess what Bolivar and his compatriots would have made of this spectacle – admittedly tame by their standards – if they had been aware of it; but no doubt they would have approved heartily of honourable sentiment taken to passionate extremes. This was the last time in British history that Ministers have sought to settle a political argument at gun point, which bodes well for our coalition. Canning’s other habit, which was to send instructions to his diplomats written in comic verse, was highly entertaining but is not one I am planning to reintroduce in the Foreign &amp; Commonwealth Office.</p> <p>Britain’s involvement with Latin American independence is not simply a mine of stirring anecdotes, but a rich part of our history. The warmth it still engenders between our peoples should be prized and encouraged. And for those in Britain who study that experience there is still much to learn from it.</p> <p>For history teaches us that Britain has a track record of underestimating Latin America and neglecting its opportunities. It is this neglect that the current British government is determined to address.</p> <p>In the eighteenth century British politicians were enticed by the wealth and natural riches of the hemisphere, but were reluctant to weigh in on the side of independence. They saw the region as a piece on a geopolitical chessboard dominated by rivalry with France and Spain, rather than on its own merits.</p> <p>For much of the twentieth century Latin America was considered to lie within a sphere of influence outside Britain’s traditional interests. It was thought to be predominantly a concern for the United States, and over the last twenty years there has been a steady decline in UK interest and representation.</p> <p>Sandwiched between these two chapters was a period of intense engagement and remarkable trade that began in the 19th century – a time when the entire São Paulo railway was built with steel and expertise imported from Britain, and London was the dominant source of Latin American government finance. In 1808, 40% of British exports were sent to Latin America. By the First World War, 50% of foreign investment in Latin America came from Britain, more than 20% of its trade was with Britain.</p> <p>Yet if we fast forward to the present, UK exports to Latin America make up barely 1% of all international exports to the region.</p> <p>We export over three times more to Ireland than we do to the whole of Latin America – a region of 576 million people and 20 sovereign republics.</p> <p>Our trade with Brazil – a country of almost 200 million people - is less than half our trade with Denmark. Chile and Argentina are only our 43rd and 49th largest export markets respectively.</p> <p>Germany now exports nearly four times as much to Latin America as we do. France and Italy have also left us behind in this respect over the last twenty years. Why is this so?</p> <p>Part of the answer lies in the difficult transition from authoritarianism to democracy, which deterred investment and close political relations. There was also higher demand for the sort of goods exported by our other competitors at different stages in the development of these economies.</p> <p>But this is not the whole answer. A former British Ambassador in Brazil described the problem as follows. He said:  “in all too many circles in the UK…there is small imaginative conception of the fact that….no part of the world is developing more quickly than Latin America...Unless we are prepared in these days of rising competition to allow ourselves to be frozen out of this market by our more enterprising rivals, we must encourage in ourselves a more competitive outlook [and] adopt more positive policies”. He wrote these words over 50 years ago, yet they still ring true today. We turned away from Latin America just as the region began to forge ahead: four British Embassies in the region have been closed since 1998 alone.</p> <p>We believe that now is the time for Britain at last to think afresh about Latin America and the opportunities it presents for political cooperation and trade and investment that will benefit all our citizens. We may not have done as well as we could in the recent past, but we offer many of the skills and services Latin America needs in the years ahead. We are home to the City of London, a leading provider of financial services and the expertise to help countries modernise their economies, and we are a gateway to Europe and the global economy. Some British companies have already had striking successes in the region, including HSBC, BG Group, AstraZeneca, Balfour Beatty, Rolls Royce and Anglo-American. We must build on this and rekindle more of the dynamism and spirit that we showed in our earlier engagement with the region.</p> <p>Our coalition government understands that the world has changed profoundly since the end of the Cold War.</p> <p>International relations are no longer dominated by a handful of powerful states that can dictate terms for the rest, and never will be again in our lifetimes. That era is over.</p> <p>We are in a new phase in the concert of nations, in which states that have not traditionally dominated or sought dominance have an equal role to play in world affairs.</p> <p>The problems of our time require collaborative responses. No single country holds the answer to how we husband our planet’s resources for all, or narrow the gap between rich and poor, or create a sustainable global economy. Success does indeed have a thousand fathers – and mothers. Our challenge is to find a way to accommodate new voices within international institutions while finding coherence and shouldering equal responsibility.</p> <p>In Britain our irreplaceable alliance with the United States, our membership of NATO and our ties in the European Union are essential to our security and prosperity and will remain so.</p> <p>But we know that we cannot protect the interests of British citizens unless we look beyond Europe and North America. As a new government we place far greater emphasis than our predecessors on building distinctive British relationships with the major emerging economies of the world including Brazil and on recasting our historic ties with the Commonwealth, with the Gulf States, with partners like Japan and with our many friends in Latin America. Where the muscle tissues of once-vibrant relationships have been allowed to atrophy or to grow weak through lack of use, we will build them up and put them to use again.</p> <p>The vital thing to understand about our approach to foreign affairs is that we are not only trying to make the right judgements now about the war in Afghanistan, the problems of Yemen, the spread of nuclear science and the conduct of EU affairs, among many other pressing issues, but we are determined to secure the long term prosperity and security of our country and the future opportunity of millions of British people.</p> <p>So we have established a new National Security Council, transforming the way that international issues are scrutinised by Ministers, by bringing foreign policy into the decision-making of domestic governments, and using domestic talents – our expertise in health, science, the rule of law and education – to further support the development of stronger relationships with other countries and to enrich our diplomacy. Much of this expertise is already being shared in our relationships in Latin America. Our policing cooperation in Bolivia is exemplary. But we could do more, more widely. And we have also gone further and established a Committee of the National Security Council on our relations with the emerging powers, which I chair and which held its first meeting last week.</p> <p>We are giving time to the task of mapping our economic and political relations with countries including many of in Latin America, developing plans across the whole of our Government where before there were none or very few, as part of a new commercialism led by our Prime Minister. As Latin American companies internationalise we want the UK to be the preferred choice for their overseas expansion.</p> <p>We know that effective foreign policy cannot be reduced to a matrix of regions and themes or a series of boxes to be ticked with periodic meetings and visits. It requires imaginative understanding of individual countries, complex issues, unique histories and local circumstances.  We understand that opportunity and influence comes in all sizes and that countries do not need to be geographically big to be strategically important and to be important partners for Britain. If size were to be the determining factor after all, Britain would never have got involved in Latin America or anywhere else in the world in the first place; 5% of all world trade would not transit Panama; Costa Rica would not have been the key mediator and beacon of democracy in Central America in the 1980s; and Uruguay would not be the tenth largest contributor in the world to UN peacekeeping operations.  </p> <p>By any measure Latin America matters:</p> <p>It matters to our ecology – as one of the lungs and aquifers of our planet. Latin American countries are the custodians of at least 40% of the world’s remaining rainforest, 35% of global reserves of freshwater and 25% of the world’s cultivable land. Many are making a leading contribution to sustainable and renewable energy. I am delighted that through the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment the UK is supporting a sustainable housing development in the unique Galapagos Islands and so helping to protect their fragile eco-systems.</p> <p>Latin America enriches global culture, sport and the arts – we may have introduced football into Latin America in the 1800s, but you have been teaching us how to play it ever since, and sending world-class players to play in our clubs. The Aztec, Mayan and Inca cultural heritages are among the wonders of the world. During our Middle Ages, the Incas built up to 13,000 km of paved road through the Andes – comparable in scale to the road network built by the Roman Empire in Europe. And while we cannot hope to rival their achievements, we have left some of our marks on Latin American culture, including no less an export than the humble Cornish Pasty. Introduced to Mexico a hundred years ago by Cornish tin miners, I am reliably informed it has been incorporated into the national cuisine and is celebrated at an annual festival there. And of course I am very proud that there are still thriving Welsh-speaking communities in Patagonia today. I was particularly pleased that the UK’s bicentenary gift to Chile this year also had a Welsh connection, namely the return from the parish of Oystermouth in Swansea of three historic bells originally from a church in Santiago.</p> <p>Latin America also matters to our security. We benefit from the valiant efforts of regional governments to grapple with organised crime and violence which mars some countries in the region today and exacts a terrible human toll. And we recognise the moral leadership that this huge regional nuclear free weapons zone gives the region.</p> <p>Above all, Latin American countries are one of the undisputed engines of the international economy. The combined GDP of Latin America is over $5 trillion and is still growing. Brazil is on track to be the fifth largest economy in the world by 2025. The combined GDP of Mexico and Argentina equals that of India. Three of the G20 economies are Latin American. Behind these figures lie individual success stories, whether it is the fiscal discipline of Peru, which has one of lowest debt to GDP ratios of any country in the world, Panama with its growth rate of more than 6%, or Chile, whose robust economy has continued to grow despite having suffered a devastating earthquake this year. It is no accident that the region has weathered the financial crisis better than almost any other in the world having learnt the lessons of previous crises, and that they are making an important contribution to sustained and balanced economic growth in the world.</p> <p>We should not gloss over the problems which still mark parts of the region, including poverty, inequality and the serious violence which regional governments are working hard to address. But we should celebrate achievements beyond the dreams of even Canning and Bolivar.</p> <p>There are several strands of common endeavour which particularly stand out in my mind.</p> <p>First, the great majority of countries in Latin America are democracies. In fact it is the largest and most diverse group of democracies outside Western Europe. I am struck by commitment across Latin America to the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law, to bringing to justice those responsible for human rights abuses and to processes of truth and reconciliation. This includes welcome steps to address the rights of indigenous people, who in Latin America as in other parts of the world have suffered historic wrongs. Strong democratic institutions and human rights are fundamental to the region’s global influence and to its future economic success, and where those are being undermined it is not only wrong in principle but harmful to the prosperity and liberty of those countries. For this reason the UK and EU were among the first to offer support for the democratic process in Ecuador during the recent police and military protests. The UK will continue to work closely with the Government of Colombia to encourage improved human rights in that country. We also congratulate Brazil on their recent elections. The Prime Minister and President-elect Rousseff knew each other before their election victories.  We very much look forward to working with her as Brazil continues to play an increasing role on the world stage.</p> <p>Second, there is much to admire from the innovation in social policy taking place in many countries, in particular to tackle the problems of urbanisation and inequality. Venezuela’s <em>El Sistema</em> music initiative with disadvantaged youth is being copied in several UK cities, Brazil’s <em>Bolsa Familia</em> is a model for developing countries in other continents, and we admire Uruguay’s achievement of giving every primary school pupil access to a laptop. It is also impressive that innovative skills and entrepreneurship training programmes developed by <em>Fondacion Paraguay</em> are being exported to other developing countries. Over the last decade 40 million people in Latin America have been lifted out of poverty, 72 million jobs have been created, and 17 million people have overcome illiteracy. The pace of this change is set to grow. It took 38 years for 50 million people in the region to get access to the radio. By comparison it took 4 years for the same number to be connected to the internet, and just 5 months for the same number to be on Facebook. In a networked world, Latin America’s growing middle class and links to the outside will only reinforce its impact on world affairs.</p> <p>And third, countries like Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Costa Rica are playing an important role in tackling climate change. Latin American countries are among the most affected by this irreversible problem and a key part of the answer, preserving threatened resources and helping to build the international consensus and agreement which is urgently needed.</p> <p>For these reasons and more, Latin America must be a key focus of a foreign policy that seeks, as ours does, to build up new and strengthened relations in the world in pursuit of prosperity and security. And so it will be under this Government.</p> <p>We will halt the decline in Britain’s diplomatic presence in Latin America. And I say to you very clearly as Foreign Secretary, Britain’s retreat from the region is over, and it is now time for an advance to begin. We will seek intensified and equal partnerships with countries in Latin America and we will give much increased Ministerial attention to them.</p> <p>We will look for new economic opportunities, encouraging investment in the UK, working to raise the profile of the region with British business, and helping British business access markets in the region. We will look for every opportunity to deepen our own links, and lower the regulatory barriers to business that prevent us from doing more together.  In the past three years UK Trade and Investment has seen a 500% increase in the number of British companies looking for help with the Brazilian market. It shows there is huge scope for Britain and Brazil to cooperate on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. And let us not forget the World Cup, which Brazil has earned in 2014, and which Britain deserves four years later.</p> <p>We will be a strong voice against protectionism and in support of free trade. We will relentlessly work to ensure that the global conditions for your integration into the world economy are improved. We will support ambitious European Commercial Agreements with Mercosur, the Andean region and Central America, in our role as undoubtedly the strongest and most persistent advocate of free trade in the European Union.</p> <p>We say to our partners in Latin America, we want to work closely with you to tackle drugs and violence, support sustainable development and address energy security. And we are keen to help broker a strategic alliance between Latin America and Europe on climate change. As modernised economies we have it within our grasp to make a concerted shift towards the low carbon, climate resilient growth which is the key to the future.</p> <p>Through the work of the British Council, we want Latin America to see the UK as the partner of choice in education and culture, offering new English language skills to a wider audience and fostering knowledge sharing and creativity in arts and science.</p> <p>And we will continue to call for reform of the UN, including an expanded Security Council with Brazil as a permanent member. It is entirely fitting that a region that provided nearly half of the founding members of the United Nations is represented fully in international institutions. We have worked closely with Mexico and Brazil on the Council this year, and look forward to doing the same with Colombia when it takes up its seat next year. As Chair of the G77, Argentina will also be playing a key role in the UN system over the coming year. I know that UNASUR is developing as a key forum for high level political debate and coordination across the Southern region. And while Latin America already has numerous regional groupings, I am in no doubt whatever that if this important region could come together as a whole they would have an even more significant contribution to make to world affairs.</p> <p>We will look to our partners to suggest new ideas on top of all these about how and where we can best work together. We may not always agree, but I am confident that more often than not we will share the same objectives and have much to learn from each other. It is our intention not to let differences come in the way of closer cooperation. There will be no change to Britain’s longstanding position on the Falkland Islands. But this should not be an obstacle to the positive relations we seek.</p> <p>In 1839 a former Foreign Office official told a Commons Select Committee that “in Mr Canning’s time, the whole of South America was thrown open…which almost doubled the business of the Foreign Office”. I am not intending to double the business of the Foreign Office again, but I hope that some of the Latin American countries represented in the room will have already noticed the difference. In our five months in office Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business led a trade delegation to Brazil in August where he agreed a high level forum of CEOs from both countries. Gerald Howarth, Minister for International Security Strategy, signed a new Defence Agreement with Brazil on board HMS Ocean in September, and we are putting government weight behind a bid by BAE Systems for a contract to modernise the Brazilian navy. Home Office Minister James Brokenshire visited Colombia, Peru and Venezuela to strengthen our excellent counter-narcotics cooperation. And Minister of State Jeremy Browne, who is leading much of our thinking in this area across government, has visited Chile and Colombia, will travel to Mexico, Guatemala and Panama very soon. The Deputy Prime Minister will also lead a ministerial and trade delegation to the region next year, and I look forward to visiting as many of its countries as possible during my tenure as Foreign Secretary starting in the early months of next year.</p> <p>In 1822 Bolivar presciently wrote that “neither our generation nor the generation to follow ours will see the brilliance of what we have founded. I see America in chrysalis”. 188 years later there can be no doubt that Latin America is emerging in its full colours. Nowhere has this been more vividly illustrated in recent times than in the Chilean people’s successful rescue of the 33 miners, which showed an indomitable spirit and a technical ingenuity that inspired the world and had a remarkable unifying effect. Their triumph made other solutions seem possible and reminded us of how closely our lives are linked to those of people in other countries.  </p> <p>One of the enduring images of Canning came from his own pen. He wrote “I did, while I lay in my bed at the FO with the gout gnawing my great toe, draw up the Instructions for our Agents in Mexico and Columbia which are to raise those States to the rank of Nations…The thing is done…an act which will make a change in the face of the World almost as great as the discovery of the Continent now set free”. The histories of Britain and the great Latin American region are interwoven. And our destinies are linked far more than has been appreciated in recent years, and will grow only more so over time. We cannot find answers to global problems without each other. And our closer cooperation can only be to the benefit of all our people. This government looks forward to playing its part to help bring that about. Canning famously said that he “called the New World into existence, to redress the balance of the Old”. Now as his heirs a new British government will once again refresh and intensify our relationships with a transformed New World, this time to broaden the horizons and the prosperity of the Old.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:07:51 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=149252682 William Hague Britain and Latin America: historic friends, future partners uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 09 November 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Lord Mayor, Minister, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests.</p> <p>Good morning and welcome.</p> <p>I am delighted that the British Government, through UK Trade &amp; Investment, has been able to support this event. A high profile conference on opportunities in Oman is long overdue. My congratulations go to the Middle East Association; the Omani Centre for Investment and Export Development; and the OBFA Business Council; for their hard work in its organization.</p> <p>It is a particular pleasure to help launch your conference today in the company of Maqbool Ali Sultan. I have known him for about 15 years and can attest to his achievement and dedication as a Minister. He is but one of a team of Omani leaders who have done so much to make the Sultanate such an attractive place to invest.</p> <p>I have been going to Oman for over 20 years, and am such an enthusiast for it that I am sometimes accused of being half-Omani. My enthusiasm stems from one simple fact: it is a very special country. In just 40 years, it has arisen from unchanging simple existence into a most remarkable nation. Its landscape is varied and beautiful, its people are polite and elegant, and its government is enlightened and effective.  It enjoys dignity, the rule of law, and well-developed institutions.  </p> <p>This is a very important year, marking as it does the 40th anniversary of the rule of His Majesty the Sultan. I am delighted that this will soon be celebrated by a State Visit by Her Majesty the Queen – and I am certain that this will help to pull us even closer together and to open up new possibilities for greater partnership.</p> <p>Last year, the Gulf was the UK’s seventh largest export market, with exports of goods and services worth around £14 billion, which put the region on a par with India and China combined.  </p> <p>Last year too, we were the largest overseas investor in Oman. The UK exported £349 million in goods there in 2009 and £137 million in services - while Omani exports to the UK reached £113 million.</p> <p>The good news is that the overall trend is upwards – with trade with Oman increasing by 60% over the past 5 years.  But it concerns me that the UK appears to be losing market share, both to established competition (such as the USA, France and Germany) and to emerging markets (like India, China and Korea).</p> <p>Pricing may have played a part – and the reality is that we cannot compete with some other nations on price alone. But, in a global economy, we should be maximising the potential offered by traditional British strengths: the value that British firms add in terms of greater technical ability; our reputation for delivering projects on time, to budget and to the highest international standards; and through proper aftercare for our projects.  </p> <p>I want British companies to be viewed as “partners of choice” in Oman - building on our long-standing and very close ties - in trade, finance and politics. British Standards are widely used and accepted. British technology and expertise in capacity building and upgrading industrial sectors is in demand. British architects, consultants and specialist service providers have a long record of successful operation and continue to win large, strategically important contracts in the Sultanate.</p> <p>We are, I am pleased to say, detecting renewed interest in Oman as a commercial partner. Five UK trade missions have visited the country over the last 12 months. British companies that have re-entered Oman include Taylor Woodrow and Laing O’Rourke. And new investors, such as RMD Kwikform and Lotus Cars, are expanding operations. British companies continue to win significant levels of new business. But we could and should be doing more.</p> <p>So where do we see the main opportunities for the UK?  </p> <p>As you will hear today, a multi-stranded infrastructure development programme is underway and gathering momentum – focused primarily on free-trade zones, industrial hubs, ports, roads and core utilities. Increased government spending has produced an upturn in construction, with more than $10 billion of civil, industrial, transport, petrochemicals, oil and gas, and tourism projects planned.  Carillion Alawi, WS Atkins and Mott McDonald all report good progress in 2010.  </p> <p>Government spending has been a key driver but, increasingly, with much more private sector involvement. In the pipeline, are investments of $7 billion in power generation and water desalination projects, including the expansion of power transmission and distribution networks. With our world-class consultancy expertise and technical capability in the power sector, you can imagine the potential on offer to British companies.</p> <p>Oil &amp; Gas has been key to Oman’s prosperity for the last 50 years and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Recent new oil discoveries are estimated to be in excess of 1 billion barrels. And a significant amount of gas has been found too. Existing fields are maturing - so there are opportunities for UK companies involved in Enhanced Oil Recovery. On the Renewables front, a new generation of solar and wind power projects are being explored.</p> <p>Education is of critical importance in today’s fast-moving and ever more inter-connected world. There is a strong commitment in Oman to ensuring that the population has the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the market place of the future. Education and training is a vital component of every industry – from tourism to oil &amp; gas – as well as in its own right. It is a sector in which the UK has an outstanding reputation – and is well placed to offer guidance and support.</p> <p>You will hear more about these and other opportunities over the programme today.</p> <p>The Omani British Friendship Association (OBFA) has put a huge amount of effort over the past two decades into promoting and encouraging trade between the private sectors of our two countries. Today’s Forum is a fine example of what can be achieved and I wish OBFA’s current Presidents, Yahya Nasib and Martin Amison, every success over the coming decades.</p> <p>The Coalition Government will play its part too. We will not just send Defence Ministers on visits; we will send Trade Ministers, and Education Ministers, and Foreign Ministers and even a Minister for International Development – whenever he can find an excuse to go there. In Oman we are looking at loyal and generous ally, but who we must never take for granted.</p> <p>I wish you all an interesting and fruitful day and I urge you to make the most of the opportunities you will discuss.  Realising those opportunities together would be the best way to celebrate the 40 years of His Majesty’s rule and the great association between the Sultanate and the UK.</p> <p>I am certain that Oman has a bright future and I am committed to ensuring that the UK plays a major role in helping to achieve this.</p> <p>(Check against delivery.)<br></p> 2011-03-13 00:17:28 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23070093 Alan Duncan Oman Trade & Investment Forum keynote address by Alan Duncan MP uk.org.publicwhip/member/40515 21 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p> <strong>(Check against delivery)</strong> </p> <p>Your Excellency Mr Secretary General, Ambassadors, Dr Al-Shuaiby, Distinguished Guests.</p> <p>I am delighted to join you at this important Seminar which marks the opening of GCC Days in the UK. My congratulations to the Arab British Chamber of Commerce for organising this event in cooperation with the GCC Secretariat, the Embassy of Kuwait, and UK Trade and Investment.</p> <p>We have a truly exciting series of events in prospect this week.  For example:<br></p> <p>That just gives you a snapshot of this week’s activity.  It will be followed by the State Visit of His Highness the Emir of Qatar to the UK next week which we are all looking forward to, as well as a visit by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. And further ahead, Her Majesty The Queen will also pay State Visits to the UAE and Oman in late November, her visit to the region since 1979.</p> <p>Mr Secretary General - <strong>The Gulf matters to the UK</strong>. It is a strategically important part of the world with increasing political, economic and cultural influence. We welcome the progress which Gulf States are making in addressing socio-political challenges and equipping their young people for employment in an increasingly globalised economy. We can better tackle these challenges by working together.</p> <p>This Government is therefore determined to elevate relations between the UK and our partners across the Gulf, and we have ambitious plans to achieve this.  The Foreign Secretary set out his ambitious vision for UK foreign policy in July. Central to this is the deepening of relationships with the Gulf States in key sectors including trade and investment development, defence &amp; security, climate change &amp; energy, and education &amp; culture.<br></p> <p>The Gulf States are major players in the international economy, and have weathered the recent global economic downturn. With an overall GDP of $1.2 trillion, they constitute the UK’s 7th largest export market – bigger than China and India combined. Over 160,000 British nationals live and work in the Gulf, and our exports of goods and services were worth some £15 billion last year, up by 18%.   <strong> <br></strong> </p> <p> <strong>We want the UK to be the Gulf’s commercial partner of choice.</strong> British business and expertise has much to offer the region. For example, the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grand Prix bring together British engineering and marketing with the Gulf’s impressive hosting of world class events.  The Williams F1 Technology Centre in Qatar is another example.  And British expertise in public private partnerships is helping throughout the Gulf in the design and financing of major infrastructure projects.</p> <p>We have strong historical ties but we cannot afford to be complacent.  This Government is committed to work with Gulf partners to promote two-way trade, and build a favourable business environment.   Indeed, with the development of a GCC common market and single currency, and continued progress on trade liberalisation and regulatory reform, much has already been achieved.</p> <p>We are doing what we can. The FCO is working closely with other Government Departments and key multipliers to build a more coordinated approach to UK/GCC relations, and trade is a big part of this.  But it is the private sector that should take the lead - the Government can and will facilitate, but it is the private sector that does the business.  We therefore welcome your feedback on how we can best assist.</p> <p>We – the Government and private sector - have excellent opportunities over coming months to take forward this agenda. Amongst our priorities are the following:<br></p> <p>I look forward to the full participation of all our GCC partners and our respective private sectors in taking this ambitious agenda forward.   Thank you for your attention and I wish you a very successful seminar.  <br></p> <p> <br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:18 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23070068 Henry Bellingham GCC-UK Economic Cooperation Seminar, 19 October 2010 uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 19 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lancaster House
<p>It is a pleasure to join you tonight and to offer the coalition government’s warm support for the launch of the new British-Pakistan Foundation. We are honoured to have my colleague the Pakistani Foreign Minister with us tonight, a sign of the importance that both our countries attach to the relationship between our governments and our citizens. <br><br>I commend the Foundation for the boldness of its vision and its innovative approach. Its goal is nothing short of change and transformation in Pakistan and its organisers have recognised that the key to lasting change lies in talented people and in powerful ideas. <br><br>Pakistan is rich in both, as is the Pakistani community here in Britain. We live in a networked world where it really is possible to harness the intellectual ability as well as financial resources of philanthropists, business men and women, academics, charities and young people, in dramatic new ways. <br><br>The experience of British entrepreneurs can help others to benefit from the opportunities presented by the internet and a global marketplace. Small amounts of money targeted at innovative health or education projects can make a difference to the lives of whole communities. <br><br>So I congratulate you on what you have already achieved, raising thousands of pounds for flood relief, and look forward to seeing the Foundation go from strength to strength in the future. <br><br>Pakistan is a young democracy beset by complex problems which would tax the resources and capabilities of any state – violent insurgency, in some areas economic instability, food and energy shortages, poverty and illiteracy on a large scale and twenty million people affected by the recent flooding. <br><br>The human toll exacted by these challenges demands our concern and compassion: many hundreds of Pakistani citizens and security personnel killed confronting terrorism, almost two million homes and livelihoods washed away by flooding, and millions of children still seeking access to the education or healthcare which would transform their future. Valiant work is being done to achieve progress in all these areas – but Pakistan needs our support over the long term. It can rely on the help and steadfast support of the UK.  <br><br>Picture a young child born tonight in a village in one of the worst affected flood areas. That young child needs shelter now. But he or she will also need safe and reliable access to food and water, health care, and schooling; the prospect of a job in the future and the optimism and security to raise their own family when the time comes, without fear of violence. That is why the work of our Department for International Development and of Foundations like yours is so important, helping to build the strong communities and institutions on which democracy rests. <br><br>The challenges faced by Pakistan also contribute to instability in the region and affect the security of other countries, including our own. We must be under no illusions about the gravity of the situation. At present the risk is growing, not diminishing. Pakistan’s security and prosperity hangs in the balance and its friends, including Britain, have to bring our resolve and effort to bear alongside the Pakistani government if we are to tip the scales in our favour. Britain is determined to do this. We will be among the very staunchest supporters of Pakistan’s democratic future in the years to come.<br><br>But the other side of the story is Pakistan’s young and talented population, its growing economy, its rich culture, and its thriving diasporas around the world, particularly here in Britain where the Pakistani community makes such a contribution to our national life – to our Parliament, our schools, our hospitals, our legal system and our universities. Pakistan is a great nation with the potential for a still greater future, and it is an important and respected strategic partner for Britain. <br><br>Our government has signalled a strong commitment to Pakistan from its earliest days in office. We have increased our development assistance to Pakistan, which now stands at £665 million over four years, one of our largest aid programmes anywhere in the world.  We have pledged £134 million to help rebuild flood-stricken areas – one of the largest bilateral donations of any country. <br> <br>Five senior Government Ministers have visited Pakistan since June. I have, as have the Deputy Prime Minister, the Development Secretary and the co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, Baroness Warsi, who is here tonight. The Prime Minister himself will visit Pakistan soon. <br><br>Yesterday I attended the Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting in Brussels, where more than 20 countries gave their support and backing to the Pakistani government as it undertakes the domestic reforms that will help the country emerge stronger for the future.<br> And the Prime Minister and I worked hard to help win trade concessions for Pakistan from the EU last month, arguing that while aid can bring short term relief, trade will help lay the foundations for lasting prosperity.  <br><br>As we have begun we will continue, being a firm friend to Pakistan. The region will remain a strategic priority for our country for many years to come.  <br>We are pursuing a foreign policy that seeks the best for British citizens, champions political freedom, human rights and economic liberalism and gives generously to the development of other nations. <br><br>We are working to build up British influence in the world, creating the new partnerships and strengthened bilateral relations on which our future depends. We need systematically to pursue the new economic opportunities which, coupled with the enterprise and ingenuity of British business, will be the engine of our country’s prosperity in the years ahead.  We need to draw on the ideas and talents of civil society, academia and business to enrich our foreign policy and establish the web of new connections that Britain needs to thrive in the world. We must make the most of our unique geographical position, the rich endowment of our history, the appeal of our language and culture. Our people and their connections with the world are one of our greatest assets. <br><br>We saw this during the tremendous outpouring of support from British citizens, including I imagine many in this room, to help with flood relief in Pakistan. Contributions to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s flood appeal, currently valued at £60 million, represent one of the largest public contributions of any country in the world. This confirms not only the importance of Pakistan to so many in this country, but our character as an outward-looking, generous and compassionate society. <br><br>These qualities should give us confidence and the fortifying knowledge that whatever challenges Britain and Pakistan face in the future, we can face them together with optimism and confidence.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:20 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23046006 William Hague UK is a 'firm friend to Pakistan' uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 18 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>First, let me thank the Libyan British Business Council for the opportunity to address you today.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lord Trefgarne and Robin Lamb in September and would like to acknowledge the excellent work that the Libyan British Business Council undertakes on behalf of its members. I hope that today heralds the beginning of closer cooperation between the new Government and the LBBC.  </p> <p>I would like to spend a few moments on the UK’s relationship with Libya.</p> <p>The UK and Libya share a long history.  However, it has not always been a happy one.  Libya’s dark past, including its support for international terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, caused real grief and suffering to many and cannot be forgotten.  Outstanding legacy issues, such as the WPC Fletcher investigation, have the full attention of the current Government.  </p> <p>However, with its renunciation of terrorism and decision to give up weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Libya also turned a corner, which has paved the way for us to begin working together again and to build a new cooperative relationship.</p> <p>This Government remains committed to developing our relationship with Libya further. The Foreign Secretary and I recently met the Libyan Foreign Minister in New York and we readily agreed that we have a range of shared interests such as co-operation on security, migration flows and trade. The Libyans also want to strengthen ties with us in many others areas including healthcare, education, policing, environmental protection, culture, and defence.<br><br>The normalisation of relations and the removal of international sanctions have of course, opened up the Libyan economy, stimulated investment and created new opportunities for bilateral trade. This has helped to create jobs for British citizens both in the UK and in Libya. The Government welcomes this. However, I should also be clear that commercial considerations have not, and will not, play any part in constraining our approach to pursuing our wider political dialogue, including on legacy issues or raising human rights concerns.<br><br>Let me now turn to this Government’s plans for supporting British business abroad. As I am sure you know, both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have said that they want the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to play a much greater role in supporting British business overseas. In July, the Foreign Secretary said that:</p> <p>“We must put economic and commercial relations at the heart of our overall diplomatic effort. We will inject new commercialism into the definition of our country's international objectives, ensuring that we develop the strong political relationships which will help British business to thrive overseas.”<br>  <br>In August, the Government announced the introduction of a new “joint commercial taskforce” in Whitehall which has been be tasked with delivering on the “ambitious agenda for growth and prosperity” that has been laid down by the coalition Government. The aim of the Task Force is to ensure that the FCO and UKTI, together with the rest of government, raise our game to deliver an ambitious agenda for growth and prosperity. It is a tremendous opportunity to put commercial work at the heart of our foreign policy and to ensure the whole of the FCO is working with UKTI to meet our commercial objectives. And above all, to provide a world class service.<br><br>You don’t need me to tell you that there are big commercial opportunities in Libya for British business. In 2009, trade between UK and Libya was worth a total of £1.5 billion. UK visible exports to Libya in the first half of this year were up 15% year on year. Considering the very low base from which we started earlier this decade, that is a remarkable achievement.</p> <p>And the Libyan economy is still developing presenting more new opportunities for UK businesses. Libya is also looking for ways to diversify by trying to encourage foreign investment in other sectors. For example, there is a huge appetite for training, including English language training. However, I know this requires improvements in the regulatory environment to give more transparency and predictability to foreign investors.    </p> <p>Another issue I know concerns many of you is visas. Lord Trefgarne expressed this concern to me during our meeting in September. The Foreign Office and the UK Border Agency continue to work closely with the Libyan Government to find ways of improving the service provided to our customers. This is a long-term task, but we have made considerable progress over the past year and we are monitoring the experiences of applicants to understand where there is still room for improvement. So please keep the Embassy in Tripoli informed of your experiences of both the UK and Libyan visa service.</p> <p>If I may  conclude. The FCO takes its renewed commitment to promoting British Business Abroad seriously and is committed to supporting LBBC in its efforts to do business with Libya. We, through UKTI, are supporting a regular flow of Trade Missions to Libya. In September, Invest Northern Ireland visited Libya for the first time. This month a British Sports Infrastructure Mission will go to discuss how we can help Libya to prepare to host the 2013 African Cup of Nations. I hope that you will all be able to benefit from the opportunities our bilateral cooperation with Libya has to offer.</p> <p>Thank you for your attention.</p> 2011-03-24 23:08:23 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23015503 Alistair Burt Alistair Burt MP speech to the Libyan British Business Council AGM uk.org.publicwhip/member/40435 12 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Thank you, all of you, for coming on what is, well it’s a beautiful day, but a very bleak topic, but one that I want to give prominence to, and I’m grateful to all of you for taking such an interest in what we are doing.<br><br>Well my starting, my starting point is this. I was just doing a radio interview and I was asked why we have any interest in this matter at all, isn’t this for individual countries to decide for themselves? We don’t have the death penalty in Britain, why do we have to try and impose our values on everybody else?  That was the premise of the question. And I answered it by saying that you can view a particular case, say, let’s say for example the very high profile case of the woman in Iran who is potentially going to be stoned to death. It seems to me you can take two approaches to that. You can either say it’s nothing to do with us, we’re going to walk by on the other side of the road, or you can say that we have a moral obligation to take a view and to express that forcefully and try and bring about change in a way that we think is good, not just for that individual but for that country and for humanity as a whole. And our approach is the second of those two approaches.<br><br>So we are today announcing if you like a death penalty campaign which has three components to it, because I am a realist and I don’t anticipate I’m afraid to say that the death penalty will cease to be applied with immediate effect. So we have if you like three tiers of objectives.<br><br>The first one is to try and reduce the number of countries that apply the death penalty, perhaps in preference they would not have it on the statute book at all but there may be countries that have it on the statute book but do not apply it. But in practical terms what matters is the number of countries that to all intents and purposes do not use the death penalty.  Now that has been increasing incrementally year on year. We have seen a progress from over many decades and it was radical at the time, I often say this to people, when the death penalty was abolished in Britain in the 1960s that was a very controversial decision. So it is controversial for every country when they take that step but, and more and more countries are taking that step and we want to see more go down that path.<br><br>The second area that we want to see progress on is an, a reduction in the number of executions in countries that do insist on continuing to use the death penalty and a reduction in the number of offences that attract the death penalty, which are slightly different but related points. That if a country is going to insist on having the death penalty we would like them not to, we hope to get to that point as soon as possible, but in the interim, the fewer people who are executed and the number of offences attracting the death penalty being reduced are both important to us.<br><br>And the third area, you could say the least ambitious but I think it’s right to be realistic, is that countries that do use the death penalty should observe basic international standards. Now what do I mean by that? I mean things like not executing juveniles, not executing pregnant women, not, not inflicting excessive pain on people who are being executed.<br><br>So there are, there are three categories that we are seeking to advance, they are not mutually exclusive, I hope we can get as many countries as possible in to the first of those categories, that is obviously the best, and transition them in to absolute abolition. <br><br>But this is a, a, if you like, a battle of ideas because within the European Union we have an ability to, to, to influence the, the framework of, of laws that we all abide by, we have some, some ability to wield influence within for example the Commonwealth, but ultimately countries decide their own laws for themselves and that is, that is proper. So what we are trying to do is trying to make a compelling moral case, and it is one that I am personally extremely supportive of, I’ve been a member of Amnesty International for many years, I have always believed that the death penalty should not apply. And the reasons I believe it, it shouldn’t apply, there are, there are practical reasons, people always say well the main reason the death penalty shouldn’t apply is because if you execute somebody who subsequently turns out to have been innocent of the offence that they were charged with and found guilty of committing, then of course you have no way of undoing that punishment. And that is true. It is also widely said, and the evidence suggests this is true as well, that the death penalty is not a deterrent to people committing crimes.<br><br>So both of those are for me, personally, good reasons, but they are not the overwhelming reason. My overwhelming reason, ‘cause actually, I mean let me spool back, my, even if it was found that it was a deterrent I would still not support the death penalty. That, that’s the big step. And that and, so it comes down to the question of what is the main reason, and the main reason for me is essentially again a moral reason. It is that, is that the, the sanctity, the, the basic dignity of every individual should be upheld and that the state should not be able to terrorise its own citizens by imposing upon them the ultimate sanction in this way. And that for me is a, is a moral decision and I want us as a British Government to stand up and to take a moral stance on this issue right around the world. <br><br>And we will come in questions to no doubt, to which countries use the death penalty and how they can be compared to one another.  And it is right in my view to, to understand the circumstances of different countries, that’s why we have different categorisations, I think we should be realistic as well as ambitious in what we can achieve, but ultimately we should be clear about our own moral framework and the end point that we want to reach.</p> 2011-03-24 23:08:26 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23005974 Jeremy Browne "The basic dignity of every individual should be upheld" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40600 11 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>It is a privilege to join your panel of distinguished speakers today. On behalf of the coalition government I congratulate GAPs for this campaign and warmly endorse its calls for the protection of women in conflict and their greater representation in peace building. I am confident that both aims will find strong support across all political parties here in the Houses of Parliament.<br><br>Security Council Resolution 1325 is ten years old, but injustices against women and inspirational courage by them in the face of war are emblazoned on history and continue to this day. <br><br>As Foreign Secretary I would like to pay tribute to the many heroic women who fearlessly confront violence and oppression to champion peace, the rights of women, or the fight against poverty.  <br><br>The British aid workers Linda Norgrove and Karen Woo were two such women. They join the ranks of countless others who have dedicated their lives – and in some cases given their lives – to rebuilding societies ravaged in the face of impossible difficulties and to standing up for human rights and democracy. Some, like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, are well known to us. Others who brave death to teach Afghan girls, help young mothers get access to healthcare in Pakistan or support victims of rape in Africa, do not make the headlines but command our respect, our admiration, and our support. <br><br>For it remains an appalling fact that the burden of war falls disproportionately on women and children. I have seen this in the refugee camps of Darfur and among the displaced survivors of the Srebrenica massacre. <br><br>Yet women are still under-represented in peace negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution worldwide. <br><br>Even in Britain, in conditions of peace and political stability, women have been held back from playing their full role in the past. One of the reasons that I am particularly keen to see more women thriving at the top of the Foreign Office in senior positions is that for most of the first fifty years of the twentieth century women were not permitted to serve in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service. It was not until 1946 that women were able to even apply to serve as Diplomats, and then, until 1972, they were required to resign if they got married.<br><br>This was despite instances of women stepping forward in times of emergency to take up roles occupied by men, and not just during the First and Second World Wars. Two hundred years earlier, FCO archives record the case of Mrs White who took over as British Consul in Tripoli when her husband died in 1763, and who ran official business with aplomb for two years before a successor arrived in post. There was also the case of Mrs Wolters, who is said to have run a British spy network in Rotterdam for at least 14 years after the death of her husband in 1771. And I am convinced from my own historical research that one reason why William Pitt the Younger felt able to shoulder the daunting responsibility of being Prime Minister aged twenty four was not only that his father had held that office, but that he had seen his mother run the country for eighteen months in 1763 when her husband was incapacitated by depression.<br><br>In all these instances talented women demonstrated qualities we know they have possessed throughout history; resourcefulness, dedication, intellect and sheer grit and endurance. Today we all know how absurd the arguments were that were put forward to justify holding women back – for example, to cite one argument once used in the Foreign Office, that it took four women to do the job of two men. We are now fortunate to have talented women heading 31 of the UK’s mission overseas, including in Russia, South Africa and at NATO. But just fifty years ago it made international news headlines when the first female British diplomat hosted a press conference.<br><br>This should make us all the more determined and persistent in pursuing women’s rights in other countries. <br><br>For no society can address its problems by drawing only on the talents of one of the sexes.<br><br>No society can be free while the rights of one half of its citizens are curtailed.<br><br>No lasting peace can be achieved after conflict unless the needs of women are met – not only justice for the victims of crimes of war, but their active involvement in creating a society in which their rights are respected and their voices are heard. <br><br>And internationally, we cannot hope to find just and equitable solutions to global problems unless women are involved at every stage. We will not redress this balance until all women have access to the education and opportunity which is their birthright, and surmount the barriers erected by prejudice, political oppression, intolerance, or hatred. There are no shortcuts and regrettably human rights are slipping back in some parts of the world. <br><br>This brings me to how the coalition government will approach women’s issues in matters of peace and security.<br><br>First, we have pledged that human rights will be at the heart of our foreign policy. We will not pursue a foreign policy without a conscience and we will speak out against abuses whenever and wherever they occur, as we have done in the case of Sakineh Ashtiani in Iran and many others like her who are denied their rights. We are also setting up a new Human Rights Expert Advisory Group to advise me on human rights in our foreign policy, in addition to the daily work done by our Embassies and High Commissions.<br><br>My colleague Andrew Mitchell has said that women and girls are front and centre in our development policy. The Deputy Prime Minister represented the UK at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York last month, where he announced new commitments by Britain that will save the lives of 50,000 mothers and a quarter of a million babies by 2015.<br><br>We will ensure that wherever Britain is engaged militarily overseas, we take full account of the needs of women and children. In Afghanistan the FCO, MoD and DFID are working with the Afghanistan government on strict codes of conduct for the armed forces involved to protect innocent civilians.  Through the UN and bilaterally, we support programmes to advance the rule of law and women’s rights. We are helping the Ministry of Interior to develop opportunities for women in the Afghan Police and to design a female recruitment campaign. UK Female Engagement Officers are being deployed in support of battle groups this month to improve military engagement with female Afghan civilians. We fund the only independent women’s organisation that is providing paralegal services to families, and we are supporting the opening of a women’s refuge in Lashkar Gar by April 2011 to provide safe haven for women fleeing domestic violence and forced marriage. And we continue to help young female Afghan scholars through the UK’s Chevening Scholarship programme. <br><br>Internationally, we will push for the full implementation of UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions which have built on it, starting at the meeting of the UN Security Council this month to mark the 10th anniversary of the resolution.<br><br>We will call for the remaining seven countries which have not signed the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination of Women to do so.<br><br>We will urge effective reform of UN bodies that oversee and drive forward implementation of commitments on human rights and women. We welcome the agreement to form the group ‘UN Women’ and the strong ledearship that will be provided by Under Secretary General Michelle Bachelet. <br><br>We will support increased women’s participation in peace building. For example in Nepal we are funding projects to increase the participation of women from some of the most marginalised communities, including indigenous, rural and Dalit women, in peace building. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo we are funding a national women’s network to encourage political parties to increase enrolment of women on electoral lists ahead of the coming elections.  <br><br>We will support education for girls and young women. In Pakistan, where the population is set to grow to 300m over the next 30 or 40 years, and where education rates are historically low at some 40%, we are working with President Zardari to improve education prospects including for girls.<br><br>And we will take forward the UK’s revised National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and encourage those countries which have not developed similar plans to do so, particular those affected by conflict where action can make the most difference. <br><br>It was Virginia Woolf who wrote in ‘A Room of One’s Own’ that women have been “all but absent from history”, and the “great movements which…constitute the historian’s view of the past”. She would no doubt write equally eloquently of the confinement of women to the footnotes of conflict and peace building for much of the past. But through the work of this campaign and others like it, and the active support and diplomatic engagement of governments around the world, we can ensure that women are written into the future as they deserve, and that our ability to avert and address conflict worldwide is enriched and improved as a result.<br><br><em>(check against delivery)</em> <br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:28 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23023595 William Hague "No society can address its problems by drawing only on the talents of one of the sexes" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 11 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Thank you Governor Whitman. I am most grateful for your generous introduction.</p> <p>I am delighted to be here at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the modern networked world, diplomacy is no longer the sole preserve of diplomats. Instead, we all have a stake in global affairs. That is why the work of renowned bodies such as this is more valuable than ever.</p> <p>Today I want to talk about why I believe we, as foreign policy practitioners, need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to climate change.  Climate change is perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.  A world which is failing to respond to climate change is one in which the values embodied in the UN will not be met. It is a world in which competition and conflict will win over collaboration.</p> <p>We are at a crucial point in the global debate on climate change. Many are questioning, in the wake of Copenhagen, whether we should continue to seek a response to climate change through the UN and whether we can ever hope to deal with this enormous challenge.</p> <p>I will first argue that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. Second, our response should be to strive for a binding global deal, whatever the setbacks. And third, I will set out why effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response.</p> <p> <strong>Interconnected challenges in a networked world</strong> <br></p> <p>Ban Ki-moon is right to have made climate change his top priority. Two weeks ago I talked of Britain’s values in a networked world. I said then that a successful response to climate change must be a central objective of British foreign policy.  I said this not only because I believe action against climate change is in line with a values-based foreign policy, but because it underpins our prosperity and security.    </p> <p>You cannot have food, water, or energy security without climate security. They are interconnected and inseparable. They form four resource pillars on which global security, prosperity and equity stand. Each depends on the others. Plentiful, affordable food requires reliable and affordable access to water and energy. Increasing dependence on coal, oil, and gas threatens climate security, increasing the severity of floods and droughts, damaging food production, exacerbating the loss of biodiversity and, in countries that rely on hydropower, undermining energy security through the impact on water availability. As the world becomes more networked, the impacts of climate change in one country or region will affect the prosperity and security of others around the world.</p> <p>No-one can have failed to be appalled by the devastating floods in Pakistan. They overwhelmed the capacity of government to respond, and opened political space for extremists. While Pakistan has borne the brunt of the human impact, China too has been hit on a vast scale by a seemingly endless sequence of droughts, floods and deadly mudslides. The Russian drought last month damaged the wheat harvest, leading to an export ban. World prices surged, hitting the poorest hardest and sparking riots over bread prices in Mozambique.</p> <p>While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change, the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate change models. They provide a vivid illustration of the events we will be encountering increasingly in the future.  </p> <p>The clock is ticking. The time to act is now.</p> <p>We must all take responsibility for this threat.  We must take robust action. But we must also be clear-headed about the difficulties of reaching agreement and not lose heart when the going gets tough.</p> <p>The post-war leaders set up the United Nations in the aftermath of conflagration. They saw the pressing need  for global solutions to global problems; cooperation not conflict, through frameworks and institutions embedded in the rule of law; and an international system that is fair and offers everyone a realistic prospect of security and prosperity.</p> <p>Failure to respond to climate change is inimical to all these values, undermining trust between nations, intensifying competition for resources, and shrinking the political space available for cooperation. It is an affront to fairness, since it puts the greatest burden on those who have done least to cause the problem and are least able to deal with its consequences. It is incompatible with the values and aspirations that the UN embodies. It is incompatible with the values and aspirations of British foreign policy.<br><br><strong>Shaping an effective response</strong> </p> <p>For more than twenty years we have been striving to build an effective international response to climate change.  But we have lacked the collective ambition required.</p> <p>We need to shift investment urgently from high carbon business as usual to the low carbon economy – this means building an essentially decarbonised global economy by mid century. At the same time we must ensure development is climate resilient: otherwise the changes in climate that are already unavoidable will block the path for hundreds of millions of people from poverty to prosperity. These changes also threaten to sweep away the investments in development we have made -- and just as the bridges and schools in Pakistan were swept away.  </p> <p>To drive that shift in investment from high to low carbon we need a global climate change deal under the UN.</p> <p>Some have argued that we should abandon hope of doing so. They say Copenhagen proved it is all too difficult. We should focus instead on less inclusive and less demanding responses, such as coalitions of the willing. This would be a strategic error. It mistakes the nature of the task, which is to expand the realm of the possible, not to lower our ambition by accepting its current limits.</p> <p>We must recognise this at Cancun. One thing Copenhagen did give us was a set of political commitments, captured in the Copenhagen Accord, on which we can build. More than 120 countries have now associated themselves with that Accord. That represents a broad and growing consensus. We now need to ensure that we live up to the commitments we made to each other in the Accord and reach out even more widely.</p> <p>Copenhagen was a strategic setback. But it was not by any means the end of the road. We need to be clear on why Copenhagen failed to live up to high expectations and why it did not deliver a legally binding deal.</p> <p>Many say that Copenhagen failed because of process. The diplomats and the politicians had created a negotiation that was too difficult and too complex. This misses the point. International treaties are an outcome – not an input – of political bargains. If you have made the political commitment to deliver, you can make the process work to deliver.</p> <p>The real reason Copenhagen did not deliver on high expectations was a lack of political will.  Many in developing countries saw a gap between the words and the deeds of the industrialised economies. They questioned whether we really believed our own rhetoric.</p> <p>To answer those questions we need to start at home.</p> <p>That is why the coalition to which I belong has committed itself to being the greenest government ever in the UK; and why with others in Europe we are calling on the EU to commit to a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 without waiting for the rest of the world to act. The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind with more projects installed, in planning and in construction than any other country in the world. We are undertaking the most radical transformation of our electricity sector ever. We aim to provide over 30% of our domestic electricity from renewables by 2020. We have committed to build no new coal-fired power stations without carbon capture and storage technology – CCS - and we have announced our intention to continue with four CCS demonstration projects.  </p> <p>And because it is imperative that foreign and domestic policies are mutually reinforcing we must ensure that our approach is coherent. That is why we established the UK’s National Security Council to ensure this happens across the full range of issues, including climate change. And that is why I work hand in glove with Chris Huhne, the British Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, to ensure that our domestic action reflects our level of international ambition.</p> <p>But we will not succeed if we act alone. We must aim for a framework that is global and binding. It needs to be global because climate change affects everyone. Only a response that allows everyone a voice will generate a sense of common purpose and legitimacy.  Only a response that is binding will convince investors that we intend to keep the promises we make to each other. Businesses need clear political signals. Let us show them an unequivocal green light.</p> <p> <strong>The importance of foreign policy</strong> </p> <p>We are now a few weeks away from the sixteenth Conference of Parties on climate change in Cancun. I commend the consultative and collaborative approach Mexico has taken ahead of this meeting. Thanks to their determination and foresight, we have a chance in Cancun to regain momentum and make progress on key issues such as forests, technology, finance and transparency of commitments. Cancun may not get us all the way to a full agreement. But it can put us back on track to one.</p> <p>That said, the negotiations cannot succeed inside a bubble. The negotiators in the UN process cannot themselves build political will. They have to operate on the basis of current political realities in the countries they represent. It is those realities that limit the ambition we can set in the negotiations. It is those realities that we need to shift.</p> <p>There is no global consensus on what climate change puts at risk, geopolitically and for the global economy, and thus on the scale and urgency of the response we need.  We must build a global consensus if we are to guarantee our citizens security and prosperity.  That is a job for foreign policy. The fundamental purpose of foreign policy is to shift the political debate, to create the political space for leaders and negotiators to reach agreement. We did not get that right before Copenhagen. We must get it right now.</p> <p>So we urgently need to mobilise Foreign Ministers and the diplomats they lead, as well as institutions such as the Council on Foreign Relations, to put climate change at the heart of foreign policy.</p> <p>When I became Foreign Secretary in May, I said the core goals of our foreign policy were to guarantee Britain’s security and prosperity. Robust global action on climate change is essential to that agenda. That is why the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, under my leadership, is a vocal advocate for climate diplomacy. All British Ambassadors carry the argument for a global low carbon transition in their breast pocket or their handbag. Climate change is part of their daily vocabulary, alongside the traditional themes of foreign policy. They are supported by our unique network of climate attachés throughout the world.</p> <p>The core assets of foreign policy are its networks and its convening power. Foreign policy can build political impulses to overcome barriers between sectors and cultures. In a networked world, diplomacy builds partnerships beyond government. Nowhere are those partnerships more vital than on climate.</p> <p>We must mobilise all our networks – not just across government but between governments, using organisations such as the Commonwealth. And we must also reach out beyond, to NGOs, faith groups and business. Of all these, perhaps business engagement is key to making a difference. It is business that will lead the low-carbon transition. It is business which best understands the incentives needed to help us all prosper.</p> <p>We must also harness scientific expertise in cutting edge low carbon technologies. The scientific community will develop the goods which will power the low carbon economy and drive global ambition on climate change. That is why the British Government has a science and innovation network, which fosters collaborative research in the UK and other countries.<br></p> <p> <strong>It’s time for change</strong> </p> <p>What can the UK and the European Union do to make that fundamental shift and shape a global consensus on climate change? The most serious problem at Copenhagen, and the strongest brake on political will was and is a lack of confidence in the low carbon economy. Too few people in too few countries are yet convinced that a rapid move to low carbon is compatible with economic recovery and growth. They see the short term economic and domestic stability risks before the opportunities and the longer term risks of inaction.</p> <p>There should only be one European response to the confidence gap. The EU must accelerate its own progress and demonstrate that a low carbon growth path makes us more competitive. I am convinced that this is in the long-term interests of Europe's economy. We have learned painful lessons from the oil price shock. We must modernise our infrastructure. The opportunities are out there. The global industry in low carbon and environmental goods and services is already estimated to be worth up to 3.2 trillion pounds a year. Britain's own share of this is valued at up to 112 billion pounds.  Nearly a million British people are employed in the sector. That is why we are creating a Green Investment Bank to ensure that we can properly support and develop low carbon industry.    </p> <p>But we need to redouble our efforts both in the EU itself and in our engagement with partners. Each of us as Member States will be better able to accelerate if we are doing so together as the world’s largest single market. And by opening up this effort through partnerships with others, we can make it easier for them to accelerate too. We will be at the forefront in pushing for low carbon modernisation of Europe's infrastructure and energy policy to meet tomorrow's needs. The European Union's budget until 2013 is set out in the current "financial perspective". We will soon need to agree the financial perspective for 2014-2021, the period including our 2020 climate goals. As ever, it is right that the EU budget should reflect the prevailing economic circumstances. It is also right that we direct the budget to today's challenges, not those of yesterday. A budget for prosperity and security is one which supports the transition to a low carbon economy.</p> <p>Action in Europe alone will not be enough. We need both the developed and developing world to take action.   This week Guido Westerwelle and I have tasked our teams to come together to shape a coordinated diplomacy-led effort on climate change, combining the strengths of our respective foreign services. I have just put the case for bringing a new urgency for low carbon transition within the EU.  Together we should carry that urgency in external dialogues whether they are with the US, China or India.</p> <p>The transition to low carbon will happen faster and maximise the benefits for all if the US – historically the world’s largest emitter - is at the leading edge.   I recognise the political challenges that the US administration faces and welcome President Obama’s commitment to combat climate change.  As he said in his State of the Union speech, “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy”.  Whatever the outcome of the upcoming mid-term elections in the US, there is scope for political unity around an economic agenda that targets new energy opportunities and new jobs. American business understands this new market and wants to lead it. But to make these new clean energy investments at the required pace and at sufficient scale they need the right incentives.  </p> <p>On climate, as in so many areas, the world looks to the US for leadership because it has the economic clout and diplomatic leverage to shift the global debate.  I look forward to working with the US administration and the Council on Foreign Relations to raise global ambitions and put us back on the path to sustainable growth.<br></p> <p>A key challenge for Europe is to build an economic partnership with China that reinforces the steps China is taking towards a low carbon economy. These steps include its recent announcement of the five provinces and eight cities that have been designated as China’s Low Carbon Pilots. Together these pilots cover 350 million people - so an ambitious approach to these schemes, tenaciously implemented, could provide a critical boost to global confidence in the concept of low carbon development and help put China on the path to sustainable prosperity.  It could also produce huge two-way investment and partnership opportunities. Europe should place itself at the heart of these, working with China to maximise the ambition and the opportunities and to build the shared technology standards that will shape the global low-carbon market.  In China's case, low-carbon opportunity is matched by urgent low-carbon need. The pace of growth in China means average Chinese per capita emissions could soon eclipse those of the EU. So while China has taken some very welcome steps, without a commitment from China to further decisive action, the efforts of others will be in vain.</p> <p>The emerging economies face a dilemma. Often they are the most vulnerable to the direct effects of climate change. But they are concerned that action against climate change will adversely affect their development. The challenge to all countries is to have a high growth low carbon economy.  Some, like Brazil, which derives nearly half its energy from clean and renewable sources, are rising to that challenge.  India is another, embodying in microcosm the challenge that climate change poses to us all. Threatened by food, water and energy insecurity, India has responded with ambitious plans to generate 20 Gigawatts of solar power by 2022. South Africa, a coal dependent economy the success of which is so important to growth and prosperity within the continent, has made a significant offer to deviate their emissions from the business as usual development pathway.</p> <p>The opportunity is for the emerging economies is to make a direct leap to low carbon, avoiding the “high carbon lock-in” we see in the developed world: a new sustainable pathway to prosperity and security. A global low-carbon economy is not an idealist’s pipe-dream but a 21st century realist’s imperative. Countries that adapt quickly to a carbon constrained world will be better able to deliver lasting prosperity for their citizens.  As a P5 member, I am determined that the UK will play its full part in that, not least by supporting climate finance for the poorest.</p> <p>Collectively we share a responsibility to those most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Bangladesh, with its densely populated coastal region, is particularly susceptible to rising sea levels. Glacial melt, sea level rises and El Niño-type events threaten the lives of millions across South America. And the very existence of many small islands states is under threat.  We have a shared vision to meet the millennium development goals. But in a world without action on climate change, that vision will remain a dream.  The effort of the last ten years will be wasted.</p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong> </p> <p>Climate change is one of the gravest threats to our security and prosperity. Unless we take robust and timely action to deal with it, no country will be immune to its effects. However difficult it might seem now, a global deal under the UN is the only response to this threat which will create the necessary confidence to drive a low carbon transition.  We must be undaunted by the scale of the challenge.  We must continue to strive for agreement.  We must not accept that because there is no consensus on a way forward now that there will never be one. And to change the debate, we must imaginatively deploy all of the foreign policy assets in our armoury until we have shaped that global consensus.</p> <p>A successful response to climate change will not only stabilise the climate but open the way to a future in which we can meet our needs through cooperation, in accordance with the ideals of the UN. Failure will enhance competitive tendencies and make the world more dangerous. This is not a hard choice. We have to get this right. If we do, we can still shape our world. If we do not, our world will determine our destiny.  </p> <p></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:34 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22933444 William Hague An effective response to climate change "underpins our security and prosperity" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 27 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>High Commissioners, Excellencies, Professors, Noble Members, Honoured Guests, Friends from the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Ladies and Gentlemen</p> <p>Before I begin I would like to recognise our distinguished visitors from Zimbabwe. I am sorry that one of your delegates, another Commonwealth fellow, was prevented from being with us this evening. And I look forward to a time when Zimbabwe can rightfully take her place in the Commonwealth family again.</p> <p>It really is a great honour for me to be invited here today to address so many Commonwealth Friends and deliver the inaugural speech in the honour and memory of Dr Peter Lyon OBE who, in an association with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies spanning over 50 years, was a true champion of modern Commonwealth studies, a key influencer in the field and a genuine friend to and member of the Commonwealth family.</p> <p>I am delighted to be here as a guest of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit, and I would also like to offer my congratulations to Daisy Cooper on her appointment as Director. She, along with Professor Philip Murphy, are also true friends to and members of the Commonwealth family. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies remains one of the preeminent places where new ideas for the Commonwealth can be explored in a variety of innovative ways.</p> <p>This is an exciting and pivotal year for the future of the Commonwealth. And I believe that the vision I and the UK government, and all of you here today have for the future of the Commonwealth is mirrored and supported by Daisy’s ambition for the role of the CPSU.</p> <p>The CPSU is building for the Commonwealth of the future, continuing to deliver first class policy research on Commonwealth issues, whilst also launching a new advisory service to Commonwealth members and their associates on how to get the most from their membership of the Commonwealth.</p> <p>I, too, am here to talk about building a Commonwealth for the future, a global network for the 21st century. Although appointed just last year as the UK’s Minister for the Commonwealth, you will know that I have held a long standing interest in the Commonwealth and the enormous potential of this unparalleled international organisation.</p> <p>With such a knowledgeable group before me, there is no need for this to be a history lesson. But rather I want to talk about how the Commonwealth should look forward collectively to the unique role it can fulfill in the 21st century.</p> <p>Enduring historical links undoubtedly form the basis of the strong bonds that join Commonwealth countries together today, and we must always respectfully remember our historical roles in order to move forward. But move forward we must as the tide of technology and globalisation shape our future.  </p> <p>I want to focus today on why the Commonwealth is important and ideally placed as a ready-made network for the future. Why this government has rapidly upgraded its relationship with the Commonwealth, and pledged to do more still. And I will set out the upcoming challenges the Commonwealth itself must address to ensure we remain relevant, realise our potential and bring the benefits, developments and prosperity to all our citizens.</p> <p>The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that we need to think in a completely different way not only about our society domestically, but also our external role and direction. And he is right. That is why in the Government’s  Coalition agreement we set out our vision that Britain must always be an active member of the global community, promoting our national interests while standing up for the values of freedom, fairness and responsibility.</p> <p>It was recognised that this means working as a constructive member of multilateral organisations including the UN, EU, NATO and the Commonwealth.</p> <p>We see the Commonwealth as a key multilateral organisation, and it has been described as the world’s best soft power network and an ideal global platform for the 21st century. I wholeheartedly agree. So we see Britain’s active membership of the Commonwealth as a key component of our foreign policy.  </p> <p>The Commonwealth is a quite extraordinary association of like-minded states, spanning every continent, all the world’s major faiths, embracing developed and developing states, with a third of the world’s population and half of that population under 25, the generation of the future.</p> <p>Its membership includes many of the fastest growing and technologically advanced economies in the world, great markets of today and tomorrow.  It already contributes significantly to international affairs, brokering agreements between African neighbours, calming tensions in fragile states during contested elections. And it provides a forum for smaller nations who may feel their voices are lost in larger multilateral structures.</p> <p>And it is not just made up of the governments of its member states, but also a myriad of non-governmental and civil society organisations and networks, such as the one hosting us now, working together on shared objectives.</p> <p>Global challenges mean we are more interdependent on each other.  Technologies, not least faster communications, social networking websites, and 24-hour media have changed the way we all interact, and have brought people around the world closer together, turning traditional patterns of power and influence on their heads.</p> <p>The Commonwealth has, in my opinion, brought people together in this way for decades, if not as swiftly as the communications of today. Its enduring strength has been its resilience and adaptability. It has continued to bring together a diverse range of countries and people across the world, including through major changes and challenges over the last decades. This makes the Commonwealth increasingly relevant and ideally suited to play a key role in the new opportunities and challenges that our increasingly networked world brings.</p> <p>This is why the Commonwealth is important to the UK, and this is why this government is actively upgrading our relationship and increasing our engagement with the Commonwealth.</p> <p>In fact, I would go as far as to say, never before has the UK needed the Commonwealth so much.</p> <p>In his inaugural lecture just two weeks ago Professor Murphy highlighted the repetitive rhetoric of successive governments and opposition parties towards re-engaging with the Commonwealth.</p> <p>The Foreign Secretary, when in opposition, in his speech to the Royal Commonwealth Society in 2008, did put down a marker for our engagement with the Commonwealth once elected. But I assure you that, in my position as Minister for the Commonwealth, I intend to deliver.  And I invite Professor Murphy to hold me accountable.</p> <p>I think that the record shows that my view of the Commonwealth has remained consistent throughout.  And given those views, I was delighted to be appointed as the UK’s Minister for the Commonwealth.</p> <p>I’d like to take this opportunity to set out five concrete steps the Government has taken so far:</p> <p>First we commissioned a new Commonwealth Strategy. I asked officials to think about what the Commonwealth could do for the UK, and what the UK should do for the Commonwealth. I asked them to throw off any traditional thinking about the Commonwealth being an organisation in genteel decline, and to abandon any residual colonial angst.</p> <p>Secondly the Foreign Secretary submitted a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament on 9 December setting out this strategy.  It is ambitious and unashamedly brings the Commonwealth back into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It aims to put the UK at the helm of reinvigorating our unique organisation, to ensure that it meets the needs and aspirations of all its members.</p> <p>Thirdly, whilst the whole of Government, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is looking for efficiencies and savings and experiencing reductions in budgets, I am pleased to say that the Commonwealth Unit within the FCO has actually tripled in size. This I think speaks volumes of the commitment this Government has in making the most of the opportunities the Commonwealth holds in the future globalised landscape.  </p> <p>The fourth step has been to establish and reinvigorate practical working relationships with key Commonwealth networks and organisations. I am delighted to report that we now have closers links with organisations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Business Council and the Royal Commonwealth Society. This is just the start, and we look forward to engaging with more of you.</p> <p>And finally I was determined that the UK should be represented on the Commonwealth’s Eminent Persons Group, which has been tasked to make recommendations to strengthen the efficiency of the Commonwealth as a whole.  </p> <p>I was delighted that Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma chose to appoint Sir Malcolm Rifkind to the group. The selection of the other members of the group, in my opinion, was equally inspiring.</p> <p>I should recognise that it is not just the FCO that has upgraded its relationship; my colleagues in the Department for International Development have also been working on renewing and reassigning bilateral aid, which will now be better targeted.</p> <p>The Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, announced that bilateral resources will be focussed on 27 countries – over half of which are in the Commonwealth.  And during his visit to Jamaica last month, he announced that DfID’s programme for the Caribbean will significantly increase to £75m over the next four years.</p> <p>This is in addition to the UK’s total contribution of £33m annually to Commonwealth institutions and development programmes.</p> <p>The Foreign Secretary and I have also encouraged Ministerial colleagues from across Government to make visits to Commonwealth countries, to reinforce these important and longstanding relationships. It was no coincidence that the Foreign Secretary delivered his keynote speech on the Commonwealth in Sydney this January.</p> <p>But this vision for the Commonwealth of the future is not just about us. The other 53 members must help shape this organisation and ensure it is meeting everyone’s needs.  </p> <p>I am pleased to say that many are thinking on similar lines. At the last Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago all governments recognised the need for the Commonwealth to look to the future, and ensure we are an organisation that fully realises its potential on the global stage, plays to its strengths, upholds its values and works to increase the prosperity of all of its members.</p> <p>The next Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia this October will be pivotal. We have a real opportunity to shape the Commonwealth network to react, engage and lead on the world stage.</p> <p>Heads will have a chance to consider the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group, contemplate the findings of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) review, and importantly, as a united body, discuss the current set of complex global challenges we all face.</p> <p>I’d like to mention some of the UK’s hopes and aspirations for the EPG’s report.</p> <p>We feel it is important that the Commonwealth returns to working on its brand strengths of democracy and development. We want a strengthened CMAG that protects our values, but also offers encouragement to those facing challenges to democratic development.  Incidentally, building on the success of the authoritative publication on Democracy in the Commonwealth, we welcome and commend CPSU’s input into the CMAG review.</p> <p>We want the Commonwealth to lift the prosperity of all its members through increased free and fair trade. I see an increased commitment to democratic values and increased trade as two sides of the same coin.</p> <p>We want the Commonwealth to become a leading voice in the global economy, working to liberalise trade, break down barriers for international business, resist protectionism and contribute to the Doha Development Agenda.<br>To mobilise pressure and support the Commonwealth must raise its voice. We would like to see the Commonwealth grow its own powerful thinktank with semi-official status that could float and circulate new ideas and initiatives for discussion, and inject them into public debate.</p> <p>The Commonwealth network with its shared principles of democracy, good governance, similar legal systems and a shared language is ideally placed to provide solid foundations for doing business and a platform for trade, investment, development and in turn prosperity.</p> <p>We also believe small and vulnerable states should feel that the Commonwealth network offers them a platform to voice their opinions and to receive timely assistance and support on the issues of our time such as climate change.</p> <p>As I said, Perth is pivotal. In Port of Spain Heads agreed on the need to look carefully at our future, and in Perth Heads will need to take vital decisions, in response to these recommendations, which will shape the role of the Commonwealth, help it to realise its potential, and have more impact in our networked world in the future. None of us should shy away from accepting the EPG’s challenge.</p> <p>I hope that what you have heard today has assured you of the commitment of this Government to the Commonwealth and that the C is firmly back in the FCO. We are ready to take advantage of our position at the centre of this readymade network to facilitate change for the good of all.</p> <p>We are certain that the Commonwealth will become a central platform of the international future and represent an enlightened and responsible people in shaping the direction our world is moving in. I can think of no better way of finishing than with a quote from the Head of this eminent organisation, Queen Elizabeth II who in her 2009 Christmas message said that the Commonwealth is "in lots of ways, the face of the future."</p> <p>Thank you.<br></p> 2011-03-29 00:04:49 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=563240382 Lord Howell The Commonwealth: A Global Network for the 21st Century uk.org.publicwhip/lord/100308 10 March 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>You may think, after 2 decades, that climate diplomacy has come a long way. We have built a mountain of words. But the view from the top of it shows we have hardly started.</p> <p>Today I want to talk about the way ahead, as seen from the top of that mountain.</p> <p>We face a simple choice. We can do what we think we can, knowing it will not suffice. Or we can stay focussed on what needs doing, knowing that to do it we must find the will to expand the limits of the possible.</p> <p>Our mission as practitioners of foreign policy is to summon collective will among nations in order to protect national interests. We now need to make the climate project - not just the negotiation but the project - central to that mission. We should have done that long ago.  </p> <p> <strong>Why Climate Change is Different</strong> </p> <p>Humanity has never faced a problem like climate change.</p> <p>Unlike poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism it affects everybody.</p> <p>Climate change is a ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down. Once the burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exceeds any given level, the climate it represents is gone for good.</p> <p>We normally respond to problems by doing our best. If that’s not enough we try again. The ticking clock means that the first attempt has to succeed. The essence is not what we must do but how quickly we must do it.</p> <p>Climate change is systemic risk with a deadline and without the option of a bailout.</p> <p>We need to make the global economy essentially carbon neutral in little more than a generation, and resilient to the climate change we cannot now avoid. That means aligning national choices, rooted in national politics, to build national economies that are carbon neutral and resilient.</p> <p>For diplomacy, this is an existential test. What is required is has some features in common with what we have accomplished at existential moments in the past. But the sheer effort it asks of us must match any we have ever summoned – and then some.</p> <p> <strong>How We Got Here</strong> </p> <p>Shortly before the Earth Summit in 1992 a tense conversation took place. A senior State Department official telephoned Michael Howard, John Major’s Environment Secretary. He tried to reopen an earlier understanding reached with the US by Howard’s predecessor Michael Heseltine. In a forensically argued defence that became legendary with officials, Howard held the line. The understanding stood.</p> <p>At stake was the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was duly agreed at Rio. It had many fathers but those involved certainly felt that Michael Howard’s tenacity had kept the US on board.</p> <p>Under the Convention, industrialised countries aimed to “return their emissions……to 1990 levels”. Despite this non-binding commitment, their actual emissions kept rising. But that possibility had at least been anticipated.</p> <p>The Convention requires Parties to review from time to time the adequacy of their commitments against the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. In 1995, the first such review gave rise to the so-called Berlin Mandate, launching negotiations on a new set of commitments. That concluded in 1997 with agreement on the Kyoto Protocol, which put binding caps on emissions from industrialised countries.</p> <p>But no treaty is stronger than the political foundation beneath it, and Kyoto’s was fragile. All along there had been tensions: over the level of ambition; the division of effort between rich and poor countries; how binding the promises made should be; and whether they should be based on outputs – emission caps across the economy – or inputs, in the form of pledged policy commitments. Ironically it was the US that persuaded Europe to go for binding caps.</p> <p>The tensions originated in national politics. Indeed in the US, by 1997 the Gingrich revolution had completely altered the political context. A resolution passed by the Senate shortly before the Protocol was concluded made it look unlikely that it would secure the 67 votes in that Chamber needed for ratification. As Kyoto was being born, some, especially in the US, were already rushing to write its obituary.</p> <p>In 2001 the new Bush Administration announced that it would not ask the Senate to ratify the Protocol. If Russia too defaulted, Kyoto would indeed be dead. Uncertainty over Kyoto’s fate became a diplomatic black hole, sucking the life out of all attempts to move forward, beyond 2012 when the first cycle of Kyoto caps expires.</p> <p>Russia’s decision in 2004 to ratify, a product of informal diplomacy, pulled us out of the gravitational field, and opened the way for the push to Copenhagen.</p> <p>There followed a series of moves, many initiated by the UK, to build political momentum.</p> <p>In 2005, an international conference in Exeter got the growing alarm of scientists onto front pages. The Gleneagles G8 Summit made climate an issue for leaders. The Stern Review in 2006 made it an economic issue. Margaret Beckett’s debate in the UN Security Council in 2007 made it a security issue. Some tried to prevent that debate, but many of the world’s poorest countries were impatient to testify to the insecurity they were by now feeling as a result of climate-related stresses.</p> <p>The EU’s adoption that year under German Presidency of binding targets for 2020 without waiting for a new agreement challenged others to move from “after you” to “follow me”. And climate change clearly mattered to the new US President, elected the following year.</p> <p>As Copenhagen approached, the limits of the possible really did seem to be stretching. The major economies agreed to try to keep climate change within 2ºC. Many governments made new national pledges.</p> <p> <strong>So what went wrong?</strong> </p> <p>As William Hague has said Copenhagen was a failure of will not of process. Too many saw the risk to growth and jobs of promising too much as more dangerous than an inconclusive Summit. Too few saw climate change as an urgent threat to national interests.</p> <p>Thanks to outstanding Mexican diplomacy, Cancun got the train back on track. Chris Huhne played a key role in persuading participants to set aside their most intractable differences to be dealt with later. That allowed progress elsewhere, and a cathartic healing of Copenhagen wounds. The global conversation at the heart of the climate project, though still frail, remained alive.</p> <p> <strong>Where We Are</strong> </p> <p>Standing on top of our word mountain, what have we got; what has changed on the way up; what have we learned?</p> <p>We aim to avoid a danger threshold of 2ºC.  Our national carbon pledges now have the authority of the UN. But they would in aggregate carry us closer to 4ºC than 2ºC.<br><br>The difference matters. Below 2ºC, there is thought to be a lower risk of passing tipping points that could trigger self-amplifying climate instability. The risk is much greater that the first such tipping points lie somewhere between 2 and 4ºC. So we will need to make full use of the new adequacy review agreed at Cancun.</p> <p>The pledges are also non-binding. They are held in limbo by a triple lock. The US will not make more contractual promises than China, which will not be internationally bound at least without greater domestic ambition from the US. Many of the most vulnerable countries, as well as Europe, insist on a binding regime.</p> <p>We are building frameworks to help developing countries deal with climate risk, deploy low carbon technologies and keep forests standing. Developed countries have promised to mobilise $100 bn annually by 2020 for these frameworks.</p> <p>This whole architecture will operate in the open, with transparency rules to ensure that commitments are seen to be met.</p> <p>Real progress, yes. But between the transformational promise and its fulfilment like Augustine the world still hesitates – we still hesitate. We have started to will the ends but not yet the means. Yes, but not now.  Yes, but not us.</p> <p>And times have changed.</p> <p>True, science now tells us climate change is a more dangerous and urgent threat than we first thought. Experience supports this. Countries on the edge, from Australia to Bolivia, Cuba to Pakistan are being hit by the kind of damage the climate models warned about. New studies, like the one published last week on the floods in the UK of the year 2000, are detecting ever more clearly the human fingerprint in extreme weather events.</p> <p>But 20 years ago, the future seemed ours to shape. The iron curtain had opened reuniting a continent in freedom. Globalisation promised a new wave of affluence.</p> <p>Now, at least in the OECD, we are anxious, as we try to convalesce from the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Cheap energy is gone and rising oil prices threaten the recovery. Jobs, pensions, savings and living standards feel less secure. Terrorism casts a shadow. Politics is less trusted.</p> <p>True, the emerging economies quickly regained momentum, pulling us all forward. But that momentum also locks in carbon emissions and drives up resource prices.</p> <p>So two decades on there is more reason to act. But decisive action requires confidence and there is less of that around. Expanding the limits of the possible is a tougher ask than it was when the barriers at so many checkpoints in the landscape of possibility had just been swept away.</p> <p>There are lessons to learn.</p> <p>First, science is no longer enough. The science-driven climate project achieved a lot. But Copenhagen was its apogee.  Science alone cannot take us further. As Tom Burke tells us, we now need a politics-driven climate project.</p> <p>Second, climate security is imperative for prosperity, security and equity; for food, water, and energy security; for the open global economy, cooperation and the international rule of law. This is not just another environmental issue. We were wrong to treat it as one and must stop doing so.</p> <p>Third, systemic risks must be neutralised before they trigger systemic crises. The economic theory that guides our decisions undervalues resilience. The compass it gives us is not fit for purpose.</p> <p>Tunisians first came onto the streets in protest at high food prices, driven up by climatically-intensified supply shocks. Climate change is a stress multiplier. It is hard to imagine a more effective engine than our interconnected insecurities over climate, food, water and energy for driving angry young people onto the streets of crowded cities. It cannot be switched off in a high carbon economy.</p> <p>So the fourth lesson is that this is a today problem not a tomorrow problem. Politically it is about us not our grandchildren. We need to begin the heavy lifting now: not only because we have to if we want to avoid those tipping points, but also because climate change seems increasingly to be biting hard already.</p> <p> <strong>The Choice</strong> </p> <p>Our efforts so far have made little impression in the one place that really matters, in the real economy. Low carbon capital flows remain small compared with the investment flowing into the high carbon economy, locking in emissions for the lifetime of each new car, building or power station.</p> <p>There can only be one test of the choice we now face. Will it divert the river of capital quickly enough to keep us within 2°C?</p> <p>We need to send a signal so strong, so convincing, that it aligns countless individual choices. It has to be a global signal, made through the UN, to give us the common purpose we need, and to make our response feel unstoppable.</p> <p>There are only two approaches.</p> <p>There is bottom up. National commitments come together in a package, updated from time to time in a process of “pledge and review”. The commitments can be reflected in national legislation. But laws drive action more predictably in some countries than others. The regime is not internationally binding.</p> <p>A politically binding promise is easier to make than a legally binding one. That is because it is easier to break if keeping it becomes politically difficult.</p> <p>People can see through the phrase “politically binding”. It conveys no inevitability. It is a weak signal. It says: “we will make the easy choices, but will probably shy away from the difficult ones.</p> <p>The other model also includes bottom up pledges. But there is in addition a top down action-forcing mechanism.</p> <p>Parties hold themselves accountable under international law for keeping their promises, and for tightening them in accordance with the 2°C goal. This says: “we accept we cannot control the clock; but we know we need to move at the pace it sets and shall do so”.</p> <p>Neither model is currently capable of securing consensus. In any case, we should address the question of what is necessary before asking what is more likely to be negotiable in current circumstances.</p> <p>It is simply not credible to argue that bottom up alone offers what we need. Only a binding regime can create a force field strong enough to align those countless choices. Only a binding regime can convince those whose capital allocation decisions shape the economy that a high carbon business model will expose them to greater risk and hit their returns harder than betting now on low carbon; that governments in other words are serious; that these promises will be kept even if the going gets rough.</p> <p>A leading investor in British infrastructure recently told me that his company would not invest in our low carbon transition. He admired our ambition, but the politics would get too difficult and we wouldn’t stay the course. We will. But our policies will fail if investors don’t believe us.</p> <p>All commitments need not be equally binding immediately. It just needs to be clear that the regime will revolve around an expanding set of binding emission caps across the whole economy, compatible with the 2ºC threshold, with more countries coming in as they become more prosperous.</p> <p>Kyoto embodies this. The essence of Kyoto is its binding caps not its distinction between developed and developing countries. Abandoning Kyoto now would be seen as giving up on top down. Many would see it as giving up altogether. But there is plenty of scope over successive cycles for newly prosperous economies to take caps.</p> <p> <strong>Only Diplomacy</strong> </p> <p>To bind or not to bind. Right now we seem trapped between the necessary and the merely impossible.</p> <p>But there is a way out. Law is an output from politics not an input. We must establish the political conditions necessary to support the climate treaty we need.</p> <p>That is a job for foreign policy. It is not about the negotiations themselves and cannot be done inside the negotiations. It is not primarily about international climate policy. It is about national debates on security, prosperity and equity, and how climate change speaks to them.</p> <p>Most foreign policy elites have yet to embrace and act on this. It would not be harsh to call that a failure of diplomacy.</p> <p>Diplomats have focussed more on what can be accomplished within the negotiations themselves, as if a global negotiation could drive national politics. But as we found at Copenhagen and accepted at Cancun, if there is no alignment of purpose no negotiated text can bridge the gap. The diplomacy we now need must build that alignment.</p> <p>Diplomats have done this kind of thing before.  </p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats on either side helped build a shared imperative that operated across frontiers like a political force field, organising entire societies and, yes, legitimising countless individual choices. That is what we need to do now.</p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats like George Kennan forged doctrines that made sense of those choices. The climate project will fail without a doctrine of climate security, which we do not yet have.</p> <p>In the Cold War, because failure was unthinkable, the effort was served not limited by economics. The climate project too needs that overriding clarity of purpose. But this time there is only one side and we are all on it, and the effort will actually support the economy by getting us off the oil hook and easing the resource stresses that now threaten us.</p> <p>Now as then, technology is the key. Then it was missiles we hoped never to fire, to avoid Mutually Assured Destruction. Now we need Mutually Assured Construction of the infrastructure for a low carbon world.</p> <p>Again we must summon shared will between nations, through a collective reappraisal of national interests to take account of an existential threat and to drive a challenging but available response.</p> <p>Diplomats engaged existentially with the Cold War, and we now need to do so on climate change.</p> <p>We need to make the low carbon economy feel more like an opportunity; climate risk feel more threatening; a binding treaty feel more necessary and achievable.</p> <p>There is more debate around the world now about where future growth will come from than there has been for a generation. That is a consequence of the economic crisis and the realisation that we are moving from abundance to scarcity.</p> <p>So the first task for diplomats is to ensure that the answer to the growth question, in all the major economies, is low carbon growth.  </p> <p>That’s why David Miliband got us working with China on low carbon growth and why we welcomed China’s decision last year to establish low carbon economic zones encompassing 350 million people.</p> <p>Without climate security, we will lose control of food, water and energy security.</p> <p>So the second task for diplomats is to build a shared doctrine of climate risk. This needs to animate those in all countries to whom leaders turn for advice on what is necessary to ensure national security. This must establish 2ºC as an imperative.</p> <p>That’s why my colleague Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is working with security elites in many countries to build a shared approach to climate security, and why with partners we now want to bring this issue back to the UN Security Council.</p> <p>As in any political landscape there is a tension between those who want to go faster, and those who do not: the forces of high and low ambition. Out of this tension come the mandates that officials take to the climate negotiations.</p> <p>The third task for diplomats is to strengthen the forces of high ambition everywhere so that negotiators will have mandates that allow them to make promises that are more ambitious, more binding.</p> <p>There is only one way to do that. It is not to lecture others on their interests, but to do ourselves what we want others to do: to say again, “follow me”. Diplomats need to make the foreign policy case for higher ambition at home.</p> <p>Renewal</p> <p>This calls for a renewal not just of climate diplomacy but of diplomacy itself.</p> <p>I claimed earlier that climate change was an existential challenge for diplomats. In fact the true challenge comes from the underlying condition of which climate change is a manifestation.</p> <p>That condition is the unprecedented degree of interdependence that has come with globalisation. This is not a marginal adjustment to the context within which diplomacy is practiced – a kind of diplomatic externality. It forces us into a frame of reference that differs fundamentally from anything diplomats have experienced before.</p> <p>Interdependence confronts us with new problems, and makes familiar problems more acute. We need climate security, yes, but also resource security, financial and macroeconomic stability, and an open global economy. We need to neutralise the risks arising from global pandemics, state failure, mass displacement of people, international organised crime, and nuclear proliferation.</p> <p>These interconnected problems threaten the system conditions for security, prosperity, and equity in an interdependent world.  They can only be resolved by creating the political conditions for convergent responses across national and sectoral boundaries at a sufficient level of ambition.</p> <p>There are no hard power solutions to the problems of interdependence. But unless we can deploy soft power effectively against them, they will certainly give us hard power headaches. We must learn to use soft power as a precision instrument: not just as an attractor but to achieve specific political outcomes.</p> <p>Welcome to a world with no abroad.</p> <p>In such a world, the question for diplomats is no longer who has the most power. It does not matter how much power you have if you cannot use it to secure what you need. We need to ask how we can harness and direct the forces unleashed by interdependence. How can we bend into alignment the way nations see their interests when the system conditions we all need depend on it.</p> <p>That truly is our existential question. If we diplomats do not answer it, nobody else will: not our colleagues in Ministries for climate, energy, agriculture, development, trade, or even finance. Yes they can design policy regimes in the areas for which they have responsibility and expertise. But only we can push up the level of shared ambition that animates those regimes by connecting them to the political impulses and narratives of others. And if we do not do this, foreign policy itself will become ever less effective as the crises of unmanaged interdependence increasingly overwhelm our ability to cope.</p> <p>Through a renewal of diplomacy we can shape the destiny of the societies we serve. Through business as usual diplomacy we can allow events to shape it for us in a way that pleases noone (to borrow from Carlyle). It is our choice.</p> <p>Climate change is at the fulcrum of that choice. A successful response to climate change will ease many of the other stresses and make interdependence easier to deal with. But if we fail, climate change will multiply those stresses to the point where the system conditions will not hold.</p> <p>The British Foreign Office has invested more than any other Foreign Ministry in the kind of climate diplomacy I have described, working alongside and in complementarity with our colleagues in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Our experience is not only helping to establish more favourable political conditions for success on climate. It is also telling us a lot about how to renew our profession. As a senior colleague recently put it, what we are doing on climate is a model for 21st century diplomatic excellence.</p> <p>It is teaching us that if we want others to act we must do so ourselves. William Hague has urged that foreign policy flow through the veins of domestic departments. That means domestic policy must flow through our veins too. It becomes our responsibility to shape policy in areas previously regarded as exclusively domestic.</p> <p>We must get better at dealing in language and narrative as well as policy. Narrative gives meaning to policy. It binds coalitions. The forces of low ambition on climate have used it skilfully. You cannot deal with climate change if you cannot talk about it.</p> <p>We must get better at engaging beyond governments. That means using network diplomacy to understand the perspectives of businesses, the media, NGO’s, academics, faith communities, and to build alliances with them.</p> <p>We must distinguish more clearly between process and outcomes. We diplomats revel in process. But we must use it rigorously to change conditions in the real world. There are too many communiqués that nobody reads except those who negotiated them.</p> <p>Never ask “what can we agree?” before asking “what needs to be agreed?” If there is a gap, focus on the political conditions not just the text. Get ahead of the event horizon. Ask where the politics need to be not at the end of the current crisis or the next conference, but over a political cycle. Invest now in new impulses that might change the game in five years.</p> <p>My profession is full of outstanding people: talented, brave, dedicated to public service, even - though nobody wants to be accused of it - visionary. But seen from the outside, we can appear a somewhat tired elite, closed and set in our ways, complacent even, at risk of being overtaken by the complexities of interdependence.<br><br>I am sometimes asked why the British Foreign Office puts so much effort into climate change, consistently under 3 consecutive Foreign Secretaries.</p> <p>The security and prosperity of over 60 million British people depend on a successful global response to climate change. The taxpayer pays for the Foreign Office in order to maintain the external conditions for Britain’s security and prosperity. That makes it our core business to deploy to the fullest extent possible the assets of foreign policy in support of the shared effort on climate across a government that David Cameron is determined to make our greenest government ever.</p> <p>We do this, in other words, because it is our job. But we will only succeed in our job if you make it yours as well.<br></p> 2011-03-10 14:58:49 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=563316982 John Ashton Climate change: "A ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down" None 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p> <strong>BRITAIN AND NIGERIA: A MODERN PARTNERSHIP</strong> <br></p> <p> <strong>Text of speech by Bob Dewar, British High Commissioner, to the Nigeria Britain Association, Lagos 23 September 2010  </strong> </p> <p> <strong>A renewed dawn</strong>  <br>I would like to seize the occasion of the forthcoming 50th birthday of your Independence to greet you and to look forward with a truly positive spirit. Looking forward, not just to 2020 or 2030, but to the next 50 years, to 2060. Because looking to the future with hope of positive change is what your young generation want to do, wherever they may live in your 36 States and however challenging their lives might seem to them at present. This morning, therefore, why don’t we talk about a renewed dawn?  </p> <p>I bring warm greetings and good will from the UK as your citizens all around this great country of Nigeria reflect on the past 50 years - and, more importantly, look forward in hope and expectation.</p> <p>Not all of the last 50 years have been straightforward for all of you, or your families. There will have been periods of optimism and there will have been periods of missed opportunities. Not all of the last 50 years have been straight forward for our bilateral relationship either. But that tie between the UK and Nigeria, between people of both countries, has remained strong over time. We know each other, we respect each other, our countries are familiar, we are at home with each other, we are honest friends in both directions, we can laugh together, and sometimes - eg when we are both ousted from the World Cup finals at too early a stage - we can cry together!</p> <p>In other words, we are equal and modern partners. The return to civilian democracy in 1999 heralded another start for the giant of West Africa and of Africa, and you are to be congratulated on the smoothly managed transition between three Presidents and administrations in the last 11 years, the most recent being the political transition earlier this year to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan after the sad death of his predecessor. </p> <p> <strong>Africa’s century, Nigeria’s century- in partnership with Britain</strong> <br>Britain wishes to continue to be your strong friend and partner in supporting you to build a credible democracy and a reformed and sustained economy. And I would like to reaffirm the importance of our bilateral relationship to you here today.</p> <p>We would like to support you to create high growth and jobs, and we want to support Nigerian progress and modernisation, showing the way to West Africa, to the whole continent of Africa, and beyond.  </p> <p>I am confident that with the necessary leadership and determination Nigeria can be, and will be, the beacon for Africa in the 21st Century. This should be Africa’s Century. This should be Nigeria’s Century, showing the way forward in economic growth, democracy, civic rights and freedoms and culture.</p> <p> <strong>The future lies in the youth</strong> <br>I also believe that your people in this great, diverse nation are Nigeria’s real wealth.  <br>You are fortunate to have considerable, still-to-be-tapped, wealth contained in your rich natural resources of hydrocarbons and agriculture. And those resources need to be used wisely for the benefit of your people.</p> <p>But would you not agree that it is your youth potential, your young talent, that can make the really huge difference in the future? You have the largest population in Africa. And most of your citizens are under 25. Indeed 40% are under 15 and will therefore be under 65 in 2060 - still young in modern terms!   Harnessing their energies and talents, with good education, health, infrastructure and opportunities, could make up lost ground fast, as an emerging economy and power, could it not? Where some Asian countries had the same per capita income as some African countries in the sixties but then spurted ahead, why cannot Africa awake with Nigeria at its helm? Why cannot Nigeria progress at 100 metre sprint speed? It has market potential and access, and new technology. Why not benefit from the confidence that good policy and leadership brings through application of the rule of law, credible multi-party democracy, better connection with citizens and a fairer deal for the poorest, with transparency and human rights?</p> <p> <strong>Britain is Nigeria’s partner for prosperity<br></strong>I believe that we can look forward together with confidence. Britain and Nigeria are close friends within the Commonwealth. We are roots from the same tree. We know each other well. We share the English language, common values and systems, faiths. We know each other’s countries, and products and culture and literature and films. And sport. We watch Nigerian stars in our Premier league every weekend. So do you - and I believe you watch British stars too. There are perhaps 1 million people of Nigerian origin living in Britain. They make a great contribution to our modern multi cultural country, in politics, business, professions, civil service, art, music, fashion, faith, sport, you name it. And they will be reflecting, just like we are today, on this important moment in your history and the lessons from the past and the way forward.  And Nigerian professionals training in the UK return with world class talent, able to drive the country forward with international connections and standards.</p> <p>And we both believe in deriving strength and unity from great diversity. We cannot claim in the UK to be quite as diverse as Nigeria with your many, many languages and ethnic groups but I think all of us in the United Kingdom are proud nevertheless of our particular personal roots, which add and strengthen the common endeavour.</p> <p> <strong>Modern Britain</strong> <br>But that doesn’t mean that our modern partnership will be automatically assured. Britain has to work hard. We are determined to live within our means with a strong budget to control our deficit and debts. We have a strong, balanced, stable economy, pro-enterprise, deregulating, and focused on economic partnership and trade. With Nigeria we cannot just sit on old arrangements but we have to work at this. We need to work hard at this from both sides - ‘building bridges’. Companies are innovating, creating new partnership and alliances, sharing and selling in both directions, investing in both directions, employing each other’s people, exchanging ideas and learning and research, and creating jobs in each other’s countries.</p> <p>The modern UK is a country of production - the 6th largest manufacturing nation in the world - and of institutions (banks and finance included), and of ideas. We want to share those products, our knowledge, our skills, our inventions, our services, our ability to put things together, whether that be for a project, or finance and banking, or another new initiative.</p> <p> <strong>Nigeria’s vision and achievements</strong> <br>Nigeria, too, has many challenges. Many Nigerians I have met talk of the need to create a new culture to address those, putting in place high standards underpinned by high values, based on belief in the rule of law and integrity, rejecting corruption and crime. It is all about what you want for your nation and its citizens in the longer term - the national interest rather than just the individual or group interest.</p> <p>I believe Nigeria wants to improve the situation here and in Africa, to go forward, modernise, and to progress. The efforts made to bring peace and amnesty in the Niger Delta deserve to be acknowledged and they need to be supported - as they are by Britain - and to be sustained and deepened.</p> <p>The renewed and energetic efforts made to reform your banking sector need to be acknowledged and supported. They are very important for your economy.<br>The efforts to reform and modernise your electricity power need to be acknowledged: they are important for every citizen and they should be supported - as they are with British technical help - and implemented as soon as possible. People want electric power and business needs power.</p> <p>Your efforts to reform your democracy have been laudable this year and they too should be acknowledged and supported - as they are by Britain. They now need to be put into practice to bring about credible elections: it will require a lot of hard work and commitment by everyone in the short time available - especially politicians, who will need to think of the country first.</p> <p>Why is it so important to progress in all these ways, to seize opportunities; not to let them drift past? Not least because more accountability and more trust between citizen and state, underpin those important things called stability and confidence. And confidence brings economic growth. Less well governed countries inspire less investor certainty, producing a mood of caution rather than confidence, whether they be domestic or foreign business we are talking about.</p> <p> <strong>Responsible partnership for international security</strong> <br>We also believe the partnership with Nigeria is important because you are a responsible power in Africa and the world. Britain believes in a rules-based international system wherein we work together for international and regional security by countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict. This gives us so much in common as work for peace and security, and high standards of governance is taken forward, within and in partnership with the United Nations and the Commonwealth, the European Union, the African Union, ECOWAS, the G8 and the G20 and other important groupings. Between the two of us we are members of all of these.</p> <p>We share the values underpinning the international rules-based system. Security is important for all our citizens so that they can better their lives for themselves and their children, not under threat from violence or terrorism, but in a context of peace and development, and the conditions to escape from poverty.</p> <p>And we do not just talk about it, we both act when called upon to do so. Britain is  serious in wanting to partner Nigeria in tackling poverty and all that that means including access to health and education for all or economic prospects.  </p> <p>And Nigeria should be commended for its efforts as Chair of ECOWAS in the last period, where it has taken the lead in censuring and reversing non-Constitutional initiatives in several countries of this region, applying high ECOWAS and AU standards, and with the support of the AU, UN and EU and Britain. Nigeria should be congratulated for the fact that it is the fourth largest peace-keeper world wide, where it has had support from the UK over the years including the setting up of training centres of excellence.   We are also both in the Security Council during this period and are working closely together with shared analysis and position on many important international and regional issues threatening our global security.</p> <p>And in a more general sense Britain fully supports UN reform including permanent African representation in the United Nations Security Council and a bigger voice in international institutions.</p> <p> <strong>Partnership for shared prosperity</strong> </p> <p>But looking into the morning sun, into the future, where should we be particularly focusing our practical efforts in creating a modern partnership together? A partnership which brings growth in a context of peace and helps ordinary people’s lives, surely? That’s what the average citizen wants - prosperity and safety and jobs.</p> <p>The British economy is open for business, open for trade and open for investment. We are a logical gateway for Nigeria, into Europe and into the globalised economy. And the City of London is one of the world’s great financial centres.</p> <p>Of course, we must first build on existing economic and commercial connections. Those made by all the companies and businesses that have become household names and have the experience and contacts.  Equally we need to encourage the others who have been more recent arrivals to stay, reinvest and prosper.</p> <p>Nigeria already has many business leaders who are prominent in West Africa and the continent. There is a tremendous enterprise tradition in many parts of Nigeria.  And Nigeria has the potential to accelerate growth across very many sectors, including infrastructure, resources like oil and gas and mining, agriculture and retail, telecommunications and banking. Cracking on with real efforts to prevent conflicts, to improve macroeconomic conditions and stimulate the business environment will lay the basis for more growth. Nigeria’s access to international capital will be important, linked to the expanding middle class, the trend toward big cities and, as I first mentioned, your young labour force - provided that it is educated and motivated.</p> <p>Reforms, including in the banking sector, and opening up to the international economy will help stimulate opportunities. The current reforms point that way by reducing inefficiencies and, we hope, laying a basis for investor confidence.</p> <p>Nigeria has great potential to grow economically. And where its policies are focused on creating its own indigenous industries and centres of knowledge, creating home grown institutions, capacity and business, that is important and yet another area where UK companies can provide the partnership that’s needed to do that, including international contacts, expertise, finance, transfer of experience and know how.</p> <p>To be successful economically, of course, the costs for business need to come down and the inefficiencies tackled; corruption needs to be addressed and the culture of impunity dented; rule of law and sanctity of contract are needed to nurture long term confidence.</p> <p>It really is best if the private sector leads the way for high growth. And that private sector should be of high quality.</p> <p>With all that in place, there should be real opportunities for dynamic new investment and new trade in both directions. You are looking for partnerships in modern infrastructure, transport and power. We have knowledge and expertise precisely in these areas.</p> <p>We also have expertise and products in the area of clean energy, which is important as you diversify from hydrocarbons over time. Indeed, we have only one blue planet; and the lead Nigeria can give, with Britain, in pushing for a lower carbon future comprising cleaner, cheap energy and re-afforestation will be critical issues for our children’s generation. How will they judge us if we don’t show them we are leaving behind a world as least as good as the one we came into?</p> <p>You are modernising ICT and banking services fast, with a growing middle class and mobile phone frenzy like anywhere else. We are directly North geographically, which is useful for time-zone reasons and practical connections by air or phone, excellent for commercial out- sourcing or other options. And you have just connected to fibre optic cables with as yet greatly under-utilised potential for broadband roll-out, which would mean tremendous opportunities for new services and products and cheaper ICT to underpin small businesses throughout Nigeria.</p> <p>We both have an interest in standards of education and language and skills for jobs. We both have an interest in opening up market access for more trade. That can bring the high growth that will really put Nigeria into the 100 metre fast lane. And Nigeria can improve access and facilitate business (reducing red tape etc) in a way that also favours the import of quality goods that will perform well and last for a long time - we pride ourselves on those. Trade facilitation, ports, processes and customs are really important for this process, as is achieving an economic partnership agreement with ECOWAS and completing the Doha Development Round trade negotiations. And we can both push in that direction.</p> <p>It is excellent that many of your States are reforming and competing for investment and business, either leading the way (and catalysing others to follow because they, too, want success and attention) or learning from existing good international practices, making it easier for business to enter, with less red tape.</p> <p>Nigeria is urbanizing rapidly too, so it is not just at national level that our two countries should form modern links- it should be at every level, national, city, community, civil society.</p> <p>Energy, IT, education, health, infrastructure, retail, are all examples of economic sectors where we interact to mutual benefit. And why not value-added agriculture as well, not just imported items and retail, however important retail is? Small is beautiful and when the private sector gets involved helping with inputs and training and finance and equipment, it means money: win- win. There is always a season for forward-looking, innovative, commercial business – small scale and large scale - including in agriculture. And it’s starting to happen. I hope Britain and Nigeria can catalyse more of that. Because it means livelihoods and jobs.</p> <p> <strong>The ‘moral sentiment’, joint values and standards<br></strong> We are interconnected. We do all want a better world with peace and security, economic opportunities- not conflict, poverty or misunderstanding. The ‘moral sentiment’ as Adam Smith called it, is important- in other words universal norms of behaviour to each other. We have always been a country believing in dialogue, communication and the goal of peaceful, mutual understanding, across cultures, across religions, across peoples.  I think we share such beliefs with Nigeria. So, based on that inclusive sort of thinking, with the Commonwealth family also embracing us both, we have a strong framework for future concrete partnership, whether economic, social and political that I have touched on in more detail above.    </p> <p>When seeking wider prosperity and economic opportunities, I would like to think that it is through economic and educational and professional links and people links, made by forging and consolidating high professional standards together, that we can best underpin the modern partnership that I have been talking about. I think those links and standards will really help sustain your country’s forward direction. Your professional classes are already well acquainted with British standards which are international standards. And it is by developing your own standards and systems and institutions- and benchmarking them to international standards, rather than allowing anything second rate to take hold- that you will give confidence to your citizens and your investment partners.</p> <p> <strong>Salute to Nigeria at 50<br></strong>Those who are lucky enough to visit or to live in Nigeria know its vitality and energy, its tremendous and varied culture which manifests itself in languages, art, buildings, music, fashion, faith and so much more.</p> <p>You can be rightly proud of that. You are the happiest nation in the world. Can we equal that? Let’s share a smile on this auspicious moment only days before the 50th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence. Isn’t it an African saying that ‘the shortest distance between two people is a smile’?<br>And isn’t it another African saying that ‘life is lived forwards but understood backwards’? Well this is indeed a moment when there will be an instinct to look backwards. But actually I think it is a moment when it is even more important to look forwards into the sunny uplands of the future. And to do so with your younger generation with a positive spirit and determination to launch a new journey together, needing good leadership and values and policies at national and state level.</p> <p>I salute Nigeria at 50 and I do so with a truly positive spirit for the next 50 years.  Yes there are challenges. But where there is the will there is the way! And Nigeria’s progress is really important for the UK- as it is for Africa and the Commonwealth.</p> <p>Let the renewed dawn shine on all Nigerians and on our modern partnership. This is Nigeria’s Century, where you can show the way for Africa and the world through dynamic economic growth, civic and human rights and freedoms, culture, and peace and safety for all within the rule of law. I wish you and our modern partnership every success.</p> 2011-03-24 23:08:49 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22931232 Bob Dewar, British High Commssioner to Nigeria Nigeria Britain- A Modern Partnership None 24 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lagos
<p>Mr President,</p> <p>I begin by thanking you for convening this Summit. Given the new security threats and the economic constraints we face, this debate provides an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to improving the United Nations’ ability to prevent conflict, to forge sustainable peace agreements, and to keep and build peace.</p> <p>Instability and conflict have a devastating impact around the world.  They affect the lives of millions of people, and the prosperity of countries and whole regions.  22 of the 34 countries furthest from achieving the Millennium Development Goals are in the midst of, or are emerging from, violent conflict. Instability and lawlessness provide fertile ground for extremism, for organised crime and terrorism, threats which reach beyond the borders of single states. Delivering national security has become a global effort and a global responsibility.</p> <p>Tackling conflict requires a cohesive, strategic and integrated response. In the United Kingdom, one of our first acts in the new Government was to establish a National Security Council to co-ordinate efforts across foreign affairs, defence and international development.</p> <p>In the UN, we have supported reform to ensure coherence across conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding – something the Security Council and the whole UN system has collectively sought to deliver in recent years.  The real test is whether such reforms are making a difference on the ground.</p> <p>We strongly commend the dedication of UN peacekeepers around the world. In the year ahead, major challenges will continue to place significant demands on these dedicated men and women. Peacekeepers will play a critical role supporting the referendum in Sudan. And in the DRC, we will require still greater effort and innovation from our peacekeepers as they seek to halt attacks on civilians and in particular on women and children.</p> <p>But peacekeeping alone cannot deliver long term stability in fragile states.  Peacebuilding is critical if we are to address the underlying causes of conflict, such as corruption, ethnic hatred and marginalisation. It is critical if we are to strengthen national capacity to manage political disputes peacefully. And it’s critical if we are to be better at helping countries re-establish the rule of law, reform the security services, shore up good governance and begin economic development. Peacebuilding needs to happen as soon as possible in order for belligerents, and the wider population to have the confidence to invest in a peace agreement.  </p> <p>In the year ahead, we need to see the conclusion of reform which remains incomplete.<br>The UN’s civilian capacity review needs to set out bold recommendations on how the UN can much more quickly deploy the right expertise to post-conflict countries.  This includes making much better use of the capacity of regional organisations and member states, particularly those of the South.</p> <p>We also need to see more effective use of the Peacebuilding Commission. We support the recent review. But we now need to encourage the Commission take on the really difficult challenges to peacebuilding, and provide advice to this Council and others on the course of action required to resolve them. In the year ahead, Liberia will be a proving ground for the Peacebuilding Commission – it must help build local capacity to maintain the rule of law so that the UN can transfer responsibility for security to national authorities.</p> <p>If we’re serious about tackling conflict, then the Security Council – along with the rest of the UN system – needs to develop a genuine culture of prevention. This is a question of political will. The Council must be prepared to take up fast-moving situations in countries that are not on its agenda. We must support regular analysis of potential conflict by the Secretary-General and his senior staff. We should encourage experts across the UN system to share information on potential precursors to conflict – our human rights specialists must be able to share their concerns with those looking for early signs of conflict. And we must have a stronger dialogue with regional and sub-regional organisations on ways to prevent conflict, including on issues which drive conflict such as illicit extraction of natural resources.  </p> <p>In the year ahead, if we are to tackle these new threats to security, we need to deliver lasting, regular improvement and lasting impact on the ground. We will need to demonstrate that we are tackling potential conflict in this Council. We will need to show that by the decisions we take and the actions we mandate we are reducing the impact of violence on civilian populations. And we will need to be confident that we are building national security sectors, so that we can withdraw peacekeeping operations strong in the knowledge that we have supported sustainable peace.</p> <p>Thank you very much.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:51 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22914050 William Hague "Peacebuilding is critical if we are to address the underlying causes of conflict" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 23 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>I am pleased to be able to represent the United Kingdom at this important meeting; and to be able to confirm the UK’s support for the Joint Ministerial Statement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.</p> <p>The presence at the opening of this session of the UN Secretary General and of so many Ministers demonstrates the overwhelming international support for the Treaty.</p> <p>The United Kingdom is one of those supporters. The UK signed the Treaty in 1996, and ratified it in 1998 – a long time ago. We believe the Treaty’s Entry into Force will strengthen our own security and will strengthen global security. We will all be safer with this Treaty than without it.</p> <p>We are very encouraged by the scale of international support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; we welcome recent ratifications by the Central African Republic, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago; and welcome the intentions of the United States, Indonesia and others to ratify the Treaty.  The UK strongly hopes that these declarations of intent will translate into new Annex 2 ratifications over the next year; so we can enter next year’s Article XIV Conference even closer to Entry into Force than we are now.</p> <p>I also want to pay tribute to the work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat in building up the Treaty’s verification regime; and I call on all States Signatories to support this effort. Let's see a real common determination to press on with this core work at the next Preparatory Commission meeting in November, without becoming distracted by much less important issues.</p> <p>In conclusion, I am optimistic about future of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We are close to our goal of a world free of nuclear weapon test explosions, and all nuclear explosions. We now call on those few remaining states still to ratify to join us on the right side of the fence, so we can at last turn this vision into a reality.  </p> <p>Thank you very much.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:54 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22914052 Alistair Burt "I am optimistic about future of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40435 23 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" src="http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/swfs/player.swf?file=ga/65/2010/ga100922pm1.flv&amp;image=http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2010/09/full/ga100922pm1-7.jpg&amp;autostart=false&amp;controlbar=over&amp;start=6298&amp;duration=6773&amp;dock=true&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;streamer=rtmp://cp8784.edgefcs.net/ondemand" width="443" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="243" style="WIDTH: 443px; HEIGHT: 243px"></embed></p> <p>Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen</p> <p>It is an honour for me to address the General Assembly today for the first time as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.</p> <p>And it is a privilege to be here with you to discuss how together we can reach the Millennium Development Goals;</p> <p>To make the necessary commitments towards eradicating the problems that blight the world we share: Poverty, hunger, disease, and the degradation of our natural environment.</p> <p>This week we are reviewing progress, assessing obstacles, and agreeing a framework for action to meet our targets.</p> <p>These are the technocratic terms in which governments must necessarily trade.</p> <p>But let us be clear: behind the officialese of summits lies our single, common purpose: To uphold the dignity and security that is the right of every person in every part of the world.  </p> <p>Development is, in the end, about freedom. It is about freedom from hunger and disease; freedom from ignorance; freedom from poverty. Development means ensuring that every person has the freedom to take their own life into their own hands and determine their own fate.</p> <p>The last decade has seen some important progress. That progress has, however, been uneven, and, on a number of our goals we remain significantly off track.</p> <p>So my message to you today, from the UK government, is this - we will keep our promises; and we expect the rest of the international community to do the same.  </p> <p>For our part, the new coalition government has committed to reaching 0.7% of GNI in aid from 2013 – a pledge we will enshrine in law.</p> <p>That aid will be targeted in the ways we know will make the biggest difference.</p> <p>And I am pleased to announce today that the UK will be stepping up our efforts to combat malaria.</p> <p>In Africa, a child dies from this disease – this easily preventable disease – every 45 seconds. So we will make more money available, and ensure that we get more for our money, with the aim of halving malaria-related deaths in ten of the worst affected countries.</p> <p>The UK government is also proud to be boosting our contribution to the international drive on maternal and infant health. Our new commitments will save the lives of 50,000 mothers and quarter of a million babies by 2015.</p> <p>The UK makes these commitments at a time of significant difficulty time in our domestic economy.</p> <p>The new government has inherited a £156bn budget deficit, so increasing our international aid budget is not an uncontroversial decision.</p> <p>Some critics have questioned that decision, asking why, at a time when people at home are making sacrifices in their pay and their pensions, are we increasing aid for people in other countries?</p> <p>But we make this choice because we recognise that the promises the UK has made hold in the bad times as well as the good – that they are even more important now than they were then.</p> <p>Because we understand that, while we are experiencing hardship on our own shores, it does not compare to the abject pain and destitution of others.</p> <p>Because we take seriously the fact that the new coalition government is now the last UK government able to deliver on our country’s promises in time for the 2015 MDG deadline.</p> <p>And because we know that doing so is in our own, enlightened self-interest.</p> <p>When the world is more prosperous, the UK will be more prosperous. Growth in the developing world means new partners with which to trade and new sources of global growth.</p> <p>And, equally, when the world is less secure, the UK is less secure within it.</p> <p>Climate change does not somehow stop at our borders.</p> <p>When pandemics occur, we are not immune.</p> <p>And when poverty and poor education fuel the growth of global terrorism, our society bears the scars too.</p> <p>Twenty two of the thirty four countries furthest from reaching the MDGs are in the midst of or emerging from violent conflict.</p> <p>Fragile spaces – like Afghanistan – where hate can proliferate and terrorist attacks can be planned, where organised criminals can harvest the drugs that ravage our streets, where families are persecuted, displaced, pushed to seek refuge with us.</p> <p>So we do not see the Millennium Development Goals just as optimistic targets for far away lands; they are not simply charity, nor are they pure altruism.</p> <p>They are also the key to lasting safety and future prosperity for the people of the United Kingdom, and of course, for people right across the globe.</p> <p>We welcome the General Assembly’s agreement to annually review progress made against the commitments agreed at this Summit.</p> <p>The UK will stand up to that test.</p> <p>Today I call on others to show equal resolve.</p> <p>The Millennium Development Goals must be a priority for each and every nation present in this room. Developed nations must honour their commitments.</p> <p>And developing nations must understand that they will not receive a blank cheque. Developing countries and donors must work together – as equal partners – towards securing our common interest.</p> <p>They will be expected to administer aid in ways that are accountable, transparent, and responsible - creating the conditions for economic growth and job creation.</p> <p>Prioritising national budgets on health, infrastructure, education and basic services.</p> <p>Managing natural resources, particularly biodiversity, in an environmentally sustainable way.</p> <p>Improving the lives of women and girls: empowering them; educating them; ensuring healthy mothers can raise strong children. There can be no doubt that women and girls hold the key to greater prosperity: for their families, for their communities, and for their nations too.</p> <p>If we each step up, we can meet the Millennium Development Goals.</p> <p>We can liberate millions of people from daily suffering, and give them the resources to take control of their lives, and their destinies.</p> <p>So let future generations look back and say that they inherited a better world because – at this critical moment, at this difficult moment – we did not shrink from our responsibilities.</p> <p>Let them say that we rose to the challenge, that we kept our promise.</p> 2011-03-13 00:18:21 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22912183 Nicholas Clegg "If we each step up, we can meet the Millennium Development Goals" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40528 23 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY<br></p> <p>Thank you for the opportunity to talk at this important event.  </p> <p>This morning I want to talk to you about the role of Government, and in particular the FCO, in increasing the UK’s own energy security through a greater focus on international energy security. This is a subject close to my heart as I have followed it since the 1980s when I was Energy Secretary.</p> <p> <strong>The global energy picture</strong> <br></p> <p>Energy security is a clearly a matter of national security. We are all aware of the importance of secure and affordable energy supplies as fundamental to our wellbeing and economic livelihood. This is particularly so as the UK has moved from being a net energy exporter to an energy importer, and as global competition for resources is rising, and as we seek to steer our way through times of major energy transition.<br></p> <p>But our national aims have to be dovetailed with the realities of an increasingly interdependent world , especially when  it comes to energy resources and supply systems.</p> <p>It’s clear that global demand for fossil fuels is increasing, but we cannot solely rely on low cost traditional energy sources to meet this demand.  Surging consumption in emerging economies; multiple constraints on conventional fuel production; complex and uncertain geo-political trends and international recognition of the carbon impact on climate of both carbon and other greenhouse gases are all changing the market dynamics. China and the emerging Asian economies are already demonstrating their weight in energy markets, and their importance will only grow –as both consumers and producers of both conventional fuels and new technologies. Engagement with them is  essential. Indeed some of us have been arguing for more than a decade that the sources of power, wealth and technical advance have both shifted eastwards and been dispersed. Both an utterly  changed world economy and a changed world energy scene now confront us.</p> <p>This is a novel landscape–a network world–requiring a new and more agile diplomacy than in the past, both to guarantee our energy security and our wider safety. Some have suggested that Britain’s influence will decline as old alliances become less dominant and new powers rise. But I argue the opposite–that a nation like ours, with its experience and skills, is better placed than ever to prosper and protect our interests in the new international environment.</p> <p>It is true that access to existing and untapped resources is becoming more difficult. Much of the world’s energy infrastructure lies in severe environments such as in Russia or Canada’s pipelines in the Arctic. In Brazil the as yet unexplored but massive pre-salt oil finds off Brazil lie in extremely deep waters. The Gulf of Mexico has shown us this year the dangers inherent in such operations. Many of these regions will also become increasingly vulnerable as a result of climate change, for example the melting permafrost in the Arctic. Both the risks and environmental concerns around investment could become greater, and could impact on prices.</p> <p>And of course, even where physical access is still easier, such as in the case of Iraq’s huge and fully proven oil reserves, political and security risks add heavily to the challenges – and the costs.</p> <p>Conversely we have to recognise the dangerous impact of conventional fuels on the climate. Cleaner more sustainable energy technologies have to be the way of the future – for both energy security and environmental reasons.  David Cameron has committed this government to be the greenest ever, and we are determined to take the right green road forward – the road that will lead us to lighter, not heavier, monthly electricity bills and far greater energy efficiency.</p> <p>As a Foreign Office Minister, I am acutely aware that energy and power requirements need to be placed in an international context. Energy is clearly both a driver and driven by geopolitics and deserves to be seen as a high priority by the FCO. We need to work bilaterally and multilaterally to address the opportunities and challenges that the international context poses – a context which has been changing rapidly with the rise of the so-called emerging powers.</p> <p> <strong>So what are we doing about energy security?</strong> </p> <p>We recognise that security of supply is as important as security of demand.  At the heart of this is our aim of achieving both predictable and affordable prices, in part through transparent markets for both consumers and producers. We all remember oil prices reaching $147 per barrel in summer 2008 then plummeting to less than $40 six months later. Volatility such as this creates uncertainty, impacts the economy, and undermines investment in oil. As we emerge from global recession, high oil prices bring with them the risk of double dip recession. To help tackle this we will work through the G20, with the IEF, the IEA and other international organisations to promote transparency and stability in global energy markets; and remove drivers of excess demand, such as fossil fuel subsidies.</p> <p>For a secure energy future the Government also needs to provide the right environment at home for the right investment in energy infrastructure and technologies. It needs to work internationally to achieve the same abroad. Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintaining access to and distribution of fuel supplies during and after the transition to low carbon.   Global investment in low carbon and cleaner energy will be key to both energy and climate security in the future.<br></p> <p>All forms of renewable energy will play their part – marine, wind and second and third generation biofuels – so long as they are genuinely low carbon – which is not always the case.  Within the EU we will be working to ensure that investment is encouraged and infrastructure in place to make initiatives such as the North Sea Grid and a European Super Grid a reality. And there are major commercial opportunities here for the UK. We are creative and entrepreneurial – exactly what is needed now.<br></p> <p>Nuclear power n particular has an absolutely key  role to play because it can provide a steady low-carbon baseload without the risks of intermittency that comes with some renewable energies.  It is the obvious longer term route both to low carbon goals and to the reliable, low cost and abundant electricity supply that our own society (and the whole developing world as well ) will demand.<br></p> <p>Here in the UK the Coalition is committed to a new generation of ten nuclear power stations. Ensuring that they produce electricity competitively, safely and in a commercial viable way will be challenging. But we are certainly not alone  in facing this challenge. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) are following 60 new reactors currently under construction, a figure that is likely to be the same each year for the foreseeable future. A nuclear “renaissance” is underway. Being part of this will not only help our energy security and climate change targets, but boost the low carbon economy with jobs and business opportunities in the UK and internationally.</p> <p>Back in the 1980s,when I sought to launch a nine station nuclear reactor programme, following the French example, the programme was sunk by international factors, ( including a collapse in oil and gas prices). That must not be allowed to occur again.<br> As fossil fuels will remain an important part of the global energy mix for the short-medium term, development and deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for both coal and gas will be critical to reducing CO2 emissions from power stations by around 90% - although here, too, the commercial threshold must somehow be attained and we are by no means near that  yet, and nor are the world’s biggest coal users, such as China and India.</p> <p>Additionally, we all need to take action to increase energy efficiency. It needs to become a core part of our daily behaviour both at home, in business and in industry.  Government has a vital role in ensuring a framework is in place to encourage this action and to encourage investment.</p> <p>Returning to traditional fuels, security of supply will depend on security and diversity of access to supplies, and safe routes to markets. On the global stage geo-politics and market forces are inevitably interwoven . We will be prioritising energy in bilateral relationships with key suppliers, such as Norway and Qatar. In the main producing countries and regions our diplomatic, and in some cases military, activity will contribute to reducing the risk of instability and creating an enabling environment for secure production. We will work with partners to mitigate the risk around potential choke points such as the Straits of Hormuz or the Gulf of Guinea.</p> <p>Close cooperation within  the EU will also be essential to ensuring a liberalised EU energy market that allows hydrocarbons and electricity to flow freely to where they are needed most. We are supporting diversification of supply to the EU, such as through the Southern Corridor, which could bring new Caspian and even Iraqi gas to the EU through Turkey. The Mediterranean Solar Ring bringing electricity direct from North Africa can make a similar contribution, always depending on the vital cost equation.</p> <p>As a cleaner fossil fuel than coal in power generation,  gas can play a crucial part as a transition fuel – a major stepping stone - to the greener, low carbon economy. Some carbon warriors do not seem to grasp that. Global gas markets need to remain flexible, and supply sources need to be diverse.  We hope that LNG capacity will continue to develop globally with the potential to exploit new sources in, for example, South America and Africa.<br>New opportunities and massive potential also lie in “unconventional” gas, especially shale gas.  Unconventional gas in the US has already proved a game-changer in the last couple of years with the US becoming self-sufficient in gas and leaving global markets oversupplied and spot market prices low.  China, amongst others, is also believed to have vast reserves of unconventional gas. Saudi-Arabia has also recently reported substantial new deposits of commercially recoverable shale gas.</p> <p>If the US experience is successfully repeated elsewhere, unconventional gas has the potential to end import dependency for many countries and regions.  The relationship between producer and consumer countries would also be transformed and could have a profound effect on international relations. Europe is at the very early stages in this compared to the US. We need to watch carefully to ensure close cooperation between countries and contact with business.</p> <p>Much uncertainty remains over the viability of unconventional gas outside the US, with technical difficulties and environmental concerns being real issues.  This in itself is generating uncertainty within the industry and causing some to question future investment in conventional gas fields. Unconventional gas could be a big opportunity for the future, but it may come with a price.</p> <p>All of these initiatives and developments both in traditional and new energy technologies bring with them tremendous opportunities for UK companies. In downstream industries, research and development of low carbon technologies, and supply chain industries as much as in exploration and production of oil and gas.</p> <p>The job of government then is to be spotting the risks and opportunities that exist, across the energy spectrum. Of course we want markets to do their job, both in driving investment decisions, pushing innovation all the time, ensuring supply and determining the changing shape of final energy demand. But we also know that all these processes are hedged around by political events, trends, policies and risks of awesome variety and unpredictability. That is why we need an agile foreign policy fully attuned to the new global conditions.<br></p> <p>In short, we need to be responding to industry to make business easier and more transparent, and to keep the UK competitive both in the short and long-term. That also means providing a clear framework for operating and investing.  And to deliver that we need to be engaging with the many countries, both major producers and major consumers (often the same), who are critical to sustained UK and global energy security, so as to  ensure that UK is well positioned to face the challenges ahead.</p> <p>Thank you.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:03 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22901471 Lord Howell Energy in a low carbon economy: New roles for Governments and markets uk.org.publicwhip/lord/100308 22 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>I am delighted to be here and to have the opportunity to address such a prestigious gathering of business leaders from around the globe in this fine, historic setting, the home of the Honourable Artillery Company. Set up by Henry VIII 473 years ago, it was originally intended, according to its Charter of Incorporation, to further “the Defence of this our Realm and the maintenance of the Science and Feat of shooting Long Bows, Cross Bows and Hand Guns”. But it is about a very different sort of British science and excellence that I want to talk to you tonight. <br><br>Before I do, I should forewarn you that the Honourable Artillery Company is also one of only a few regiments that have the right to bear arms in London by Royal Charter, enjoying the privilege of marching through the City of London with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed. If you encounter any such martial display while you are here I can assure you that you are not under attack, they are simply enjoying themselves. <br>We are delighted that the first City Week conference has come so early on in the tenure of our new British government. It is the first event of its kind in the UK, one that we hope will become a permanent feature. I know that it has been long in the making and congratulate its organisers for laying on such a splendid three-day programme. We are very grateful to Scottish Development International for co-hosting tonight’s event, and to you all for attending in such force from around the world.<br><br>The business talent on display here reflects the full excellence of the City of London and the UK financial and professional services industry. I also believe it demonstrates, to anyone looking to invest in the UK, that we have what you need to help your business grow over the long term. <br>The message you heard from my colleague Mark Hoban this morning as he opened the conference, and that you will hear from me and from my Ministerial colleagues time and again, is that the UK economy is open for business and determined to go from strength to strength. Despite the impact of the financial crisis on the world economy, London remains the leading financial centre in the world and the best place to locate financial services business.<br><br>We enjoy this leading position not only because of the achievements of the past, but because of the rich attributes for future success that are showcased at this conference: our unrivalled financial services industry, our strong skills base, our global outlook and orientation, our creative talents, our world class universities and the strong veins of history and commerce that connect Britain’s economy with strategically vital parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the United States. <br>Our global trading heritage means that we believe in an open economy and recognise the huge benefits of foreign investment into our economy. Our central position between Asian and American time zones means we are ideally located as a hub for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, able to work around the clock. And our business environment and open legal system both support investment, talent creation and innovation.<br><br>The facts speak for themselves: the City of London handles 34% of the world’s foreign exchange trade; 22% of global foreign equity trading; 43% of the world’s “over the counter” derivatives trade; 70% of all Eurobonds and 95% of the world trade in non-ferrous metals. The UK is the leading western centre for Islamic finance, with six fully Sharia compliant firms and 20 banks supplying Islamic financial services. 75% of the Fortune 500 companies have London offices, 250 foreign banks in London, and 618 foreign companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange.<br><br>So we are a natural home for international business. But we do not intend to rest on our laurels for a single moment.<br><br>We are determined to champion the British economy.  That is why we made it our absolute priority as a new government to get a determined grip on our nation’s finances, and will use our clear mandate for the next five years to foster a British economy based on investment, saving, sound finances and exports. As the Prime Minister said recently, we intend to make sure that Britain earns its way in the world once more, and have launched a new drive to make Britain a magnet for investment and to advance British commercial interests internationally.<br><br>Our ambition for the next five years is to make Britain one of the most competitive business environments anywhere in the developed world, the best place in Europe to set up and run and a business, and home to the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20. This will make a demonstrable difference to the British economy and will create new opportunities for our partners overseas as well as for our own British-based business.<br><br>As well as backing UK business, we will take your potential role as investors extremely seriously. We welcome and value the contribution of many of you here in this room who are part of our success already, or who are considering being part of it in the future.<br><br>But we will not sit at home and wait for you to come to us. We know that the networked world of the 21st century presents huge opportunities, for a country determined to seize them, in the Gulf, North Africa, Latin America and Asia. We intend to make Britain’s foreign policy more agile and more innovative in order to back British business in those markets and to attract investment into the UK.<br><br>The Foreign and Commonwealth Office I lead will place a greater emphasis on supporting business and commercial diplomacy internationally. We have already taken strides to elevate our links with many of the countries represented in this room and want to do this across the board, in diplomacy, commerce, health, science and even defence. We know that all too often government can lag behind in recognising change, or in supporting business where it wants to go and applying diplomacy where it is needed to unlock barriers to investment. We are determined to change this.<br><br>We have created a new team to lead cross-Government work on the emerging powers and will develop action plans for those countries with the highest potential for UK business. We are channelling more FCO officials into work on trade policy and in support of the British economy. We have set challenging targets for Ambassadors and High Commissioners for inward investment into the UK, and our Embassies will be more focussed going forward on working to achieve demonstrable benefits for British business and the British economy.<br><br>The Prime Minister, Chancellor and I all see this as requiring a change in the mentality across the whole of Whitehall, not just the Foreign Office. We know that domestic departments have a role to play in selling Britain and helping to open up the way to others seeking to invest in our economy.<br><br>As early indicators of this approach the Prime Minister has led a business delegation to India to begin this work, the Business Secretary has visited Brazil, we have set up a taskforce with the United Arab Emirates as well as a wider Gulf Initiative, and we are engaged in intensified economic and strategic dialogues with China.<br><br>So if you haven’t heard from us yet, you will do so soon. We are serious and ambitious about our business engagement with the rest of the world and about enabling business to thrive in the UK. We know that this is where the future lies.<br><br>So I wish you every success at this conference as you examine what is on offer here in Britain, hear more about what investing in Britain could do for your business, and I hope to see you again in the future and at the next City Week Conference.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:07 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22902590 William Hague "UK economy is open for business and determined to go from strength to strength" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 22 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Your Majesty,</p> <p>Thank you for your gracious invitation to make an official visit to the United Kingdom and for your warm words of greeting on behalf of the British people. In thanking Your Majesty, allow me to extend my own greetings to all the people of the United Kingdom and to hold out a hand of friendship to each one.</p> <p>It is a great pleasure for me to start my journey by saluting the members of the Royal Family, thanking in particular His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh for his kind welcome to me at Edinburgh Airport. I express my gratitude to Your Majesty’s present and previous Governments and to all those who worked with them to make this occasion possible, including Lord Patten and former Secretary of State Murphy. I would also like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, which has contributed greatly to strengthening the friendly relations existing between the Holy See and the United Kingdom.</p> <p>As I begin my visit to the United Kingdom in Scotland’s historic capital city, I greet in a special way First Minister Salmond and the representatives of the Scottish Parliament. Just like the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, may the Scottish Parliament grow to be an expression of the fine traditions and distinct culture of the Scots and strive to serve their best interests in a spirit of solidarity and concern for the common good.</p> <p>The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the "Holy Cross" and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life. The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.</p> <p>We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly, was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.</p> <p>Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a "reductive vision of the person and his destiny" (Caritas in Veritate, 29).</p> <p>Sixty-five years ago, Britain played an essential role in forging the post-war international consensus which favoured the establishment of the United Nations and ushered in a hitherto unknown period of peace and prosperity in Europe. In more recent years, the international community has followed closely events in Northern Ireland which have led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Your Majesty’s Government and the Government of Ireland, together with the political, religious and civil leaders of Northern Ireland, have helped give birth to a peaceful resolution of the conflict there. I encourage everyone involved to continue to walk courageously together on the path marked out for them towards a just and lasting peace.</p> <p>Looking abroad, the United Kingdom remains a key figure politically and economically on the international stage. Your Government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles. This places upon them a particular duty to act wisely for the common good. Similarly, because their opinions reach such a wide audience, the British media have a graver responsibility than most and a greater opportunity to promote the peace of nations, the integral development of peoples and the spread of authentic human rights. May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many.</p> <p>Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.</p> <p>May God bless Your Majesty and all the people of your realm. Thank you.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:13 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22883407 Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI's Speech to The Queen. None 16 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Your Holiness,</p> <p>I am delighted to welcome you to the United Kingdom, and particularly to Scotland, on your first visit as Pope. I recall with great pleasure the memorable pastoral visit of the late Pope John Paul II to this country in 1982. I also have vivid memories of my four visits to the Vatican, and of meeting some of your predecessors on other occasions.  I am most grateful to them for receiving, over the years, a number of members of my family with such warm hospitality.</p> <p>Much has changed in the world during the nearly thirty years since Pope John Paul’s visit. In this country, we deeply appreciate the involvement of the Holy See in the dramatic improvement in the situation in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere the fall of totalitarian regimes across central and eastern Europe has allowed greater freedom for hundreds of millions of people. The Holy See continues to have an important role in international issues, in support of peace and development and in addressing common problems like poverty and climate change.</p> <p>Your Holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world.  We are all aware of the special contribution of the Roman Catholic Church particularly in its ministry to the poorest and most deprived members of society, its care for the homeless and for the education provided by its extensive network of schools.</p> <p>Religion has always been a crucial element in national identity and historical self-consciousness. This has made the relationship between the different faiths a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual, and respectful understanding. We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established.</p> <p>I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of Beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many. I am pleased that your visit will also provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the established Church of England and the Church of Scotland.</p> <p>Your Holiness, in recent times you have said that ‘religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified’. Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction. We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society.</p> <p>On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom I wish you a most fruitful and memorable visit.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:17 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22883403 Her Majesty the Queen Her Majesty The Queen welcomes Pope Benedict XVI to the UK None 16 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>I am grateful to Lincoln’s Inn for hosting this event, to Colonel Hills for his kind words of introduction and to all of you for attending to hear me speak about the place of values in Britain’s foreign policy.<br><br>It is hard to imagine a better setting for this speech than a building that evokes over 500 hundred years of British history and the development of British freedoms, all the way from the divine right of Kings to parliamentary democracy, universal suffrage, and the rule of law. To put it into its wider historical context, these walls went up before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, something that has particular resonance for anyone interested in foreign affairs. <br><br>It was also from here that my own hero William Pitt the Younger, aged 21, watched London in flames in all directions during the Gordon Riots of 1780. For five days and nights a crowd of 60,000 laid siege to the Palace of Westminster until calm was restored by 15,000 troops and militia sent in by the King. Pitt was able to make light of the turmoil, writing to his mother in the heat of the action that “several very respectable lawyers have appeared with musquets on their shoulders, to the no small diversion of all spectators. Unluckily the Appearance of Danger ended just as we embodied, and all our military Ardour has been thrown away.” I don’t know if there is a cache of muskets deep beneath our feet in case such an emergency arises today, but I hope that the hearts of the lawyers of Lincoln’s Inn still beat with as patriotic an ardour.<br><br>I chose Lincoln’s Inn as the venue for this speech not only because I am proud to be an Honorary Bencher here, but because this setting reminds us that the values of our society have been painstakingly built up over time, and that they owe as much to the influence of thinkers, jurists, campaigners and parliamentarians as they do to the actions of Governments. In fact at times the State has actually been an impediment to change, as William Wilberforce and his colleagues found in their forty year campaign to end the slave trade in Britain and around the world in the 18th and early 19th centuries.<br><br>These two insights – the gradual development of liberal democratic societies and the importance of valiant individuals - are at the heart of the Coalition Government’s understanding of British values and our attitude to other countries. One such man was Lord Bingham of Cornhill, a towering figure in public life and one of the leading legal minds of our time, who sadly passed away last week and whose loss will be felt keenly by many here.<br><br><strong>Distinctive British foreign policy</strong> <br><br>Our Government has set a clear direction in foreign policy. First and foremost it will advance British security and prosperity, supporting our economy and making a tangible difference to the lives of Britons.  I have argued that if we simply stand still, these things will become harder to achieve. The emergence of what I call a networked world, of rising economies and new forms of diplomacy, is eroding the traditional means of influence we have enjoyed in world affairs, at a time of serious constraints on our national resources and grave threats to our security. This means that we have to pursue a distinctive British foreign policy that goes beyond our close trans-Atlantic ties and our strong role in Europe, while not neglecting either, and that promotes UK interests in a systematic fashion for the long term. We have to work even harder as a nation to maintain the position of the UK economy as a home of investment and business, and we are gearing up the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to do just that. And foreign policy must run through the veins of the entire government, so that domestic departments also promote clear national objectives. <br><br>Today’s speech is the third in a series of four setting out how we will protect British security, prosperity and people, working with other countries to strengthen the rules-based international system in support of our values. In the first I announced a new programme to strengthen our country’s ties with emerging economies in North Africa, the Gulf, Asia and Latin America. In the second I explained the new commercial focus of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the extra effort we are devoting to support the British economy, free trade and sustainable global growth. The fourth speech, which I will give later this autumn, will explain the Foreign Office’s role in contributing to Britain’s security in the light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.<br><br><strong>Human rights in our foreign policy</strong> <br><br>Some people may be concerned that this clear focus on security and prosperity means that we will attach less importance as a government to human rights, to poverty reduction and to the upholding of international law. The purpose of this speech is to say that far from giving less importance to these things, we see them as essential to and indivisible from our foreign policy objectives. There will be no downgrading of human rights under this Government and no resiling from our commitments to aid and development. Indeed I intend to improve and strengthen our human rights work as I will explain later on in the speech. These and other values are part of our national DNA and will be woven deeply into the decision-making processes of our foreign policy at every stage. There are compelling reasons for this approach. It is not in our character as a nation to have a foreign policy without a conscience, and neither is it in our interests: Our prosperity is linked to that of others. We cannot achieve long term security and prosperity unless we uphold our values. Where human rights abuses go unchecked our security suffers. And our international influence will bleed away unless we maintain our international standing and cultural influence as a vital component of our weight in the world. <br><br>As a Government we know that we have to work hard to restore public trust in decision-making in foreign and security policy after the damage wrought in recent years. We have to deal with the extremely complex problems that we have inherited in a way that reassures the public, upholds the law and our obligations, and protects our national security. We have to explain how we will attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past and how our values inform the difficult decisions we take each day. And in some cases we have to reassure our allies, so that they have the confidence to continue working with us in ways that are vital to our collective security. We understand that we will be judged by our actions and not just by our words. My speech today sets out the direction that we are determined to travel in as a Government.<br><strong> <br>Failure of ethical foreign policy approach</strong> <br><br>There is broad agreement across society and politics that Britain should stand for democratic freedom, for universal human rights and for the rule of law. But there has not been agreement about how these should be reflected in foreign policy, or confidence that they have been consistently upheld by successive governments. The experiences of Iraq and the world since 9/11 have caused a serious erosion of trust in the integrity of British foreign policy, and the widespread view that we fell short of international standards while seeking to combat terrorism.<br><br>I wish to be just to the last government. We all welcome the growth of UK aid and development support to other nations, the humanitarian interventions in the Balkans and Sierra Leone, the campaign to decouple the diamond trade from conflict in Africa, and agreement to limit the global use of landmines and cluster munitions. These were important achievements which we must go on to consolidate.<br><br>But, by their own admission, the previous government fell into a chasm of their own making between rhetoric and action in large areas of foreign policy. Their tenure began, as one newspaper put it, with “a sounding of ethical trumpets”. It ended with allegations of British complicity in torture, an Inquiry into the Iraq War, questions about the conduct of our Intelligence Services, a foreign policy machinery-of-government that had been run into the ground, piecemeal sofa-style decision making in Downing Street, accusations of hypocrisy and double standards in respect of international law and the epic Ministerial mismanagement of the finances of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence. At the end of their period of government Britain was not in a position to be as effective as it could and should have been in dealing with a world marred by tyranny, oppression and injustice.<br>The ethical foreign policy approach, although praiseworthy in intent, proved to be misguided in application and based on flawed thinking.  As Peter Hain, a Foreign Office Minister at the time, said in 2000, “if there was a mistake it was allowing the policy to be presented as if we could have perfection”. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair conceded in his memoirs that he and his colleagues “made a very big mistake in allowing the impression to be gained that we were going to be better than [our predecessors], not just better at governing, but more moral, more upright”. The coalition will not make the same mistake. We are determined to do better and to be more realistic. We will replace the sweeping generalisations of ‘ethical foreign policy’ with a clear, practical and principled approach, persistently applied.<br><br>We understand that idealism in foreign policy always needs to be tempered with realism. We have a liberal-conservative outlook that says that change, however desirable, can rarely be imposed on other countries, and that our ability to do so is likely to diminish with time. We know that we have to promote our values with conviction and determination but in ways that are suited to the grain of the other societies we are dealing with, particularly in fragile or post-conflict states. As the Prime Minister has put it, we must be “hard-headed and practical” in the pursuit of our goals, working to strengthen the international frameworks which can turn rhetoric on human rights into accountability and lasting change.<br><br><strong>Strategic interest in promoting our values</strong> <br><br>There are three ways in which our values are indivisible from our foreign policy objectives. I wish to touch on each briefly before going on to explain how they  will be woven into our decision-making in practice. <br><br>First and foremost, as a democratic country we must have a foreign policy based on values, as an extension of our identity as a society. Any attempt to define our values leads inevitably to the conclusion that they are not derived merely from the state but were developed through the centuries-long struggle for the rights of the individual in this country.  Our notions of fairness, of dignity, liberty and justice are part of the rich endowment of our history. They are not the preserve of Governments alone, claiming to be the infallible guardian of a superior set of ethics which can be codified in a manual and imposed on foreign affairs. <br><br>The law is central to our values and is also the product of the same steady process of accumulation. The principles of due process and of no punishment without law are both found in Magna Carta. The law is the ultimate guarantor of the rights of individuals in this country, while international law is the standard against which we judge human rights in other countries - and against which we ourselves are judged.  Yet our values cannot be defined in purely legal terms. They include our belief in political freedom and economic liberalism, our commitment to helping the poor, to granting protection to refugees and to mitigating the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable. Our attachment to the qualities of tolerance, compassion, generosity, respect for others and the right of families and communities to choose how they live within the law, are also part of our values. <br>In the light of this, our governments should always seek to reflect the best of British society. We must act in a manner consistent with our values, and be prepared to challenge those who repudiate them at home or abroad.  The last four annual surveys by Freedom House found that political rights and civil liberties are actually being eroded worldwide, so there are no grounds for complacency. Above all we must be willing as governments to subject our actions to democratic scrutiny and to heed the warnings of civil society. As the Prime Minister said last month, we must “be determined at all times – no matter how difficult – to judge ourselves against the highest standards”. We should always strive to be the first to recognise where we have fallen short, which is why, for instance, fighting tooth and nail to resist an Iraq Inquiry until so close to the end of the last Parliament was such a mistake by the previous government.<br><br>Second, we have a strategic interest in promoting our values, which form the essential framework for the pursuit of our security and prosperity. In a networked world we cannot thrive alone. Our security is weakened when others lack the conditions for safety and where the absence of law creates fertile ground for future conflict or terrorism. It is also undermined in the long run by the massive discrepancies in wealth and opportunity that exist today, particularly for women.  In Afghanistan we are working energetically to promote human rights and development alongside our national security, as part of the foundations for durable stability.<br><br>We ourselves cannot prosper without the laws that protect free and fair trade, property and intellectual property rights. As Thomas Paine wrote in 1791 “there can be no such thing as a Nation flourishing alone in commerce; she can only participate”. This truth is even more resonant now, 219 years later and in ways Paine could not possibly have predicted, when we are highly dependent on global networks of commerce, finance and communication. <br>More widely, our interests depend on a world system based on law. We need states not to proliferate nuclear weapons, to respect the sovereignty of others, to abide by international treaties and to support legal sanctions by the international community. As our economic weight is squeezed and influence passes more to other governments who may not share our values we will have to work harder to entrench international law and human rights and to promote agreement on issues like climate change. <br><br>This is why it is so important that we uphold and reinforce international treaties such as the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and support the instruments of international justice including the International Criminal Court and tribunals such as that for the Former Yugoslavia. It should also give urgency to efforts to reform global bodies such as the UN Security Council. As a Government we will make the argument to others that their interests as well as our own depend on a rules-based international system.<br><br>The third reason why our values are an indivisible part of our foreign policy is that they are a vital component of our international influence. In today’s world countries cannot rely on military and economic might to determine their standing in the world. The UK’s standing also rests on the appeal of our culture, perceptions of the openness of our society and of our conduct towards other countries, particularly in a world where others are able to make instantaneous judgements about us. Our standing is directly linked to the belief of others that we will do what we say and that we will not apply double standards. We cannot seek to build up our international influence while neglecting this aspect of our weight in the world. <br><br><strong>Idealism tempered with realism</strong> <br><br>The tension between ideals and actions is written across the history of all areas of human endeavour. Foreign policy is no exception. A foreign policy led by idealism and unchecked by realism will fail to achieve its goals or to make sound decisions. Democracy cannot be imposed on other countries by ditkat or design. It was one of the many illusions of Communism that societies can be designed in the abstract and restarted at year zero. They cannot. Our own experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan should also teach us modesty in this regard. <br><br>We have to recognise that other countries are likely to develop at different paces. Democracy rests on foundations that have to be built over time: strong institutions, responsible and accountable government, a free press, the rule of law, equal rights for men and women, and other less tangible habits of mind and of participation,. Elections alone do not create a free and democratic society. This does not mean that we will sit on our hands or simply resign ourselves to the idea that change in certain countries will not happen for decades, but it does mean that we understand that each country is different. This is what we mean by working with the grain of other societies.<br><br>It also does not mean that we will overlook human rights abuses in some countries while protesting about them in others. Arbitrary imprisonment, political and religious persecution or the denial of women’s rights are unacceptable to us at any time in any place. We should never turn a blind eye to countries which display the trappings of democracy while violating basic human rights, or that lay claim to the rule of law while lacking the independent courts and proper systems of accountability and transparency to prevent abuses of state power. <br>But we do not have the option, unlike Gladstone or Palmerston, of dispatching gunboats and relying on the power of the British Empire. We must guard against arrogance in our dealings with other countries. Nor do we have the choice, as we protect our security, of only working with the handful of countries in the world which have values and standards of criminal justice as high as our own. <br><br>All our efforts to advance our values must involve working with others, whether speaking out against abuses and rallying other countries to do the same, using our own conduct to set an example or encouraging young people who are seeking a say in how their countries are governed. <br><br>The practical promotion of human rights does not therefore lend itself to a rigid formula, but there are four themes I wish to draw out today, which will characterise our policy.<br><strong> <br>Dealing patiently with the difficult issues</strong> <br><br>The first is that where problems have arisen that have affected the UK’s moral standing we will deal with them patiently and clearly. We will act on the lessons learnt, and tackle the difficult issues we currently face head on. <br><br>An enduring strength of our democracy is our ability to shine a light on our faults and to learn from the mistakes of the past. That is why we called for an Iraq Inquiry for a full three years before the-then government established one. That is why we have made a particular focus on the need to shore up stability in the Western Balkans, having learnt the lessons of the 1990s. That is also why we have announced, as one of our first actions in government, an Inquiry into whether Britain was implicated in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in the immediate wake of 9/11. As the Prime Minister made clear when he announced this Inquiry, our intention is to clear the stain from our reputation as a country, to get to the bottom of what happened, and do everything possible to enable our Intelligence Services to do the job that we desperately need them to do.<br><br>We have also finalised and published, for the first time, the consolidated guidance given to intelligence and military personnel in the interviewing of detainees held by other countries. It makes public the longstanding policy that our personnel are never authorised to proceed with action where they know or believe that torture will occur. It requires them to report any abuses they uncover to the British government so that we can take appropriate action to stop it. And it establishes a clear line of Ministerial authority. <br><br>The Home Secretary, Defence Secretary and I take responsibility for authorising the actions of our personnel in the difficult situations where the risk of mistreatment is unclear, but where taking no action may have dire consequences. Any idea that we take these decisions without our values and obligations being at the forefront of our minds is simply not true. We will never authorise action where torture will occur. We ensure that credible and effective steps are taken to mitigate the risks of mistreatment, if necessary through our own personal intervention. And where despite these efforts, a serious risk remains, we consider all relevant factors, including our legal obligations, before taking a decision on whether to proceed. <br><br>Our use of government-to-government assurances in deporting terrorist suspects is one way in which we meet a pressing national security need while upholding our values and international human rights commitments.  We recognise the concerns that this raises but will work hard to ensure that assurances are honoured. Our policy is clear, as is the law: we will only deport someone if it is compatible with our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.  And it is absolutely right that our decisions are subject to appeal and scrutiny by our own courts and by the European Court of Human Rights, which has upheld the principle of using diplomatic assurances on treatment. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission recently found in favour of our latest assurances arrangement with Ethiopia by dismissing the appeal of a man, who has been found to be a threat to our national security, against his deportation to Ethiopia.<br><br>We have also taken steps to improve the way decisions about foreign and security policy are made in Britain. As Gladstone once said: “Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good government at home”. We have set up a new National Security Council which brings together strategic decisions about foreign, security and defence policy, to restore the proper processes of government, to return the Foreign Office to its place at the centre of decision-making and ensure that foreign policy does run through the veins of the whole administration. A good example of the impact of the NSC is that it was able to finalise and publish the consolidated guidance in less than eight weeks after the General Election, reaching agreement on a text that the previous government had been unable to deliver. <br><br><strong>The practical promotion of human rights</strong> <br><br>My second theme is that we will raise our concerns about human rights wherever and whenever those concerns arise, including with countries with whom we are seeking closer ties.<br><br>Some will say that it is not possible to seek strengthened economic and political links with the emerging economies while raising human rights. We disagree. Conservative governments of the 1980s were resolute in opposing Communist dictatorships and highlighting the plight of dissidents while engaging constructively with the USSR, supporting a peaceful move to democracy, a market economy and the rule of law. Realistic and practical approaches, based on good bilateral relations, are in some cases more likely to achieve more in encouraging other Governments to change over time.  <br><br>We will promote human rights painstakingly and consistently. Our starting point for engagement on human rights with all countries will be based on what is practical, realistic and achievable, although we will always be ready to speak out as a matter of principle. We will be candid about our engagement with countries which do not fully share our values or are violating their international human rights obligations, and open about where we disagree. We will use our considerable experience in this country in education and civil society and the building of institutions such as the police and judiciary to help foster positive change in countries in need of such assistance.<br><br>Our Foreign Office Minister of State Jeremy Browne has lead responsibility within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for pursuing our human rights and democracy agenda.  He has consulted MPs and NGOs to decide where the UK can and should have the most impact.  He will drive work forward this work in a range of areas such as promoting democracy and freedom of expression, pressing for criminal justice reform and encouraging the UN and EU to become more effective in this area. <br><br>I can announce that I have decided to convene an advisory group on human rights which will draw on the advice of key NGOs, independent experts and others. It will ensure that I have the best possible information about the human rights situation in different countries, and can benefit from outside advice on the conduct of our policy. It will meet regularly and have direct access to Ministers.<br><br>I am also determined to strengthen the FCO's institutional capability on human rights at home and overseas, building on the work of previous governments. Following the publication of the consolidated guidance to intelligence officers and service personnel, the FCO is re-issuing its guidance to its own staff on the need to report any alleged incidents of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that they encounter in the course of their work, and we will for the first time publish this guidance.<br><br>We are determined to continue the Foreign Office’s work to document human rights abuses on an annual basis. But I also want to improve that work. Rather than the current expensive glossy publication we will now report annually to parliament by Command Paper. The scope and quality of the reporting will not change, and indeed we want to make more of that information available to the public in real time on our website. Our diplomats will continue to raise human rights cases week by week across the world from our global network, and so will our Ministers. In our opening months we have pressed for fair elections in Burma, access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and lobbied Iran over women’s rights, religious freedom and the use of the death penalty, in particular the case of Sakineh Ashtiani.<br> <br><strong>Powerful advocates of British values</strong> <br><br>Third, we will seek to influence others through our soft power and membership of international institutions and by being an inspiring example of a society that upholds human rights and democracy. We must be powerful advocate of our own values. Britain was one of the foremost architects of the European Convention on Human Rights, and in the coalition agreement this Government committed to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these rights and traditional British liberties. <br><br>The British Council and BBC World Service play an invaluable role promoting British values overseas, reaching millions of people in the process.  Their work helps maintain our country’s reputation for openness, transparency and liberty and as a great place to study and do business. There is understandable concern about how the current economic climate will affect the reach and resources of these organisations. Last week I was asked by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee about reports of the closure of the World Service’s broadcast into Burma. I said then that as someone who has spoken on platforms alongside Burmese human rights activists and been interviewed by the World Service about Burma it is hardly likely that I would agree to ending broadcasts into one of the most secretive and repressive countries in the world. It follows naturally from our desire to have a distinctive British foreign policy that builds up our influence in the world and supports our values that we should want to preserve the reach of the British Council and the BBC World Service as much as possible, as well as our overseas network of Embassies. <br><br>The same applies to our commitment to aid and development programmes around the world. Under Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell’s leadership we are targeting the funds where they are most needed. For example, we have increased DfID funding in Afghanistan by 40% over the next four years. We have led the way in supporting the victims of the floods in Pakistan, along with hundreds and thousands of members of the British public who have made donations. Next week the Deputy Prime Minister will head the UK delegation at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, where we will encourage other countries to match our level of ambition for the world’s poor.  We want to ensure that wherever and however we spend our aid it has the greatest impact on global poverty and that it assists the economic growth and independent development which are the bedrock for more stable and democratic societies.   <br><br>I have long championed the Commonwealth as an overlooked and undervalued vehicle for the promotion of democratic values. Critics of the Commonwealth have often questioned what such a disparate organisation can achieve. But it is in fact an unparalleled network which could play a greater role in advocating human rights and democratic development and supporting conflict prevention. Its 54 member states subscribe to a common framework of democratic norms and institutions and have reach into regions, like Africa, where many pressing foreign policy challenges arise. We have often pointed to Zimbabwe as a country where the Commonwealth could play a future role. So we will work with other members to reinvigorate the organisation. We will support its Legal Services division which helps promote judicial administration and the rule of law, since entrenching these things in developing countries, alongside democratic government is the best guarantee against human rights violations.<br><br>Action against climate change must also be a central objective of a foreign policy informed by British values. It not only affects our security and our prosperity but also engages our responsibility towards others. The countries that will be hit first by the consequences of climate change are those that are poorest and least well-equipped to respond. It is a problem that is not susceptible to hard power solutions but the problems it can create, such as conflict over resources, would require far more costly intervention. It is also a problem that cannot only be dealt with by individual governments clubbing together. It requires a truly global response that engages a network of business, faith groups and civil society. It will, for example, be high on our agenda for discussion when Pope Benedict visits the UK later this week, and I will speak about climate change in New York during the week of the UN General Assembly. We will support climate finance for the poorest and work with them to avert the worst impacts of climate change, while being ambitious about our own national targets.<br><br>As we seek to promote our values we have to reach out to global audiences as well as influence other governments. In Iran we are using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to communicate with the Farsi social media community and promote the debate on human rights, and we are replicating this work worldwide. Closer to home, we will work constantly with UK civil society to find creative new means of influencing others, not overlooking the impact that British companies can have while investing overseas by sticking to high standards of ethical behaviour, taking a resolute stance against corruption and investing in their people.  <br><strong> <br>Supporting a rules-based international system</strong> <br><br>My final theme is that we will work to strengthen the rules-based international system and will be an active member of international institutions that promote human rights, starting with the European Union. <br><br>We will encourage the EU to use its collective weight in the world to promote human rights and democracy with the many levers at its disposal. The EU’s enlargement to the south and the east, a policy that has cross-party support, has done much to strengthen democracy and the rule of law across Europe. The enlargement process continues to act as a powerful catalyst for progress in these areas. So we will continue to champion the cause of a wider European Union.<br><br>We will be the staunch advocate of United Nations Reform, including a more representative UN Security Council and a more effective UN Human Rights Council. <br>We will continue to work towards an Arms Trade Treaty to reduce the risk that defence exports are used to fuel conflict, violate human rights and undermine development. Establishing global standards for their sale will reduce the harm caused by the flow of arms to fragile regions and will benefit British industry. <br><br>And we will support the pioneering work of the International Criminal Court and work to reinforce its authority, including speaking out when governments that are party to the Rome Statute allow indicted individuals to visit their country with impunity, and insisting on full cooperation with the ICTY.  <br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong> <br><br>So what this means is that we will pursue a foreign policy that remains true to our values while promoting Britain’s security and prosperity. We will seek to act in a way that appreciates the complexity and dignity of other nations, that champions human rights in a pragmatic and effective way, that inspires others and that strengthens the global rule of law. It will be a clear approach that puts right previous wrongs that have cast doubt on our foreign policy and that does not hesitate to speak out against human rights abuses while pursuing our interests. We will seek to harness the ideas and impact of NGOs and civil society and will be an active member of international institutions that support our values. In short it will be a foreign policy that is ambitious for others as well as for ourselves. To act in this way is to act in our enlightened national interest. <br><br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:19 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22864405 William Hague Foreign Secretary: Britain's values in a networked world uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 15 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Lincoln's Inn, London
<p>It is twenty years ago that Lithuania’s elected representatives made their historic declaration of restored sovereignty, which set the country on its path to full independence once again, to international recognition, and membership today of both the European Union and of NATO.</p> <p>I worked in the Foreign Office at that time- not as an MP, but as a Political Adviser to our British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd.  I remember watching TV news bulletins and telegrams coming in from British Ambassadors reporting first hand the changes sweeping across Central and Eastern Europe. I remember being moved and impressed by the courage of the Lithuanian people and your elected leaders. I remember the siege of the TV tower and Parliament and an unlikely figure, a Professor of Music emerging as the voice of the people at that time. I had a real sense of the continent of Europe coming together again after the fracture of 1914,  made worse by the events of World War II and the Cold War.</p> <p>For people here in Lithuania the impressions – and emotions – were far more vivid as your struggle for freedom reached its climax.  Patriotic people died in the cause.</p> <p>At that time the artificial political barriers between East and West in Europe were swept away because that is what the people wanted.  The peoples of East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Baltic States and others shared the values and aspirations of their Western neighbours and they demanded the same democratic and political freedoms.</p> <p>It was the solidarity and the ardent patriotism of the Lithuanian people that won them their freedom.  But when I compare the history of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 with that of the continent in 1920’s and 30’s what is striking is that this time round freedom, democracy and the rule of law have been sustained and strengthened. </p> <p>Now I would be the first to acknowledge the EU has many faults, but against that in the balance should be set its historic achievement in establishing a model in Europe for a community of nations governing relations amongst themselves according to the rule of law.  That is a model of political development that has enabled the EU, through its policy of enlargement, to entrench democracy and human rights in parts of our continent where those traditions were crushed for most of the 20th Century.</p> <p>Could we have predicted back in 1989 that just 15 years later – within a single generation - these countries of Central and Eastern Europe would be transformed into full and equal members of the EU?  I suspect not.  The differences seemed too great; the speed of change required seemed impossible to achieve.  And yet, here we are. </p> <p>Today, the EU has different countries on its eastern border – countries which were either not able, or not ready to change as quickly as Lithuania did. </p> <p>The British Government believes that EU membership should be open to all European countries that want to join and can meet the necessary criteria.  We believe that the EU should renew its commitment to keeping open the door to possible enlargement. No-one has the right to deny that opportunity, that choice, to a country which wishes to apply.</p> <p>And we have seen the positive impact of a clear EU membership perspective in the Western Balkans.   As I saw for myself just a few weeks ago in Macedonia and Kosovo , the prospect of EU (and indeed NATO) membership are the key drivers of the reforms needed to bring stability and prosperity to that entire region.</p> <p>Now I don’t want to put an arbitrary timescale on the future enlargement of the EU to the east. But I am convinced it will happen.  The UK Government rejects the idea of some sort of pause after Croatia. Lithuania has consistently held to this vision – to bring our partners into the same European family.  It is an inspiring vision, which recalls the optimism of the first wave of enlargement to the east and I believe we should work together to keep that spirit alive</p> <p>Why? Because what happens in neighbouring countries has a direct impact on the EU itself.  It’s in our all interests to have secure, prosperous neighbours.  We want to help build strong democracies, the rule of law and vibrant market economies in these countries, and success in that task will serve to strengthen the EU itself.</p> <p>This is a difficult process; one that requires a combination of real political leadership in the partner countries, plus support, encouragement, and technical expertise from the EU. Our Neighbourhood Policy,and the Eastern Partnership are the structures that we use to develop this.</p> <p>In 2004 the EU launched its Neighbourhood Policy to foster political and economic co-operation and to ensure that enlargement did not create new divisions.  Trade with the Eastern Neighbourhood has subsequently increased at double digit rates, aided by steady progress in reducing barriers and the adoption of common rules and practices. Political engagement has increased both in profile and intensity.</p> <p>Then in 2009 the EU launched an Eastern Partnership to mark a step increase in the EU’s commitment to closer economic integration and political cooperation.<br> <br>That Partnership is a commitment by the EU to six countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – to help them to move closer to EU standards and values.  It builds stronger trading links through deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreements that include substantial adoption of common standards and steps towards creation of a single economic space. We have launched negotiations on Association Agreements with five of the partner countries. These agreements are based on shared values. They cover a huge range of areas from justice, democracy and security, to the domestic reforms needed to create real economic opportunities. In return, the EU looks to these countries to align themselves more closely with the standards – whether political, economic, social – that they will need to meet if they aspire to join the EU as full members.</p> <p>The EU has clearly signalled its commitment to help some of these countries in resolving their protracted conflicts. The Partnership provides an opportunity for enhanced regional cooperation, and also for greater EU effort to work with Georgia and Russia to resolve their conflict, with Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh and in the OSCE’s 5+2 discussions on Transnistria. And of course next year when you take over the chair of the OSCE Lithuania will have an important leading role in that organisation in trying to tackle these three unresolved conflicts.</p> <p>Some in Russia have been concerned by our outreach to those six partners. But it’s not a case of choosing between the West or Moscow. Stronger democracy and better economic management are good for the whole region and that includes good for Russia.  Our partners are free to develop the relationships that will bring them closer to their own goals and the European Union is free to promote its values to aspirant members.</p> <p>Russia too is a partner, and an important one. We should seek close cooperation and continue a constructive dialogue with Moscow and the suggestion to create a “Group of Friends” of the Eastern Partnership, which would aim to improve the exchange of information and to coordinate donor activity amongst partners, Member States and non-EU countries, is one way in which we might foster greater involvement by Russia and other major players in the region.<br> <br>TRADE</p> <p>Now of course, one of the EU’s greatest strengths is the single market based on free movement of goods, services, capital and people and in the development of the necessary common standards and procedures. I can take some pride in the fact that the Single Market was very much a UK initiative championed by Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister. This has increased trade and investment and economic growth.  I want the countries of our Eastern Partnership to be able to join this venture, to have an unparalleled opportunity for closer economic integration, the adoption of common standards and access to European markets. I believe that this is in the interests of the UK, the EU and our Eastern neighbours.</p> <p>The Eastern Partnership offers partner countries the tools they need to develop this trade relationship.  If they are willing to make the structural reforms necessary for deeper engagement, they will gain gradual integration into the EU economy. If you look at the last 5 years, exports to the EU’s neighbours rose by 63%, and imports from those neighbouring countries rose by 91%. Opening up markets benefits both sides – both the EU and its neighbouring partners..</p> <p>ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE</p> <p>Energy security and action on energy efficiency in support of the move to a low carbon future are other important strands of Eastern Partnership. And both the EU and our partners could benefit from progress.  And the opportunities here are many -in energy savings, in creating more effective markets, commercial opportunities and in addressing the challenge of climate change.  Reducing energy intensity, improving efficiency, building stable and transparent markets and moving to EU norms and standards will help to match and open up the energy markets of the neighbourhood with those of the EU.   Reducing energy consumption should bring economic, environmental and security benefits to both our Eastern partners, and the EU. There are many opportunities to share experience and best practice in this field.   So, it is in all our interests that we work together, build capacity and share best practice.</p> <p>Our partners in the neighbourhood also have the potential to exploit significant natural resources to improve both their and our energy security.  An issue that I know is a central concern of Lithuania’s leadership. As well as oil and gas, including potentially unconventional gas, there is potential to diversify into lower carbon sources of energy generation, for example developing hydro and wind power perhaps most likely in the east, and solar in the southern neighbourhood.  As well as increasing energy security and helping these countries to tackle the challenges of climate change, that kind of investment clearly also has the potential to reap economic benefits. If we think about the emerging economies around the world and the demand this is likely to make for low-carbon technologies we can see incredible opportunities for Europe to become the supplier of low-carbon technologies to the rest of the world.</p> <p> The drive towards energy efficiency and low carbon energy generation is of course part of a much greater effort which will be needed to ensure a smooth and successful transition to a low carbon economy in the EU and globally.  The UK believes that the EU should deliver a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.  This will help to bolster the EU carbon price, stimulate investment in low carbon technology, and help the EU take the lead in the race to a low carbon economy.  Moving to greater climate ambitions will deliver jobs and growth, will improve energy security, as well as helping to address the dangers of climate change.</p> <p>The Eastern Partnership and other groupings such as the Energy Community Treaty are also working towards the reform of energy markets and improving the investment climate in the EU’s neighbourhood and again, this should bring mutual benefits in terms of consumers, the economy and energy security as a whole.</p> <p>DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE</p> <p>A third important focus for the Eastern Partnership is democracy and good governance.  The EU is a values-based organisation. Closer integration depends on having those shared values.  We are therefore supporting partners to deepen their commitment to the rule of law and to democracy. We see this in its widest sense – not just meeting international standards on elections, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly but also through building an effective and independent judiciary, having an accountable state administration and encouraging a free press and lively civil society independent of government. These are long term challenges.  But we do expect partners to commit to real and practical progress.</p> <p>For a number of years, we have had serious concerns about human rights and democracy in Belarus.  This is still a country where being a human rights activist can mean that you lose your job; that your parents lose their jobs; that you are harassed in various ways by the authorities.  Disappearances of opposition figures in the past have still not been satisfactorily explained.   I know that a significant number of young Belarusians come here to Lithuania to study at the European Humanities University that relocated here from Minsk precisely to ensure that it could maintain its freedom and independence.</p> <p>The British Government want Belarus to know that the door to Europe is open but that closer economic relations need to go hand in hand with progress on democracy, good governance and human rights.  This is not just a moral issue: it is also a practical one. If I am an EU company looking for a place to invest, I want to know that the court and judicial system is independent and that it will treat me fairly, governed by the rule of law and not by arbitrary decisions of Government Ministers and their friends.  I want to know that corruption is tackled seriously.  I want to know my staff will be free to study and travel. </p> <p>People to people contacts are a vital way of spreading EU values. The UK does not take part in EU Agreements on visa facilitation and visa liberalisation – we‘re not part of the Schengen Agreement. But I hope the progress that the partner countries make on document security and border security, as well as on corruption and wider criminal activity, will also make it easier for their citizens to travel to the UK.</p> <p>CONCLUSION</p> <p>The European Council agreed in July this year to review EU policy towards its neighbourhood and a Ministerial meeting is planned for January 2011. This will be a chance for us to set a clear direction. I want to see Europe commit itself to an ambitious vision, and an active and activist set of policies in order to make that vision a reality.  We need to keep our eyes on the big strategic objective: A continent of Europe reunited; confident, prosperous, and resolute its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.</p> <p>Still 20 years on from the Lithuanian revolution this is unfinished business. We cannot now say with certainty when we will get to our destination. But if partners are prepared to follow the example of Lithuania, we may indeed succeed faster than any of us here today has previously thought possible.</p> <p> <br> </p> 2011-03-24 23:09:22 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22827041 David Lidington Being ambitious: the EU and our Eastern neighbours uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 08 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Institute of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Vilnius, Lithuania
<p>I apologise for not speaking Spanish and for being a bit taller than the previous speaker.</p> <p>I am delighted to be here this morning and I completely understand why Minister Bessudo needs to go see the president. When the president calls, you have to go see the president. And I hope they have a fruitful discussion on whatever it is they are discussing.  It is a great opportunity and privilege to be here with you this morning to talk about this vital topic for our new government.</p> <p>We have two coalition governments – in my country and in this country.</p> <p>So instinctively we already know that things work better when people work together.</p> <p>So it is appropriate that we are here today and we are representing two countries that have a long history of working together- and know the value - of working together on a big range of issues.</p> <p>In recent years, we have referred to one strand of our bilateral relationship – the fight against drugs - as a “shared responsibility”.  </p> <p>But I think that the term “shared responsibility” is an accurate description of our current relationship not just in terms of drugs but across a whole important range of other political and policy priorities. By continuing our long tradition of partnership and co-operation the United Kingdom and Colombia can work together to tackle some of the greatest challenges of our time: climate change, foremost among those, but also  promoting global economic prosperity as well as drugs and crime.</p> <p>I believe that by working together we can have a decisive impact in shaping and delivering a better future for the citizens of both the United Kingdom and Colombia.</p> <p>Prime Minister David Cameron wants this government to be the greenest ever and to take a leading role in the world; and the UK remains committed to an ambitious and comprehensive climate change deal negotiated through the UN and so we want significant progress to be made at Cancun later this year.</p> <p>Colombia has a history of global leadership on climate change and an excellent track record of making positive changes domestically.  We all heard President Santos’ commitment to protecting the environment on Saturday and I have seen and heard for myself how Colombia is drawing up a low carbon development plan; businesses are engaging in a low carbon economy and how the press and wider public are engaged on climate related issues.</p> <p>In his speech President Santos set out his vision for Colombia to be an international leader. It is clear to me that Colombia is already a leader internationally on climate change and has the potential with the new team to take that even further.</p> <p>The UK is delighted to see the impact that Colombia has on the international stage by vocally pushing for an ambitious climate change deal and the achievements they have made domestically are equally impressive. I hope that you, the Colombian government and all of the people of this country will boast about your  achievements –  demonstrating that low carbon development can be successful in Colombia and  help others to see that they too can take route to a low carbon economy - and sign up to ambitious action themselves.  We are delighted because we share so many of the same objectives that you also hold dear.</p> <p>Like you, we recognise the importance of market based mechanisms designed to encourage a transfer to a low carbon economy and the importance of getting developed and emerging economies to sign up to ambitious emissions reduction targets.  </p> <p>Which is why it is so important that the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) has made climate change the key issue for their General Assembly meeting this month – and is planning an energy change conference to agree how to reduce emissions in key sectors.  </p> <p>Because climate change is much more than an environmental issue – it is a serious threat to economic development for countries around the world.</p> <p>Key sectors to Colombia’s economy, such as mining and agriculture will be hit if climate change continues unabated: but action on climate change mitigation will lead to economic opportunity and reward.  </p> <p>In short: tackling climate change makes good business sense.</p> <p>Colombia is becoming more and more important for UK exporters.</p> <p>But there is potential to do more – here and across the region.</p> <p>The Colombian economy is roughly the same size to that of South Africa and with a similar population but UK exports to South Africa are over 14 times higher than they are to Colombia.  </p> <p>South Africa is pushing to join the world’s leading economies.  </p> <p>There is no reason at all why Colombia cannot be a leading player in the global economy as well. But we need Colombia to take that step forward.</p> <p>This is particularly important when the world is emerging from a global recession – and I as a minister in the British Foreign Office have responsibility for  Latin America and  for the Pacific/Asia zone; China, South Korea and countries of that type. .And what I observe and what I often say to people is that we are moving from a G8 world to a G20 world.</p> <p>When I was young and taking interest in politics the world politically revolved around Europe and North America. That’s what it felt to me like as a European; and now that is changing dramatically. You see those pictures of the G8 summit and there are photographs of all the leaders at the end .They have the European Commission President as well the 8 heads of government. There are nine people standing in row and all of them represent Europe or North America apart from the Japanese Prime Minister and, we have become accustomed in Britain and Europe to thinking - that is the settled world order and that is the way it has always been. What I say to people in Britain and anyone else that wants to listen is that that is not any longer the way the world is going that it is not the future direction of travel and that there are economies around the world growing at a dramatic pace and rising in importance and you can see that here in Latin America It is not just an Asian phenomenon, people sometimes talk about China or India, but it is a phenomenon emphatically in Latin America, in. Brazil as the biggest economy and the biggest population but in many other countries and Colombia is a perfect example as a country with huge potential for further economic development which can benefit the economy as a whole and raise the prosperity of the country but also at the same time address some of the problems that the president himself has identified in terms of inequality. That is why the British government, the Prime Minister David Cameron and his team want to reach out want to identify new opportunities here in South America because Britain has not been untouched by the economic turbulence but we do remain open for business.  </p> <p>Including - of course - with Colombia.</p> <p>UK companies are looking to the region as an area for exciting growth.</p> <p>According to The World Bank Group’s “Doing Business Report” Colombia has the best business environment amongst the main economies of Latin America. What is more, it has been ranked as one of the top ten reformers in four of the last seven years.</p> <p>The UK is the largest foreign investor in Colombia after the US, with investments in excess of US$18 billion.  UK companies are particularly active in the oil and gas, mining, pharmaceutical and insurance sectors and we are working to expand this list.</p> <p>So we need to work together to ensure that those partnerships are in as good a shape as possible to face the future.  </p> <p>And the future is a low carbon economy. So that is the crucial point. We are looking to improve in terms of investment and wealth and job creation and we are doing that hand in hand with achieving our environmental objectives. Because they are the jobs of the future in that green economy.</p> <p>As a result the UK is increasingly an international hub for low carbon expertise and innovation.  We have the sixth largest low carbon sector in the world, which is now worth over £112 billion and employs over 900,000 people. London is the leading centre for carbon trading – not just in buying credits – but helping organisations in Colombia and elsewhere structure and finance low carbon projects effectively.</p> <p>This October, a UK trade mission from the carbon trading sector will head to Colombia to highlight that carbon trading fits naturally into London and the UK’s strength as a centre for financial and professional services.</p> <p>The recent signing of a trade agreement with the EU opens up new possibilities for Colombian companies looking to diversify their market overseas.</p> <p>BUT many EU companies are now examining the carbon content generated through their supply chains. So companies from Colombia that are looking to succeed in the EU market, and that is very important for the development of Colombia, will increasingly need to give consideration to their own carbon footprint and how they manage it.</p> <p>So I am delighted that ERM – a British company with an office in Bogota – who have developed effective carbon measurement and managements services for advice – have identified this need to try and make sure that Colombian businesses can succeed in the EU market because they comply with the rigorous environmental standards expected of them.  </p> <p>I know that Colombia is currently enjoying a “bonanza” in oil and gas: and fossil fuels will continue to play an important role as we transition to a global low carbon economy. But it has been great to learn how much of Colombia’s electricity is already produced through renewable sources and it is great to see the Colombian utility companies who are lifting their gaze up from north Colombian coal reserves towards the horizon and seeing the huge potential of solar and wind energy for future prosperity from clean, secure energy.  </p> <p>In Britain we are significantly increasing our use of wind power and I look forward to British companies sharing this expertise here in Colombia and in this part of the world.  We recognise the massive potential for wind energy in Colombia</p> <p>So it is essential that governments put in place policies which offer long term certainty to business who make those future low carbon investments.</p> <p>By continuing to take positive steps – like those that I have outlined – the more deeply we can benefit from economic growth and future prosperity for our citizens- another key component of President Santos’ vision for Colombia.</p> <p>In order to realise that future, it is important that Colombia sustains the recent increased confidence that it has received from investors.</p> <p>Chief amongst sustaining that confidence is tackling drugs and crime.  </p> <p>I know that and we all know that. I want to see greater investment. I had a breakfast meeting with British businesses based here in Colombia this morning and we were talking about the barriers for investment and one of them we said are the perceptions in the UK and across Europe that Colombia has problems with drugs with violent crime and there it is a barrier to people coming here and helping to increase the prosperity of Colombia and helping to tackle some of those environmental challenges.</p> <p>In spite of the enormous progress achieved in the last decade, it is no secret that Colombia is still the world’s leading producer of cocaine and the base for the most significant crime groups for controlling the trade.  It remains the source of the bulk of cocaine reaching the UK.  And it causes significant social, health and economic harm to both countries.</p> <p>The cocaine trade restricts economic development, corrupts and undermines the political process and has links to domestic terrorism.  Innocent individuals suffer human rights abuses, displacement from their homes and despoilment of the environment in which they live. I was meeting with a group of people yesterday who were telling me in very moving terms how they were removed from their natural environment that had lived in for generations.</p> <p>And the impact of cocaine production on the environment is truly shocking.</p> <p>The cultivation of illicit crops has led to the destruction of 2.2 million hectares of tropical forest in Colombia; an area the size of El Salvador.</p> <p>As our Shared Responsibility Campaign points out, for each gram of cocaine consumed, 4 square metres of tropical forests are cut down.</p> <p>Much of that deforestation takes place within hard-to-reach areas with very high levels of biodiversity that we heard about earlier this morning.</p> <p>The deforestation that goes hand in hand with the drugs trade undermines Colombia’s claims to be an international leader on climate change.</p> <p>It is a vicious circle.</p> <p>Deforestation contributes to climate change and increases the sensitivity of the land to the impacts of climate change.</p> <p>Climate change acts as a threat multiplier – exacerbating social security problems and limiting individual prosperity and human rights. It stretches the capabilities and the resources of government, communities and security forces to respond to the threat of the drugs trade.</p> <p>I am proud of the partnership that the British Embassy in Bogota has with the Environment Ministry, it is a very important link that our embassy enjoys with your government, but also others whose interests are directly affected by climate change, such as the Ministry of Defence.  Climate change is not just an environmental issue, but a security one and needs to be factored into all decisions taken by Governments, and indeed by all citizens as well.</p> <p>To deal with all of this is a big challenge. The UK as a friend of Colombia will play our part.</p> <p>The drugs trade causes serious damage to both our societies, so we accept our shared responsibility as a consumer country to work with you to reduce the harm caused by drugs and bring to justice those responsible.</p> <p>Our work – joint efforts on behalf of the United Kingdom and Colombia – has already contributed to the arrest of high profile drugs traffickers, the dismantling of organised crime networks and the seizure of many tonnes of cocaine.  </p> <p>So we know it can be done working together.</p> <p>We want to continue to drive home the message that consumption of drugs is not just a personal choice, but a direct factor in causing environmental damage, violence and criminality, and it undermines prospects for growth and development here in Colombia.</p> <p>And we will continue to work together on tackling the drugs scourge.</p> <p>It is because of our close working relationship, the existing co-operation and friendship that we have, that we can have those discussions about all the issues that matter to both our countries- those that President Santos outlined on Saturday:  security, global and individual prosperity, human rights and individual freedoms and climate change and the environment.</p> <p>This visit has deeply impressed me. I have never been to South America before. This the first country I have visited in the region not just as a minister but as an individual, as a private citizen and I have been struck by the friendship that exists between our countries, the state for enhancing that friendship, the shared agenda we have as I said on prosperity for the people of this country but bringing jobs and investment to both our countries to our mutual benefit. Tackling drugs, tackling abuses of human rights, tackling organised crime and combining all of those and bringing them together is our shared outlook on the environment.</p> <p>I flew from Bogota to Cartagena yesterday and you have a lot of environment here. I was looking out of the plane window, it is a fantastic country and what exciting possibilities you have and we want to work with you with our shared agenda to make sure that the right environmental outcomes are reached here, in the UK and in the global forums where these matters will be discussed which will shape the world in future generations.</p> <p>Thank you all for coming.    </p> 2011-03-24 23:09:25 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22909135 Jeremy Browne Shared Responsibility: The Future of UK/Colombia Relations uk.org.publicwhip/member/40600 09 August 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p> <strong>Foreign Secretary William Hague (WH):</strong> Let me say a few things to begin with and then we’ll have some questions.</p> <p>The visit is going very well from our point of view.  I think relations are excellent between the British and Indian governments.  I had a round of meetings yesterday before the Prime Minister arrived in Delhi with the foreign and defence and the home ministers, which gives a flavour of the discussions that we’ll have later today.  Obviously, the plenary session of the talks is later on today, early this evening.  </p> <p>With the Foreign Minister, Mr Krishna, I think we have established very good relations.  I had a meeting with him in Kabul last week and, as I say, quite a lengthy meeting yesterday.  One of the things to note on that is that, of course, we are supporters of India becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but they are also likely to be one of the elected members of the Security Council in any case from January 2011 for the two years that follow.  So we’re already looking at how we work together with them on the UN Security Council in the next couple of years.</p> <p>I had a meeting with the Defence Minister as well, Mr Antony, and we talked about the Hawk sales agreement that, as you know, the Prime Minister signed yesterday.  We also discussed other opportunities.  There are other major opportunities for defence exports for the United Kingdom and for technology transfer.  We discussed a joint exercise to be conducted by the RAF with seven Typhoon aircraft later this year with India and how we could work together more on counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.  And the Defence Secretary, I’ll come onto this in a minute with the other ministers who are visiting soon, the Defence Secretary will be out here in October for defence talks in conjunction with that exercise.</p> <p>I also visited the Home Affairs Minister yesterday, who visited the UK in March and you’ll see later on today the hockey stadium, one of the stadiums for the Commonwealth Games, where really for the Games overall, not just for that stadium, the Metropolitan Police are doing good work with India, sharing our expertise on really how to bring together intelligence and information for a major sporting event, to give security for a major sporting event, strategic incident management.  And there’s a Metropolitan Police group here this week conducting some of those sessions with the Indian police and other authorities.  And we discussed with him intensifying our work on counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation in the coming months.</p> <p>So these are the sorts of issues that are likely to be discussed by the Prime Ministers in the plenary session later on.</p> <p>There are two other points I wanted to make.  One is that this visit, which clearly is the largest British delegation to India that we’ve seen since the independence of India, will be followed up.  It is not just a one-off event.  A string of ministers are coming in the coming months: Damian Green next month on migration issues, Liam Fox in October, Andrew Mitchell in November to look at DFID’s programme in India, Baroness Warsi will be here in September, David Willetts will be back again in November, and of course the Prince of Wales will be coming for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.  The Earl of Wessex will also be coming.  The Archbishop of Canterbury will pay an extensive visit to India in October, although, as you are aware, he’s not part of the government.  So there’s a lot of follow-up to this visit that we have in line.</p> <p>The other point I wanted to make is that the India visit I think is a good example of how, 13 weeks into the new government, we have reinvigorated foreign policy in a couple of ways: one way in setting out to extend British influence in what I’ve called the ‘networked world’.  That includes our work here in India, but also my visit to China two weeks ago, to Japan two weeks ago, which I think British ministers have somewhat neglected in previous years, the Gulf states, where we’ve set up a number of task forces and working groups with the UAE, with Bahrain, with Oman.  And so India is very much part of that reinvigoration of British energy in dealing with emerging powers and emerging markets and of the commercial emphasis that we are giving to our foreign-policy work.  </p> <p>In the Foreign Office, I’m really setting three key objectives of security and prosperity and of protecting British citizens abroad.  So after we’ve talked I’m going to the High Commission to speak to our staff and link up with the staff in Mumbai and in Chennai and in Bangalore to explain that to them, to get their questions, so the whole Foreign Office is pointing in that direction.</p> <p>So we’re pleased with the visit so far and with where we stand on foreign affairs and the energy that’s gone into foreign affairs from the Prime Minister 13 weeks into the new government.  </p> <p>And that’s probably enough from me, so you can ask your questions.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> We understand that President Zardari may be visiting the Prime Minister in Chequers next week.  Was this arranged yesterday, after the Prime Minister’s comments, or was it always long-standing?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> No, I can confirm that that visit is expected next week, at the end of next week, so the Prime Minister will have talks with President Zardari.  That has been arranged for some time.  It’s a visit I certainly discussed with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr Qureshi, last week when I was in Kabul.  So that’s been planned for some weeks.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Do you think the talks might be slightly more tense now than they were, as a result of the PM’s comments yesterday?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> No.  I went to Pakistan myself for three days last month and saw the President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.  There’s always a lot to talk about with Pakistan and, of course, the work we do on terrorism and the importance of tackling all forms of terrorism and terrorist threat is always part of that.  So I think it’s very important for us to keep up those discussions with Pakistan and it’s excellent the President is visiting the UK next week.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Given the sensitivities here, do you think the Prime Minister might have been a more careful in his words in response to the question yesterday when he said that democratic states who wanted to join the developed world should be careful, that Pakistan risked looking two ways, that it shouldn’t promote terrorism?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Well, the Prime Minister speaks the truth and we’re all united and clear and happy about what he said.  So no, I think that’s fine.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Can I just ask you which elements of the authorities in Pakistan, because it was on the Today programme a few minutes later he said that there are authorities in Pakistan who mustn’t look both ways?  Which elements, which authorities in Pakistan are not following the example of the Pakistan government, which is obviously doing a good job?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> He wasn’t picking out specific authorities.  The Prime Minister’s point, as I think he also made clear on the Today programme, was that it would be unacceptable for threats within Pakistan, talking about the country rather than the government, to be creating a terrorist threat elsewhere.  So I think that was very clear.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Will you be making clear to the Indians that you don’t think any Pakistani authorities are involved in supporting terrorism?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Well, we’ll be discussing counterterrorism with the Indians, but I don't think we’ll be going into details about the internal workings of Pakistan in our discussions with India today.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> What representations have been made by Pakistan to us following the Prime Minister’s remark yesterday?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> I haven’t received any representations as Foreign Secretary.  I think there are some reported comments in the press.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Yes, other than the reported comments in the press have there been any formal representations to the Foreign Office?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Not that I’m aware of, no.  </p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Is the British government wholly satisfied with the role the ISI is now playing?  It was well documented in the past that they recruited and helped to create the Taliban.  Are you 100% comfortable with precisely whom they’re dealing in terms of Afghanistan now?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Well, we work with them on counterterrorism, of course, and we work with the government of Pakistan.  We can’t know everything that happens in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but we very much acknowledge that Pakistan has itself suffered some very serious terrorist incidents, that hundreds of soldiers in Pakistan have lost their lives prosecuting a war against terrorism and insurgency.  So we simply make the point that it’s important to deal with all forms of terrorism and of course we look for good cooperation with intelligence services around the world, including in Pakistan.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Can you explain the different between talking about a government and a country?  Do you think anybody in the Foreign Office sees that there might be somewhat of a clash between the Prime Minister’s fondness for speaking plainly and the inch-by-inch care with which diplomacy is carried out?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> On the second point, I do not think there is a clash between those.  The Prime Minister is a great diplomat and I see that in action every day when he is dealing with foreign leaders.  He is a natural at it, so I do not think you should have any worries on that score.</p> <p>There is a very major difference between governments and countries sometimes, because as we know it is acknowledged that there have been some terrorist incidents linked to Pakistan but not necessarily to the government of Pakistan.  That is why we say in the case of Mumbai that it is very important that anyone associated with that terrorist attack is brought to justice.  That is something being dealt with within Pakistan, but not the government of Pakistan, so there is a difference between the two.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Is David Cameron speaking for the government or the country, then?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> The Prime Minister speaks for the government and the country, fortunately, since he is such a popular Prime Minister.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> What is the difference between a state and a country?  What is the difference between a state and a government?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> I think we shall have to go to the dictionary for those.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Do you think the Prime Minister set out on this trip to offend two countries in two days?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> No, and I do not think that is what has happened.  The Prime Minister, on his visit to Turkey and India, has really strengthened the relations with both of those countries very, very effectively.  Relations with all other countries concerned are also going well.  No, I do not think so.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> To follow up on that, the Prime Minister’s comments have obviously gone down well in India, as his comments on Gaza did in Turkey.  Is there new approach of insulting the neighbour of every country you go to?  Is there any limit to that?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> No, you will know the Prime Minister is very consistent wherever he is.  He does not shrink from giving sometimes tough messages to people.  He does not shrink from doing that to their faces, as well as wherever he is around the world.  I do not think you will find any inconsistency in his approach.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> From the talks you have had so far, have you heard any representations about the immigration camp the coalition was talking about?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Not from the ministers concerned, I do not think, but certainly newspaper editors, business people and so on bring up the subject.  That is true and there is a consultation.  Damian Green, the minister responsible for it, will be here next month to take account of these representations.  It is very important for business people and students to be able to visit the United Kingdom, so the representations made during our consultations will all be taken into account.  I think we will find a way through that successfully.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Briefly, can you tell us what the Prime Minister is expecting to sign later with Prime Minister Singh?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> The Cultural Memorandum of Understanding is probably what you are talking about.  We can give you the details of that.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> To follow up on Damian coming up next month, is that a formal consultation on immigration?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> The formal consultation involves sending in submissions to the Home Office in the consultation.  If you like, it is an informal part of the consultation, but certainly you will be able to listen to all these representations and views.  </p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Do you really think that the largest delegation since the Raj has enhanced relations or, when you look at the number of Indian students going to the UK and US, do you fear we lost out and India is really just looking to the US?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> No, the number of students going to the UK has increased recently.  There is no doubt that this has made a huge impact and coming so early in the life of the new government and in such strength and so well accompanied, as you know, by so many figures from the business and sporting world has made a huge impact on the Indian leader and, indeed, on the Indian government.  They have really noticed it and are extremely enthusiastic about it.  That is the feedback that I received from the members of the Indian cabinet that I met yesterday.  It has certainly made an impact.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> On the Home Affairs minister and the business of GCHQ in March, what more can you say about the formal and deepening intelligence relationship?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Not much, for obvious reasons, but there is an intelligence relationship.  There is much satisfaction with that on the part of India.  It will continue and be intensified.  That is all I can say.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> A tiny bit more on that, as the Secretary responsible for GCHQ, as part of growing important security relationships with places like India, would you sanction GCHQ to carry out any work for other independent nation states such as India?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> Carry out work for other nation states?  GCHQ works closely with many other countries, of course.  Our relationship with the US on intelligence is well known.  We cooperate with a wide range of other countries.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> That does not mean saying, ‘Can you listen to this person for us?  Can you listen to that person for us?’</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> I cannot go into detail about what cooperation means.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> Yesterday, you talked about building a special relationship with India, but I have not heard you or the Prime Minister use that phrase until you arrived in the country.</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> I have used it on a television interview I gave yesterday.  We use several words – also an ‘enhanced’ relationship that we talked about in the Queen’s Speech; an ‘intensified’ relationship I am talking about at other times.  It adds up to being pretty special, I think, what we are doing here.  What you will see today adds up to being pretty special, so we are not afraid of that word.</p> <p> <strong>(Question):</strong> By making India a priority, do you accept that you have made the relative standing of our relations with Pakistan and China a bit less important, because we are focusing so much on India, and that there is a price to that?</p> <p> <strong>(WH):</strong> It is not a zero-sum game.  I went to China to conduct the strategic dialogue with China two weeks ago.  The Prime Minister will visit China before too long, so we are continuing the close dialogue with China.  </p> <p>Overall, I feel the Labour government did quite a good job of relations with China, so there it is strong continuity in our policy.  We are building on what has been achieved in recent times, as did the previous Conservative government for that matter.  With India, there is a greater need for a reinvigoration of the relationship and new approaches, and that is reflected in the importance we have given this visit and the fact the Prime Minister has led such a visit early on.  What is required is different to India and China, but it is not a zero-sum game.</p> <p>In Pakistan, Andrew Mitchell visited in early June.  I visited last month.  Baroness Warsi has been there also.  A strong partnership with the government of Pakistan dealing with its problems is also a key element of our approach to this region.  That requires energy across the board.  It requires us to do all of that, as well as to intensify the relationship with Japan, so it is an ambitious agenda in Asia for the coalition government, but we are delivering on all of those aspects and have applied ourselves to all of those aspects in the first three months of the government.</p> <p>I should speak to the staff, so have a good day.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:27 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22616589 William Hague UK/India relations: Foreign Secretary's press conference, 29 July 2010 uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 29 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office New Delhi, India
<p><strong>Jon Snow (JS):  </strong>Earlier I spoke to the Foreign Secretary William Hague who is in New Delhi and began by asking him whether this is a final rite of passage for the UK’s relationship with India from Empire to trading partners.<br><br><strong>William Hague (WH):</strong>  Well certainly it’s very different from Empire, yeah the, this is Britain connecting afresh actually across the world.  It’s very, very important to do this for future opportunities, for the employment of British people years in to the future, and there’s tremendous enthusiasm here in India across education, across science, across the commercial world as well as in the political world, for us to expand cooperation in, in so many ways.<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  Do, do you feel that Indians are excited to meet you, I mean is there a sense that they want to see you or, or are you just sort of in a great queue of other nations who are all equally keen to bang on the door?<br><br><strong>WH:</strong>  Well there are two things they are excited about this.  One is the consistency of it.   David Cameron came here four years ago as Leader of the Opposition and said then that we wanted to form this special relationship with India and they appreciate enormously that so early in the life of a new Government we have set about this with such energy.  And the second thing they appreciate is that we’ve come in such numbers, it has made an impact, and not just in the British media but hugely so in the Indian media as well, so I think we’re going about that in the right way.  And actually there’s a third thing that they appreciate which is it, it means something in reality, you know we are working together on counter terrorism, we have, the Prime Minister has signed the sales agreement for the Hawk aircraft.<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  On the other hand the whole question of immigration with the Indian Sub Continent as a whole has been hugely problematical over many years and of course now there is a new dynamic in that the Coalition Government does want to cap the numbers.  It’s not a great moment to be doing that if that’s the new relationship we’re trying to build.<br><br><strong>WH:</strong>  Well we’re doing that in consultation with countries across the world, including with India, the, the Government of India will be able to make its own responses to that consultation, and I think, you know, they understand, I’ve explained in, in interviews on Indian television today that the United States has strict limits on immigration, Australia has strict limits on immigration.  Of course the United Kingdom is going to do that, but we’re going to do it in a way which still encourages business people to come through, we’re going to find the way to make sure that students can still study in the United Kingdom.<br><br><strong>JS:  </strong>And, and are you and your colleague Vince Cable singing from the same hymn sheet on this matter?<br><br><strong>WH:  </strong>Yes the, the, the cap on immigration is a part of the coalition agreement.  I was there when it was written down and negotiated; I know it very well.  So that, that is part of the coalition agreement but yes we will consult on the details.<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  Well that, that’s the key, you, you are sure that at the end of this, these deliberations it real, really will be possible for a, a British firm operating in Britain to secure for example highly skilled IT technicians from Mumbai without any immigra, immigration hindrance?<br><br><strong>WH</strong>:  Well I’m not, you’re asking me there a very specific question with a specific situation saying well ...<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  It’s the sort of problem that could throw itself up isn’t it?  There is a, a particularly good resource of skilled technicians available in India who we could do with.<br><br><strong>WH:</strong>  That is absolutely right and of course in having a point system we will be prizing particularly highly the skills that we need in the United Kingdom.  Many of those skills yes are here in India so they are going to do very well in any points immigration system.<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  Of necessity for any British Foreign Secretary to be in India the question of Pakistan comes up and the question of terrorism too, and I think the Prime Minister effectively this morning kind of did suggest that Pakistan, whatever its good intentions, is still in some form sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan.<br><br><strong>WH:</strong>  Well no he, he wasn’t saying that but he was saying that we look to Pakistan, as we would look to any country, to fight terrorism in all its forms.  I think what he said was, was absolutely correct; Pakistan has made great progress in many ways in fighting terrorism and there have been terrible terrorist outrages in Pakistan, as of course there have been here in, in India, we all remember what happened at Mumbai.  But we do look to countries to make sure we’re fighting terrorism at every opportunity and in every form.<br><br><strong>JS:</strong>  But I think that the sense he left in his radio interview this morning was that Pakistan is still looking both ways in some sense.<br><br><strong>WH:</strong>  He wasn’t talking about the Pakistan Government but things going on within Pakistan that cause terrorism elsewhere, and so that, that is a very important distinction from actually accusing the Pakistani Government of doing something.  Have there been terrorist incidents which have had some connection with, with events in Pakistan?  Well yes, of course there have been, that is widely acknowledged, and so yes we look to all the authorities in Pakistan to do everything they can to combat that now and in the future, and as I’ve mentioned we’re working very closely with India on counter terrorism and, and we will work with all nations across the world to counter this scourge.<br>JS:  Foreign Secretary William Hague talking to me from Delhi earlier.<br><br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:32 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22616581 William Hague UK/India relations: Foreign Secretary's interview with Channel 4 uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 26 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office New Delhi, India
<p>Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, FCO):  It’s not unusual for a Minister to face an audience that knows far more about the subject than he does but it is however rather comforting for a Minister to be accompanied on a platform by two colleagues who know a great deal more about the subject on the ground than he does and about which he’s not afraid to admit that.  And I, I know that you’ll get a great deal both from Mr Ambassador and from William Patey in relation to all this.</p> <p>But let me speak very briefly because I suspect the vast majority of people in here know pretty well what the British Government’s position is on all that and our perspective, and I think it’s far more interesting for you to hear from my colleagues directly more than me.  But let me just give you a sense perhaps of what I think we’re keen to, keen to get people to feel about the situation in Afghanistan, where we would very much like to take it.</p> <p>That, making progress in Afghanistan, it’s about far more than the military, is clearly something now that we hope the British public has grasped.  If it was ever all about the military, it isn’t all about the military now and I think that should be, be very clear.  We are there for a reason expressed in two words, national, national security.  We want to ensure that al Qaeda is not able to return to areas occupied by the Taliban and be able to use Afghanistan as a base for the damage which they have inflicted in the past and would inflict again.  But everyone in, in this country recognises I think because of the history, because of modern politics, that an answer, it, it, is not a military answer that is required in Afghanistan.  It is a process in which it’s been absolutely essential that our forces in Afghanistan, who have performed extraordinarily and whose sacrifices for people both here and there have to be recognised and acknowledged at every turn, are creating a situation in which the Government of Afghanistan can provide a secure base for its own future, can ensure that it is looking after the security needs of its country, and to prevent a situation which those opposed to our aims and objectives would be able to occupy the country again.</p> <p>We think there’s progress on the ground.  I’m sure William, if asked, will point to some of the improvements that have taken place in recent years well away from the military sphere in health and education, about which the British Government, both past and this one, are entitled to be rightly proud.  But we know that the essential work that is to be done, and I’m sure the Ambassador, Ambassador Tandar, will speak about this, is the political process and engagement that must happen amongst Afghanis themselves.  We are pleased at the success of the Peace Jirga recently.  We’re looking forward to the international conference in Kabul at the end of this month, the first of its kind to be held in Kabul, which will be a significant event.  We have Parliamentary elections later in the year.</p> <p>Right through Afghanistan there are, there are stories of success in terms of engagement of people with the governing process, with the justice process and with policing but we know it will take time and we know there are still many hurdles to overcome and it is genuinely a process, but we are increasingly confident of the success of that process.  When the Prime Minister and William Hague refer to combat troops being out of Afghanistan by 2015 the withdrawal of those combat troops is, is not a withdrawal of the United Kingdom from Afghanistan.  There is a sense of long term support for the process which will continue what has been achieved in recent years and will ensure the sort of relationship which is going to make a success of all the sacrifices which have been and gone, both by people from this country and of course people in Afghanistan themselves who’ve had to suffer years of, of difficulty and, and conflict.</p> <p>That broad outline of where the British Government is is I’m sure pretty familiar to you.  The issue of course is how we can persuade people that this is the, the right policy for us to follow, that people understand about the wider picture of what has been achieved and that people do understand the, the enormous dimensional engagements in relation to Afghanistan.  This is not something being conducted by the British and the Americans alone.  NATO forces from many nations are involved, many nations who have lost the soldiers in the, in the meantime.  But it is a process, looking forward to your engagement with it but I’m quite sure that those on the ground, Ambassador Tandar and William Patey, will be able to enlighten you about practical aspects and deal with questions.</p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p>(Address by Homayoun Tandar)</p> <p>Sir William Patey (British Ambassador to Afghanistan):  I, the one thing I want to say, and I’m glad the Ambassador is here, because the one, the one thing I’ve learnt in my, in my journey through the Foreign Office, and I sometimes feel like the, the Kate Adie of the Diplomatic Service having served in Libya, Sudan, Iraq and now Afghanistan…</p> <p>AB:  You’re very similar.</p> <p>WP:  You know you’re in trouble when I turn up but I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have gone to Afghanistan at this time had I not, not believed that there was an, an achievable objective with the necessary resources to do it, an important job.  But the one thing I have learnt in, in the passage of my, my meander through various conflicts is that the solution will be Afghan led and it, and it has to be an Afghan solution so whatever else we do it must be in support of that solution.  So I’m very glad that sometimes when I get on these panels, and I’m often asked to speak for Afghanistan, we’re fortunate we’ve got the Ambassador of Afghanistan here who, who, who can do that.  </p> <p>The, there is no single, there will be no single solution to achieving what the, what the Afghans want and what we want which is a stable Afghanistan at peace with itself, not unable to defend itself and not, and not, not, not providing any haven or any facilities for, for international terrorist groups.  But we do have a process that’s under way that looks, that, that has a number of key elements in it that will contribute to what I think is a, a steady march to progress, I don’t want to sound too (indistinct), but forward march to progress, and I think we’ve already seen some of them already.  I think we’ve seen a recalibration of the Afghan relationship with the United States and that’s important because it’s important reassurance to Afghanistan and to the neighbours that the United States, and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom and the other, other allies, are with Afghanistan for the long term.  It is a long term, strategic partnership and it’s an important, an important insurance and I think the, the, the President Karzai’s visit to, to Afghanistan recalibrated that.</p> <p>You’ve got the Peace Jirga, a very successful Peace Jirga, in which the President went to the people of Afghanistan to seek a mandate to have an internal political settlement, reconciliation.  You got a clear mandate and the Ambassador has, has mentioned some of the, some of the, the principles that have come out of that, that, that Afghan led process and we, parts of that are a reintegration and reconciliation process.  Again there, there are things that we as the international community can do, do to support that.  </p> <p>There is the Kabul Conference coming up which, which is a, which is an opportunity for the Government of Afghanistan basically to say to its people, and also to the international community, what it plans to do to deliver security and governance and economic development for its people.  They will set out their plans and hopefully the international community will turn up and say what part they’re going to play in, in helping deliver these plans.  It’s not going to be a donor conference.  There’s lots of money has been pledged.  It’s about making sure that the money that’s been pledged gets behind Afghan led efforts, Afghan Government led efforts to deliver for its people.  Because the, the only real attractiveness of the Taliban to some people in Afghanistan was that they provided some basic form of justice.  So as a starting point the Afghan Government has to match that and, and there’s lot, a lot, has got a lot more to offer.</p> <p>So you’ve got those various processes.  It will also involve constructive engagement from Pakistan.  It will also, it, it, it will involve constructive engagement from other neighbours, all part of a supporting and inclusive political process in promoting stability.  </p> <p>So all I would say about the, the military presence if you like, it seems to me that the NATO military presence is buying some time.  It’s buying time for the Afghan National Security Forces to continue their developments to take over responsibility from, from NATO.  It’s buying time for Afghan Government to build up its capacity both at a national, provincial and district level.  So those, there, there is a process going on which I, I, I envisage over a three to five year time scale if you look at the, the sort of, if you look at the combat role of NATO diminishing over, over the next three to five years and, and whatever combat role is left will be taken up by the, by the Afghan.  But at the same time we’ve been working on a political process that would reduce the levels of violence and reduce, so a political process can accelerate that.  That’s, I mean I’ve just thrown that in as a, as a sort of context setter.  I’m sure there’ll be lots of people want to pick holes with all of that.</p> <p>Chairman:  Excellent, well thank you very much.</p> <p>So we want to have a debate and discussion about the political dimension of achieving progress in Afghanistan.  We want to talk about, as it were, the domestic politics of Afghanistan itself, we’ll want to perhaps talk about regional perspectives and of course the international political process and I will try to guide discussion.</p> <p>We’ll pick on a few people to ensure that all of the themes are raised, but before we get in to the domestic political process and the Kabul Conference and the like, there is a larger question sitting up there about the strategic value of the enterprise and the political sustainability from outside not just for the military dimension, but even for the very intensive political engagement that we obviously think is required.</p> <p>Alex Nichol, I know you had a point to make on this.</p> <p>Alex Nichol (Director of Defence Analysis and Publications, International Institute for Strategic Studies):  Thanks, Alex Nichol from the Institute.  This, my question follows directly on from what you were saying, Ambassador Patey, about buying time.  It’s not, what I’m going to say doesn’t in any way denigrate the huge efforts that are being made in Afghanistan by all people and the bravery, bravery of our troops and so (indistinct).  </p> <p>But if we look at the, the current realities of the situation President Obama has already said that US troops will begin to be withdrawn in the middle of next year.  Other countries are pulling out and you yourself Minister said that this was a military project and we all know what David Cameron has already said about, about combat troops in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Yet is seems to me that the military strategy that we’re pursuing in Afghanistan is in fact predicated on a very long term presence there, the way that it’s being carried out right now.  It depends on taking Talib territory from Taliban and keeping it and maintaining confidence among the local population for a military presence.  That seems to me to be a basic disconnect.  Of course it’s predicated on other things too, other things happening, training troops and political process progress and so forth.  You mentioned that it’s buying time, but the question is really is there enough time there?</p> <p>So I’m, I’m just wondering isn’t it time really to consider a new strategy in Afghanistan?  One that of course does not mean pulling out of Afghanistan, but does mean fairly swiftly reducing our combat presence there, ‘cause I think to many people it, it seems to view, that there’s not much strategic value to the UK in keeping a combat presence from now on.</p> <p>Chairman:  Minister Burt.</p> <p>Alistair Burt:  I, I’m not sure that we’re, we’re not doing what you’re suggesting, but just the time scale is a little different.  David Cameron has made it very clear that we do not expect to have combat troops in Afghanistan after 2015.  It, it’s, it’s a process, well we mentioned buying time, how much time is needed for the process which we want to achieve of the transfer of responsibilities to, to the, to the Afghan forces themselves?  We’ve made a judgement that the time scale we suggested is about right.  </p> <p>You’re right, you want to make sure that territory gained has been secured and it will be secured in a variety of different ways.  The political process is vital, the work that’s going on to establish effective local government to give provincial responsibility, to make sure that’s all working is vital.  But it, it is essential for the time being that that is underpinned by, by, by us being involved in the security situation, but over time that security underpinning will come increasingly from the Afghan forces themselves.  </p> <p>Now we’ve made a judgement about that sort of timeline.  Once, once you get in to the business of why isn’t it a little bit earlier, why isn’t it a little bit later, we’ve made a judgement that we have, that 2015 is about right from the experience we have on the ground and what we can anticipate.  I remember when the Royal Anglian Regiment came back from Iraq in to my constituency last year and forces there were talking about the work they’d done in Iraq to train up Iraqi forces to take over responsibility and they said when we first got this job two years ago we didn’t think this could be done.  We didn’t think we had the basic material to work on.  Two years later when we return we are very proud of what we’ve done and we are very proud of those that we have been working with and the responsibilities which we know they’re capable of taking on.  </p> <p>And I think we have to be guided by those who are actively involved in terms of their perception of what can be achieved and what can be taken on and that’s the judgement we’ve made.  So apart from shifting the date I think the process that you are describing is exactly what we are engaged upon.  It is a long term commitment, it is not a long term commitment for combat troops, but it’s a long term commitment to ensure that Afghanistan is, is a, a secure place in which the Government of the people of Afghanistan can be properly, properly run without fear of outside influence influencing the Taliban and where people can be responsible for their own affairs and our job is to help ensure that process takes place.</p> <p>Sir William Patey:  But can I just add to that. I mean, when, when, before I went to Afghanistan my, my views were conditioned mainly by the media.  And I went quite pessimistic thinking look if we’ve been at this for nine years with not making much progress what chance of doing it in, in, in a reasonable time scale.  And what reassured me when I got there was I realised we hadn’t been at it for nine years.  We’d basically gone in 2001, knocked over the Taliban and pushed off and dealt with that other bloke and really (indistinct) had neglected Afghanistan for a while.  And, and it was only for, in the last year that we’ve really been putting the sort of resources in to it that, that could deliver.  </p> <p>And the Taliban don’t hold vast parts of Afghanistan, so it’s not about liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban.  Most of Afghanistan the, the Government remit runs and even in the places that, where the Taliban have dominated you can see real progress in Helmand.  I mean I visited Helmand five times now in the last, last two months and it’s clear to me that we’re all, where most of the population centre is concentrated in the Central Helmand valley, I think there the population of Helmand is about one point two million in total, but about eight hundred and fifty thousand people live in the bit of the, in the bit of Central Helmand where most of the British troops are and what has happened is that space and time, space has been created for, where the Government is, the people are free from Afghan, from Taliban intimidation, the Government officials are able to move around freely so you’ve now got provincial governors, district governors, you’ve got prosecutors in place and that is what I mean about buying the time.  You’re, you’re creating time and space for the Afghan Government to, to step up to, to the mark, which is increasingly happening.</p> <p>So I think that’s what I mean about time and I think in a three to five year time scale you will see, you will see the Afghan National Security Forces there in much greater numbers, Police Force governance, agricultural projects, development projects, new roads, new schools.  You see it now and it’s just going to get, it’s just going to, to get better.  So it’s buying that, that sort of time.  But there are other elements to it, there have to be and I think, you know, the political, the political settlement, you talk about needs to come in to it.</p> <p>Chairman:  Well I want to come back near the end to this, this is what the, the principal strategic aim should be.  But part of the political dimension, part of the development dimension, part ultimately of the security dimension, is building civilian state capacity and building civilian state capacity is important also for the success of the COIN strategy and we have now a COIN strategy that’s not been going on for a very long time, but is at the centre of our strategy.</p> <p>I want to ask Toby Dodge, who is on the IISS staff and advised General Petraeus substantially on the political process to accompany the surge in Iraq whether he might want to make a, a comment or two on how important civilian state capacity building is for COIN.</p> <p>WP:  Before Toby says anything, he and I have a long term bet and it’s not resolved yet, who’s going to be right on Iraq.  I think the jury’s still out on that.</p> <p>Chairman:  Well you can have a second one, you can have a second one soon on Afghanistan perhaps.  Toby Dodge.</p> <p>Toby Dodge (International Institute for Strategic Studies):  The, the interest is accruing in my, in my favour, but we’ll put that to one side.  </p> <p>I mean it is getting back to your point William about buying time for what and how much time.  And if, and if you look at the US Army’s counter insurgency document at the centre of it isn’t military capacity, it’s actually civilian capacity, meaningful infrastructure on interaction between the Government in the capital and the outlying areas.  </p> <p>Now given, with all due respect to the Ambassador, that the, the Afghan state is so weak and its presence in (instinct) was so fleeting how much time do you honestly believe that, that NATO will have to buy for the state’s presence to be meaningful and sustainable amongst the Afghan population?</p> <p>WP:  If you mean central state presence we don’t enough time, but Afghan has never been a centralised state, correct me if I’m wrong Ambassador. It’s always been a, a state which has had loosely, loosely centralised.  So we often talk about Afghan capacity and, and actually you need to talk to Afghans about this because Afghans, we tend to think of capacity in, in a sort of, in ,in the Western concept of, you know, the British Civil Service.  There is a lot of Afghan capacity.  It’s been there, it’s in the villages, it’s in the tribal structures.  They were running these places long before we were there or anybody else was there.  </p> <p>So it’s about empowering and unleashing that, that structure and it doesn’t have to be terribly sophisticated. It can be as little as a provincial governor able to preside over local courts and providing, facilitating the informal justice systems for instance, the, where, where the, where they, that’s broken down, linking that up to, linking that up to the more formal justice system.  So it’s harnessing that Afghan capacity that’s already there.</p> <p>At the same time you’re still building up the central capacity of the Ministries to deliver, to deliver education ‘cause you can’t expect each, each village to have its own college of education training teachers, so you’re, you’re building up the university sector, you’re building up the future teachers of Afghanistan.  You’ve got to do that in, in, in the capital.  You’re building up the line Ministries.  </p> <p>All I would say is there’s been significant progress over the last couple of years and I would just, I would, I would expect there to be sufficient progress and it doesn’t just stop, I mean I think, I think the assumption is that when combat troops leave suddenly all this other stuff stops.  It continues.  I mean, Steffan de Mistura is very clear that when he says the UN were in Afghanistan for sixty seven years, they’ll be in Afghanistan for another sixty seven years.  The long term development is, is probably a UN responsibility.</p> <p>Chairman:  Let me ask the Ambassador, what is your feeling on building civilian state capacity that is necessary to support the COIN strategy?</p> <p>Homayoun Tandar (Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan):  (Indistinct) Afghanistan, all part of Afghanistan is not in war.  We have peaceful Afghanistan in a major part of the country.  We have a lot of progress in different sides of our life.  There is difficulties where the troops are, but there is also another Afghanistan. I hope very much  the journalist to go somewhere else in Afghanistan, not always in Helmand, and see what does mean Afghanistan today.  I want to (indistinct) the UK Government by the announcement made by Mr Prime Minister.  Troops by 2015, this date was announced last year in November by my President, President Karzai in a (indistinct) speech for the second terms of his mandate as President say in three years we will be able to take the security of all (indistinct) and in five years the Afghanistan Government and Afghanistan Security Forces will be able to assure the security of all part of the country.  The decision was made with close consultation with my President.</p> <p>Regarding the issue of governance, the states.  Ten years ago there was no state in Afghanistan, nothing, no Army, no Police, no Civil Servant, and no schools, no hospitals and no road, no electricity, no transport.  Nothing.  We are proud for what we have done with the help and cooperation of our friends.</p> <p>Chairman:  But you agree with the Ambassador that there are tribal …</p> <p>HT:  Yeah.</p> <p>Chairman:  … structures and, and ways of governance can be revived and then …</p> <p>HT:  No, no (indistinct) …</p> <p>Chairman:  … empowered?</p> <p>HT:  No I’m not tribal.  I’m a modern man and I want a modern state and a modern state and (indistinct) of your history take a lot of (indistinct).  We are going in these directions.  What does mean the next elections in Afghanistan and this (indistinct) is the implementation of law, state law in the district level.  That means the participation of all Afghans in the national affairs.  Afghanistan is not, and Afghans are not in the aesthetic situations.  Afghanistan is a very dynamic society.  More than sixty five per cent at least of our population is under twenty four.  This generation will take the power and with this generations the state of Afghanistan will be a modern state, not a tribal or ethnic state.  The (indistinct) the situation of human being needs the modern states and we are going to this (indistinct) and to this object.  We have some difficulties now which were absolutely natural with regard of the situation, past situation not four or five decades before, just one decade before and (indistinct) has helped us to create the basis.  We have created the basis for a modern state.  We confronted conflict.</p> <p>Chairman:  Ambassador thanks very much.</p> <p>You mentioned as I said earlier in your formal remarks the, the, the ten guidelines for the Government to follow in building peace with, with rebel groups and one hears a great deal of talk now about the two slightly different missions of reconciliation and reintegration.  </p> <p>I’d like to move to, to, to that a little bit and I’d like to maybe ask Hilary Synnott, former High Commissioner to Pakistan, but a consulting senior fellow here at the IISS, who now has the microphone to address briefly that point.</p> <p>Hilary Synnott (Consulting Senior Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies):  Thanks very much and thank you to everyone for this opportunity to have a conversation about I guess Britain’s most important foreign policy interest.  Forgive me if I’m a bit frank.</p> <p>Reconciliation, reintegration.  I think it was a key issue of the London Conference.  If I can put a few propositions and then come to a question which may or may not be answerable.</p> <p>One of the key considerations of the London Conference, large sums of money pledged for these purposes clearly to be Afghan led, reconciliation trying to deal with the people at the top, reintegration trying to peel off people at the lower, lower down away from the truly bad guys.</p> <p>Well, as a former diplomat I’ve always advocated talking. It’s a good idea to talk.  A big mistake of successive British Governments I think and others to stop talking before 2001 because we didn’t like the Taliban.  Similarly over Iraq.  So we became deeply ignorant about the situation.</p> <p>But looking at reconciliation and reintegration, the Director of CIA at the end of last month seems to suggest, and the Taliban seem to suggest, that that’s a dead duck, except perhaps on terms dictated by the Taliban, not, not by those of us who want to pay for reconciliation.  </p> <p>Reintegration Afghan led, in practice talking to Generals and Lieutenants, troop leaders who we meet, in practice on the ground there are attempts at reconciliation every day by the British in Helmand trying to come to terms with opponents and then after six months the troop leaders get recalled and the new lot start again, sometimes choosing different people. It’s very difficult in practice.  </p> <p>Afghan led, and here forgive me Ambassador but one has to question whose agenda would be followed when this is Afghan led.  If you take the situation in Kandahar, and I speak not from personal experience, but from experience with people I’ve been talking to who live there, it’s not at all clear that the Afghans who’ve been leading this process would have anything like the same objectives and agenda as, as we have and in particular, Ahmad Wali Karzai, President Karzai’s younger half brother, who seems to dominate the place, is, is not pursuing our interests and may have an eye to a Karzai dynasty after Hamid has to stand down at the end of his term.  </p> <p>So, you know, one is faced up with the famous adage which I would subscribe to, you can’t buy an Afghan.  And indeed maybe you can rent him, maybe you can’t.</p> <p>So the question then is while it’s desirable to talk isn’t placing so much emphasis on this policy pledging so much money, aren’t we going to be doing what we tried to do in 2001 where I saw myself millions of dollars going in to Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden and won’t this be a waste of more treasure, disillusioned. So the question is how can this work?</p> <p>Alistair Burt:  Okay may, maybe I can just, just give, give a policy rationale and then turn to colleagues who, who’ve got much more experience on the ground with this.  I’m not sure you offer, I’m not sure you offer an alternative to talking and engagement.  If what we’re talking about is going to be successful in any way, it must mean that those, those who are responsible for, for, for the process of government in Afghanistan, which is those who are governed and those who govern them, are engaged with it.  The, the, the process of disengaging the Taliban has been going on for some time.  There are conditions and acceptance of the process of, of Afghan government, a renunciation of violence, you know, clear conditions laid out.  But we know from experience there are those who will accept that and move on.</p> <p>I can’t, I can’t see as, as a practical politician an alternative to this.  No doubt it’s difficult, no doubt it takes time. I defy any of us to look at a, a, a successful process of, of turning round a difficult political situation which does not involve in due course at some stage engagement with those who have taken a pretty contrary position for a long period of time.</p> <p>Each individual circumstance is different.  There’s no, there’s no template that says well we did it this way in this place it’ll work here.  But the concept of engaging people and saying there is something better here than fighting, the causes of you fighting are no longer there or have been addressed or are no longer relevant or are being suggested to you by those with ulterior motives, look afresh at what is being offered and what is coming through now by way of a new process.</p> <p>It, it seems to me that is entirely practical politics, practical rationale.  I don’t doubt for a second that it’s difficult but I, I, I can not see for a moment that it isn’t worth pursuing and the signs in the last couple of years give indications that it can work and can be successful.  So with that as a clear, you know, defence of the rationale for doing this in, in absence of an alternative approach let’s ask those who’ve seen some experience on the ground what they, what they think.</p> <p>Chairman:  I go back to both of you to answer that question because I, I know that we might have a follow up on this. I think the, the question is not just how do you reconcile people who now appear reconcilable, irreconcilable, but whether the variety of different agencies and factions and groups with which you have to engage.</p> <p>Michael Crawford, I don’t know whether you want to address that, at least follow on a little bit from Hilary and then I’ll ask William Patey and, and the Ambassador in particular to respond.</p> <p>Michael Crawford:  Yes the question of reconciliation and integration can be looked at in two ways, at a tactical level the kind of thing that Hilary was describing of individual troop leaders and so on and (indistinct) ranking officers talking to local Afghans and trying perhaps to win over the population and win over, you know, lower level Taliban commanders for instance.  But then there’s a strategic issue.  How do you get a big chunk of the Taliban to reconcile to the Afghan system and it’s only the Afghans who of course can do this.</p> <p>But the issue really is reconcile to what?  You can have various principles, yes they have to accept the constitution and so on, but what if they don’t?  What if the only way actually of achieving reconciliation is for there to be a substantial change in the nature of the Afghan state to accommodate this new political force which has to come in which will be of course quite hostile if I may say to the concept of the Afghan state espoused by Ambassador Homayoun may, may not be interested in a modern Afghan state in the sense that he was describing.</p> <p>And then what of Western engagement, you know, what is going to be the role of the sharia?  What about the position of women and so on?  So I just wondered whether any scenario planning has gone in to that issue, what happens, what kind of Afghan state might we be talking about under these circumstances?  Maybe this is the only way that we can actually bring about peace in Afghanistan, but it’s going to be at quite a price.</p> <p>Chairman:  Ambassador perhaps you should come in firstly on both these questions which one way of summing part of them up is to say what compromises or changes would you feel you, people, would be willing to make in Kabul to the Afghan state to be able to accommodate a wider process of reconciliation.  But do come in on what you, how you react to these two points.</p> <p>Homayoun Tandar:  Thank you.  Pledge money doesn’t mean spend money.  That’s two difference.  In London Conference there was a pledge (indistinct) we are waiting for the payment.  </p> <p>For the reconciliations and reintegrations, I’m sorry I, I can’t see the same area on this.  My view of Afghanistan is a little bit larger.  In (indistinct) we have the real, reconciliation, reintegrations.  In (indistinct) in the North West of Afghanistan the situation is much better than one year ago.  In (indistinct) we had problems three years ago. It’s absolutely peaceful provinces now and a lot, a number of British (indistinct) go to (indistinct) and come back and I hope to organise a, a gathering in my Embassy (indistinct) to show them pictures of Afghanistan and other pictures of Afghanistan.  (Indistinct) was an unstable province three years ago, there was a number of problems of security.  It’s a peaceful situation now. It was the case also in (indistinct) and the situation is good when we are (indistinct) the work for the (indistinct) extractions. Some problems, yet in some parts of Afghanistan.  We hope to do.</p> <p>The reconciliation, the reintegration could be under, how I can I call it, (indistinct) that local, locally we have to do it.  And the (indistinct) will be there.  For the Taliban, I would absolutely sorry to say that (indistinct) something about two or four persons of Afghan people support the Taliban. We can’t sacrifice our achievement, we can’t sacrifice the rest of Afghan populations more than ninety six per cent to be submitted on the (indistinct) of extremist groups.  The reconciliation with the Taliban leadership will be possible when the international communities help us in the regions to obliged the (indistinct) concepts, the Waziristan (indistinct) to accept the negotiation and the peace in Afghanistan.  All (indistinct) I’m hoping that for us and for all of us if there is no really strong pressure on that, the existence of extremists, violent extremists in Afghanistan, not just in Afghanistan, in the region will continue.  </p> <p>Chairman:  William Patey.</p> <p>William Patey:  I’m just a bit perturbed at the idea, I mean especially from former diplomats that, you know, you mustn’t embark on reconciliation if there’s any chance that somebody will be irreconcilable.  Of course some people will be irreconcilable.  That’s not a reason for not going and talking to find out what, what, what would reconcile most, most people …</p> <p>Hilary Synnott:  And of course that’s not what I said.  </p> <p>WP:  Yeah.</p> <p>HS:  I advocated (indistinct).</p> <p>WP:  Yea, so I mean I, I …</p> <p>HS:  (Indistinct.)</p> <p>WP:  … I, I think it’s, I think it’s for the Afghan Government and the Afghan people to decide how much reconciliation is worth and the Ambassador has very firmly said he’s, he’s not willing to see a return to a Taliban controlled state and I don’t think anyone would want to see that.  So that’s, that’s a process that, that, that will be decided by, by, by the Afghans.  </p> <p>But I mean your characterisation of reintegration is also wrong because actually a lot of Afghans are sick of fighting.  A lot of the Taliban are sick of fighting.  And what we’re seeing at a local level, it’s very limited, but at least it’s encouraging, former Taliban recog, coming to the district governors and saying look, we’ve had enough of this, how do we, how do we get back to normal life.  How do we get off the, how do we get off the coalition hit list.  And there’s a bit of that going on.  You know, tens, twenties, the recent number who came over where, where sixty, a group of sixty who wanted to come over.  They want to stop fighting, they want to get back their …  </p> <p>So the reintegration process can offer some people some scope for people to come on an individual basis.  But my own view is on the, on the, on the broader front it will, it will be the follow up to the, the Peace Jirga with, with the, with the Afghan Government who says, who, who makes an offer to people, look there is an Afghan state here.  And it’s already pretty Islamic.  I mean within the constitution the sharia law has quite a prominent position.  There’s plenty, you know, there’s plenty of scope, for, for the Afghan people themselves want an Islamic flavour to its constitution.  I mean they want that, that’s a majority view, not just a Taliban view.  So there’s, there’s lots of, there’s lots of scope there.  </p> <p>So I, you know, I think you mustn’t be put off a reconciliation process because at the end of the day there might be some irreconcilables. If we hadn’t started to talk with the IRA on the basis that some of them would, a few of them would never accept it until the six counties were returned to the Republic of Ireland, you’d never have got anywhere.  So there will be some irreconcilables on any deal.</p> <p>Chairman:  Let me provoke a little bit more not to exasperate, I hope, but an important presidential candidate in Afghanistan said this January at Davos, Abdullah Abdullah, he said it’s impossible to think about a Swiss style democracy in Afghanistan of course.  But it’s not totally impossible said Abdullah Abdullah to think a little bit more about a Swiss style constitution in which there was much more devolution of power to the local districts, the cantons if you like, and, and, and the rest.  </p> <p>And if this became a condition of senior individuals fighting the Government to be able to really feel they genuinely had more local power and it wasn’t just a, a gift occasionally granted from Kabul, would, would Afghanistan be able to as it were loya jirga itself in to that compromise do you think or do you think that’s a feckless enterprise Ambassador?</p> <p>Homayoun Tandar:  I’m not a politician.  I’m just a Civil Servant, I ask just to say our constitution is a central government, but we have this (indistinct) in Afghanistan that was sort of a point of (indistinct) during the presidential elections.  We know the reason for it was.  We have this options in (indistinct) I can see (indistinct).  </p> <p>Can I allow me something, about the history, my answer has a (indistinct).  I, I want to say something as a Muslim.  Taliban and al Qaeda  groups are not (indistinct).  They killed people in the mosques just last week, more than one hundred Muslims were killed, were, were killed by the Talib, by the Pakistani Taliban in (indistinct) just because they were in the prayer.  Which Islam is it?  It’s not my Islam.  I don’t believe in this god, I don’t believe in this law, I don’t believe in this Islam, is not mine.  I don’t know what is their case of other Muslims present here, but Taliban and Al Qaeda, that (indistinct) Islam (indistinct).</p> <p>Chairman:  Let me move the debate up to a little bit more of the regional dimension because we’ve spoken a lot about domestic politics and about outside political will.  But we’re turning to the region.  There are key players, Pakistan obviously, but in another sense also India whose strategic objectives in Afghanistan are sometimes suspected by Pakistan and that can perhaps halt political processes.</p> <p>Rahul Roy-Chaudhury of the IISS do you want to maybe make a comment and invite a response on India perhaps a bit, Pakistan as well.</p> <p>Rahul Roy-Chaudhury (Senior Fellow for South Asia, International Institute for Strategic Studies):  Thank you. I think the panel made an important point about the need for neighbours and how they strategically work together on the stability of Afghanistan.  But clearly we see that this is not happening on the ground and this is more so in the case of the Pakistan (indistinct) relationship that is taking place in Afghanistan today.  We have a situation where India is a large aid donor to Afghanistan which is criticised by Pakistan.  We see that the, the (indistinct) influence of Pakistan in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, you know, (indistinct).  There is no dialogue with the, the Governments of India and Pakistan on Afghanistan and in fact there is a sense that both countries have a greater stake in Afghanistan (indistinct) concept and perspective of stability in Afghanistan.  </p> <p>So the two questions I have really are firstly what is the sense of engagement with India and Pakistan on Afghanistan to try to get consensus on developments in Afghanistan and secondly as the British Prime Minister David Cameron prepares for his visit to Delhi at the end of this month in pursuit of (indistinct) partnership with India, what is the sort of message that Prime Minister Cameron will be telling the leadership in Delhi about his own (indistinct)?</p> <p>Chairman:  That’s for Minister Burt I think to start with.</p> <p>Alistair Burt:  Yeah I think, I think firstly you’re, you’re correct.  I mean there is a, whatever the sense in the past might have been that engagement in Afghanistan was very much confined to its borders, it was a, an internal difficulty that needed to be dealt with.  It’s, it’s clearly that, that isn’t the sense now.  The relationships between the two countries are rather different.  Pakistan’s involvement with, with Afghanistan and the, the movement of peoples, the movement of organisations are now clearly recognised as a, as a, as a major factor not only in, in trying to deal with the problems in Afghanistan, but also in trying to find a solution and the answer.  </p> <p>I, I think one of the things that also is increasingly recognised is the cost to Pakistan of what has been happening in Afghanistan.  There has been significant cost, not only in, in, in people lost, but the, the engagement of Pakistan with more terrorist groups in the territories has cost them economically as well.  And the recognition also that terrorist activity may have been sparked by this engagement is also very real.</p> <p>So, so firstly the British Government has an increasing sense of both India and Pakistan as partners in dealing with this problem and also as I say of, of recognising the considerable cost there’s been to Pakistan in tackling its part of the issue and the problem.</p> <p>India of course has its own perspective on these issues and I think may at some stage have felt sort of rather excluded from the conversations and whether or not they were going to be part of the answer as well.  I think one of the, one of the issues that the Prime Minister will definitely be taking to India is a, a, a recognition of its role in relation to this.  </p> <p>The, the lengthy and the, the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan over a whole variety of issues is, is the backdrop to it.  I don’t think we have any sense that Afghanistan necessarily makes it more difficult or more easy to do, but I think there is a sense that perhaps the catalyst of engagement over Afghanistan in taking the message to both the Indian Government and the Pakistan Government is that their mutual involvement in helping to seek an answer is absolutely crucial is a very important message that David Cameron can take.  </p> <p>So I think probably the most significant uplift in the relationship and, and a change perhaps in, in, in a new government is, is to make very clear to both India and Pakistan our sense that their engagement in the answer is absolutely crucial.  They’re not peripheral players.  They have, they, they have a real need to be involved and be engaged.  The, the, the advantage is to both to play a part in getting a political settlement in Afghanistan.  There isn’t anything to be gained for either of them to see the present situation continue or not to be engaged in that process.  And I think that’s the political message that David Cameron will be taking.</p> <p>Chairman:  Another country that has extraordinary experience of Afghanistan, not always a happy one, but has supported the, the NATO operations recently and must be one would think part of any broader political process, is, is Russia.  So I wonder if I can ask Oksana Antonenko if she might ask about Russia’s engagement or make a comment that might inspire a response.  Oksana.</p> <p>Oksana Antonenko (Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia, International Institute for Strategic Studies):  Thank you (indistinct).  Actually I want to touch on more of a central Asian dimension, maybe say a few words about Russia and ask the Ambassador a question.  </p> <p>The Ambassador said there I think very perceptively and very clearly described in terms of the priorities for Afghanistan economic development, the importance of the (indistinct) the, the highway networks that are being developed at the moment as absolutely being crucial in order to integrate Afghanistan, but mostly as a regional transportation path, a (indistinct) trade path.  </p> <p>I think it is extraordinary in my view that it has taken eight years, eight years before those, those projects actually can be seriously completed and some of them they have not received sufficient attention and finance and I’m hoping that now as they’re moving towards the Kabul Conference we’re actually going to see more emphasis and engagement of regional actors in those absolutely crucial economic projects.</p> <p>And then the second point that he also mentioned in your speech, I thought it was very interesting that none of them were (indistinct) original consensus and I do agree completely with, with Rahul that if we look at the northern dimension of the region so to speak, the central Asian states, China, Iran, there’s very little consensus now on, on many issues.  In fact I think there is less consensus today than we have seen a few years ago.  </p> <p>And let me just mention three issues on which there is no consensus.  One, one issue is reconciliation, just like India I think all three central Asian states that are bordering Afghanistan as well as, you know, Russia, Iran and others, China too, you know, have a lot of questions about the value of reconciliation, particularly if the assumption in the region seems to be that precisely as Michael Crawford has described, that reconciliation is not possible on the principles that are put forward by your Government, but actually will require more substantial compromises in the type and nature of the regime, the nature of Government that will exist in Afghanistan, which  of course will have direct implications for the regional neighbours.</p> <p>And then the second issue is drugs.  Nobody here has discussed drugs, but the region is suffering tremendously from drug trafficking from Afghanistan.  We have seen recently the events in Osh in Kyrgyzstan and I think one part of the story which has not very often been repeated is that Osh in fact is the main drug trafficking hub in central Asia.  And the, the violence that we have seen there as well as, you know, the rise of extremism across central Asia is being funded and supported by various drugs money.</p> <p>So what is your Government as well as the UK Government going to do about it?  And how are they sort of, the reduction in the role of the ISAF in the future is actually going to be contributing to that.  Of course the UK has been responsible in ISAF for a number of years in dealing with the anti drugs policy across Afghanistan.</p> <p>And finally I think the, the issue of the ISAF withdrawal.  There is certainly an assumption in the region increasingly now that within the next five to six years as we are going to see the reduction of the military presence in the region, in Afghanistan, the international military presence, that the regional states might have to be picking up the pieces so to speak.  We have seen the (indistinct) in the 1990s after the beginning of the civil war in Afghanistan the tremendous impact it had on central Asian states.  And today all those states are much weaker, when actually extremism there is much stronger I think the impact is going to be even more severe.  </p> <p>What is your vision for, for the, for the IS, after the country, post ISAF Afghanistan so to speak?  How will the regional states can actually be assured that the new highways and new railroads running across the borders with Afghanistan, that the extremists will not be travelling the other way.  And what roles do you see them playing in that?</p> <p>Chairman:  Well that’s a lot of, lot of subjects, but maybe Ambassador you might want to focus on how you can convince some of your (indistinct) to support a reconciliation process and, and also to support the, the drugs policy that we’ve (indistinct).  Ambassador and then of course Minister Burt.  Or do you want, do you want to come in first?</p> <p>Alistair Burt:  No, no, I, I’d like William to deal with the drugs side, because I think William’s got the …</p> <p>Chairman:  All right, William, William gets drugs, you get reconciliation.</p> <p>AB:  … (indistinct).</p> <p>Chairman:  Ambassador.</p> <p>Homayoun Tandar:  We need four different levels of consensus as I see it.  One is the national consensus.  My President tried to do it with the (indistinct).  The second one is the regional consensus.  For that my President travelled to Pakistan, India, Iran, central Asia, China and (indistinct).  Talk about that.  The third one is the international consensus.  We should have it, that was the subject, one of the subjects of conversation in Washington just before coming in London and have the conversation with the (indistinct).  </p> <p>The problem of Afghanistan is we are suffering for the subjects we are not our subjects.  The invasion of Afghanistan by Russia, by United Soviet it was not because Afghanistan is a threat for the (indistinct).  We have separate for a reason which was not ours.  We were for nothing in the confrontation between East and West as that time.  The result is we had more than two millions of people killed and destroyed country and destroyed the state more than six millions of refugees.  What is (indistinct)?  We offer nothing in 2000, they have (indistinct) for nothing, but Afghanistan become the centre of this problem.  What happened, you, you have explained that.  We don’t have any problem with focus on India.  Why we have to suffer from invasion and (indistinct).  </p> <p>That’s the, (indistinct) I don’t know how terrified (indistinct).  The sadness of Afghanistan, the situation of Afghanistan.  We try, we do what we can to organise the best relationships with everyone, included Russia who was, and other countries in (indistinct).  We want to forget that.  We want to think about the future and this is our offer to the regions.  Please forget the very small problems, become together and we have to think about our future.  How we can build a new future, how we can solve the social economical problems in our regions.  How we can create a real regional economy and we want to do that, we asked the help of United Kingdom, we asked the help of other countries to canvas the neighbours to come to the table to talk about that.  </p> <p>The other problems of the region is the definition of national interest is not so clear.  There is very small interest which worked against the national interest.  </p> <p>William Patey:  I, I would just say that I mean one of the, a lot of the problems and issues you raise are actually opportunities as well because if you, if you think that regionals, you need a regional consensus, regional support for, for helping Afghanistan, Afghanistan shouldn’t be an area of contention.  There’s no particular reason why it should be an area of contention between, between India and Pakistan.  And the Russians and the, the Stans have legitimate concerns about the spread of extremism, Islamic extremism.  Pakistan has concerns about the blow back in to its own territory.  They’re all concerned about drugs.  Drugs is the one issue that could probably lead to the catalyst for greater regional engagement.  I mean I think, you know, I think, I’ve been dealing with this region for a long time, I think the Russians and the Iranians were all a bit complacent about drugs because it was transiting on its way to us, the decadent West and then we, we warned them that eventually it would become their problem too and it has.</p> <p>So, you know, so they, they are concerned about it and the Russians are concerned about the drug trade.  They are concerned about the, the flow of, of Islamic extremism.  So there is a, there is a sort of group of problems and issues there that should be bringing regional countries to a table to discuss them and certainly we’ve been encouraging, we, I mean in a small way we, we fund the within, we have built up within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan a regional cooperation section, you know as a (indistinct) so that the, the Foreign Ministry has the capacity to take some of these issues forward.  So I think, you know, those, those are all legitimate concerns of the neighbours legitimate problems and ought to act as the catalyst for some regional engagement in a more positive and constructive way with Afghanistan.</p> <p>Chairman:  We have to close in just under five minutes.  Let’s bring together a couple of loose ends. I’m sure there are many (indistinct) if you could come in, if you stand up then, and then Baria Alamuddin after that, perhaps giving a bit of an Arab perspective</p> <p>Unidentified Woman:  Now there are going to be people in this room who will not be comfortable with the fact that the insurgency is continuing to fuel the conflict in Afghanistan for one main reason and that is the occupation as they see it of foreign troops.  Now if the objective in 2010 is that you degrade the Taliban, you seize the momentum in places like Marjah, Kandahar if it happens, and then you negotiate.  </p> <p>The divergence in my view comes when you are talking at the same time, killing people, reconciling with people and there are two distinct aspects.  One is that you have to understand and deal with shifting political alliances within the local players in Afghanistan.  Then you have the international players in Afghanistan.</p> <p>I think there hasn’t been much understanding of the fact that the insecurity that President Karzai feels with the relationship with the US which is sometimes good, it’s sometimes bad, has made him take decisions in my view to, that he’s, he’s reassessed the position in so far as negotiating is concerned, vis a vis his own dislike, or dislike by the Americans.</p> <p>I think also another key factor which has happened in recent weeks is that the firing of General McChrystal has actually had in my view a very different fall out. It’s not really a question of, you know, are we going to pursue the same strategy but with different personnel as President Obama was saying.  That’s a given, you have a very experienced man in General Petraeus.  </p> <p>But the other fall out is that Pakistan and Afghanistan have now a perception that actually Washington is confused.  So because Washington is confused we need to take the situation in to our own hands.  </p> <p>My view is that the media coverage, and I think the Guardian has actually covered quite a lot of this, is that the, the new talks directly between President Karzai and Pakistan Army involving the Haqqani group is actually a fall out from that, that we need to start talking now not in December, not in March next year.  You, you can’t kill people and talk to people at the same time and actually these people are the big players that are going to make a difference.  </p> <p>So when I hear Sir William Patey talk about for example the, the governance issues and all of this is, is great stuff and yes it’s going to continue long after the, the troop withdrawal starts.  But the fact of the matter is that none of this may continue if you don’t reach a settlement with those people that are actually key to, to the whole future of Afghanistan.</p> <p>Chairman:  I’ll invite people to make a final word.  Why don’t you pass the microphone to Baria Alamuddin from Al Hayat and then everybody will have a last word before we close.  Baria.</p> <p>Baria Alamuddin (Al Hayat):  Thank you very much. John you asked me to talk about the Arab perspective.  Unfortunately I don’t think the Arab world has really made much concern, except I would say Saudi Arabia which William knows very well.  It’s, it’s quite unfortunate, however I, I have attended a conference of women in the Arab world particularly working women and I was surprised to learn about the concern that these women are having about women in Afghanistan.  There’s wide concern really there.</p> <p>I, I have a comment really about Iran.  Nobody mentioned the role of Iran.  I was interested that the Ambassador has thanked Iran about its role. I, I’m wondering why this, this thanks due and I wonder if anybody can really comment on what Iran is actually doing in Afghanistan vis a vis Taliban especially.  Thank you.</p> <p>Chairman:  Good, well we’ve had rather two, two rather good interventions.  Let’s just end up with that and perhaps I’ll just start with the Afghan Ambassador, then William Patey and Minister Burt.  The final reaction before we close to those points.  Ambassador.</p> <p>Homayoun Tandar:  I don’t know what did you want to say.  Do you want, did you want to say there is a very close link between the Pakistani Army and Haqqani group?  And (indistinct) to come to the table (indistinct) negotiation perhaps, is that what, you want to say.  I (indistinct).</p> <p>Chairman:  It’s a rhetorical question.  </p> <p>We know how this could continue.</p> <p>HT:  For the rest, we want a peaceful region.  We don’t want to answer to a (indistinct) which transformed the situation more (indistinct) in our region.  We are ready to do what we can to increase the good relationship in our region.  Iran is a neighbour of Afghanistan.  Helped my country and my Government, political (indistinct) economical (indistinct) as I said the railway will be built by the help of Iranian Government.  We have more than two millions of Afghan in Iran and we are responsible vis a vis of those people.</p> <p>The end of the difficulties between Iran and the Western countries will be a very strong (indistinct) for (indistinct) stabilisation not just in Afghanistan, but in all regions of the Middle East.</p> <p>Chairman:  William Patey.</p> <p>William Patey:  Well I mean I think the history of conflict tells you it is possible to fight and talk at the same time.  It happens all the time, I mean every fight ends and a talk ends in a deal.  So there’s all (indistinct) I don’t think there’s any inconsistency there.  If your message is you need to get, you need to start talking about a political settlement sooner rather than later, absolutely agree.  And  I think from my conversations with President Karzai, he’s, he’s, he’s ready, he’s ready to (indistinct) so I don’t think there’s any dispute there.  </p> <p>Barai’ll know whenever I comment on Iran I get in to trouble, so I’m not going to.  </p> <p>Chairman:  Minister Burt.</p> <p>Alistair Burt:  I, I’d just like to thank everyone for their participation in something like this.  No one pretends that this area of policy is in any way easy.  It, it is difficult, it’s going to be, it’s a, a very tough year coming up. It’s going to be difficult for the next few years.  But I’m, I’m pleased that people will engage with us in thinking about how we go about this.  And I hope people go away with a sense of understanding of the sort of things that are on our mind.  </p> <p>We’re not, we, we know that what we’re doing, doing is difficult.  We know that there’s going to be an, an ebb and flow.  We do believe very genuinely there are grounds for some sense of optimism about what has already been achieved, eighty five per cent of people in Afghanistan now have access to basic health care. It was nine per cent in 2001.  We have thirty six per cent of pupils in school now are girls.   We have a lot of basic things happening in the justice sectors, in the provincial government sectors.  It, it’s a, it’s a process bit by bit and I don’t think these things should be, should be glossed over or ignored.</p> <p>I suppose one of the things that we hope we are there for, in company with all our NATO allies, in company with all those who are contributing to the political process, is there isn’t a, a blueprint of what sort of Government will emerge at the end of the day.  But what is essential is the decisions taken on what sort of Government there will be, local, provincial and national, will be taken by Afghanis themselves and we’re helping to create the space where those decisions will be made because the more that process is successful the more both the Afghan people will be secure, their neighbours will be secure and we will be secure.  I think it is a benevolent process that is going on, difficult though it may be.  Success will only be, be measured with what happens on the ground and people are entitled to be questioning, to be sceptical until they see those achievements and, and that’s entirely fair.</p> <p>But I hope people in this room will feel that they have through these sort of engagements an opportunity to question, to hear from people who are directly engaged and involved with what’s happening on the ground and get an opportunity to get as best as we can some answers to the concerns that they have, honest answers in terms of what is going well, what we would like to see achieved and what we know is difficult.  But I hope you get a very strong sense of commitment from the United Kingdom Government to the process that is going on, a commitment to the people of Afghanistan, a recognition of the sacrifice that has been made by so many people in order to get to where we are now, but a determination to make it work as best we can and to get something that will be lasting and, and, and secure for all the people in the area because of what has already been achieved and been done on their behalf.</p> <p>Chairman:  Well thank you very much indeed.  The, the International Institute for Strategic Studies has a very strong and healthy Afghanistan security programme.  This debate is part of it, but as you will have heard in the first two thirds of the discussion, we have a great deal of expertise in the building on this subject.  We want to work a great deal more on Afghanistan, the region, the political processes.  So achieving progress in Afghanistan, the political dimension, is something that the International Institute for Strategic Studies will be working hard on.  </p> <p>I very much enjoyed this debate and discussion.  I hope the panellists didn’t think it was a sort of IISS version of Hard Talk, but that it was in any case a high octane intellectual discussion and we look forward to continuing that with all the parties involved.  </p> <p>Thank you very much everybody.</p> <p> <br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:38 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22552304 Alistair Burt Achieving Progress in Afghanistan: The Political Dimension uk.org.publicwhip/member/40435 15 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
<p>It is a great pleasure to be here in Japan and to have been made so welcome by Prime Minister Kan a few minutes ago. I have very fond memories of previous visits including when I was Secretary of State for Wales under the last Conservative Government. It is a privilege to return again just two months into the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in Britain and to give my first speech overseas as Foreign Secretary here. It is the second in a series of four speeches that will set out our approach to foreign policy.<br><br>I think I can safely promise not to do what one speaker did in a much earlier epoch of our long relations, at the first inaugural meeting in London of the Japan Society in 1892. On that occasion the lecturer, one Mr Shidachi, enlivened his address on Ju-Jitsu by repeatedly throwing the Secretary of the Society over his head with the greatest of ease in front of the audience. I will attempt to make my arguments today without having to resort to any of these tactics.</p> <p>Two weeks ago I gave a speech in London which explains why I have come to Japan and China this week. I said that our new Government will pursue a distinctive British foreign policy that sets out to make the most of the abundant opportunities of the 21st century in a strategic fashion, creating the framework for sustaining British interests and our prosperity over the long term, as well addressing the challenges we face now in Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. I said we would pursue this distinctive British foreign policy in four ways.</p> <p>First, by intensifying our engagement with the emerging economies of the world where so much economic opportunity now lies, looking beyond our shores for new partners and new possibilities.<br></p> <p>Second, by building even stronger bilateral relationships for the United Kingdom. We will elevate key partnerships beyond Europe and North America with countries like Japan, seeking new ways of working together as networks of nations to support stability, security and prosperity in our own economies and in the wider world.</p> <p>Third, by engaging with people and their aspirations and not just with other governments. If our foreign policy is to be effective in a networked world we must extend opportunity to others as well as striving for the best for Britain, upholding our ownvalues and influencing others by being an inspiring example of our own values.</p> <p>The fourth principle, and the subject of my speech today, is that our new Government believes that British foreign policy needs to support the UK economy to a greater degree if we are to ensure our economic recovery and long-term growth for the future. We will make economic objectives a central aspect of our international bilateral engagement alongside our other traditional objectives. We will work in a targeted and systematic fashion to secure Britain’s economic recovery, promote open markets and improved financial regulation and to open the way to greater access for British companies in new markets worldwide. We will champion Britain as a partner of choice for any country seeking to invest and do business in Europe. And we will use our diplomacy to help secure a strong, sustainable and open global economy that benefits all nations and helps create the basic conditions for prosperity for those who are now denied it. To do this, we will inject a new commercialism into the work of our Foreign Office and into the definition of our country’s international objectives, ensuring that we develop the strong political relationships which will help British business to thrive overseas.  </p> <p>We are confident that this new approach will deliver results for Britain and that as a country we have a great deal to offer our partners in the global economy. We are a world-class destination for international business, we are a global hub for creativity and innovation, a centre of the world’s financial services industry and a leading champion of free trade and economic liberalism. We have a new Government that is committed to showing the world that Britain is open for business, to cutting corporation tax to 24% and to making Britain the easiest place in the world to start a business as well as one of the strongest business environments of all major European economies.</p> <p>So 14 days after that first speech I am here in Asia to show that we do mean business.  I am in Japan today and tomorrow to reaffirm our relationship and to seek a closer partnership in commerce and in foreign policy. I have just visited China, where encouraged Chinese leaders to continue the process of opening China’s markets to foreign companies. Later this week I will visit the Gulf, where we are taking systematic steps to elevate our ties. Over the coming month British Ministers will fan out across the world in support of this new approach, including a delegation to India led by our Prime Minister David Cameron and a visit to Brazil by the Business Secretary Vince Cable.<br></p> <p>Today I will set out what we hope to achieve in our relations with Japan, how we will put our new emphasis on economic objectives in foreign policy into practice, and how we aim to work with Japan and other like-minded countries to strengthen the global economy.  </p> <p>Japan matters to Britain. You are our closest partner in Asia. We are both members of the G8, G7, G20 and the OECD and we will one day work alongside each other as permanent members of an expanded United Nations Security Council. We support your ambition and are working with you to make that a reality. We work closely together in Afghanistan, where you are a leading donor and we are the second largest contributor to international forces, and we have a common approach to challenges like nuclear proliferation.  You are our largest export market outside Europe, China and the US and one of the five largest investors in the UK economy. 100,000 British jobs are linked to Japanese companies in Britain. We are the second largest recipient of your foreign direct investment in Europe, with 107 new projects in the last year alone alone, an increase of 27% on the previous year. You are our largest partner in research and development after the US and Japanese automotive companies are so integrated into our lives, communities and economies, manufacturing half of all cars made in the UK, that we almost think they are British anyway. And I cannot imagine that there are many households in Britain which do not own Japanese products which have revolutionised access to media and culture. I could go on. There are so many examples.  It is for all these reasons that I have chosen to give my speech on the global economy and the new economic focus of UK foreign policy here in Japan. It may be no surprise, given the different national characteristics for which we are both famous, that our relationship has been somewhat understated in the past, but we must  never undervalue the relationship.</p> <p>For I believe we could do still better, as I have just discussed with Prime Minister Kan and will discuss later with Foreign Minister Okada and with your Business and Energy Minister. UK direct investment in Japan is currently lower than in any of the other major Asian economies, even though you have the largest domestic market in the region. The maximum removal of both tariffs and non-tariff barriers could deliver, it has been estimated, €43.4 billion of additional EU exports to Japan and €53.8 billion of additional exports from Japan to the EU, which would be good for all of our citizens. We welcome the announcement by your Transport Minister of a new ‘open skies’ approach to air services in Japan, and we stand ready to move to a more liberal agreement given that the Tokyo-London air route is busier than any other between Tokyo and Europe. We have a significant opportunity to deepen our defence and security partnership if British industry, as part of the Eurofighter consortium, is successful in bidding to supply Japan's future fighter aircraft. And we would also like to further deepen and broaden our bilateral Energy dialogue, looking together at how we develop energy infrastructure for the 21st century, spearheading the low carbon transition and creating new drivers for growth in our economies.  </p> <p>But also understand that our relations with Japan are not just a matter of trade and commerce, as important as those things are to the prosperity of both our countries. There are opportunities open to us which go far beyond the sum total of the economic connections between us. Japan has long been an economic titan; the world’s second largest economy, still four times the size of India’s. But today you are also at the heart of a region that is racing ahead and undergoing extraordinary economic and social transformation. You are linked through your bilateral ties, your investments and your trade with many of the fastest growing regions of the world, including China and your East Asian neighbours as well as Latin America and Africa.</p> <p>We on the other hand are not only a leading member of a European Union of twenty seven member states and an advocate within the European Union of lots of things that matter to Japan, but we are linked to a Commonwealth of 54 nations which brings together countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific and which contains a third of the world’s population and some of its fastest growing economies. Nearly two hundred thousand British people live and work in the Gulf, a region of vital importance to your economy as well as to ours, and we have thriving communities within the United Kingdom with strong links to the countries of their heritage whether it is Bangladesh, Pakistan, or India. Our common links are underlined by the different but unique alliances we have with the United States – you across the Pacific Ocean, we across the Atlantic.</p> <p>All these different links, brought about in many cases over the course of hundreds of years of history, are being transformed and brought to life in previously unimaginable ways by new technology and new opportunities to communicate, many of which have been developed here in Japan. This is a dramatic new element in foreign policy and inrelations between states and peoples. We have tended often in the media to focus on the negative aspects of these changes, such as how they can be used to repress in countries like Burma or Iran or to sow terror. But this transformation is overwhelmingly positive. In a world in which Japan is just one click away from Britian we should view our overlapping and complementary networks of relationships and connections as a springboard for developing innovative new ways of working together such as on humanitarian assistance, development aid, and potentially in helping the poorest in the world gain access to the life-changing technology in which Japan excels.</p> <p>Our links also give us an invaluable means of working together in pursuit of our common interests in an environment where the international system is rapidly changing and it is harder for individual countries to exert influence. The economic crisis has accelerating the shift in economic power away from the countries of the West and towards the emerging economies, in your region and also beyond it in Latin America and the Gulf as well as contributing to the rise of new groupings of nations - the G20 now alongside the G8 - and the weaving together of whole new systems of influence: ASEAN, the BRICs, BASIC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation the African Union and so on. The widening of the circle of international decision making is positive and overdue, increasing the potential of reaching agreements that are binding on more countries and are regarded as more legitimate. But it does undoubtedly mean that Japan, Britain and our allies will have to work harder and influence more countries to protect our interests and to ensure that our diplomacy is sufficiently agile and energetic. So we hope to continue to work with Japan, on the Millennium Development Goals and on the existential threat of climate change, where we have among the most ambitious climate change targets of any developed countries and are both keen to exploit the opportunities that the new green economy presents for jobs and sustainable economic growth.<br></p> <p>We also hope to make more of the links between our parliaments and our people and, with your Government, to reinvigorate the UK-Japan 21st Century Group and to elevate our links in education. The first Japanese students, the “Choshu Five” went to University College London in 1863 and all went on to become leaders of their country. Nine years later the Glaswegian Henry Dyer established the Engineering College in Tokyo which was later merged into Tokyo University. And today hundreds of young Britons get their first experiences of living and working overseas by teaching here in Japan through the JET programme, while we welcome thousands of your students to study in the United Kingdom. But we want to go further.</p> <p>Britain has some of the best universities in the world. That is why over 400,000 foreign students, including 4,500 Japanese students, come to the UK every year to study.  This is of enormous benefit to Britain as well as those students. The Japanese Government rightly wants to internationalise its universities and has set a target of 300,000 overseas students entering Japanese universities by 2020 and the same number of Japanese students studying abroad over the same period. I can announce that the British Council will hold a series of policy dialogues to enable British and Japanese university leaders to share their best practices on internationalisation, and to broker strategic partnerships between British and Japanese universities to promote exchanges of both students and of researchers. The British Council will also provide the necessary specialised English language training for staff in Japanese universities, as well as for Japanese students. This should not only deepen collaboration between our universities, but it will boost British, and eventually Japanese, educational exports.  Most importantly, it will give many more British young people the chance to come to Japan to study, cementing our relationship into the next generation.<br></p> <p>Overall this British Government will give the consistent attention and effort to relations with Japan that we believe has sometimes been lacking in recent years. In 1906, Japan’s Ambassador to London lamented what he saw as Britain’s lack of desire “to know more of Japan’s conditions and aspirations”. Well that was a hundred years ago. I can tell you that the new British Government does wish to know more of Japan and work yet more closely with you. With our long history as close allies and economic partners we can and should deepen our partnership.<br></p> <p>While reinvigorating our relationship with Japan we will also build up British engagement with the emerging powers in Asia, Latin America and the Gulf and with Turkey, Europe’s largest emerging economy. This will be critical for our economic recovery and our prosperity in the UK, just as it is to that of many other countries we are competing with. The global middle class is likely to grow to over a billion people by 2030 – an increase in consumers since the turn of the century equivalent to the total population of the European Union - creating new commercial opportunities. The emerging economies are also now home to some of the biggest state equity investors and buyers of sovereign debt. They are also essential to our ability to tackle global rebalancing, trade liberalisation and broader challenges such as nuclear proliferation and climate change.<br></p> <p>That is why I am visiting Japan and China this week, to reinvigorate ties, invest in personal relationships, and champion Britain. But I am also here to announce the significant new emphasis that the British Foreign Office will give to providing direct support to the UK economy, helping British business secure new opportunities in the emerging economies and putting our diplomatic weight behind British enterprise as well as helping to bring Japanese and other investors to Britain. Today I have written an open letter to all 15,000 employees of our Foreign Office, including our staff here in Tokyo and Osaka, explaining that we must use our global diplomatic network to support UK business even more intensively and to build stronger bilateral relationships for Britain. This is a matter of vital national importance. In the words of our Prime Minister, our Ambassadors will now be economic as well as political Ambassadors for Britain.<br></p> <p>We will work alongside British businesses and the rest of Government and other Governmentsaround the world to use our political influence to help unblock obstacles to commercial success, including cultural and language barriers, excessive regulation or weak enforcement of property rights. We will also strengthen and broaden the science and technology network in our Embassies across the world, so that we help maintain the world-class science and engineering base necessary to transform the United Kingdom into Europe’s leading high-tech exporter and stay at the cutting edge of science and innovation.<br></p> <p>And we will pursue this approach across the whole of Government, not just the Foreign Office, so that this new focus on economic opportunity runs through the veins of our entire administration and so that whenever Ministers from domestic departments travel overseas on behalf of the United Kingdom they too will promote opportunities for British business as well as other essential objectives.<br></p> <p>We have a great deal to offer as a nation, as world leaders in financial services, health, the creative industries and advanced manufacturing which we will draw on to create stronger bilateral relationships for the UK.<br></p> <p>In addition to India, the key emerging economy is of course China. The UK and Chinese economies are now very complementary. China needs to increase domestic consumption, move its industry up the value chain and develop its service industries.   These are areas where UK companies are highly globally competitive. China needs to diversify its overseas investment, and the UK is an attractive investment destination.   Chinese companies are becoming more active internationally. UK companies with their historic networks and international experience are ideal partners, and the City of London, with its world leading financial, professional, communities and media services is an ideal springboard for global growth.</p> <p>To draw this together and conclude, UK economic recovery depends on global stability and growth. We will not prosper without a sustained economy recovery, access to new markets and new sources of inward investment. We will only thrive over the long term within a healthy global economy. So we must work with others on reform of the IMF, successful implementation of the G20 macroeconomic framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth. We must find innovative ways to take forward the Doha trade round which would boost the global economy by around $170 billion dollars annually and prevent billions more being lost through protectionism. At the same time we need to deal with the softer economic challenges which will be vital to sustaining prosperity: ensuring that growth in the developed and emerging economies benefits low income countries without further damage to our environment; improving international energy dialogue and institutional architecture; and embedding green growth into economic strategies.<br></p> <p>So making the most of our relations with Japan, with China and with other key economies will, for all of these reasons, be a central priority for the Foreign Office that I lead, as part of an approach that puts promoting trade and commercial interests at the heart of our foreign policy. Nothing will come to us by right or by virtue of the past. We have to work hard to earn our living as a nation and maintain our international influence. What we have set out to do with Japan we will also do more widely, pursuing British interests as well as the global good in a systematic fashion while making the most of the new opportunities for influence and action presented by a networked world. If we succeed, the rewards are clear, not only for our economy but for our ability to strengthen the international system and to deal with all challenges of the 21st century more effectively.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:45 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22551011 William Hague Britain’s prosperity in a networked world uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 15 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tokyo, Japan
<p>CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY</p> <p>I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you ahead of the third inter-parliamentary conference on climate change organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.    </p> <p>The Association is an excellent means for parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to share ideas, work together and foster better relations between our countries and I'm very grateful to them for organising this conference.</p> <p>I am pleased at the breadth of discussion this conference will encompass, from looking at science in the policy debate, the role of negotiations under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and how partnerships with civil society, faith groups and local government can yield benefits.</p> <p>This government is committed to giving the Commonwealth unwavering support. As William Hague said in his most recent foreign policy speech “We are fully committed to working with our Commonwealth partners to reinvigorate that organisation and help it develop a clearer agenda for the future”. That is why gatherings such as these are so important to us.  We must fully use them to test our ideas and debate the best way forward in the challenges we all face.</p> <p>Climate change is one of the most important challenges the international community must deal with. There are risks in global warming for all of us and we all have a responsibility to avoid the effects of dangerous increases in global temperatures.</p> <p>While science does not yet give us 100% certainty about the timelines involved, the scenarios that are likely to emerge from rising global temperatures are deeply disturbing:</p> <p>- A rise in sea levels will affect critical infrastructure and will impact on the two thirds of the world's population living near coast lines.<br>- Increased water shortages will make feeding the world's growing population more difficult as well as being a spur to the uncontrolled movements of people.<br>- Competition for resources could increase, presenting an existential problem for those involved and a security challenge for many others.</p> <p>In short, we cannot ignore these effects which will impact on both developing and developed countries - although we are fully aware that some of the poorest countries in the world will be hit first and hardest by the negative effects of climate change.</p> <p>This is particularly important to me as Minister responsible for Africa. I am very aware that African countries and people have the most to lose from the impacts of climate change.  It is in our interests to ensure that the most vulnerable benefit from positive progress towards a global deal and funding for adaptation through climate finance.</p> <p>The British government is keen to play its part. Prime Minister David Cameron wants this government to be the greenest ever.</p> <p>We stand by the Copenhagen Accord and want to see ambitious action to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by more than 2°C.</p> <p>We have already made a start.  The UK will commit £1.5 billion in assistance between now and 2012 to help other countries to reduce emissions, in a way that does not threaten their growth, and to combat the negative effects of climate change.</p> <p>And the coalition government is committed to pushing the EU to reduce its emissions by 30% on 1990 levels by 2020. We believe this goal for the EU is realistic - it would cost just 0.1% of EU gross domestic product more than the original pre-recession estimate of achieving 20%.</p> <p>Britain will be at the forefront of the EU’s effort. Because the EU includes richer and poorer member states, we will be doing more than many others in the Union. At present, under the EU commitment to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020, the UK has promised to reduce its own emissions by 34%.  Should the EU move to 30%, the UK will reduce its emissions by over 40%.</p> <p>We are also working with our European colleagues to achieve the best possible outcome at the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun in Mexico in November and beyond to South Africa in 2011. I hope I will have a chance to get your views on where we can work together to achieve this.</p> <p>Our ambition is matched by our realism. We know we must ensure that a low carbon high-growth scenario becomes a realistic prospect. We want the poorest economies to grow and we must ensure that the development that is necessary to pull millions of people out of poverty is not stalled.</p> <p>But this can never be an excuse for inaction on climate change. We need the right incentives for low carbon growth to help create the investments, exports and jobs we need to help spur our economic recovery.</p> <p>We must focus on growing the green economy and incentivise business to develop the technologies of the future and exploit the technologies we already have to promote a low carbon, high-growth world. I believe that there are real opportunities for business in the new green economy. It is excellent to see that the conference will address partnerships with business.</p> <p>But business is not the only group essential in driving action on climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.  Across civil society – from legislators to academic institutions, from trade unions to Non-Government Organisations – increasing numbers of voices are calling for ambitious, global action on climate change.  And we recognise just how important this is, because without a clear mandate from societies, delivering practical action on climate change is not possible.  </p> <p>Throughout the Commonwealth, parliaments are echoing those voices, lobbying governments to take action on climate change.  And we applaud and welcome the vital role parliaments undertake in pushing for committed and urgent action to tackle this most serious of threats.</p> <p>The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working alongside the Department for Energy and Climate Change and DFID has a key role to play on climate and the international climate change agenda.  You will hear from Stephen O’Brien tomorrow and we greatly value DFID’s contribution. We have an extensive network of diplomats working on climate change across the globe and William Hague recently announced the reappointment of John Ashton as Special Representative for Climate Change.  They will be at the forefront of this government’s ambitious climate change objectives.</p> <p>We will continue to make the case for high ambition with our friends in the United States, China, and many others.</p> <p>We know we don't have all the answers and that is why we are keen to keep the conversation going.  I hope that when those who have come from overseas to participate in this conference return home, they will speak to our embassies and give them your impressions, but more importantly, I hope you will also speak to fellow parliamentarians to encourage them to take this global challenge seriously and aim for high ambition in taking effective action to tackle it.</p> <p>I'm sure that this conference will be a success and once again thank the organisers for their efforts in putting it together.</p> <p> <br></p> 2011-03-24 23:09:47 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22534999 Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association climate change conference uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 14 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office London
<p>Thank you all for accepting my invitation to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today to hear how the new coalition Government will conduct the Foreign Policy of the United Kingdom. This is the first in a series of four linked speeches, the second of which will be in the Far East in two weeks time.<br></p> <p></p> <p>The reason I chose the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the location for the first of these speeches to send a serious signal of intent about our new approach to British foreign policy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.<br></p> <p>This Government understands that foreign policy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office primarily exist to serve and protect the interests and needs of the British people in the broadest sense and must be anchored in that way if they are to command public support and confidence. Yes, much of the day to day business of the Foreign Office is necessarily conducted overseas. Some of it is secret. Most of it is complex. But these things should not be an obstacle to our foreign policy being well understood, firmly grounded in the lives of British people and accountable to them.  In seven weeks so far as Foreign Secretary I have seen innumerable instances of where our work delivers results and protects Britons abroad. I am convinced that the skills and expertise of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are more necessary than ever and that marshalled effectively they can play a leading role in supporting our economy and contributing to a safer and more equitable world.  <br></p> <p>I returned to frontbench politics five years ago expressly to shadow Foreign Affairs and obviously hoping to occupy the office I now hold.  During that time in Opposition it became increasingly apparent to me that the previous Government had neglected to lift its eyes to the wider strategic needs of this country, to take stock of British interests, and to determine in a systematic fashion what we must do as a nation if we are to secure our international influence and earn our living in a world that is rapidly changing. My coalition colleagues and I are utterly determined to supply that leadership. The Prime Minister has signalled our intention to chart a clear way forward by launching a strategic review of our defence and security needs, led by the requirements of foreign policy as well inevitable financial constraints, and that review will conclude by the autumn. It will be a fundamental reappraisal of Britain’s place in the world and how we operate within it as well as of the capabilities we need to protect our security.<br></p> <p>Today I will set out why we believe such a reappraisal is necessary, the new approach we intend to pursue and the steps we have already taken.<br></p> <p>Put simply, the world has changed and if we do not change with it Britain’s role is set to decline with all that that means for our influence in world affairs, for our national security and for our economy. Achieving our foreign policy objectives has become harder and will become more so unless we are prepared to act differently.<br></p> <p>Four of the changes I would single out to support this claim are well known: First, economic power and economic opportunity are shifting to the countries of the East and South; to the emerging powers of Brazil, India, China and other parts of Asia and to increasingly significant economies such as Turkey and Indonesia. It is estimated that by 2050 emerging economies will be up to 50% larger than those of the current G7, including of course the United Kingdom. Yet the latest figures show that at the moment we export more to Ireland than we do to India, China and Russia put together.<br></p> <p>Second, the circle of international decision-making has become wider and more multilateral. Decisions made previously in the G8 are now negotiated within the G20, and this Government will be at the forefront of those arguing for the expansion of the United Nations Security Council. While this trend is hugely positive and indeed overdue it poses a challenge to our diplomacy, increasing the number of countries we need to understand and to seek to influence through our Ambassadors and our network of Embassies overseas. The views of the emerging powers are critical to our ability to tackle global economic reform, nuclear proliferation, climate change and energy security, but they do not always agree with our approach to these problems when they arise in the UN and elsewhere, making it all the more necessary that our diplomacy is energetic and robust.<br></p> <p>Third, protecting our security has become more complex in the face of new threats. The immense benefits of trade and the movement of people can mask the activity of those who use the tools of globalisation to destructive or criminal ends and are able to use almost any part of the world as a platform to do so.  No more striking example of this has been seen in recent history than in Afghanistan, but we must also look ahead to other parts of the world which are at risk of similar exploitation.<br></p> <p>Fourth, the nature of conflict is changing. Our Armed Forces are currently involved in fighting insurgencies or wars-amongst-the-people rather than state on state conflict, they are involved in counter-piracy operations rather than sea battles, the projection of force overseas rather than homeland-based defence. And security threats themselves are more widely dispersed in parts of the world which are often difficult to access, lawless and in some cases failing, where the absence of governance feeds into a cycle of conflict and danger that we have yet to learn to arrest but are likely to face more often.<br></p> <p>These four factors alone would call for a British foreign policy that is more active and that looks further afield for opportunity. But when taken together with the fifth and most striking change of all, the emergence of a networked world, the case for a new approach to the foreign policy of the United Kingdom becomes unanswerable.<br></p> <p>For although the world has become more multilateral as I have described, it has also become more bilateral. Relations between individual countries matter, starting for us with our unbreakable alliance with the United States which is our most important relationship and will remain so. Our shared history, value and interests, our tightly linked economies and strong habits of working together at all levels will ensure that the US will remain our biggest single partner for achieving our international goals. But other bilateral ties matter too, whether they are longstanding ties which have been allowed to wither or stagnate or the new relations that we believe we must seek to forge for the 21st century. Regional groups are certainly strengthening across the world, but these groups are not rigid or immutable. Nor have they diminished the role of individual states as some predicted. Today, influence increasingly lies with networks of states with fluid and dynamic patterns of allegiance, alliance and connections, including the informal, which act as vital channels of influence and decision-making and require new forms of engagement from Britain.<br></p> <p>The contrast with the past could not be more striking.  When the Foreign Secretary Castlereagh went to the Congress of Vienna in 1814 it was the first time a British Foreign Secretary had even set foot overseas to meet any of his counterparts since the job had been invented more than thirty years before. Today Foreign Ministers communicate through formal notes, highly frequent personal meetings, hours a day on the telephone to discuss and coordinate responses to crises, and quite a lot of us communicate by text message or in the case of the Foreign Minister of Bahrain and I, follow each other avidly on Twitter.<br></p> <p>But the change does not stop there. Relations between states are now no longer monopolised by Foreign Secretaries or Prime Ministers. There is now a mass of connections between individuals, civil society, businesses, pressure groups and charitable organisations which are also part of the relations between nations and which are being rapidly accelerated by the internet. The recent Gaza flotilla crisis illustrated how collections of individuals from different countries can come together to try to force Governments to change course and reach a global audience in doing so. In a very different case, the emergence of a widespread opposition movement in Iran around the Presidential elections a year ago showed the astonishing power of the internet to allow individual people to reach out beyond their borders in defiance of a ruthless lockdown, sharing information on the net with people across the world who in turn urged their Governments to respond.<br></p> <p>So if the increasingly multipolar world already means that we have more governments to influence and that we must become more active, the ever accelerating development of human networks means that we have to use many more channels to do so, seeking to carry our arguments in courts of public opinion around the world as well as around international negotiating tables.  <br></p> <p>As an example I spent three days in Pakistan last week. There as in so many other countries relative poverty does not preclude access to information from numerous sources and it certainly doesn’t stifle interest in the wider world. Half of all Pakistanis are under the age of 20 and 100 million of them have mobile phones. The average person has his or her own opinion on developments in Afghanistan, the rights and wrongs of the Middle East Peace Process as they see them and an impression of the conduct of Britain and the United States in all these arenas. In our relations with Pakistan for example we therefore have to understand that domestic opinion in that country and the British Pakistani Diaspora matter, to the extent that the impact of our expenditure on aid, counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism in Pakistan may well be undercut unless we are creating a positive impression of Britain to the wider population at the same time. So in addition to my meetings with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister I spent a lot of time speaking to opinion formers in the media, business and anybody who was listening through television and twitter. In my mind, such communication will become all the more important over time and as we conduct our diplomacy across the world we overlook international opinion at our peril, and while we cannot possibly hope to dominate the global airwaves we must try ever harder to get our message across. This is a reality that the Obama administration has grasped and articulated most effectively, communicating directly with citizens in the Muslim-majority world. There are many new opportunities for us to work with the United States and other allies in this new environment in ways in which often complement their efforts.<br></p> <p>I would go even further now to say that the networked world requires us to inspire other people with how we live up to our own values rather than try to impose them, because now they are able to see in more detail whether we meet our own standards and make up their own minds about that. We should not be shy about thinking about our development assistance in the same terms. We will honour our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013, to enshrine this commitment in law and maintain DfID as a separate Department.  We will continue to support the Millennium Development Goals, as a moral obligation and a contribution to our own long-term security. But we should be open about the fact that aid, which is not a gift of government but the fruit of the generosity of the British citizen, can also contribute to a positive impression of Britain.  <br></p> <p>In this networked world the UK not only needs to be an active and influential member of multilateral bodies but we also need to ensure that our diplomacy is sufficiently agile, innovative in nature and global in reach to create our own criss-crossing networks of strengthened bilateral relations.  <br></p> <p>In recent years Britain’s approach to building relationships with new and emerging powers has been rather ad-hoc and patchy, giving rise to the frequent complaint from such Governments that British Ministers only get in touch when a crisis arises or a crucial vote is needed. This weakens our ability to forge agreement on difficult issues affecting the lives of millions around the world and it overlooks the importance of consistency and personal relationships in the conduct of foreign policy.  In many countries decisions about politics and economics are also often more closely entwined than in Britain, meaning that the absence of strong bilateral relations has the further effect of weakening our position when economic decisions are made.<br></p> <p>Furthermore within groupings such as the EU, it is no longer sensible or indeed possible just to focus our effort on the largest countries at the expense of smaller members. Of course France and Germany remain our crucial partners which is why the Prime Minister visited them in his first days in office. But for the UK to exert influence and generate creative new approaches to foreign policy we need to look further and wider. The EU is at its best as a changing network where its members can make the most of what each country brings to the table. We are already seeking to work with many of the smaller member states in new and more flexible ways, recognising where individual countries or groupings within the EU add particular value. To take just one example, newer member states which were formerly under Soviet control have a wealth of experience of the transition to democracy after decades of dominion which they could share with EU candidate countries and others further afield. That should be built into the European Union’s approach to common foreign and security policy.<br></p> <p>So I have begun discussing how we could form such initiatives with the Foreign Ministers of some of these countries. We should also see the value of Turkey’s future membership of the European Union in this light. Turkey is Europe’s biggest emerging economy and a good example of a country developing a new role and new links for itself, partly on top of and partly outside of existing structures and alliances. It is highly active in the Western Balkans, the wider Middle East and Central Asia. We will make a particular diplomatic effort to work with Turkey, starting with a major visit by the Turkish Foreign Minister to Britain next week at my invitation.<br></p> <p>The case for the UK embracing the opportunities of the networked world is very strong.  We are richly endowed with the attributes for success. We are a member of one of the world’s longstanding global networks - the Commonwealth  –  which spans continents and world religions, contains six of the fastest growing economies and is underpinned by an agreed framework of common values. The previous Government in my view appeared oblivious to this aspect of the value of the Commonwealth, not even mentioning it a strategic plan published for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2009. We are also the world’s sixth largest trading nation even though we comprise just 1% of the world’s population; second only to the USA in the amount of money we invest abroad and always outward looking and intrepid in nature. One in ten British citizens now lives permanently overseas. We have unrivalled human links with some of the fastest growing countries of the world, whether it is the millions of our own citizens who boast Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, our close links with Africa, or the 85,000 Chinese students currently being educated in Britain or at UK campuses in China. This is giving rise to a new generation with contact with the UK, with its language, culture and norms, and growing networks that we should cherish and build on.  The English language gives us the ability to share ideas with millions – perhaps billions - of people in the biggest emerging economies and – if we so choose – to build networks across the world. It is staggering that in India 250 million school and university-aged students – four times the entire population of the United Kingdom – are now learning English. This underlines the essential importance of the work of the British Council and the BBC World Service, which give Britain an unrivalled platform for the projection of the appeal of our culture and the sharing of our values.<br></p> <p>In the world I have described our approach to foreign affairs cannot be, to borrow the arguments of a former Conservative Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Lord Salisbury, to “float lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a diplomatic boat hook to avoid collisions.” The country that is purely reactive in foreign affairs is in decline. So we must understand these changes around us and adapt to meet them.<br></p> <p>Our new Government’s vision of foreign affairs therefore is this: a distinctive British foreign policy that is active in Europe and across the world; that builds up British engagement in the parts of the globe where opportunities as well as threats increasingly lie; that is at ease within a networked world and harnesses the full potential of our cultural links, and that promotes our national interest while recognising that this cannot be narrowly or selfishly defined. What I call instead our enlightened national interest requires a foreign policy that is ambitious in what it can achieve for others as well as ourselves, that is inspired by and seeks to inspire others with our values of political freedom and economic liberalism, that is resolute in its support for those around the world who are striving to free themselves through their own efforts from poverty or political fetters. It is not in our character as a nation to have a foreign policy without a conscience or to repudiate our obligation to help those less fortunate. Our foreign policy should always have consistent support for human rights and poverty reduction at its irreducible core and we should always strive to act with moral authority, recognising that once that is damaged it is hard to restore.<br></p> <p>How do we go about this pursuing this distinctive British foreign policy?<br></p> <p>Our starting point is the belief that government in Britain is not currently as well-equipped as it needs to be to pursue this ambitious approach. We are well placed to make the most of the opportunities of a networked world, but we are not yet organised or orientated to do so effectively.<br></p> <p>First, we inherited a structure of government that had no effective mechanism for bringing together strategic decisions about foreign affairs, security, defence and development or to align national objectives in these areas. We therefore immediately established a true, a heavyweight National Security Council and launched the Strategic Defence and Security Review I have mentioned, which will ensure that we have the right capabilities to minimise risks to British citizens and look for the positive trends in the world, since our security requires seizing opportunity as well as mitigating risk.<br></p> <p>Second, many domestic departments of Government have an increasingly international aspect to their work and have staff posted in UK Embassies around the world. But this work is not as coherently brought together as it could be. For example we have already undertaken an audit of the Government’s relations with up to 30 of the world’s emerging economies and discovered that there is no effective cross-Whitehall strategy for building political and economic relations with half of these countries. It is our intention to transform this, using the National Security Council where appropriate to bring together all the Departments of Government in the pursuit of national objectives, so that foreign policy runs through the veins of the entire administration and so that it is possible to elevate entire relationships with individual countries in a systematic fashion – not just in diplomacy but in education, health, civil society, commerce and where appropriate in defence.<br></p> <p>It ought to be the case that a decision to elevate links with a particular country will lead to a whole series of tangible developments: the establishment of a British higher education campus there or new education initiatives, diversified sporting and cultural links, new forms of exchange between Parliament and civil society to fit the circumstances of that particular country, cooperation sometimes on military training and exercises, a visa regime that reflects the totality of UK interests including the importance of the relationship, and British Ministers working with British businesses on aspects of that relationship. In a networked world we should see the presence of British businesses overseas as a valuable asset when it comes to persuading other countries to work with us or adopt our objectives as their own, and that joint initiatives between businesses can be as powerful a tool in changing attitudes as summits and communiqués, if not more so over time.<br></p> <p>As an example of this approach I can announce today that the Prime Minister has launched a joint taskforce with the United Arab Emirates as part of our efforts to elevate links with the countries of the Gulf. It will develop options for strengthening our ties across the board and  its very first meeting will be held later today. I can also confirm that we are actively exploring the scope for similar initiatives with other countries, including a visit by the Prime Minister to India shortly to identify how we can forge a partnership for the 21st century, work led by our Liberal Democrat Minister of State here in the FCO Jeremy Browne to reinvigorate our diplomacy with Latin America and Southeast Asia which he will visit shortly, a renewed focus on our relations with Japan and further deepening of our partnership with China. We must also work harder at developing our partnerships in Africa with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and look for new opportunities in emerging markets there.<br></p> <p>Third, we believe that we must achieve a stronger focus on using our national strengths and advantages across the board to help build these strong bilateral relations for the United Kingdom as well as complement the efforts of our allies, whether it is the appeal of our world class education system, the standing of our Armed Forces and defence diplomacy or the quality of our Intelligence Services and GCHQ which are unique in the world and of inestimable value to the UK.<br></p> <p>Fourth, it was clear to us that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office itself has not been encouraged to be ambitious enough in articulating and leading Britain’s efforts overseas and foreign policy thinking across Government.  I consider it part of my responsibilities as Foreign Secretary to foster a Foreign Office that is a strong institution for the future, continuing to attract the most talented entrants from diverse backgrounds and in future years placing a greater emphasis on geographic expertise, expertise in counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation, experience of working in difficult countries overseas as well as management and leadership ability.<br></p> <p>It must be a Foreign Office that is astute at prioritising effort, seeking out opportunities , negotiating on behalf of the UK, so that we can continue to lead through the power of our ideas and our ability to contribute to solutions to global challenges such as climate change and nuclear proliferation for which there can only be a collective response. It will have a crucial role in helping to maintain the UK’s economic reputation and restore our economic competitiveness, working with UKTI, for which I have joint responsibility with my colleague Vince Cable, to use our global diplomatic network even more to support UK business in an interventionist and active manner, encouraging small businesses to take their products into international markets, prising open doors and barriers to engagement on behalf of the whole of Government and acting as the essential infrastructure of Britain in the world.  <br></p> <p>Under this Government, the job of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be to provide the connections and ideas that allow the whole of the British state and British society to exercise maximum influence in the world and to give the lead that allows foreign policy to be supported actively by other government departments.<br>And fifth, we are determined as a Government to give due weight to Britain’s membership of the EU and other multilateral institutions. It is mystifying to us that the previous Government failed to give due weight to the development of British influence in the EU. They neglected to ensure that sufficient numbers of bright British officials entered EU institutions, and so we are now facing a generation gap developing in the British presence in parts of the EU where early decisions and early drafting take place. Since 2007, the number of British officials at Director level in the European Commission has fallen by a third and we have 205 fewer British officials in the Commission overall. The UK represents 12% of the EU population. Despite that, at entry-level policy grades in the European Commission, the UK represents 1.8% of the staff, well under the level of other major EU member states. So the idea that the last government was serious about advancing Britain’s influence in Europe turns out to be an unsustainable fiction. Consoling themselves with the illusion that agreeing to institutional changes desired by others gave an appearance of British centrality in the EU, they neglected to launch any new initiative to work with smaller nations and presided over a decline in the holding of key European positions by British personnel. As a new Government we are determined to put this right.  <br>Some will argue that our constrained national resources cannot possibly support such an ambitious approach to Foreign Policy or to the Foreign Office. It is true that like other Departments the Foreign Office will on many occasions have to do more with less and find savings wherever possible and that because of the economic situation we inherited from the previous Government the resources Britain has available for the projection of its influence overseas are constrained. But we will not secure our recovery or our future security and prosperity without looking beyond our shores for new opportunities and new partners. No country or groups of countries will increase the level of support or protection they offer to us and no-one else will champion the economic opportunity of the British citizen if we do not. We must recognise the virtuous circle between foreign policy and prosperity. Our foreign policy helps create our prosperity and our prosperity underwrites our diplomacy, our security, our defence and our ability to give to others less fortunate than ourselves.<br></p> <p>In our seven weeks in office we have taken early strides to put this approach into effect.<br>We have put early efforts into our role in multilateral organisations, setting out to be highly active and activist in our approach to the European Union and the exercise of its collective weight in the world. We have worked hard with other nations on proposals to address the crisis in Gaza and to secure new United Nations and European action to reinforce diplomatic pressure on Iran. We have called for a sharpened EU focus on the Western Balkans and will put forward further initiatives in this area. We are working with NATO Allies to fashion a new Strategic Concept and to modernise the Alliance, understanding that in a world of interconnected threats, alliances and partnership must be flexible and networked, as we are seeing in Afghanistan where NATO’s operations encompass not just its 28 members but a coalition of 46 nations. We also came to office midway through the five-yearly review of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and within days announced the most significant departure in UK nuclear policy in a decade, revealing for the first time the upper limit on our nuclear weapons stockpile and announcing a review of our declaratory policy. We are fully committed to working with our Commonwealth partners to reinvigorate that organisation and help it develop a clearer agenda for the future. And at the G20 last week the Prime Minister played a leading role in seeking global action on climate change, maternal health, on the Doha Trade round and international banking regulation and deficit reduction.<br></p> <p>The way we have started as a Government we will now carry on, using international institutions as well as working on strengthened bilateral relationships.<br></p> <p>We recognise that we do not have the luxury of stopping the clock on foreign policy crises around the world while we put our house in order. We do not live in a tranquil world and a huge amount of our time is taken up with issues that demand day to day attentions and decisions.<br></p> <p>We are at war in Afghanistan, our top priority in Foreign Affairs and the scene of extraordinary and humbling sacrifices and heroism by our Armed Forces and we face a serious set of challenges in supporting Pakistan;<br></p> <p>We are at a crucial stage in efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East or risk the world’s most unstable region from becoming festooned with the most dangerous weapons known to the world;<br></p> <p>And time is running out to secure a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, where lack of progress would be a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians, extremely dangerous for the region and detrimental to our own security.<br></p> <p>But conducting the foreign policy of the United Kingdom is not just about making the right decisions on issues that affect us now, but laying the foundations for good decisions for many years to come. As a Government we have been elected for five years. But our aspiration is a legacy in foreign affairs in the years to come that will be the strongest possible framework for the pursuit of the prosperity and security of the British people, a reinvigorated diplomacy, and restored economic standing.<br></p> <p>So we are now raising our sights for the longer term, looking at the promotion of British interests in the widest sense. In the coming months we will develop a national strategy for advancing our goals in the world that ties together the efforts of government, that is led by foreign policy thinking, that works through strengthened international institutions as well as reinvigorated bilateral relationships, that is consciously focused on securing our economic prosperity for the future, and that unashamedly pursues our enlightened national interest of seeking the best for our own citizens while living up to our responsibilities towards others. In short, it is a foreign policy that embraces the networked world. For seen in this light, although the next twenty years is likely to be a time of increased danger in foreign affairs, it is also a time of extraordinary opportunity for a country that sets out to make the most of the still great advantages the United Kingdom certainly possesses.</p> 2011-03-24 23:09:50 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22472881 William Hague Britain’s Foreign Policy in a Networked World uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 01 July 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Locarno Room, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.
<p>Thank you Daithi for that introduction.  </p> <p> It is a privilege to be here amongst so many distinguished guests who have contributed so much to relations between our two countries, such as former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald who was one of the pioneers of reconciliation between Ireland and the UK, at a time when it was a difficult furrow to plough, but with which he created great friendship and great trust.<br><br>I was in the Dail earlier today, and greatly appreciated the tone and generous spirit of the all party motion welcoming the Saville report and I will draw this to the Prime Minister’s attention on my return to London.<br><br>I am delighted to once again be here in Dublin.  I’ve just come from a very positive meeting with Dick Roche, and have spoken to Enda Kenny. I also met members of the Joint Committee on European Affairs in the Dail. <br><br>I’m particularly pleased to be able to speak on Europe at this renowned and respected Institute.  The list of speakers you have welcomed here is remarkable:  Prime Ministers and Presidents; leading academics and great thinkers; as well as EU Commissioners and a former Secretary General of the UN. <br>Last year you invited the Liberal Democratic Peer, Lord Wallace, former head of Chatham House. He stood here and gave a speech entitled: “Does Britain Have a European Policy?”<br><br>Well I’m here today to give a categorical “yes” in answer to that question.  And I hope that after today no one in this room will be in any doubt about the Coalition Government’s approach to Europe and what we intend to achieve.<br>Might I also add how delighted I am to that Lord Wallace is now part of the Coalition Government - as a whip and occasional foreign affairs spokesman in the Lords.<br><br>In addition to outlining the UK government’s policy on Europe, I’d like also to briefly touch on how Britain and Ireland can work more closely together within Europe to ensure that our membership delivers the results that our electorates expect.<br>Almost every visiting speaker from the UK is going to talk about the complicated, intertwined and extensive ties that bind our two nations.  I think those links and our complicated intertwined histories are well understood – but the importance of those links should never be taken for granted. <br>Ireland is our fifth largest export market and we export more to Ireland than we do to the so called BRIC countries. The UK, for its part, is Ireland’s largest trading partner, with exports to the UK totalling more than those to France, Germany and Italy combined.  So at a time when both our countries are focussed on trying to deliver growth and export led economic recovery – these economic links are vital.<br><br>Ours are both open economies - attractive to inward investors looking for an educated workforce, stable government and a business platform from which to export to the rest of Europe and beyond. <br>And we continue to cooperate ever more closely in areas such as energy – and have increasingly interconnected electricity grids to allow both the importation and exportation of energy as needed.<br><br>And the people of Ireland and the UK are linked in ways that few other countries can match.  This goes well beyond the 200 direct flights a day and the countless ferry and road passengers who go back and forth on business or pleasure. <br>There are our shared values; shared cultures and personal and family histories that have allowed the transformation of the relationship between our two countries in recent years.  <br><br>I gained some first-hand experience of this during my time shadowing Northern Ireland when I came to Dublin regularly for meetings with political leaders, commentators and business representatives.  It is a real pleasure for me now to come back here in my ministerial capacity.<br>I believe the UK and Ireland can genuinely point to our having a strong and modern partnership.  One which understands and acknowledges our history, including the mistakes made - but does not allow the problems of the past to get in the way of co-operation.<br><br>I am delighted to see the recent progress in the political process in Northern Ireland.  The devolution of policing and justice in April and the appointment of David Ford as the Justice Minister are significant steps towards cementing permanently the gains that have been made.   The publication of the Saville Report into the events of Bloody Sunday also represents a further part of the healing process as come to terms with the difficult issues of the past.  <br>This new relationship, coupled with the strong personal ties shared between our two countries, are going to be more important in a world where problems – and their hoped for solutions - are increasingly global in character.<br><br>The new Coalition Government in London has brought a different and distinctive approach to British foreign policy.  One that recognises just how inter-connected the world has become – which recognises too that if we are successfully to champion our country’s interests, then we must engage fully and productively on a global scale.<br><br>We believe that engagement with the European Union is an essential part of that global engagement.  William Hague made it clear before the general election that a new government would take an active and energetic approach to the EU.  I think few would deny that we have done that from the start.  From the Prime Minister down, we have been busy meeting our counterparts in Europe and holding substantive discussions on some of the serious challenges that we face. <br>This includes of course the positive and friendly meeting which took place last week between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach in London, during which they discussed the recent European Council and how our two countries can co-operate in Europe. <br><br>Of course one of the most recognisably distinctive features of the new government is that it is a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.  While coalition governments are a familiar feature for many of our European partners, including of course for Ireland, this is the first coalition of any sort we’ve had in the UK since 1945. And the first peace time coalition since the 1930s.  I know that some of our European partners, especially Belgian and Dutch colleagues, have been surprised at how quickly we formed the coalition. This was not just because of the urgency to show international financial markets that Britain had a stable government, but because the Queen was also firmly booked to open parliament!<br><br>Despite our two parties having traditionally approached the EU from different ideological positions – it was not difficult to find agreement on the fundamentals.<br>The Coalition’s Programme for Government contains a specific section on Europe and policy.  It commits this government to playing a leading role in an enlarged Europe, and to taking specific measures to ensure future decisions on Europe reflect the will of the British public.<br>As the Prime Minister said in Brussels after this month’s EU Council meeting: “There are things we can do at the European level that are important and in Britain’s interests”.   Our trade with European partners; the access that we have to the EU’s open markets; and ensuring European competitiveness are vital for future British prosperity.<br><br>The Coalition also agreed that the EU and its institutions already has all the competences it needs to deliver for member states on the big issues where the EU collectively can add value.  On issues like global competitiveness, global warming, global poverty, and others - what the EU needs more than anything else is the political will to turn policy into action. <br><br>So our Programme for Government says that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from Westminster to Brussels over the course of the next Parliament.  It also commits us to introducing legislation to ensure that any proposed future Treaty or Treaty change which includes transfers of power or competences from the UK to the EU would be subject to a referendum – as of course is already the case here in Ireland.<br>I recognise that in Dublin, more than anywhere else in Europe, you will recognise that having a legal requirement for referendums does not necessarily make life easy for governments.  But we are absolutely certain that it is the right thing for the UK. <br>We see today a democratic disconnect between the people of the UK and EU institutions and decisions taken on behalf of British people which we need to put right. In the latest Euro-barometer results, collected in 2009, only 23% of the UK public were prepared to say they trusted the EU and only 36% thought UK membership was a good thing.   <br><br>The legitimacy of the EU ultimately derives from the people who live in its member states.  Giving those people a direct say on any future transfer of power from the UK to European institutions therefore essential to ensure long term legitimacy of the EU.   <br>Similarly, it is important that the EU focuses only on those areas where cooperation at European level genuinely can add value, and dispenses with activities best left to member states.  Doing that effectively and consistently would do a considerable amount to reassure people that the EU can be responsive to their concerns and that it doesn’t  interfere in every corner of national life.  I believe that it is hard, for instance, to argue that there needs to be European level regulation over the hours that doctors work in each member state.  Such regulation discredits everyone when it has an adverse affect on public services – in this case, patient care.</p> <p>But as important as these issues are, the most immediate and pressing area for the EU to focus on at the moment is – of course - the economy.<br>If the economies of Europe are to thrive and prosper in future, we must ensure they remain competitive and open for business. <br>If we look at the past 10 years, China’s growth has averaged 9.9% - with India’s not far behind at 7%.  During that same period, growth in the EU averaged just 1.7%. We can’t just shrug our shoulders and accept that level of disparity. <br><br>Europe has huge advantages:  some of the world’s most highly skilled workers, operating for the most technologically advanced companies, within the world’s largest single market.  We need to build on these advantages to promote growth and remain competitive.<br>And the first thing European governments have to do is take steps to reduce national deficits.  Like Ireland, the UK has now embarked on a sustained programme of deficit reduction as part of a wider programme of national economic reform. <br><br>The emergency budget which George Osborne announced on the 22 of June outlined the measures we will take to achieve this.  They are going to be difficult, that will require difficult decisions on taxation and spending. But necessary to deliver the growth and jobs that are vital for our economic well being.<br>Different governments across Europe are taking their own measures to ensure their national economies too are fit for the future.  But I believe there are also steps that the EU as a whole must take. If you look at the world beyond the immediate financial crisis, EU competitiveness had been eroded compared to the Gulf States, China, India and beyond. If we further this erosion we condemn future generations to lower living standards. So what should the EU do?<br>First and foremost, the countries of Europe  must act to promote growth and jobs.  We believe strengthening the Single Market is the best way to achieve this and will push for its extension. <br><br>We are going to push for better regulation to lighten the burdens on business and breakdown the barriers for commerce in Europe. And for the EU to seize every opportunity to create freer and fairer trade between the EU and third countries.  Free trade has been one of the greatest successes of the European Union – and there are further benefits still to be won.<br><br>Within the Single Market we can see real opportunities to boost growth by opening up further the energy and services sectors, developing a single market on the digital economy and by moving forward on patents making a positive difference to EU businesses.  Mario Monti’s recent report on re-launching the Single Market contained many good proposals: we should look to build on these.<br><br>Much of the EU’s future growth is likely to be found in trade with the emerging economies around the world - so the British Government is going to work to encourage greater economic and political engagement between the EU and the world’s rising economic and political powers.<br>Many of these ideas are contained in the new Europe 2020 strategy for economic growth that was agreed by EU heads of state at this month’s European Council.  It’s a strategy that rightly focuses on jobs; on smart and sustainable inclusive growth by boosting competitiveness; on productivity; and on growth potential. <br><br>Europe 2020 focuses on many of the right priorities.  But if we are honest with ourselves we will also admit that we have seen European strategies come and go in the past with few concrete results.  It is vital that this one actually delivers.  We have to show our peoples EU progress on what really matters to them and their families – jobs and growth.<br>For the sake of both our economies - we simply can’t afford to see Europe 2020 languish on the Commission’s websites as some aspirational document that never leads anywhere.<br><br>As we all know, the most pressing and immediate issue facing the European Union is the crisis in the Eurozone. <br>We should spell out clearly where the British Government is coming from.  We have no plans to join the Euro. But we want the Euro zone to do well.  Its members are some of our closest friends and alias.  Britain has chosen to stay out of the Euro – but we recognise it is important to our national interests for the Eurozone to be strong and successful.  40% of our exports go to countries that use the Euro, it is clearly in our interests support efforts to make the Eurozone more stable and more capable of dealing with the difficulties it faces. <br><br>More broadly, we know that the EU is at its best when it delivers tangible economic benefits to its citizens.  The EU must capitalise on its position as the world’s largest multi-lateral trading bloc.  As a trading area, the EU is larger than the US and Japan combined.  We need to take full advantage of the opportunities that this brings for both European businesses and European consumers.<br><br>So we’re clear that the countries of the EU should act to ensure the Union is economically stable and prosperous.  That is right in itself, but it is also necessary as through our economic strength we will build our global influence. <br>The EU, when it comes together in the right way, can tackle global problems like climate change, the scourge of poverty or nuclear proliferation.   <br>Now, it is crucial for our collective interests that the EU’s member states have some say on issues as important as these.  This British Government simply does not accept that the rise of emerging powers such as China and India means that European nations must accept a corresponding drop in their own global influence. <br><br>Our common interests are served when the nations of the EU use their collective weight in the world to promote our shared interests and shared values.  But to achieve this will take a greater determination and a greater consistency of effort over the delivery of our foreign policy goals than we have been previously shown.   <br><br>We want EU member states to show leadership in tackling international climate change.  Britain therefore supports an increase in the EU’s emissions reduction targets from 20 to30 % without waiting for comparable offers from other countries.  The EU can show leadership globally by making progress on delivering climate finance to developing countries; by co-ordinating our outreach to the emerging economies, and by accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. <br>Taking that action now is in our interests because it will put us in the position to enable our economies to take full advantage of the new green jobs and growth that are being created, as well as promoting both energy security for Europe and a sustained economic recovery.<br><br>In addition, EU member states must to work to find common ground on other important issues – as we did on Iran at the European Council meeting last week. In London we were pleased with the strong, unequivocal declaration on Iran that was issued.  The Iranian nuclear programme is a challenge to every member of the EU and an issue on which the nations of Europe have a strong shared interest. <br>It is important that the EU is able to show it can deliver results.  We want a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear programme – but part of that must mean that we must not equivocate if the time comes for the EU to introduce further sanctions. <br>On development - we will press to see the EU as a whole meet its commitment to delivering 0.7% of GDP in international development assistance by 2015.  Even in difficult times for us, we should be resolute about supporting countries in which being poor is actually life threatening, rather than just about the quality of life.<br><br>And on our own doorsteps, the EU must not loose sight of the enormous benefits that our enlargement policy has brought and can bring in the future. <br>Enlargement has been a remarkable achievement for the EU. <br>Europe has never been as free or as stable as it is today.  The policy of enlargement has spread democracy and good governance across Europe.  It has shown the EU at its best. If you want to single out just one historic achievement of the EU, it has been to entrench democracy - in the Iberian Peninsula, in Greece, in Central and Eastern Europe.<br><br>We believe there are more benefits to be gained by further enlargement –to Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans – as those countries strive for, and eventually meet, the criteria for membership.<br>The prospect of EU membership remains a uniquely powerful force for good in the Western Balkans - a region which is still scarred by the conflicts of the 1990s.  There is a delicate political stability now in place, but it is not firmly embedded.  As I saw for myself in Macedonia and Kosovo last week. The prospect of EU (and NATO) membership as an unparalleled opportunity to ensure stability and enhance prosperity. <br><br>The difficult steps towards meeting the conditions set by the EU will require real political leadership from all countries of the region.  The international community needs to sharpen its focus on the Western Balkans taking an active, determined and results-focused approach.  How the EU responds to the often complicated issues in the Balkans will be a defining measure of the EU’s ability and willingness to be a force for good in the world.  If we want people to regard EU common foreign and security policy as something meaningful then we have to translate this into progress in the Western Balkans.<br>Similarly, the British Government is clear about the benefits of Turkey’s continued progress towards membership.  These are not just benefits for Turkey, as it strives for and meets the membership criteria – but for all existing members of the Union. Turkey is going to be one of the emerging economies and there are clear gains to be had from having Turkish economic dynamism and geo-political outreach within the European Union.<br>I’ve covered a wide range of issues today.  I wish I had time to go into greater detail but I wanted to illustrate for you the active and activist approach that the Cameron Government has when it comes to Europe.<br><br>I know also that the UK and Ireland approach many of these issues from a similar perspective.  And I know that our bilateral relationship has been transformed over the past generation, there is also a huge amount to be gained in promoting our common interests, our shared values and in working together on practical policy issues.</p> <p>On immediate practical policy issues such as financial services reform and better regulation, the visions are closely aligned.  There is a great deal more we can to do co-operate on energy and climate change, and by working to promote the use of renewable sources across these islands.<br>So I would like the UK and Ireland to cooperate to further in developing our shared outlook towards the European Union to make the EU a success.  Collectively and through our membership of the EU I want us to see how we can – together - make sure that the priority is growth, job creation and that vital work in this area delivers real results to our peoples.<br><br>So can I thank the Institute once again for welcoming me here today and I’m happy to take any questions.</p> <p> <br> </p> 2011-03-24 23:09:54 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22520245 David Lidington UK policy in Europe uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 30 June 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Institute of International and European Affairs
<p>As the Foreign Secretary has said, we are determined to build a more dynamic, British foreign policy. It is not in our character to isolate ourselves from global affairs. The Foreign Secretary has said it is not our policy to have a foreign policy without a conscience. The Foreign Office has been a partner of the UNA for 65 years and I am committed to maintaining and fostering that relationship.</p> <p>I would like to begin by taking this opportunity to pay tribute to all those who work with the UN, be they civilian or military, for the sacrifices that they continue to make. The UNA's annual commemoration of the International Day of Peacekeepers, that the Foreign Office has supported, is a fitting tribute to all those who have fallen in UN Peacekeeping operations over the years. And we must not forget the sacrifices made by civilian staff, such as those who lost their lives in Haiti earlier this year.</p> <p>The UN is unique in its global reach and wide membership.  The UN was founded on the noblest of ambitions to maintain peace and promote cooperation and is uniquely placed to help where others cannot.  It has a fundamental role as a peacekeeper, a peace builder, a deliverer of humanitarian aid and as a supporter of countries coming out of crisis.  </p> <p>It has strived to do that. And it has many successes – but there have also been failures which we do, and should, learn and improve from.</p> <p>In order for the UN to continue to be a beacon for all nations it is in everyone’s interests that it is as effective as possible. The need for it is greater now than ever before.</p> <p>We must ensure the UN is in the best possible shape to meet the challenges of the 21st century. From terrorism, climate change and competition over natural resources.</p> <p>To do that:<br></p> <p>By doing this we will help make the UN an organisation adept at meeting the challenges it will face over the coming years.  And whilst it must evolve to meet twenty first century challenges, its role today is as vital as when its Charter was drafted in the aftermath of World War II. In the face of global uncertainty and in the face of threat of terrorism, it’s easy to be pessimistic. But I am an optimist and believe we have the potential to do more on conflict prevention, more on peacebuilding and more towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. And this Government will work hard to develop trade links with partners across the world to help the world trade its way out of recession. <br></p> <p>The UN is the only body that has the legitimacy and moral authority to respond to global threats to peace and security.</p> <p>Thank you.<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:10:00 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23131343 Henry Bellingham 65 years of global effort to ensure peace and security uk.org.publicwhip/member/40454 12 June 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>God Kväll </p> <p>This is my first speech overseas as Europe Minister; and I am delighted to be giving it in Sweden, a country, I’ve been told on good authority, who votes most similarly to the UK at Council.  Of course, we don’t measure our relationship in council votes – but it does give an objective account of how like minded we are on many issues and our shared vision on the future direction of Europe.</p> <p>There are few closer partnerships existing in Europe today.</p> <p>There are already exists a long friendship between the leaders of both our governments. We share the same desire to see that ambitious words and sentiments are translated into decisive and effective action. We are both countries strongly attached to free trade - and share a deep national conviction that the dignity of the individual, respect for human rights and economic freedom are essential foundations for a free and economically prosperous and stable world. </p> <p>I am sure you will know how much this Government's thinking owes to the innovative policy successes pioneered by Swedish governments in the past two decades – on free schools, on transparency in government, on improving our families quality of life and on best practice in international development. The new British Government is very keen for this rich and fertile exchange of ideas to continue.</p> <p>We are clear that we do want to bring a fresh approach to Britain’s involvement in the EU.  The Prime Minister has said that the government leads would be active and activist, positive and energetic in our relationships with Europe and our European partners whilst standing up for our national interests. And now we are in a position to show that we meant every word we said. </p> <p>Yes, this Government will be in robust in advancing British interests abroad, just as our European partners do theirs.</p> <p>We are also a Government which strongly believes that the European Union has a crucial role in enabling the countries of Europe to work effectively together to tackle the greatest challenges of the twenty first century whether it is the scourge of global poverty or the threat of terrorism we know that the European Union gets better results if it works together.</p> <p>Indeed, for the past two weeks the Foreign Secretary and my ministerial colleagues have been busy meeting with many of our European counterparts, discussing some of the serious issues that face us all in the execution of our foreign policy. </p> <p>The Foreign Secretary has argued that the UK’s ability to undertake economic modernisation will be critical to Britain’s future influence.  When skilled people are able to chose more readily where they want to work or locate themselves when capital, labour and technology are increasingly mobile no country can stand still. We must adapt to take advantage of new opportunities.  That is an indisputable case for national economic reform. It is also an argument that is equally applicable to the European Union.</p> <p>Because this is a pivotal moment for the EU.  There is a distinct choice to be made between wilfully ignoring the current structural constraints that limit our ambition in pursuing an economically viable and prosperous future or recognising and addressing them for the benefit of all our peoples.</p> <p>Neither Britain nor Sweden joined the Euro but for both of us  the Eurozone is our single biggest trading partner. As such, problems in one Member State affect us all, whether we are single currency members or not. Recent developments in the Eurozone have demonstrated the need for fiscal consolidation.</p> <p>The new Coalition government in the UK was unfortunate in inheriting the largest deficit of any EU member.  One of our first actions was to announce £6 billion of savings from the public purse to help restore discipline to our finances. On 22 June the Government will announce an emergency budget which will implement further fiscal consolidation. This will be supported by a comprehensive spending review in the Autumn. And the Government has established an Office for Budgetary Responsibility. For the first time we will have independently audited and transparent figures on growth and debt. And for the success of the European Union it is essential that, where appropriate, our Eurozone partners act just as swiftly and decisively.</p> <p>The current economic situation within the Eurozone has demonstrated the urgent need for reform across the EU. It is no secret that a number of EU Member States face severe difficulties:  our collective European debt is €8.69 trillion and average unemployment across the 27 Member States is 9.7% rising to 10.1% in the Eurozone. In Southern Europe the figures are even higher. More troubling is the fact that unemployment amongst school-leavers is higher than ever. Young people leaving education are finding it impossible to find their first job or career. We need to pursue, quickly and with equal vigour, deficit reduction and a new strategy for growth and jobs.</p> <p>Because it is singularly clear that for EU nations to thrive, in an era of increasing globalisation, they must deliver improvements to the quality of life for all EU citizens. The EU’s success in doing that depends above all on how well it is able to deliver a better economic future.</p> <p>We know that when Europe works well it delivers tangible economic benefits to European citizens.  It is the world’s largest multi-lateral trading bloc with a market of around 500 million people.  That is a bigger trading area than the US and Japan combined. Membership of this market brings opportunities for business and consumers alike.   European companies invest across all of Europe, employing citizens of Member States and raising standards of living. </p> <p>Without an economically stable and prosperous European Union we will not be able to successfully address the problems of climate change or tackle the scourge of global poverty. So it is vital that the EU has an effective strategy to tackle the current economic crisis, promote growth and job creation, and redress the steady erosion of competitiveness.</p> <p>So the question for all of us in the European Union is “where is the growth we need going to come from”? </p> <p>And the answer lies in a reform based recovery: through a single market, green jobs, structural and economic reform, and a free and open market.</p> <p>It is clear the Lisbon Strategy did not achieve its very ambitious objectives. The strategy was well meaning in its intentions but the economic crisis exposed serious weaknesses in its implementation.  And we – Europe – cannot afford to repeat those mistakes.</p> <p>This is why the EU 2020 must match the realities on the ground and deliver on key areas critical for sustainable growth and jobs in Europe.  Quite rightly the intentions of this strategy are to drive growth and promote jobs; but the UK Government will want to ensure that the strategy fully respects the balance of competence between Member States and Community action.</p> <p>Individual Member States and the European Union must seize this opportunity to reform, adapt and emerge from its current economic situation more competitive and more alert to the new global economic context. We must all recognise that for Europe to be in a position to take advantage of new economic motors which are currently driving global growth – Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa – then we must look outwards and build on its position as a global trading hub. </p> <p>This is why the UK Government will be enthusiastic champions of the Single Market.  Better regulation can lighten the burdens on business and create freer and fairer trade between the EU and third countries.  Well functioning markets within and outside the EU provide effective competition essential for long term productivity and the route out of the current economic climate. </p> <p>By actively creating an environment in which entrepreneurship and creativity can flourish the EU can regain its competitive edge. Opening up energy, digital and service sectors and guarding against protectionism will help unleash competitiveness and growth.</p> <p>And I will make no apologies for advocating that the EU should use its power as a key trading partner and leader on climate change to further both our trade and climate change goals by making it easer to trade low carbon goods.  </p> <p>There is a strong economic case for Europe to regain leadership on the climate change agenda and promoting a ‘green single market’ in goods and services. </p> <p>By encouraging innovation and promoting action we can make a strong case to show that a transition to a low carbon economy can create jobs, support growth and reduce carbon emissions.</p> <p>And part of the commitment to a renewed and reinvigorated Europe must be an EU budget adapted to the needs of Europe today and the challenges of future growth.  To deliver sustainable economic growth we are all going to have to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask whether the financial decisions that we take in Brussels add value, aid our economic recovery and help secure future prosperity.</p> <p>But it is not just the UK who is suffering debt and economic problems. Like the UK, many of our European friends are showing great courage by acting decisively in the face of adversity and pushing forward tough austerity measures in the face of some opposition. Sweden of course has already gone through this process, implementing tough austerity measures and structural reforms in the early 1990s. </p> <p>But it makes no sense for individual European Member States to be taking difficult but necessary fiscal decisions if the same level of responsibility and realism is not reflected at the European Union level.  </p> <p>The EU budget is not immune. European institutional budgets must swallow the same medicine as the rest of us. The EU must live within its means. European leaders and officials will have to take tough decisions that benefit everybody.  Without reform of the budget the European Union will have wilfully limited what it can achieve for itself and its citizens.</p> <p>A re-orientated budget can further promote the jobs and growth that European citizens demand and - should - expect.</p> <p>This Government simply doesn’t accept that Europe is impotent in the face of its projected decline against the emerging markets.  Emerging economic markets will help drive global growth which Europe must see as an opportunity.  If the European Union embraced budget reform it would equip itself to maximise those opportunities; to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness; and to enable its members to take full advantage of new global realities creating the best possible future for themselves.</p> <p>Achieving the necessary changes will require a strong partnership and creative ideas. That is why I wanted to visit Sweden first and why I am so delighted to have had such excellent talks today with, among others Birgitta Ohlsson and Mikolaj Dowgielewicz. It is clear that we share a similar perspective on many of these issues.  This Government knows, as we have always known, that by working with close partners like Sweden we will be able to deliver the far reaching, effective and necessary reforms vital for the interests of both our nations and the EU as a whole.</p> <p>Tack så mycket</p> 2011-03-10 15:00:00 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=23133841 David Lidington Getting Europe back to work uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 07 June 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Centre for Business and Policy Studies (SNS), Stockholm, Sweden
<p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"></span></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 8pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><p><font size="2"></font></p></span></b> </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">I am very grateful for the invitation to speak today at this important event, an event that allows me, on behalf of the British Government, to welcome this new and fruitful partnership between the Ghana Police Service and MTN. While partnerships between the public and private sector are not unique in West Africa, we understand that this co-operation, in the field of crime reduction, is the first of its kind. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">Honourable Minister, I will not speak today about the threat posed to a country’s stability, development and future prosperity by drugs, crime and lawlessness, for no-one sets out those threats better, and speaks with more authority when addressing subject, than the President or yourself. Instead, I will speak briefly about the UK experience of using such hotline numbers in the fight against crime, and why the UK has therefore supported this initiative in Ghana. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">We have had a CrimeStoppers telephone number in the UK for many years, so we know the multiple benefits that it can bring. While there are important, in many cases crucial, operational benefits – and I will come on to these shortly – there is a wider societal benefit derived from such initiatives. This is the <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">shared sense of responsibility</b> across and within society for tackling crime and reducing the harm caused by crime. It recognises that, alongside law enforcement agencies, the public has an important role. For with the support of the general public, a joint campaign against crime can be launched. Through this hotline, Ghana’s public will be more engaged in the issue, and recognise their role in delivering solutions, notably by supporting the police. As the police act upon information provided, more members of the public will be inclined to ring in with information. This creates a cycle of success as seen in similar schemes elsewhere, including in the UK. And this positive action will improve and enhance the credibility and reputation of the Ghana Police Service. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">The operational benefits are many. One is that using information from this hotline will allow for the <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">more sophisticated and effective use of resources</b>. Consistent with the direction of modern policing, and entirely consistent with the desired approach set out by the Inspector General, this initiative will encourage an <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">intelligence-led approach to law enforcement</b>. This will enable finances and staff to be placed where they can be most productive and effective. By responding to the intelligence, and analysing trends and patterns of criminality, it will ultimately allow the police to move to a more <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">pro-active crime prevention</b> stance.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span><p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">If this intelligence-led approach bears fruit, it will further encourage Ghana’s law enforcement agencies to set up intelligence units and intelligence databases. Ghana will thereby <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">develop systems to target hardened criminals</b>, and serious and organised crime, and make the environment for their criminal activities increasingly hostile. The UK government, having provided intelligence-profiling and similar intelligence skills training to the police and other agencies earlier this year, will be looking to continue to support the development of this capacity in the future. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">The virtuous circle of public support, police action and public recognition will have another benefit. There is already an appetite amongst the media for stories of successful police activity. Police action resulting from the intelligence provided through the CrimeFighters telephone hotline will in most cases be suitable for media reporting. As criminals recognise that the police have a new crime-fighting tool at their disposal, and are using it to maximum effect, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">public tolerance of crime will drop</b> further, and a downward trend in crime and criminality will be established. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">It is important to note that the CrimeFighters hotline number can be used for the full range of crimes. UK experience has shown that <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">serious crimes</b>, such as murders, kidnaps, physical violence and rape, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">can be solved with the help of the public</b> – the public will identify suspects and provide vital evidence on which the police can act, and prosecutors can build their cases. Bringing those crimes to the attention of the public, and providing reconstructions through which the public can engage, is an important role of the CrimeFighters TV programme. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank the German Government for its financial support to that new crime fighting initiative. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">Honourable Minister, getting to this point has required some new thinking, and the adoption of new approaches, by the Ghana Police Service, not least as they have understood how to harness the potential of the partnership with a leading telecommunications player such as MTN. Tremendous credit goes to Deputy Superintendent Kwesi Ofori and his team. The British High Commission has been pleased to play a small role in these developments, primarily by sharing UK experience and good practice.<p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">I also wish to commend MTN. The huge benefits that mass-access to mobile phones has brought to Africa in general and Ghana in particular are well-documented, and MTN has played a key role in that story.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Without the mobile phone networks, a service such as the CrimeFighters number would be available to far fewer people. Mobile phones have allowed people across Africa to do things they simply could not do before - now helping to tackle crime can be added to that list. MTN has also shown a consistent commitment to health and education projects in Ghana, such as the launch of ICT Centres, the Y’ello Care Initiative and the AED Basic Schools project. This move to support the Ghana government’s efforts to improve the effectiveness of law and order efforts demonstrates that MTN, through its programme of corporate social responsibility initiatives, is a reliable development partner within the private sector. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">But in many respects, the job is not yet done. The CrimeFighters hotline offers tremendous potential as a crime-fighting tool. But to derive the benefits I have mentioned, the full potential of this new crime-fighting tool must be realised. The <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">political leadership</b> shown at levels as senior as the President himself must be harnessed and maintained by all of Ghana’s law enforcement agencies: they must all be able to take advantage of what is available through this hotline, and act accordingly to optimise its effectiveness. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">This includes developing, and then embedding, a sense of <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">partnership between law enforcement agencies</b> such as the police, NACOB, the Customs and Excise Preventive Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the BNI and the fledgling Economic and Organised Crime Agency. Intelligence received through this hotline must be shared between these agencies where this is helpful.<p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span><p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">This initiative will hopefully open the door to <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">further partnerships between law enforcement agencies and businesses</b>. MTN has led the way, but other private sector partners will be required to ensure the lasting success of the hotline, particularly in the banking sector.<p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">To maximise the hotline’s impact, a <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">major advertising effort</b> will be required. It will be important that the hotline number is everywhere – on the side of police cars, on TV, on billboards, on government stationery, on Ghana government web-sites, even written on the inside of police cell walls. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">The <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">promotion of this hotline number in the media</b> will be especially important. As I have said, there is no lack of appetite in the media for stories about law and order and crime. At the end of each story or news article, the hotline number should be quoted. Each police officer interviewed or providing a quote to a newspaper should sign off with the hotline number. If the score from a penalty shoot-out in the final of the FIFA Under 20 World Cup can feature above the title of daily newspapers, as it did on both Saturday and Sunday, then so can the hotline number. And why not also have the CrimeFighters number running along the ticker line at the bottom of the screen on GTV? <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">To <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">make this initiative genuinely nation-wide</b>, in addition to their roles with the media, senior police staff will need to ensure that all regional commanders are using and advertising the number outside of Accra too. The public will be further encouraged to call the hotline if they judge that a local issue will be addressed – intelligence received will therefore have to be shared with local law enforcement agencies. In this way, this new policing resource would be worth the equivalent of another 100, or possibly a 1000, police. Effectively you will recruit Ghana’s public into a crime-fighting role. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">Honourable Minister, this initiative is an opportunity that is genuinely exciting for Ghana’s law enforcement. It has the potential to add significantly to the crime-fighting efforts, and ultimately the crime prevention capabilities, of the police and other agencies. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">The UK is therefore very happy to be playing a small part in this initiative’s development, helping by bringing it to fruition today. We stand ready to provide further assistance in the future where that would be helpful. <p></p></font></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><p><font size="2"> </font></p></span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt" class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Tahoma','sans-serif'; FONT-SIZE: 14pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'"><font size="2">Thank you.<p></p></font></span></p> 2011-03-10 15:00:02 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=21182376 Mr Matthew Johnson Launch Of The Crimefighters Initiative None 23 October 2009 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, delivered a speech at NATO Headquarters and commented on the importance of the NATO mission in Afghanistan in defeating the Taliban to avoid the return of Al Qaida to the region.</p> <p>It is a pleasure to be back at NATO today, an organisation that for 60 years has worked for our shared security.  NATO has always been an alliance of defence not aggression and an alliance of values. In each era, it has adapted to new threats with ingenuity and resolve. After centuries of bloody conflict, NATO helped build peace across Europe.  Following the end of the Cold War, it helped unite a divided continent.  Then six years ago, with the Alliance’s collective security threatened by terrorism and terrorists along way from home, NATO launched its first operation outside Europe. It is telling that the only time in 60 years when NATO has invoked Article 5 was on September 12 2001.</p> <p>The NATO operation in Afghanistan is part of a wider UN-mandated effort by the international community. It was sparked by a single overriding concern: in the words of our British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown in a statement to the House of Commons in December 2007, “denying Al Qaida a base from which to launch attacks on the world.”  It required, first, the removal of the Taliban regime that had provided shelter for Al Qaida, and second help for the Afghan government build the strength to keep them out permanently.</p> <p>Today, while people in our countries accept the need to fight the Taliban to avoid the return of Al Qaida, they want to know whether and how we can succeed. That is what I want to address clearly today.</p> <p>First, I pay tribute to the servicemen and women from 42 countries who have served in Afghanistan. On behalf of the British government I want to honour all those – international and Afghan - who have given their lives or been injured.  Their bravery, their commitment and their sacrifice has been remarkable.  Over 1,000 service personnel have been lost in ISAF or Operation Enduring Freedom.  189 members of the British armed services have died in Afghanistan.  We owe them all a huge debt.  Their bravery and courage, alongside the injured, will not be forgotten.</p> <p>Today, in London the Ministry of Defence will give operational details on the progress of Operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand province. This mission has taken a heavy toll. But it has also achieved significant gains, above all for the 80,000 Afghans who now, for the first time in years, are under the jurisdiction of legitimate Afghan authorities.</p> <p>In recent weeks in Britain the debate about Afghanistan has centred on military tactics and military operations.  People in Britain know why we all committed to this mission. They want to know that all of the members of our Alliance are ready to give it the priority and the commitment it deserves.  Burden sharing is a founding principle of the Alliance: the solidarity on which it is built.  It needs to be honoured in practice as well as in theory.</p> <p>I am a Foreign Minister, not a General or a Defence Minister, and I have come to talk not about military operations but about politics. Because in Afghanistan we are fighting an insurgency. And the heart of NATO doctrine is that military force alone is never enough to achieve lasting success in counter-insurgency.  Whether military breakthroughs are translated into strategic success will depend on the political strategy that is pursued and on the political coalition that is built -first by the Afghan Government, but also by NATO and the UN, and by Afghanistan’s neighbours.   That is my focus today.</p> <p>The nature of the insurgency</p> <p>It is vital that we start by understanding the nature of the enemy – the insurgency we face. It is easy to brand the insurgency under a single label: ‘The Taliban’. The reality is more complex. And it requires our countries to work with Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.</p> <p>There is no single authoritative leadership of the insurgency in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Instead there are a range of diverse insurgent groups. They operate with varying degrees of autonomy in their own particular areas. Cooperation between them is opportunistic rather than strategic, and tactical above all.</p> <p>In Afghanistan the southern insurgency is led by members of the former Taliban government. It has the largest number of fighters and the most hierarchical and well organised leadership under Mullah Omar. It is these people against whom British and American forces have been conducting major operations in the last few weeks.</p> <p>In the east of the country, by contrast, a variety of other factions operate, including the Haqqani network, Hizb-e Islami and a range of smaller groups.</p> <p>In Pakistan’s tribal belt, leaders of the Afghan Taliban are focused on gaining power west of the border. Within Waziristan, the three leaders of the main insurgency – Baitullah Mehsud, Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir – belong to different tribes and have different motivations.  Each, though, has links both to Al Qaida, and to the Haqqani network.</p> <p>It is important to understand that people are drawn into the insurgency for different reasons, primarily pragmatic rather than ideological. There are the foot soldiers whom the Taliban pay $10 a day – more than a local policeman. There are poppy farmers who support the insurgents because they offer protection against eradication efforts. There are narco-traffickers who rely on them for safe passage of drugs.  There are warlords and aspirant power-brokers who believe that the Taliban will win, and so position themselves for their own political advantage. And then – perhaps most crucially - there are the ordinary Afghans, people who, despite dreading the Taliban's return, worry about the capacity of the state to protect them, so hedge their bets.  They may not give active support. But they acquiesce or turn a blind eye.</p> <p>The nature of the insurgency gives it some advantages and it’s important to be clear about them. The different groups can feed off and support each other - providing suicide bombers, training or equipment. The autonomy of local commanders makes their groups resilient, even when their superiors are killed or captured. And strong bonds of local and tribal loyalty make it easier for them to rally people against outsiders.</p> <p>But as well as these advantages, it’s important to recognise their disadvantages too. The insurgents’ vulnerabilities are very clear.</p> <p>The insurgency is a wide but shallow coalition of convenience: an amalgam of groups with different motivations and power centres.  So they are divided.</p> <p>The Taliban are the largest element of the insurgency but, because they exploit predominantly Pashtun communities and sentiment, their support base is limited to the Pashtun districts of the south and east, and to the Pashtun pockets in the north and west.</p> <p>The insurgency remains deeply unpopular with ordinary Afghans, including in the south and east. Polling across Afghanistan shows that over 90% of the population do not want the Taliban back in power. </p> <p>The Taliban can terrorise, but their military, technological and organisational inferiority to conventional forces means they cannot take and hold territory and power on a lasting basis.  And when they do hold sway, and do put their values into practice, they appal the local population.  Critically, this is what has happened in Pakistan in recent months, with a large swing in support to the government in revulsion, and I use that word advisedly following my fifth visit to Pakistan two weeks ago, at what the Taliban stand for. <br> <br><strong>Political Strategy</strong> </p> <p>In the face of this enemy, our ultimate objective in 2001 holds true for 2009: to protect our citizens from terrorist attacks by preventing Al Qaida having a safe haven in the tribal belt –in either Afghanistan or Pakistan.  </p> <p>The role of military operations is to deny insurgents the space to operate. That is: to clear and hold towns and villages under insurgent control, so allowing Afghans to build basic governance and justice, to deliver welfare and dispense development assistance.</p> <p>I have seen for myself how this can work in different parts of the country in the East as well as South.  It is now being tested in real time in Helmand. British, Danish, Estonian and Afghan troops have pushed the Taliban out of Babaji. This has extended the writ of Afghan government, linking the provincial capital Lashkar Gar with the economic centre of Gereshk and bringing tens of thousands of people under Afghan government control. US troops have ventured further South,  down along the Helmand River valley, driving the Taliban out of Khan Neshin and restoring government control.</p> <p>As international troops go in, it is essential that they are followed by the Afghan National Army and Police. It is they who must guard key facilities, man checkpoints and protect the population from Taliban intimidation.</p> <p>But let me be absolutely clear, what the test of success is.  As General McChrystal has said "The measure of effectiveness will not be enemy killed; it will be the number of Afghans shielded from violence".</p> <p>That shield today comes in military form from a partnership of international and Afghan forces.  Over time, the military shield is going to have to be provided increasingly by Afghan combat troops. </p> <p>But the shield must also be delivered by a clear political strategy, because strategic progress relies on undermining the insurgency through local politics.  Three political challenges – that address the causes, not just the symptoms of the insurgency – will shape the future of Afghanistan.</p> <p>First, a political strategy for dealing with the insurgency through reintegration and reconciliation. That means in the long term an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan, which draws away conservative Pashtun nationalists - separating those who want Islamic rule locally from those committed to violent jihad globally - and gives them a sufficient role in local politics that they leave the path of confrontation with their government.</p> <p>Second, a political strategy for the wider population, through reassurance about their future. NATO needs to show the Afghan people that we will not abandon them to Taliban retribution; that our forces will stay until Afghan communities can protect themselves, but no longer than we are needed.  And, as we transfer responsibility to Afghans and withdraw our troops from combat, the international community will continue to help Afghanistan – one of the poorest countries of earth - with aid and training.</p> <p>Both of these tasks, the first two political challenges, depend on credible, clean local government at provincial and district level that works with the grain of tribal Afghan society.</p> <p>And third, a political strategy towards the neighbours in the region – including Pakistan and Iran – to ensure that they accept that Afghanistan’s future is not as a client of any, but as a secure country in its own right. Once again it should be the commercial and cultural crossroads of South West Asia. A country in which each of the neighbours and near neighbours has an open but responsible stake.</p> <p>Let me address each in turn.</p> <p>First, reintegrating and reconciling insurgents.  As President Obama said, with clarity and conviction, at the end of March, “in a country with extreme poverty that's been at war for decades, there will also be no peace without reconciliation among former enemies…There is an uncompromising core of the Taliban.  They must be met with force, and they must be defeated.  But there are also those who've taken up arms because of coercion, or simply for a price.  These Afghans must have the option to choose a different course.”  That is the right approach.</p> <p>With counter insurgency efforts being stepped up on either side of the Durand Line, Taliban commanders and foot soldiers face an increasingly debilitating struggle. From this position, we need to help the Afghan government exploit the opportunity, with a more coherent effort to fragment the various elements of the insurgency, and turn those who can be reconciled to live within the Afghan Constitution. </p> <p>The basis for reconciliation and reintegration is a starker choice: bigger incentives to switch sides and stay out of trouble, alongside tougher action against those who refuse.</p> <p>The Afghan government needs effective grass-roots initiatives to offer an alternative to fight or flight for the foot soldiers of the insurgency. Essentially this means a clear route for former insurgents to return to their villages and go back to farming the land, or a role for some of them within the legitimate Afghan security forces. Military pressure has an important role to play, it is complementary, not an alternative – these people must see the danger of remaining insurgents, but also believe that they will be protected from their former allies if they lay down their arms.</p> <p>For higher-level commanders and their networks, we need to work with the Afghan government to separate the hard-line ideologues, who are essentially irreconcilable and violent and who must be pursued relentlessly, from those who can be drawn into domestic political processes.</p> <p>Afghan history sets an important precedent here. Blood enemies from the Soviet period and the civil war now work together in government. Former Talibs already sit in the Parliament. And Mullah Salam left the Taliban in late 2007 to become the district governor of Musa Qaleh. So there is no reason that many members of the current insurgency can not follow – if they are prepared to be part of a peaceful future and accept the Afghan constitution. The next Afghan government needs to make this clear, and work to establish a reintegration process across the country.</p> <p>Let me turn secondly to reassuring the population and maintaining consent. It is only when the cooperation, passive and active, of ordinary Afghans is removed that the insurgency will be fatally undermined. The squeeze on the Taliban has to come from within as well as without.</p> <p>The three biggest barriers to this happening more widely are: first, that Afghans fear that international forces will leave prematurely, leaving a state unable to protect them from the Taliban; second, the absence of clean and consistent local governance; and third the lack of economic opportunity and consequent unemployment.   So what happens? People hedge their bets, turning a blind eye when they see insurgents laying IEDs or refusing to inform on insurgent infiltrators in their midst.</p> <p>The further development of Afghan Security Forces is a vital part of this. By the end of 2011 we will have trained and equipped 134,000 members of the Afghan National Army, up from 90,000 today. Alongside them a large police force - nearly 100,000 - guarding key facilities and institutions, manning checkpoints and tackling civil unrest. These capacity-building efforts must continue; indeed they should be accelerated.</p> <p>But, alongside security forces, Afghans look for the basics of authority. That means effective governors in each of the country’s 34 provinces; and the appointment by them of credible leaders of the 364 districts.  But also local governance that is credible, competent and clean, properly resourced and supported from Kabul, and works with the grain of tribal structures and history.  I honestly believe it is not possible to overstate the importance of these 400 (34 province and 364 district) appointments.</p> <p>The National Solidarity Program has empowered over 20,000 development shuras right across Afghanistan to decide for themselves how international assistance should be spent in their communities.  We need to see those district governors - the uluswals - once again empowered to govern, working with shuras of the local elders whom the Taliban have undermined and in some cases removed.  Such shuras would be the focus of political decision-making, but also deal with security and development issues. This is what we are already doing in Helmand to provide a single platform for Afghan Social Outreach, for Public Protection and for the National Solidarity Programmes.</p> <p>The third part of the offer to local people is development.  We are not in Afghanistan militarily because girls were not allowed to go to school.  But helping them do so is an important down-payment to Afghans desperate for a better future for their children.  Ditto health care.  Ditto jobs. That is why in Helmand, to take as an example, British, American, Danish and Estonian civilian and military staff are working to help build schools, provide clean water and electricity, surface roads and support agriculture.</p> <p>It is why the UK Department for International Development  is spending about half a billion pounds  in development assistance over the next four years. It is why other allies and partners, working with UNAMA, are doing the same across the rest of Afghanistan. I was pleased to read the latest figures, that the European Commission and EU member states are spending more than 900 million Euros a year.</p> <p>Third, regional stability. The final challenge is Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbours.</p> <p>The neighbour with the greatest influence on Afghanistan’s stability is of course Pakistan. Militants move with comparative ease across the 1600 mile Durand Line, and the insurgencies in the south and east of Afghanistan are directed partly from Quetta and Peshawar in Pakistan.</p> <p>As I saw for myself a few weeks ago, we now have mutually reinforcing strategies on both sides of the border, with extra troops deployed in southern Afghanistan, across the border from Pakistan’s military’s preparatory operations in Waziristan. The unity across political and military parts of the Pakistani state, and the support of the Pakistani population for the efforts in the North West Frontier province, is striking.</p> <p>The path to success on the Pakistani side of the insurgency requires a<br>number of steps:</p> <p>First, military operations need over time to address all militants who shelter Al Qaida, as well as those who threaten the Pakistan state.</p> <p>Second, any future peace deals to reconcile militants should have<br>clear red lines: they need to be prepared to shut out Al Qaida, and not use violence against troops or citizens in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Third, the areas that have already been subject to military operations – in<br>Swat and the Malakand Division – need to be reconstructed quickly and internally displaced persons resettled, so that immediate military success does not give way to longer term civilian disaffection.</p> <p>Fourth, the people of FATA need a clear roadmap towards proper inclusion in the Pakistani state, with the same rights – and responsibilities –as other citizens. The lack of governance and justice in FATA (inherited from British rule and not addressed for 60 years) – and in parts of North West Frontier Province – created the vacuum which insurgents exploited. Once again, political problems require political solutions.</p> <p>All this needs international economic, political and security support.  The new group Friends of Democratic Pakistan, which brings together a range of countries represented here, provides a basis to offer that.</p> <p>History has taught, however, that Afghanistan’s stability does not depend just on its eastern neighbour. The country has long been a geo-political chessboard upon which the struggles of others have been played out. The reality is that in each case it is the Afghan people who have suffered. The country’s neighbours need to realise that it is in their interests for Afghanistan to be a stable, neutral state - a friend to all, and a client of none.   There is not time to go into it here, but Secretary Clinton’s initiative at The Hague Conference was an important signal of intent, and needs to be followed up.</p> <p> <strong>Priorities over the Next Six Months</strong> </p> <p>Let me conclude, we are at an important point in Afghanistan’s history and NATO’s work there, and a testing point.  The elections on 20 August need to be both credible and inclusive. These will be the first Afghan-led elections since the 1970s.  We are doing all we can to help ensure that the process is as credible and fair as possible: deploying additional troops so people can vote safely, and through the EU and OSCE despatching over 100 election observers to foster confidence in the overall process.</p> <p>Ultimately, though, what will determine whether these elections mark a turning point is whether the candidates not just present clear manifestos but whether those are then implemented. We talk often about burden sharing between members of our alliance, rightly in my view. But the biggest shift must now be towards the Afghan state taking more responsibility. </p> <p>Because it is only if the political will is there that a meaningful package of incentives and sanctions can be developed to support reconciliation and reintegration. It is only with political will that genuine progress will be made in rooting out corrupt and incompetent Ministers at all levels of government; and that district by district, province by province, the Afghan Security Forces take on responsibility for security. And it is only with political will that the Afghan Government will succeed in deepening their cooperation with the Pakistani Authorities.</p> <p>In Pakistan too, the international community needs to forge a new relationship. It must be characterised by clear principles: a partnership that is sustained and long-term. A partnership focused on backing civilian institutions and democratic government, not particular individuals. A partnership that covers the breadth of Pakistan’s interests – jobs, education, agriculture, as well as security. This breadth must be reflected in the investment we provide in civilian aid; and in a partnership based on a two-way dialogue about each other’s concerns and interests, rather than what I would call a transactional relationship about how Pakistan can serve our interests. The first EU/Pakistan summit with its focus on constitutional reform, governance and trade, as well as security, was an important step in this direction.</p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong> </p> <p>NATO was born in the shadow of the Cold War, but we have all had to change our thinking as our troops confront insurgents rather than military machines like our own. The mental models of 20th century mass warfare are clearly not fit for 21st century counter-insurgency. </p> <p>That is why my argument today has been about the centrality of politics. People like quoting Clausewitz that warfare is the continuation of politics by other means.  But in Afghanistan, we need politics to become the continuation of warfare by other means. </p> <p>We will not force the Taliban to surrender just through the force of arms and overwhelming might. Nor will we convert them to our point of view through force of argument and ideological conviction.  But by challenging the insurgency, by dividing the different groups, by convincing the Afghans that we will not desert them to Taliban retribution, and by building legitimate governance especially at the local level with the grain of Afghan society, the Afghan government, with our support, can prevail.<br> <br>We in NATO have a long, hard military campaign ahead of us.  We explain to our public recent advances, as we will in London today, though we know recent sacrifices will not be the last, and we also explain the seriousness of the security situation in Afghanistan.  Our enemies should never doubt our determination to accomplish this mission, because we know the very high cost of failure.  Just as our friends should know that they can truly count on us, because we know that our own security depends on it.</p> <p>For that, we need politics to succeed in Afghanistan.  Today, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have explained how it can do so.</p> <p>Thank you very much indeed.</p> <p> <a href="#" title="070-uk-in-afghanistan">Read more about why we are in Afghanistan</a> </p> <p> <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/622fcdee-7a07-11de-b86f-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1" title="afganistan fs ft">Read David Miliband's article in the Financial Times</a> </p> 2011-03-10 15:00:03 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=20621074 David Miliband NATO's mission in Afghanistan: the political strategy uk.org.publicwhip/member/40552 27 July 2009 Foreign and Commonwealth Office NATO Headquarters, Brussels
<p>Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to you on my first visit to The Hague as the British Minister for Europe. It is a pleasure to be here at the VNO-NCW, as a guest of both this institution and Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations.</p> <p>I know that the VNO-NCW is a very effective representative of Dutch business and industry at both home and abroad, serving in the interest of more than 115,000 individual enterprises. I understand you have an office in Brussels and represent Dutch companies through the OECD. It is no surprise to me that you hold such an international outlook: for it is firmly in the Dutch, as it is in the British tradition, to look beyond your borders for economic opportunities.</p> <p>That international outlook is embodied by the excellent work carried out under Professor de Zwaan’s direction at Clingendael. The institute rightly has an esteemed reputation for its insightful analysis of global politics. It also has a history rich with links to the world of trade and commerce. The magnificent Huys Clingendael is home to the Institute and which I hope one day to visit, was built in the seventeenth century for  the Doublet family, several of whom held the office of Treasurer General in what was the Republic of the Seven United Provinces. I am grateful that your co-hosting with VNO-NCW has provided me with such a fitting platform from which to speak about international politics and trade.</p> <p>Trade has, of course, played an enormously important role in the development of both our nations. As a keen historian, I know well that relations between Britain and the Netherlands have in the past been stretched at times to breaking point as both nations sought commercial advantage over the other, principally through establishing supremacy over lucrative maritime trade routes. Three Anglo-Dutch Sea Wars in the 17th century, and a fourth in the 18th century, are testament to the importance that both countries placed on international trade. Even when not coming to blows, the fervour with which we defended our national economic interests has long been a feature of both our bilateral relations.</p> <p>Indeed, that single-mindedness, which I think it is fair to say is a trait in both the Dutch and British national characters, has at times even intruded into the normally urbane civilized discourse of international diplomacy. In 1826 the British Foreign Secretary George Canning sent a coarse rhyming despatch to his good friend the British Ambassador to The Hague, Sir Charles Bagot. In it he announced a Franco – British retaliation for the earlier Dutch decision to impose a 20% duty on foreign ships and cargoes calling at Dutch ports. Canning had had enough of obdurate negotiations in London with the Dutch Ambassador Falck, and he made clear that in his opinion the Dutch were over-asking. He wrote:</p> <p>In matters of commerce the fault of the Dutch<br>Is giving too little and asking too much;<br>With equal protection the French are content<br>So we’ll clap on Dutch bottoms a twenty per cent.<br>   Twenty per cent,<br>   Twenty per cent,<br>Nous frapperons Falck with twenty per cent.</p> <p>Now I can reassure you that today Ambassador Arkwright receives no such colourful instructions from London. Nor would he need to. The great commercial rivalry between our countries has been replaced today by a strong and enduring partnership.</p> <p>Today our trade relationship is thriving. Bilateral trade is worth approximately £47 billion – up 20% from just a year ago. Exports are up, imports are up, and investment is up. It is no surprise that the Netherlands is Britain’s third largest overseas market after Germany and the USA. But we are keen to develop this even further. That is why the British and Dutch Deputy Prime Ministers launched the UK/Netherlands Strategic Business Dialogue in November last year.  It is the only one of its kind and it will further strengthen the commercial relationship between our countries.</p> <p>Ours is a partnership geared towards succeeding in the modern world. We share the same economic ambitions. If we are to meet the challenges of globalisation, tackle the threat of recession and secure growth, we need even greater efforts to stimulate business and to liberate competition. We want to complete the Doha Development Round this year. We want to make rapid progress on completing the EU Single Market: work which is still unfinished. We want to see a strong and sustainable economic recovery across Europe and, selfishly, we want to see Britain and the Netherlands lead that success.</p> <p>And the partnership extends beyond economics. We cooperate on a range of global issues from counter-terrorism and combating piracy to managing climate change. Of course we are still each fervent in pursuit of our national interests, but those interests are increasingly shared so that we can work together to safeguard national and international security and build prosperity for the benefit of all our citizens. In the 21st century ours is a relationship of close cooperation, rather than fierce competition.</p> <p>As Britain’s Minister for Europe, I see the similar approach that our countries take towards membership of the European Union. We are both coalition governments, a somewhat novel experience in our case, arguing within Europe for a focus on economic growth, while pushing for a lean European Union budget that delivers for our citizens in a time of economic constraint.</p> <p>We share this view because, notwithstanding the serious economic challenges facing our continent and the world, an effective European Union remains a region of opportunity. Above all, for countries like the Netherlands and Britain, whose economies rely heavily on export success and on an ambitious approach to investing in emerging markets.  </p> <p>For both our countries, the opportunity lies not in a European Union standing still, let alone becoming introverted, but from being part of a dynamic European Union that is on the move and which is active in exercising its transformational power. And it’s that dynamic, outward-looking aspect of the European Union that I want to talk about today. In particular, I want to set out Britain’s resounding commitment to an ambitious agenda for European enlargement.</p> <p>In principle, this is an area on which both our coalition governments share much common ground. We recognize that further enlargement will entrench stability, prosperity and security across the continent of Europe. It will spread the core values upon which both our nations are built: democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. But, like the Dutch, we are hard-headed and pragmatic in our approach, believing that conditionality is crucial in order to protect the credibility of further enlargement, and to ensure that the foundations of the European Union remain strong.</p> <p>So, the British Government supports European Union membership for all European countries which want to join and - this is a vital point – which are able to meet the accession criteria. We share the Dutch Government’s position that future membership depends upon a ‘strict but fair’ application of the accession criteria. Indeed, I am rather fond of your Government’s expression:</p> <p>“Eerst rode lijnen, dan pas de rode lopers,”</p> <p>which in English can be rendered as “first the red lines, and then the red carpets”.</p> <p>But the voices speaking out against further enlargement are growing in volume. Opinion polls suggest that the Dutch public have become increasingly critical of further EU enlargement in recent years. In the autumn of 2008, according to Eurobarometer figures, nearly 80% of Dutch respondents thought EU membership was a good thing. The percentage that thought the Netherlands benefited from membership was nearly as high. In contrast, however, the support for future enlargement was less than 50%. Compared with the turn of the century, there has been a sharp fall in the number of supporters of enlargement.<br><br>There is a fear that the European Union would not be able to absorb more member states, that the budget would become too imbalanced, that the bureaucracy would become too slow. I understand those reservations, but I do not share them. Because I firmly believe that in a changing world, where economic and political weight is swinging eastwards, the European Union will remain strong only if it is outward-looking and continues to grow.</p> <p>Last month in Vienna, I gave a speech in which I emphasized the profoundly stabilizing effect that enlargement has had on Europe and the significant weight that continued enlargement would give the European Union on the world stage. I argued then that the European Union’s single greatest success, even greater than the achievement of the Single Market, had been the entrenchment of democracy in the countries liberated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That was a time of great change. A time that I regard as perhaps the most exciting and welcome set of international events in my entire lifetime. Freedom, the rule of law, and democracy successfully took root in countries where they had long been denied. The key to this was the magnet of attraction that is the European Union and the vital support and encouragement that was offered to those countries which were casting off decades of totalitarian rule. I am pleased to know that a number of Ambassadors of these countries in the audience today.</p> <p>Two decades later and we are again witnessing history being made on Europe’s borders. Once more Europe has a pivotal role to play in helping its neighbours develop the building blocks of prosperous, stable and free societies. The people in Sidi Bouzid, in Tahrir Square, in Benghazi and elsewhere in the region called for a new reality to match their aspirations and Europe needs to respond with ambition and clarity of purpose. We will do this through a re-energized European Neighbourhood Policy which supports home-grown political and economic reform. At the same time we should be tougher and more rigorous with our neighbours – we should not patronize, but neither should we shy away from promoting universal values and responding vigorously when they are violated.</p> <p>I believe that the ongoing events in North Africa and the wider Middle East reinforce the arguments I made in Vienna. They remind us of the great value of extending the European Union’s reach:  its ability to spread democracy, human rights and the rule of law. To improve the lives of millions and to build a stable European neighbourhood.</p> <p>But today I want to focus on making the case for further enlargement in a different context, that of business, trade, and economic opportunities.</p> <p>The starting point is that membership of the European Union provides the UK and the Netherlands with access to a Single Market that is vital to the prosperity of both our countries. With 500 million consumers generating a total Gross Domestic Product of more than £10.5 trillion it is the world’s largest single market and has been a key driver for economic growth in the UK, in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe. By some estimates EU countries currently trade twice as much with each other as they would have done in the absence of the Single Market.  </p> <p>The British Government has made driving up exports and deepening inward investment central to achieving a sustainable economic recovery in our country. Being a member of the Single Market underpins those efforts: no less than half of the overall stock of Foreign Direct Investment to the UK now comes from elsewhere in the European Union; trade with the European Union amounts to almost 1/3 of our annual GDP, EU member states comprise 7 of the UK's top 10 overall trade partners; and roughly 3.5 million jobs, or 10% of the United Kingdom’s workforce, are either directly or indirectly involved in the export of goods or services to European Union countries.</p> <p>Member States right across Europe, including the Netherlands, benefit in exactly the same way. This is why we must support and strengthen the Single Market, widening its remit to focus on the digital economy, on energy, on low carbon development and on the much needed further liberalisation in the services sector: it is the only way that we can see off the challenge to our competitiveness from both the emerging economies and the US.</p> <p>And when European companies succeed on the world stage, it is because greater competition within the Single Market has fostered the innovation that is key to success in a global economy. This is particularly the case for those small and medium sized enterprises, for whom the European Union serves as an effective starter market for new exporters.</p> <p>Now one clear way of strengthening the Single Market would be to enlarge it. As we have seen in the past decade, this can bring huge economic benefits.</p> <p>The accession of new member states to the European Union in the last decade opened up new export markets for British companies. Between 2004 and 2008, British exports of goods and services to the Czech Republic increased by over 50%, amounting to an additional £700m.  For Poland they also more than doubled, bringing over £2billion of increased exports to the UK. Taken as a whole, UK exports of goods and services to the 12 new member states were worth over £11.6 billion in 2009, almost three times the £4.5 billion of exports ten years previously.</p> <p>This success story was mirrored across Europe.  The enlargement of the Single Market by an extra 104 million consumers, a population increase of around 32%, increased the sales markets of the old member states. Indeed, according to a report last year on enlargement commissioned by the Dutch Government and Parliament:</p> <p>“Of all the old member states, the Netherlands has benefited the most from enlargement. It has generated nearly €11 billion in additional income, or more than €650 per inhabitant.”</p> <p>That report, drafted by the Advisory Council on International Affairs, looked at the cost and ability of the European Union to absorb new Member States. In these straitened economic times, it is quite right to consider the issue of absorption capacity when we discuss further enlargement.</p> <p>I believe this is one of the critical reasons for ensuring that prospective member states meet the strict but fair accession criteria. This includes having the capacity to cope with competitive pressures and market forces within the European Union and aligning domestic legislation with EU standards in 35 different sectors or “chapters”.  Meeting these rigorous criteria for accession ensures that the applicant country makes the reforms which are necessary to build a sound economic climate in the long-term.</p> <p>Croatia is now in the final stages of its accession negotiations, having closed 28 of the 35 chapters.  Like many other countries Croatia is still suffering from the impact of the economic crisis. And she faces some difficult choices on issues such as restructuring of shipyards and reform of the judiciary.  But the government has shown commendable determination in continuing its reform efforts and we look forward to welcoming Croatia into the European Union as soon as possible.  Given the relatively small size of Croatia’s economy its accession is unlikely to have a major impact on the overall EU budget.  And any short-term costs of accession needed be considered alongside the benefits that will be accrued through stability in the Western Balkans and through increased trade and investment flows.  </p> <p>A balance should also be struck on the effects of further enlargement on migration and labour markets. We must not be naïve about this. What is clear is that the UK economy benefitted a great deal from the influx of skilled labour after 2004 and 2007.  Independent  research suggests that around one million immigrants have arrived in the UK from the eight central European countries admitted to European Union in 2004. Those immigrants were willing to work on average four hours longer per week than British born workers. This helps benefit the UK and Netherlands as workers are able to fill gaps and meet businesses needs, and then move on when work becomes scarcer. I understand the concerns of some professions, of plumbers and electricians, who are seeing their prices undercut by those from Eastern Europe.  I have seen this for myself in my constituency.  But I have also seen consumers benefit from cheaper goods and services.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the European Union is careful to ensure that free movement of workers is managed so as not to disrupt old Member States’ labour markets. In Britain we have committed to applying transitional controls as a matter of course for all new Member States, and these could include - if necessary – imposing temporary controls on the movement of workers and their families as we have in the past. But I stress that these measures are about managing further enlargement, not impeding it.<br></p> <p>The experiences of the last decade show that further enlargement makes good business sense. It removes barriers and facilitates trade, allowing European consumers to more easily buy Dutch and British products and services.  Enlargement also increases the international competitiveness of British and Dutch companies as they benefit from cheaper inputs from a larger and more diverse labour market, and from additional opportunities for technology transfers and greater economies of scale.  Countries like ours, whose economies rely upon trade, should be among the first to make the case for continuing to accept prospective member states, provided they meet the necessary accession criteria.</p> <p>Now the accession criteria do not require countries to pitch a business case for membership but, by way of conclusion, I want to make the case for two countries on opposite sides of our continent.</p> <p>First, let us consider Iceland. Only a short while ago its economy was booming, and it has the fundamentals in place to ensure that it can bounce back to prosperity. Iceland has already taken the first steps to economic recovery and membership will help to consolidate this. Membership would open Iceland’s economy to foreign investors and I think that there are exciting opportunities there, particularly in the energy sector. We know that Europe is striving to reach its target of 20 % of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Iceland has the potential to help us realize that goal. Iceland already derives more than 80% of its energy from renewables, notably geothermal and hydropower, and the Icelandic government estimates that 75% of Iceland’s potential energy supply remains undeveloped.</p> <p>Finally, at a time when investors are increasingly looking east, Europe’s gaze surely falls upon the abundant economic potential of Turkish membership. Turkey is already Europe’s 6th and the world's 16th largest economy. And it continues to grow at a rapid rate: the OECD predicts that by 2017 it will be the third fastest growing emerging economy anywhere in the World after China and India. By 2050 Goldman Sachs predicts that Turkey’s economy will be the 9th largest in the World.</p> <p>The European Union already has a Customs Union with Turkey, although this only covers trade in manufactured goods rather than services or agricultural products and so on.  In 2010, 42% of Turkey’s trade transactions by volume were with the European Union and 70% of Turkey’s foreign direct investment was from the European Union. Full accession would resolve many of the current problems that businesses are experiencing with the Customs Union Agreement and further increase Europe’s share of Turkey’s rapidly growing market.   Indeed a study by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands suggested that full accession could see a 50% increase in Dutch exports to Turkey by 2025.  </p> <p>Turkish membership would boost the European Single Market and would play a major part in Europe’s long term prosperity by adding significant clout to our common external trade policy. Turkey is keen to be closely associated with European Union efforts to negotiate Free Trade Agreements with countries like India.  And last October, Turkey joined Germany, Indonesia and the UK in co-sponsoring an expert group to look at ways of unblocking the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.  </p> <p>I know that people here will recognize Turkey’s huge economic potential. Indeed, the Netherlands has a proud tradition of recognizing commercial opportunities in the East. The VOC  pioneered international trade in the 17th century and of course it was from Turkey that tulips arrived in the Netherlands a century earlier, dazzling the population and triggering the world’s very first speculative bubble.</p> <p>Now I am not suggesting that Turkish membership would have a similar bubble impact, because as the figures demonstrate the economic benefits for Europe would be significant and sustainable in the long-term. But if we are to realize them, we must focus on Turkish accession as something that – in time – really can and should happen. The British government believes that the European Union must work hard to keep Turkey’s accession process on track</p> <p>Too often in the UK and the Netherlands the debate about the European Union is dominated by its most trenchant critics. The great benefits that membership affords our nations, many of which I have spoken about today, are easily overlooked and we only hear about the down sides.  Such negativity breeds fear and suppresses creativity, turns us inward and makes us defensive. I would rather that we work together to create a positive, confident agenda for the European Union: building on its strengths; exploiting natural British and Dutch talents; and revitalising our traditional outward-looking globalist approach.</p> <p>Enlargement is central to that approach. It is the momentum that has driven forward so much of Europe’s progress. And not just for the acceding members, but for existing member states too. So I believe it’s time to take a dispassionate look at the case for enlargement – the business case. I hope that what I have said today convinces you that enlargement is a project worth political as well as business investment. Because I believe that it is time for businesses to make their voice heard in this political debate.  It is time to grasp the opportunity in the entrepreneurial spirit which has been the inspiration for Dutch, as for British, success over the centuries. As the current Dutch coalition agreement says, to be a leading presence in the world requires “entrepreneurship and not being afraid to break new ground”. Let us make that journey together.<br></p> 2011-03-29 00:04:51 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=563507782 David Lidington European Union Enlargement: Tulips, Trade and Growth uk.org.publicwhip/member/40051 09 March 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office VNO - NCW, The Hague
<p>You may think, after 2 decades, that climate diplomacy has come a long way. We have built a mountain of words. But the view from the top of it shows we have hardly started.</p> <p>Today I want to talk about the way ahead, as seen from the top of that mountain.</p> <p>We face a simple choice. We can do what we think we can, knowing it will not suffice. Or we can stay focussed on what needs doing, knowing that to do it we must find the will to expand the limits of the possible.</p> <p>Our mission as practitioners of foreign policy is to summon collective will among nations in order to protect national interests. We now need to make the climate project - not just the negotiation but the project - central to that mission. We should have done that long ago.  </p> <p> <strong>Why Climate Change is Different</strong> </p> <p>Humanity has never faced a problem like climate change.</p> <p>Unlike poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism it affects everybody.</p> <p>Climate change is a ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down. Once the burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exceeds any given level, the climate it represents is gone for good.</p> <p>We normally respond to problems by doing our best. If that’s not enough we try again. The ticking clock means that the first attempt has to succeed. The essence is not what we must do but how quickly we must do it.</p> <p>Climate change is systemic risk with a deadline and without the option of a bailout.</p> <p>We need to make the global economy essentially carbon neutral in little more than a generation, and resilient to the climate change we cannot now avoid. That means aligning national choices, rooted in national politics, to build national economies that are carbon neutral and resilient.</p> <p>For diplomacy, this is an existential test. What is required is has some features in common with what we have accomplished at existential moments in the past. But the sheer effort it asks of us must match any we have ever summoned – and then some.</p> <p> <strong>How We Got Here</strong> </p> <p>Shortly before the Earth Summit in 1992 a tense conversation took place. A senior State Department official telephoned Michael Howard, John Major’s Environment Secretary. He tried to reopen an earlier understanding reached with the US by Howard’s predecessor Michael Heseltine. In a forensically argued defence that became legendary with officials, Howard held the line. The understanding stood.</p> <p>At stake was the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was duly agreed at Rio. It had many fathers but those involved certainly felt that Michael Howard’s tenacity had kept the US on board.</p> <p>Under the Convention, industrialised countries aimed to “return their emissions……to 1990 levels”. Despite this non-binding commitment, their actual emissions kept rising. But that possibility had at least been anticipated.</p> <p>The Convention requires Parties to review from time to time the adequacy of their commitments against the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. In 1995, the first such review gave rise to the so-called Berlin Mandate, launching negotiations on a new set of commitments. That concluded in 1997 with agreement on the Kyoto Protocol, which put binding caps on emissions from industrialised countries.</p> <p>But no treaty is stronger than the political foundation beneath it, and Kyoto’s was fragile. All along there had been tensions: over the level of ambition; the division of effort between rich and poor countries; how binding the promises made should be; and whether they should be based on outputs – emission caps across the economy – or inputs, in the form of pledged policy commitments. Ironically it was the US that persuaded Europe to go for binding caps.</p> <p>The tensions originated in national politics. Indeed in the US, by 1997 the Gingrich revolution had completely altered the political context. A resolution passed by the Senate shortly before the Protocol was concluded made it look unlikely that it would secure the 67 votes in that Chamber needed for ratification. As Kyoto was being born, some, especially in the US, were already rushing to write its obituary.</p> <p>In 2001 the new Bush Administration announced that it would not ask the Senate to ratify the Protocol. If Russia too defaulted, Kyoto would indeed be dead. Uncertainty over Kyoto’s fate became a diplomatic black hole, sucking the life out of all attempts to move forward, beyond 2012 when the first cycle of Kyoto caps expires.</p> <p>Russia’s decision in 2004 to ratify, a product of informal diplomacy, pulled us out of the gravitational field, and opened the way for the push to Copenhagen.</p> <p>There followed a series of moves, many initiated by the UK, to build political momentum.</p> <p>In 2005, an international conference in Exeter got the growing alarm of scientists onto front pages. The Gleneagles G8 Summit made climate an issue for leaders. The Stern Review in 2006 made it an economic issue. Margaret Beckett’s debate in the UN Security Council in 2007 made it a security issue. Some tried to prevent that debate, but many of the world’s poorest countries were impatient to testify to the insecurity they were by now feeling as a result of climate-related stresses.</p> <p>The EU’s adoption that year under German Presidency of binding targets for 2020 without waiting for a new agreement challenged others to move from “after you” to “follow me”. And climate change clearly mattered to the new US President, elected the following year.</p> <p>As Copenhagen approached, the limits of the possible really did seem to be stretching. The major economies agreed to try to keep climate change within 2ºC. Many governments made new national pledges.</p> <p> <strong>So what went wrong?</strong> </p> <p>As William Hague has said Copenhagen was a failure of will not of process. Too many saw the risk to growth and jobs of promising too much as more dangerous than an inconclusive Summit. Too few saw climate change as an urgent threat to national interests.</p> <p>Thanks to outstanding Mexican diplomacy, Cancun got the train back on track. Chris Huhne played a key role in persuading participants to set aside their most intractable differences to be dealt with later. That allowed progress elsewhere, and a cathartic healing of Copenhagen wounds. The global conversation at the heart of the climate project, though still frail, remained alive.</p> <p> <strong>Where We Are</strong> </p> <p>Standing on top of our word mountain, what have we got; what has changed on the way up; what have we learned?</p> <p>We aim to avoid a danger threshold of 2ºC.  Our national carbon pledges now have the authority of the UN. But they would in aggregate carry us closer to 4ºC than 2ºC.<br><br>The difference matters. Below 2ºC, there is thought to be a lower risk of passing tipping points that could trigger self-amplifying climate instability. The risk is much greater that the first such tipping points lie somewhere between 2 and 4ºC. So we will need to make full use of the new adequacy review agreed at Cancun.</p> <p>The pledges are also non-binding. They are held in limbo by a triple lock. The US will not make more contractual promises than China, which will not be internationally bound at least without greater domestic ambition from the US. Many of the most vulnerable countries, as well as Europe, insist on a binding regime.</p> <p>We are building frameworks to help developing countries deal with climate risk, deploy low carbon technologies and keep forests standing. Developed countries have promised to mobilise $100 bn annually by 2020 for these frameworks.</p> <p>This whole architecture will operate in the open, with transparency rules to ensure that commitments are seen to be met.</p> <p>Real progress, yes. But between the transformational promise and its fulfilment like Augustine the world still hesitates – we still hesitate. We have started to will the ends but not yet the means. Yes, but not now.  Yes, but not us.</p> <p>And times have changed.</p> <p>True, science now tells us climate change is a more dangerous and urgent threat than we first thought. Experience supports this. Countries on the edge, from Australia to Bolivia, Cuba to Pakistan are being hit by the kind of damage the climate models warned about. New studies, like the one published last week on the floods in the UK of the year 2000, are detecting ever more clearly the human fingerprint in extreme weather events.</p> <p>But 20 years ago, the future seemed ours to shape. The iron curtain had opened reuniting a continent in freedom. Globalisation promised a new wave of affluence.</p> <p>Now, at least in the OECD, we are anxious, as we try to convalesce from the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Cheap energy is gone and rising oil prices threaten the recovery. Jobs, pensions, savings and living standards feel less secure. Terrorism casts a shadow. Politics is less trusted.</p> <p>True, the emerging economies quickly regained momentum, pulling us all forward. But that momentum also locks in carbon emissions and drives up resource prices.</p> <p>So two decades on there is more reason to act. But decisive action requires confidence and there is less of that around. Expanding the limits of the possible is a tougher ask than it was when the barriers at so many checkpoints in the landscape of possibility had just been swept away.</p> <p>There are lessons to learn.</p> <p>First, science is no longer enough. The science-driven climate project achieved a lot. But Copenhagen was its apogee.  Science alone cannot take us further. As Tom Burke tells us, we now need a politics-driven climate project.</p> <p>Second, climate security is imperative for prosperity, security and equity; for food, water, and energy security; for the open global economy, cooperation and the international rule of law. This is not just another environmental issue. We were wrong to treat it as one and must stop doing so.</p> <p>Third, systemic risks must be neutralised before they trigger systemic crises. The economic theory that guides our decisions undervalues resilience. The compass it gives us is not fit for purpose.</p> <p>Tunisians first came onto the streets in protest at high food prices, driven up by climatically-intensified supply shocks. Climate change is a stress multiplier. It is hard to imagine a more effective engine than our interconnected insecurities over climate, food, water and energy for driving angry young people onto the streets of crowded cities. It cannot be switched off in a high carbon economy.</p> <p>So the fourth lesson is that this is a today problem not a tomorrow problem. Politically it is about us not our grandchildren. We need to begin the heavy lifting now: not only because we have to if we want to avoid those tipping points, but also because climate change seems increasingly to be biting hard already.</p> <p> <strong>The Choice</strong> </p> <p>Our efforts so far have made little impression in the one place that really matters, in the real economy. Low carbon capital flows remain small compared with the investment flowing into the high carbon economy, locking in emissions for the lifetime of each new car, building or power station.</p> <p>There can only be one test of the choice we now face. Will it divert the river of capital quickly enough to keep us within 2°C?</p> <p>We need to send a signal so strong, so convincing, that it aligns countless individual choices. It has to be a global signal, made through the UN, to give us the common purpose we need, and to make our response feel unstoppable.</p> <p>There are only two approaches.</p> <p>There is bottom up. National commitments come together in a package, updated from time to time in a process of “pledge and review”. The commitments can be reflected in national legislation. But laws drive action more predictably in some countries than others. The regime is not internationally binding.</p> <p>A politically binding promise is easier to make than a legally binding one. That is because it is easier to break if keeping it becomes politically difficult.</p> <p>People can see through the phrase “politically binding”. It conveys no inevitability. It is a weak signal. It says: “we will make the easy choices, but will probably shy away from the difficult ones.</p> <p>The other model also includes bottom up pledges. But there is in addition a top down action-forcing mechanism.</p> <p>Parties hold themselves accountable under international law for keeping their promises, and for tightening them in accordance with the 2°C goal. This says: “we accept we cannot control the clock; but we know we need to move at the pace it sets and shall do so”.</p> <p>Neither model is currently capable of securing consensus. In any case, we should address the question of what is necessary before asking what is more likely to be negotiable in current circumstances.</p> <p>It is simply not credible to argue that bottom up alone offers what we need. Only a binding regime can create a force field strong enough to align those countless choices. Only a binding regime can convince those whose capital allocation decisions shape the economy that a high carbon business model will expose them to greater risk and hit their returns harder than betting now on low carbon; that governments in other words are serious; that these promises will be kept even if the going gets rough.</p> <p>A leading investor in British infrastructure recently told me that his company would not invest in our low carbon transition. He admired our ambition, but the politics would get too difficult and we wouldn’t stay the course. We will. But our policies will fail if investors don’t believe us.</p> <p>All commitments need not be equally binding immediately. It just needs to be clear that the regime will revolve around an expanding set of binding emission caps across the whole economy, compatible with the 2ºC threshold, with more countries coming in as they become more prosperous.</p> <p>Kyoto embodies this. The essence of Kyoto is its binding caps not its distinction between developed and developing countries. Abandoning Kyoto now would be seen as giving up on top down. Many would see it as giving up altogether. But there is plenty of scope over successive cycles for newly prosperous economies to take caps.</p> <p> <strong>Only Diplomacy</strong> </p> <p>To bind or not to bind. Right now we seem trapped between the necessary and the merely impossible.</p> <p>But there is a way out. Law is an output from politics not an input. We must establish the political conditions necessary to support the climate treaty we need.</p> <p>That is a job for foreign policy. It is not about the negotiations themselves and cannot be done inside the negotiations. It is not primarily about international climate policy. It is about national debates on security, prosperity and equity, and how climate change speaks to them.</p> <p>Most foreign policy elites have yet to embrace and act on this. It would not be harsh to call that a failure of diplomacy.</p> <p>Diplomats have focussed more on what can be accomplished within the negotiations themselves, as if a global negotiation could drive national politics. But as we found at Copenhagen and accepted at Cancun, if there is no alignment of purpose no negotiated text can bridge the gap. The diplomacy we now need must build that alignment.</p> <p>Diplomats have done this kind of thing before.  </p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats on either side helped build a shared imperative that operated across frontiers like a political force field, organising entire societies and, yes, legitimising countless individual choices. That is what we need to do now.</p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats like George Kennan forged doctrines that made sense of those choices. The climate project will fail without a doctrine of climate security, which we do not yet have.</p> <p>In the Cold War, because failure was unthinkable, the effort was served not limited by economics. The climate project too needs that overriding clarity of purpose. But this time there is only one side and we are all on it, and the effort will actually support the economy by getting us off the oil hook and easing the resource stresses that now threaten us.</p> <p>Now as then, technology is the key. Then it was missiles we hoped never to fire, to avoid Mutually Assured Destruction. Now we need Mutually Assured Construction of the infrastructure for a low carbon world.</p> <p>Again we must summon shared will between nations, through a collective reappraisal of national interests to take account of an existential threat and to drive a challenging but available response.</p> <p>Diplomats engaged existentially with the Cold War, and we now need to do so on climate change.</p> <p>We need to make the low carbon economy feel more like an opportunity; climate risk feel more threatening; a binding treaty feel more necessary and achievable.</p> <p>There is more debate around the world now about where future growth will come from than there has been for a generation. That is a consequence of the economic crisis and the realisation that we are moving from abundance to scarcity.</p> <p>So the first task for diplomats is to ensure that the answer to the growth question, in all the major economies, is low carbon growth.  </p> <p>That’s why David Miliband got us working with China on low carbon growth and why we welcomed China’s decision last year to establish low carbon economic zones encompassing 350 million people.</p> <p>Without climate security, we will lose control of food, water and energy security.</p> <p>So the second task for diplomats is to build a shared doctrine of climate risk. This needs to animate those in all countries to whom leaders turn for advice on what is necessary to ensure national security. This must establish 2ºC as an imperative.</p> <p>That’s why my colleague Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is working with security elites in many countries to build a shared approach to climate security, and why with partners we now want to bring this issue back to the UN Security Council.</p> <p>As in any political landscape there is a tension between those who want to go faster, and those who do not: the forces of high and low ambition. Out of this tension come the mandates that officials take to the climate negotiations.</p> <p>The third task for diplomats is to strengthen the forces of high ambition everywhere so that negotiators will have mandates that allow them to make promises that are more ambitious, more binding.</p> <p>There is only one way to do that. It is not to lecture others on their interests, but to do ourselves what we want others to do: to say again, “follow me”. Diplomats need to make the foreign policy case for higher ambition at home.</p> <p>Renewal</p> <p>This calls for a renewal not just of climate diplomacy but of diplomacy itself.</p> <p>I claimed earlier that climate change was an existential challenge for diplomats. In fact the true challenge comes from the underlying condition of which climate change is a manifestation.</p> <p>That condition is the unprecedented degree of interdependence that has come with globalisation. This is not a marginal adjustment to the context within which diplomacy is practiced – a kind of diplomatic externality. It forces us into a frame of reference that differs fundamentally from anything diplomats have experienced before.</p> <p>Interdependence confronts us with new problems, and makes familiar problems more acute. We need climate security, yes, but also resource security, financial and macroeconomic stability, and an open global economy. We need to neutralise the risks arising from global pandemics, state failure, mass displacement of people, international organised crime, and nuclear proliferation.</p> <p>These interconnected problems threaten the system conditions for security, prosperity, and equity in an interdependent world.  They can only be resolved by creating the political conditions for convergent responses across national and sectoral boundaries at a sufficient level of ambition.</p> <p>There are no hard power solutions to the problems of interdependence. But unless we can deploy soft power effectively against them, they will certainly give us hard power headaches. We must learn to use soft power as a precision instrument: not just as an attractor but to achieve specific political outcomes.</p> <p>Welcome to a world with no abroad.</p> <p>In such a world, the question for diplomats is no longer who has the most power. It does not matter how much power you have if you cannot use it to secure what you need. We need to ask how we can harness and direct the forces unleashed by interdependence. How can we bend into alignment the way nations see their interests when the system conditions we all need depend on it.</p> <p>That truly is our existential question. If we diplomats do not answer it, nobody else will: not our colleagues in Ministries for climate, energy, agriculture, development, trade, or even finance. Yes they can design policy regimes in the areas for which they have responsibility and expertise. But only we can push up the level of shared ambition that animates those regimes by connecting them to the political impulses and narratives of others. And if we do not do this, foreign policy itself will become ever less effective as the crises of unmanaged interdependence increasingly overwhelm our ability to cope.</p> <p>Through a renewal of diplomacy we can shape the destiny of the societies we serve. Through business as usual diplomacy we can allow events to shape it for us in a way that pleases noone (to borrow from Carlyle). It is our choice.</p> <p>Climate change is at the fulcrum of that choice. A successful response to climate change will ease many of the other stresses and make interdependence easier to deal with. But if we fail, climate change will multiply those stresses to the point where the system conditions will not hold.</p> <p>The British Foreign Office has invested more than any other Foreign Ministry in the kind of climate diplomacy I have described, working alongside and in complementarity with our colleagues in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Our experience is not only helping to establish more favourable political conditions for success on climate. It is also telling us a lot about how to renew our profession. As a senior colleague recently put it, what we are doing on climate is a model for 21st century diplomatic excellence.</p> <p>It is teaching us that if we want others to act we must do so ourselves. William Hague has urged that foreign policy flow through the veins of domestic departments. That means domestic policy must flow through our veins too. It becomes our responsibility to shape policy in areas previously regarded as exclusively domestic.</p> <p>We must get better at dealing in language and narrative as well as policy. Narrative gives meaning to policy. It binds coalitions. The forces of low ambition on climate have used it skilfully. You cannot deal with climate change if you cannot talk about it.</p> <p>We must get better at engaging beyond governments. That means using network diplomacy to understand the perspectives of businesses, the media, NGO’s, academics, faith communities, and to build alliances with them.</p> <p>We must distinguish more clearly between process and outcomes. We diplomats revel in process. But we must use it rigorously to change conditions in the real world. There are too many communiqués that nobody reads except those who negotiated them.</p> <p>Never ask “what can we agree?” before asking “what needs to be agreed?” If there is a gap, focus on the political conditions not just the text. Get ahead of the event horizon. Ask where the politics need to be not at the end of the current crisis or the next conference, but over a political cycle. Invest now in new impulses that might change the game in five years.</p> <p>My profession is full of outstanding people: talented, brave, dedicated to public service, even - though nobody wants to be accused of it - visionary. But seen from the outside, we can appear a somewhat tired elite, closed and set in our ways, complacent even, at risk of being overtaken by the complexities of interdependence.<br><br>I am sometimes asked why the British Foreign Office puts so much effort into climate change, consistently under 3 consecutive Foreign Secretaries.</p> <p>The security and prosperity of over 60 million British people depend on a successful global response to climate change. The taxpayer pays for the Foreign Office in order to maintain the external conditions for Britain’s security and prosperity. That makes it our core business to deploy to the fullest extent possible the assets of foreign policy in support of the shared effort on climate across a government that David Cameron is determined to make our greenest government ever.</p> <p>We do this, in other words, because it is our job. But we will only succeed in our job if you make it yours as well.<br></p> 2011-03-13 00:16:16 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=563418682 John Ashton Climate change: "A ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down" None 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>You may think, after 2 decades, that climate diplomacy has come a long way. We have built a mountain of words. But the view from the top of it shows we have hardly started.</p> <p>Today I want to talk about the way ahead, as seen from the top of that mountain.</p> <p>We face a simple choice. We can do what we think we can, knowing it will not suffice. Or we can stay focussed on what needs doing, knowing that to do it we must find the will to expand the limits of the possible.</p> <p>Our mission as practitioners of foreign policy is to summon collective will among nations in order to protect national interests. We now need to make the climate project - not just the negotiation but the project - central to that mission. We should have done that long ago.  </p> <p> <strong>Why Climate Change is Different</strong> </p> <p>Humanity has never faced a problem like climate change.</p> <p>Unlike poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism it affects everybody.</p> <p>Climate change is a ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down. Once the burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exceeds any given level, the climate it represents is gone for good.</p> <p>We normally respond to problems by doing our best. If that’s not enough we try again. The ticking clock means that the first attempt has to succeed. The essence is not what we must do but how quickly we must do it.</p> <p>Climate change is systemic risk with a deadline and without the option of a bailout.</p> <p>We need to make the global economy essentially carbon neutral in little more than a generation, and resilient to the climate change we cannot now avoid. That means aligning national choices, rooted in national politics, to build national economies that are carbon neutral and resilient.</p> <p>For diplomacy, this is an existential test. What is required is has some features in common with what we have accomplished at existential moments in the past. But the sheer effort it asks of us must match any we have ever summoned – and then some.</p> <p> <strong>How We Got Here</strong> </p> <p>Shortly before the Earth Summit in 1992 a tense conversation took place. A senior State Department official telephoned Michael Howard, John Major’s Environment Secretary. He tried to reopen an earlier understanding reached with the US by Howard’s predecessor Michael Heseltine. In a forensically argued defence that became legendary with officials, Howard held the line. The understanding stood.</p> <p>At stake was the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was duly agreed at Rio. It had many fathers but those involved certainly felt that Michael Howard’s tenacity had kept the US on board.</p> <p>Under the Convention, industrialised countries aimed to “return their emissions……to 1990 levels”. Despite this non-binding commitment, their actual emissions kept rising. But that possibility had at least been anticipated.</p> <p>The Convention requires Parties to review from time to time the adequacy of their commitments against the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. In 1995, the first such review gave rise to the so-called Berlin Mandate, launching negotiations on a new set of commitments. That concluded in 1997 with agreement on the Kyoto Protocol, which put binding caps on emissions from industrialised countries.</p> <p>But no treaty is stronger than the political foundation beneath it, and Kyoto’s was fragile. All along there had been tensions: over the level of ambition; the division of effort between rich and poor countries; how binding the promises made should be; and whether they should be based on outputs – emission caps across the economy – or inputs, in the form of pledged policy commitments. Ironically it was the US that persuaded Europe to go for binding caps.</p> <p>The tensions originated in national politics. Indeed in the US, by 1997 the Gingrich revolution had completely altered the political context. A resolution passed by the Senate shortly before the Protocol was concluded made it look unlikely that it would secure the 67 votes in that Chamber needed for ratification. As Kyoto was being born, some, especially in the US, were already rushing to write its obituary.</p> <p>In 2001 the new Bush Administration announced that it would not ask the Senate to ratify the Protocol. If Russia too defaulted, Kyoto would indeed be dead. Uncertainty over Kyoto’s fate became a diplomatic black hole, sucking the life out of all attempts to move forward, beyond 2012 when the first cycle of Kyoto caps expires.</p> <p>Russia’s decision in 2004 to ratify, a product of informal diplomacy, pulled us out of the gravitational field, and opened the way for the push to Copenhagen.</p> <p>There followed a series of moves, many initiated by the UK, to build political momentum.</p> <p>In 2005, an international conference in Exeter got the growing alarm of scientists onto front pages. The Gleneagles G8 Summit made climate an issue for leaders. The Stern Review in 2006 made it an economic issue. Margaret Beckett’s debate in the UN Security Council in 2007 made it a security issue. Some tried to prevent that debate, but many of the world’s poorest countries were impatient to testify to the insecurity they were by now feeling as a result of climate-related stresses.</p> <p>The EU’s adoption that year under German Presidency of binding targets for 2020 without waiting for a new agreement challenged others to move from “after you” to “follow me”. And climate change clearly mattered to the new US President, elected the following year.</p> <p>As Copenhagen approached, the limits of the possible really did seem to be stretching. The major economies agreed to try to keep climate change within 2ºC. Many governments made new national pledges.</p> <p> <strong>So what went wrong?</strong> </p> <p>As William Hague has said Copenhagen was a failure of will not of process. Too many saw the risk to growth and jobs of promising too much as more dangerous than an inconclusive Summit. Too few saw climate change as an urgent threat to national interests.</p> <p>Thanks to outstanding Mexican diplomacy, Cancun got the train back on track. Chris Huhne played a key role in persuading participants to set aside their most intractable differences to be dealt with later. That allowed progress elsewhere, and a cathartic healing of Copenhagen wounds. The global conversation at the heart of the climate project, though still frail, remained alive.</p> <p> <strong>Where We Are</strong> </p> <p>Standing on top of our word mountain, what have we got; what has changed on the way up; what have we learned?</p> <p>We aim to avoid a danger threshold of 2ºC.  Our national carbon pledges now have the authority of the UN. But they would in aggregate carry us closer to 4ºC than 2ºC.<br><br>The difference matters. Below 2ºC, there is thought to be a lower risk of passing tipping points that could trigger self-amplifying climate instability. The risk is much greater that the first such tipping points lie somewhere between 2 and 4ºC. So we will need to make full use of the new adequacy review agreed at Cancun.</p> <p>The pledges are also non-binding. They are held in limbo by a triple lock. The US will not make more contractual promises than China, which will not be internationally bound at least without greater domestic ambition from the US. Many of the most vulnerable countries, as well as Europe, insist on a binding regime.</p> <p>We are building frameworks to help developing countries deal with climate risk, deploy low carbon technologies and keep forests standing. Developed countries have promised to mobilise $100 bn annually by 2020 for these frameworks.</p> <p>This whole architecture will operate in the open, with transparency rules to ensure that commitments are seen to be met.</p> <p>Real progress, yes. But between the transformational promise and its fulfilment like Augustine the world still hesitates – we still hesitate. We have started to will the ends but not yet the means. Yes, but not now.  Yes, but not us.</p> <p>And times have changed.</p> <p>True, science now tells us climate change is a more dangerous and urgent threat than we first thought. Experience supports this. Countries on the edge, from Australia to Bolivia, Cuba to Pakistan are being hit by the kind of damage the climate models warned about. New studies, like the one published last week on the floods in the UK of the year 2000, are detecting ever more clearly the human fingerprint in extreme weather events.</p> <p>But 20 years ago, the future seemed ours to shape. The iron curtain had opened reuniting a continent in freedom. Globalisation promised a new wave of affluence.</p> <p>Now, at least in the OECD, we are anxious, as we try to convalesce from the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Cheap energy is gone and rising oil prices threaten the recovery. Jobs, pensions, savings and living standards feel less secure. Terrorism casts a shadow. Politics is less trusted.</p> <p>True, the emerging economies quickly regained momentum, pulling us all forward. But that momentum also locks in carbon emissions and drives up resource prices.</p> <p>So two decades on there is more reason to act. But decisive action requires confidence and there is less of that around. Expanding the limits of the possible is a tougher ask than it was when the barriers at so many checkpoints in the landscape of possibility had just been swept away.</p> <p>There are lessons to learn.</p> <p>First, science is no longer enough. The science-driven climate project achieved a lot. But Copenhagen was its apogee.  Science alone cannot take us further. As Tom Burke tells us, we now need a politics-driven climate project.</p> <p>Second, climate security is imperative for prosperity, security and equity; for food, water, and energy security; for the open global economy, cooperation and the international rule of law. This is not just another environmental issue. We were wrong to treat it as one and must stop doing so.</p> <p>Third, systemic risks must be neutralised before they trigger systemic crises. The economic theory that guides our decisions undervalues resilience. The compass it gives us is not fit for purpose.</p> <p>Tunisians first came onto the streets in protest at high food prices, driven up by climatically-intensified supply shocks. Climate change is a stress multiplier. It is hard to imagine a more effective engine than our interconnected insecurities over climate, food, water and energy for driving angry young people onto the streets of crowded cities. It cannot be switched off in a high carbon economy.</p> <p>So the fourth lesson is that this is a today problem not a tomorrow problem. Politically it is about us not our grandchildren. We need to begin the heavy lifting now: not only because we have to if we want to avoid those tipping points, but also because climate change seems increasingly to be biting hard already.</p> <p> <strong>The Choice</strong> </p> <p>Our efforts so far have made little impression in the one place that really matters, in the real economy. Low carbon capital flows remain small compared with the investment flowing into the high carbon economy, locking in emissions for the lifetime of each new car, building or power station.</p> <p>There can only be one test of the choice we now face. Will it divert the river of capital quickly enough to keep us within 2°C?</p> <p>We need to send a signal so strong, so convincing, that it aligns countless individual choices. It has to be a global signal, made through the UN, to give us the common purpose we need, and to make our response feel unstoppable.</p> <p>There are only two approaches.</p> <p>There is bottom up. National commitments come together in a package, updated from time to time in a process of “pledge and review”. The commitments can be reflected in national legislation. But laws drive action more predictably in some countries than others. The regime is not internationally binding.</p> <p>A politically binding promise is easier to make than a legally binding one. That is because it is easier to break if keeping it becomes politically difficult.</p> <p>People can see through the phrase “politically binding”. It conveys no inevitability. It is a weak signal. It says: “we will make the easy choices, but will probably shy away from the difficult ones.</p> <p>The other model also includes bottom up pledges. But there is in addition a top down action-forcing mechanism.</p> <p>Parties hold themselves accountable under international law for keeping their promises, and for tightening them in accordance with the 2°C goal. This says: “we accept we cannot control the clock; but we know we need to move at the pace it sets and shall do so”.</p> <p>Neither model is currently capable of securing consensus. In any case, we should address the question of what is necessary before asking what is more likely to be negotiable in current circumstances.</p> <p>It is simply not credible to argue that bottom up alone offers what we need. Only a binding regime can create a force field strong enough to align those countless choices. Only a binding regime can convince those whose capital allocation decisions shape the economy that a high carbon business model will expose them to greater risk and hit their returns harder than betting now on low carbon; that governments in other words are serious; that these promises will be kept even if the going gets rough.</p> <p>A leading investor in British infrastructure recently told me that his company would not invest in our low carbon transition. He admired our ambition, but the politics would get too difficult and we wouldn’t stay the course. We will. But our policies will fail if investors don’t believe us.</p> <p>All commitments need not be equally binding immediately. It just needs to be clear that the regime will revolve around an expanding set of binding emission caps across the whole economy, compatible with the 2ºC threshold, with more countries coming in as they become more prosperous.</p> <p>Kyoto embodies this. The essence of Kyoto is its binding caps not its distinction between developed and developing countries. Abandoning Kyoto now would be seen as giving up on top down. Many would see it as giving up altogether. But there is plenty of scope over successive cycles for newly prosperous economies to take caps.</p> <p> <strong>Only Diplomacy</strong> </p> <p>To bind or not to bind. Right now we seem trapped between the necessary and the merely impossible.</p> <p>But there is a way out. Law is an output from politics not an input. We must establish the political conditions necessary to support the climate treaty we need.</p> <p>That is a job for foreign policy. It is not about the negotiations themselves and cannot be done inside the negotiations. It is not primarily about international climate policy. It is about national debates on security, prosperity and equity, and how climate change speaks to them.</p> <p>Most foreign policy elites have yet to embrace and act on this. It would not be harsh to call that a failure of diplomacy.</p> <p>Diplomats have focussed more on what can be accomplished within the negotiations themselves, as if a global negotiation could drive national politics. But as we found at Copenhagen and accepted at Cancun, if there is no alignment of purpose no negotiated text can bridge the gap. The diplomacy we now need must build that alignment.</p> <p>Diplomats have done this kind of thing before.  </p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats on either side helped build a shared imperative that operated across frontiers like a political force field, organising entire societies and, yes, legitimising countless individual choices. That is what we need to do now.</p> <p>In the Cold War, diplomats like George Kennan forged doctrines that made sense of those choices. The climate project will fail without a doctrine of climate security, which we do not yet have.</p> <p>In the Cold War, because failure was unthinkable, the effort was served not limited by economics. The climate project too needs that overriding clarity of purpose. But this time there is only one side and we are all on it, and the effort will actually support the economy by getting us off the oil hook and easing the resource stresses that now threaten us.</p> <p>Now as then, technology is the key. Then it was missiles we hoped never to fire, to avoid Mutually Assured Destruction. Now we need Mutually Assured Construction of the infrastructure for a low carbon world.</p> <p>Again we must summon shared will between nations, through a collective reappraisal of national interests to take account of an existential threat and to drive a challenging but available response.</p> <p>Diplomats engaged existentially with the Cold War, and we now need to do so on climate change.</p> <p>We need to make the low carbon economy feel more like an opportunity; climate risk feel more threatening; a binding treaty feel more necessary and achievable.</p> <p>There is more debate around the world now about where future growth will come from than there has been for a generation. That is a consequence of the economic crisis and the realisation that we are moving from abundance to scarcity.</p> <p>So the first task for diplomats is to ensure that the answer to the growth question, in all the major economies, is low carbon growth.  </p> <p>That’s why David Miliband got us working with China on low carbon growth and why we welcomed China’s decision last year to establish low carbon economic zones encompassing 350 million people.</p> <p>Without climate security, we will lose control of food, water and energy security.</p> <p>So the second task for diplomats is to build a shared doctrine of climate risk. This needs to animate those in all countries to whom leaders turn for advice on what is necessary to ensure national security. This must establish 2ºC as an imperative.</p> <p>That’s why my colleague Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is working with security elites in many countries to build a shared approach to climate security, and why with partners we now want to bring this issue back to the UN Security Council.</p> <p>As in any political landscape there is a tension between those who want to go faster, and those who do not: the forces of high and low ambition. Out of this tension come the mandates that officials take to the climate negotiations.</p> <p>The third task for diplomats is to strengthen the forces of high ambition everywhere so that negotiators will have mandates that allow them to make promises that are more ambitious, more binding.</p> <p>There is only one way to do that. It is not to lecture others on their interests, but to do ourselves what we want others to do: to say again, “follow me”. Diplomats need to make the foreign policy case for higher ambition at home.</p> <p>Renewal</p> <p>This calls for a renewal not just of climate diplomacy but of diplomacy itself.</p> <p>I claimed earlier that climate change was an existential challenge for diplomats. In fact the true challenge comes from the underlying condition of which climate change is a manifestation.</p> <p>That condition is the unprecedented degree of interdependence that has come with globalisation. This is not a marginal adjustment to the context within which diplomacy is practiced – a kind of diplomatic externality. It forces us into a frame of reference that differs fundamentally from anything diplomats have experienced before.</p> <p>Interdependence confronts us with new problems, and makes familiar problems more acute. We need climate security, yes, but also resource security, financial and macroeconomic stability, and an open global economy. We need to neutralise the risks arising from global pandemics, state failure, mass displacement of people, international organised crime, and nuclear proliferation.</p> <p>These interconnected problems threaten the system conditions for security, prosperity, and equity in an interdependent world.  They can only be resolved by creating the political conditions for convergent responses across national and sectoral boundaries at a sufficient level of ambition.</p> <p>There are no hard power solutions to the problems of interdependence. But unless we can deploy soft power effectively against them, they will certainly give us hard power headaches. We must learn to use soft power as a precision instrument: not just as an attractor but to achieve specific political outcomes.</p> <p>Welcome to a world with no abroad.</p> <p>In such a world, the question for diplomats is no longer who has the most power. It does not matter how much power you have if you cannot use it to secure what you need. We need to ask how we can harness and direct the forces unleashed by interdependence. How can we bend into alignment the way nations see their interests when the system conditions we all need depend on it.</p> <p>That truly is our existential question. If we diplomats do not answer it, nobody else will: not our colleagues in Ministries for climate, energy, agriculture, development, trade, or even finance. Yes they can design policy regimes in the areas for which they have responsibility and expertise. But only we can push up the level of shared ambition that animates those regimes by connecting them to the political impulses and narratives of others. And if we do not do this, foreign policy itself will become ever less effective as the crises of unmanaged interdependence increasingly overwhelm our ability to cope.</p> <p>Through a renewal of diplomacy we can shape the destiny of the societies we serve. Through business as usual diplomacy we can allow events to shape it for us in a way that pleases noone (to borrow from Carlyle). It is our choice.</p> <p>Climate change is at the fulcrum of that choice. A successful response to climate change will ease many of the other stresses and make interdependence easier to deal with. But if we fail, climate change will multiply those stresses to the point where the system conditions will not hold.</p> <p>The British Foreign Office has invested more than any other Foreign Ministry in the kind of climate diplomacy I have described, working alongside and in complementarity with our colleagues in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Our experience is not only helping to establish more favourable political conditions for success on climate. It is also telling us a lot about how to renew our profession. As a senior colleague recently put it, what we are doing on climate is a model for 21st century diplomatic excellence.</p> <p>It is teaching us that if we want others to act we must do so ourselves. William Hague has urged that foreign policy flow through the veins of domestic departments. That means domestic policy must flow through our veins too. It becomes our responsibility to shape policy in areas previously regarded as exclusively domestic.</p> <p>We must get better at dealing in language and narrative as well as policy. Narrative gives meaning to policy. It binds coalitions. The forces of low ambition on climate have used it skilfully. You cannot deal with climate change if you cannot talk about it.</p> <p>We must get better at engaging beyond governments. That means using network diplomacy to understand the perspectives of businesses, the media, NGO’s, academics, faith communities, and to build alliances with them.</p> <p>We must distinguish more clearly between process and outcomes. We diplomats revel in process. But we must use it rigorously to change conditions in the real world. There are too many communiqués that nobody reads except those who negotiated them.</p> <p>Never ask “what can we agree?” before asking “what needs to be agreed?” If there is a gap, focus on the political conditions not just the text. Get ahead of the event horizon. Ask where the politics need to be not at the end of the current crisis or the next conference, but over a political cycle. Invest now in new impulses that might change the game in five years.</p> <p>My profession is full of outstanding people: talented, brave, dedicated to public service, even - though nobody wants to be accused of it - visionary. But seen from the outside, we can appear a somewhat tired elite, closed and set in our ways, complacent even, at risk of being overtaken by the complexities of interdependence.<br><br>I am sometimes asked why the British Foreign Office puts so much effort into climate change, consistently under 3 consecutive Foreign Secretaries.</p> <p>The security and prosperity of over 60 million British people depend on a successful global response to climate change. The taxpayer pays for the Foreign Office in order to maintain the external conditions for Britain’s security and prosperity. That makes it our core business to deploy to the fullest extent possible the assets of foreign policy in support of the shared effort on climate across a government that David Cameron is determined to make our greenest government ever.</p> <p>We do this, in other words, because it is our job. But we will only succeed in our job if you make it yours as well.<br></p> 2011-03-29 00:05:00 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=565109682 John Ashton Climate change: "A ticking clock that we cannot stop or slow down" None 22 February 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p> <strong>Introduction</strong> </p> <p>The Times published a reader’s letter earlier this year.  It read, <em>“Sir – is it not bizarre that MI5 and MI6, otherwise known as the secret services, currently stand accused of being - er - secretive?”</em> <br></p> <p>I may be biased. But I think that reader was on to something rather important and most government work these days is done by conventional and transparent processes. But not all.</p> <p>Britain’s foreign intelligence effort was first organised in 1909, when the Secret Intelligence Service was formed.</p> <p>We have just published an official history of our first forty years. I’m sure you will all have read all 800 pages of it.</p> <p>The first chief Mansfield Cumming used to pay the salaries of SIS officials out of his private income, dispensed in cash from a desk drawer.   I’m glad to say that, even after the Chancellor’s statement last week, I’m not in the same position.</p> <p>SIS’s existence was admitted only in 1994. We British move slowly on such things.<br></p> <p>And this, I believe, is the first public speech given by a serving Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service.  <br></p> <p>“Why now?” might you ask.  <br></p> <p>Well, intelligence features prominently in the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review, published last week.  <br></p> <p>We often appear in the news. Our popular name – MI6 – is an irresistible draw.  <br></p> <p>We have a website, and we’ve got versions in Arabic and Russian. We recruit our staff openly, with adverts in the national press.</p> <p>But debate on SIS’s role is not well informed, in part because we have been so determined to protect our secrets.  <br></p> <p>In today’s open society, no government institution is given the benefit of the doubt all the time. There are new expectations of public -- and legal -- accountability that have developed.<br></p> <p>In short, in 2010 the  context for the UK’s secret intelligence work is very different from 1994.<br></p> <p>I am not going to use today to tantalize you with hints of sensitive operations or intelligence successes. Instead I want to answer two important questions:<br></p> <p> <strong>Britain’s Intelligence Community</strong> </p> <p>First, how do we all fit in?</p> <p>The Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, operates abroad, dealing with threats overseas and gathering intelligence mainly from human sources.  <br></p> <p>The Security Service, MI5, works here in the UK, protecting the homeland from terrorist attack and other threats.  <br></p> <p>GCHQ produces intelligence from communications, and takes the lead in the cyber world.  <br></p> <p>These three specialised services form the UK intelligence community and we operate in what the Foreign Secretary has called a ‘Networked World’. Technology plays an ever growing part in our work, for SIS as well as GCHQ and the boundary line between home and abroad is increasingly blurred.  <br></p> <p>So the three agencies work increasingly closely together and the next five years will see us intensifying our collaboration, to improve our operational impact, and to save money.  Yes, even the intelligence services have to make savings.  <br></p> <p> <strong>What is Secret Intelligence?</strong> </p> <p>Secret intelligence is important information that others wish you not to know; it’s information that deepens our understanding of a foreign country or grouping, or reveals their true intentions.  It’s information that gives us new opportunities for action.</p> <p>We at SIS obtain our intelligence from secret agents.  These are people, nearly all foreign nationals, who have access to secret information and who choose to work with us.<br></p> <p>Our agents are the true heroes of our work.  They have their own motivations and hopes.  Many of them show extraordinary courage and idealism, striving in their own countries for the freedoms that we in Britain take for granted.  <br></p> <p>Our agents are working today in some of the most dangerous and exposed places, bravely and to hugely valuable effect, and we owe a debt to countless more whose service is over.<br></p> <p>Agents take serious risks and make sacrifices to help our country. In return we give them a solemn pledge: that we shall keep their role secret.<br></p> <p> <strong>Intelligence Reporting</strong> <br></p> <p>The information we get from agents is put into an intelligence report. The source is described in general terms.</p> <p>It is just that – a report.  It tells us something new or corroborates what we suspect.</p> <p>A report’s value can be over-played if it tells us what we want to hear, or it can be underplayed if it contains unwelcome news or runs against received wisdom.</p> <p>It is a part of the picture, and may not be even wholly accurate, even if the trusted agent who gave it to us is sure that it is.<br></p> <p>So, sources of intelligence have to be rigorously evaluated, and their reports have to be honestly weighed alongside all other information.<br></p> <p>Those who produce it, and those who want to use it, have to put intelligence in a wider context.  The Joint Intelligence Committee plays a crucial role.<br></p> <p>The Butler Review following Iraq was a clear reminder, to both the Agencies and the centre of Government, politicians and officials alike, of how intelligence needs to be handled.  <br></p> <p>The SIS Board recently reviewed our implementation of Lord Butler’s recommendations, to make sure we’ve implemented them fully, in spirit as well as in substance.  I am confident that they have been.  And we will look at the wider issues again once the Chilcott Inquiry reports.<br><br><strong>The Need for Secret Intelligence</strong> </p> <p>So, why do we need secret intelligence?<br></p> <p> <strong>i) Terrorism</strong> <br></p> <p>Well, let's start with the terrorist problem.<br></p> <p>Most people go about their daily work not worrying about the risk of a terrorist attack.  That a bomb may have been planted on their route, or hostages might be seized.  I’m glad they don’t worry about those sorts of things:  part of our job is to make people feel safe.  <br>But those threats exist, as we’re recalling now with the 7/7 inquest.  That said, on any given day the chances that a terrorist attack will happen on our streets, even in Central London, feel small enough to be safely ignored by the public.<br></p> <p>You and millions of people like you go about your business in our cities and towns free of fear because the British government works tirelessly, out of the public eye, to stop terrorists and would-be terrorists in their tracks.<br></p> <p>The most draining aspect of my job is reading, every day, intelligence reports describing the plotting of terrorists who are bent on maiming and murdering people in this country.  <br></p> <p>It’s an enormous tribute to the men and women of our intelligence and security agencies, and to our cooperation with partner services around the world, that so few of these appalling plots develop into real terrorist attacks.<br></p> <p>Some of these terrorists are British citizens, trained in how to use weapons, how to make bombs. Others are foreign nationals who want to attack us to undermine our support for forces of moderation around the world.  <br></p> <p>Many of the reports I read describe the workings of the Al-Qaeda network, rooted in a nihilistic version of Islam.  <br></p> <p>Al-Qaeda have ambitious goals. Weakening the power of the West. Toppling moderate Islamic regimes. Seizing the Holy Places of Islam to give them moral authority. Taking control of the Arab World’s oil reserves.  They’re unlikely to achieve these goals, but they remain set on trying, and are ready to use extreme violence.<br></p> <p>Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, recently described how the threat is intensifying. Precisely because we are having some success in closing down the space for terrorist recruitment and planning in the UK, the extremists are increasingly preparing their attacks against British targets from abroad.<br></p> <p>It’s not just the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa pose real threats to the UK.  <br>From his remote base in Yemen, Al-Qaeda leader and US national Anwar al-Awlaki, broadcasts propaganda and terrorist instruction in fluent English, over the internet.<br></p> <p>Our intelligence effort needs to go where the threat is. One of the advantages of the way we in SIS work is that we are highly adaptable and flexible. We don’t get pinned in one place.<br></p> <p>There is no one reason for the terrorist phenomenon. Some blame political issues like Palestine or Kashmir or Iraq. Others cite economic disadvantage. Distortions of the Islamic faith. Male supremacy. The lack of the normal checks and balances in some countries.<br></p> <p>There are many theories.  <br></p> <p>I’ve worked a lot in the Islamic World. I agree with those who say we need to be steady and stand by our friends.</p> <p>Over time, moving to a more open system of government in these countries, one more responsive to people’s grievances, will help. But if we demand an abrupt move to the pluralism that we in the West enjoy, we may undermine the controls that are now in place and terrorists would end up with new opportunities.</p> <p>Whatever the cause or causes of so-called Islamic terrorism, there is little prospect of it fading away soon.</p> <p>SIS deals with the realities, the threats as they are. We work to minimise the risks. Our closest partners include many in the Muslim world who are concerned at the threat Al-Qaeda and their like poses to Islam itself.</p> <p>In the UK, the Security Service, MI5,  leads our counter-terrorism effort. They do a superb job and SIS’s work starts with the priorities that the Security Service sets.</p> <p>It’s not enough to intercept terrorists here, at the very last minute. They need to be identified and stopped well before then, which means action far beyond our own borders.</p> <p>This is where SIS comes in. Over a third of SIS resources are directed against international terrorism. It’s the largest single area of SIS’s work.<br>We get inside terrorist organisations, to see where the next threats are coming from. We work to disrupt terrorist plots aimed against the UK, and against our friends and allies. What we do is not seen. Few know about the terrorist attacks we help stop.</p> <p>It scarcely needs saying, but I’ll say it anyway: working to tackle terrorism overseas is complex and often dangerous. Our agents, and sometimes our staff, risk their lives.</p> <p>Much intelligence is partial, fragmentary. We have to build up a picture. It’s like a jigsaw, but with key sections missing, and pieces from other jigsaws mixed in.</p> <p>SIS officers round the world make judgements at short notice with potentially life or death consequences.</p> <p>Say an agent warns us of a planned attack. We may need to meet that agent fast and securely, to understand his intelligence more fully. To work with GCHQ who look for other signs. To work with MI5 and the police to act on that intelligence here in the UK.</p> <p>Ministers and lawyers need to be briefed, and consulted on next steps. We need partner agencies abroad to pool information, to monitor individuals or to detain them where there are clear, specific concerns.<br></p> <p>Disrupting the terrorists is a painstaking process with much careful preparation, and then sudden rapid activity. Details have to be got right.<br></p> <p>It all has to be tackled fast and securely. There is little margin for error.<br>All this goes on 24 hours a day, every day of the year. And it keeps us far safer than we would be without it.</p> <p> <strong>ii) Proliferation</strong> </p> <p>Terrorism is difficult enough, and despite our collective efforts, an attack may well get through. The human cost would be huge. But our country, our democratic system, will not be brought down by a typical terrorist attack.</p> <p>The dangers of proliferation of nuclear weapons - and chemical and biological weapons - are more far-reaching. It can alter the whole balance of power in a region.</p> <p>States seeking to build nuclear weapons against their international legal obligations are obsessively secretive about it. SIS’s role is to find out what these states are doing and planning, and identify ways to slow down their access to vital materials and technology.</p> <p>The revelations around Iran’s secret enrichment site at Qom were an intelligence success. They led to diplomatic pressure on Iran intensifying, with tougher UN and EU sanctions which are beginning to bite. The Iranian regime must think hard about where its best interests lie.</p> <p>The risks of failure in this area are grim. Stopping nuclear proliferation cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy. We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons.</p> <p>The longer international efforts delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons technology, the more time we create for a political solution to be found.</p> <p> <strong>iii) Long-Range Strategic Intelligence</strong> </p> <p>The National Security Strategy which the Prime Minister published last week sets out the strategic direction for foreign, defence and security policy for the years ahead. Intelligence is at the heart of that strategy.<br></p> <p>SIS has the responsibility to gather long-range strategic intelligence, to track military and economic power in other countries, and find out what they going to do with it. We try to see inside the minds of potential policy adversaries and predict their behaviour.<br></p> <p>We have expertise on states that operate opaquely and without public accountability. We provide early warning of new weapons systems, or of major changes in policy.</p> <p>Machiavelli said that “surprise is the essential factor in victory”.  A lot of SIS work is about making sure that the British Government does not face unwelcome surprises.  And that some of our adversaries do.</p> <p> <strong>iv) Cyber</strong> </p> <p>My colleague Iain Lobban at GCHQ recently described the cyber threats we face in the modern world.</p> <p>Attacks on government information and commercial secrets of our companies, are happening all the time. Electricity grids, our banking system, anything controlled by computers, could possibly be vulnerable. For some, cyber is becoming an instrument of policy as much as diplomacy or military force.<br></p> <p>As Iain is the first to recognise, there isn’t a purely technological solution. We need to invest in technology to defend ourselves, and the Government has allocated funds for that purpose in the Spending Round.  <br>Even hi-technology threats have that crucial human dimension and SIS will be gathering intelligence on individuals and states launching cyber attacks against us, to find out how they organise themselves and to develop ways to counter them.  <br></p> <p>We have already set to work. It’s a big task of the future.</p> <p> <strong>v) Supporting the Military, and Building Security</strong> </p> <p>Where the military are involved in a conflict, you will find SIS and GCHQ alongside them.</p> <p>In Afghanistan, our people provide tactical intelligence that guides military operations and saves our soldiers' lives. Our strategic intelligence helps map the political way forward.</p> <p>We are building up the Afghan security service, already probably the most capable of the Afghan security institutions, to help the Afghans take responsibility for their own security.</p> <p>Capacity building is not limited to Afghanistan.  We offer training and support to partner services around the world.  It wins their cooperation, it improves the quality of their work, and it builds respect for human rights.  <br></p> <p>Our Government expects SIS to maintain a global reach, collecting intelligence in all areas of major British interest to reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises.</p> <p>And we have our network of partners which provides us a discreet channel of communication to other governments on the most sensitive issues.</p> <p> <strong>Accountability</strong> </p> <p>So, we are a very special part of government.  SIS exists to give the UK advantage.  We are a sovereign national asset.  We are the secret frontline of our national security.</p> <p>How can the public have confidence that work done by us in secret is lawful, ethical and in their interests?</p> <p>Let me explain how it all works in practice.</p> <p>SIS does not choose what it does. The 1994 Intelligence Services Act sets the legal framework for what we do. Ministers tell us what they want to know, what they want us to achieve. We take our direction from the National Security Council.</p> <p>As Chief of SIS, I am responsible for SIS operations.  I answer directly to the Foreign Secretary.</p> <p>When our operations require legal authorisation or entail political risk, I seek the Foreign Secretary’s approval in advance. If a case is particularly complex, he can consult the Attorney General. In the end, the Foreign Secretary decides what we do.<br></p> <p>Submissions for operations go to the Foreign Secretary all the time. He approves most, but not all and those operations he does not approve do not happen. It’s as simple as that.</p> <p>There is oversight and scrutiny by parliamentarians and by judges.<br>The Intelligence and Security Committee is chaired by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and includes other senior politicians, many of them former ministers. They hold us to account and can investigate areas of our activity.</p> <p>And, two former judges have full access to our files, as Intelligence Commissioner and Interception Commissioner. They make sure our procedures are proper and lawful.</p> <p>These processes of control and accountability are as robust as you will find anywhere. SIS fully supports them. We want to enjoy public confidence.</p> <p> <strong>Partnership</strong> </p> <p>We don’t operate on our own. Intelligence is a team game. If we need to track a British terrorist in another country, or stop a shipment of components for a secret nuclear programme, we need to work with Services abroad.</p> <p>We work with over 200 partner services around the World, with hugely constructive results. And our intelligence partnership with the United States is an especially powerful contributor to UK security.</p> <p>No intelligence service risks compromising its sources. So we have a rule called the Control Principle;  the service who first obtains the intelligence has the right to control how it is used; who else it can be shared with,  and what action can be taken on it.</p> <p>It’s Rule Number One of intelligence sharing.  We insist on it with our partners, and they insist on it with us.  Because whenever intelligence is revealed, others try to hunt down the source.  Agents can get identified, arrested, tortured and killed by the very organisations who are working against us.</p> <p>So if the Control Principle is not respected, the intelligence dries up. That’s why we have been so concerned about the possible release of intelligence material in recent court cases.</p> <p> <strong>Law, Ethics and Intelligence</strong> </p> <p> <br>We can’t do our job if we work only with friendly democracies. Dangerous threats usually come from dangerous people in dangerous places. We have to deal with the world as it is.<br></p> <p>Suppose we receive credible intelligence that might save lives, here or abroad. We have a professional and moral duty to act on it. We will normally want to share it with those who can save those lives.</p> <p>We also have a duty to do what we can to ensure that a partner service will respect human rights. That is not always straightforward.</p> <p>Yet if we hold back, and don’t pass that intelligence, out of concern that a suspect terrorist may be badly treated, innocent lives may be lost that we could have saved.</p> <p>These are not abstract questions for philosophy courses or searching editorials. They are real, constant, operational dilemmas.</p> <p>Sometimes there is no clear way forward. The more finely-balanced judgments have to be made by Ministers themselves. I welcome the publication of the Consolidated Guidance on detainee issues. It reflects the detailed guidance issued to SIS staff in the field and the training we give them.</p> <p>Torture is illegal and abhorrent under any circumstances, and we have nothing whatsoever to do with it.  If we know or believe action by us will lead to torture taking place, we’re required by UK and international law to avoid that action. And we do, even though that allows the terrorist activity to go ahead.</p> <p>Some may question this, but we are clear that it’s the right thing to do. It makes us strive all the harder to find different ways, consistent with human rights, to get the outcome we want.</p> <p>Other countries respect our approach on these issues. Even where we find deep differences of culture and tradition, we can make progress, slowly but surely, by seeking careful assurances and providing skilled training.</p> <p>I also welcome the Prime Minister’s initiative in setting up the Gibson Inquiry into the detainee issue. If there are more lessons to be learned, we want to learn them.</p> <p>And, after 9/11, the terrorist threat was immediate and paramount.  We are accused by some people not of committing torture ourselves but of being too close to it in our efforts to keep Britain safe.</p> <p>Let me say this: SIS is a Service that reflects our country.   Integrity is the first of the Service’s values.</p> <p>I am confident that, in their efforts to keep Britain safe, all SIS staff acted with the utmost integrity, and with a close eye on basic decency and moral principles.</p> <p> <strong>Conclusion</strong> </p> <p>So, back to that reader’s letter in The Times.  <br></p> <p>The recent debate about secrecy reflects two concerns.  <br></p> <p>First, national security, and the need for the intelligence and security agencies to work in secret to protect British interests and our way of life from those who threaten it.  <br></p> <p>And second, the need for justice – the rights of citizens to raise complaint against the government and get a fair hearing.  <br></p> <p>As a public servant, and as a citizen, I devoutly want both objectives upheld, and not to have one undermine the other.<br></p> <p>The judges have to determine what constitutes a fair trial.  <br></p> <p>We in the intelligence and security agencies have to make sure that our secrets don’t become available to those who are threatening our country. And we have to protect our partners secrets.  <br></p> <p>As the Prime Minister said in Parliament, at present we’re unable to use secret material in court with confidence that the material will be protected.    <br></p> <p>The Government has promised a Green Paper to set out some better options for dealing with national security issues in the courts and I look forward to that.  <br></p> <p>Part of sustaining public confidence in the intelligence services is debate about the principles and value of intelligence work.  <br></p> <p>And the purpose of today is to explain what we in SIS do and why we do it. Why our work is important, and why we can’t work in the open. A lot is at stake.</p> <p>Secret organisations need to stay secret, even if we present an occasional public face, as I am doing today.</p> <p>If our operations and methods become public, they won’t work.</p> <p>Agents take risks.  They will not work with SIS, will not pass us the secrets they hold, unless they can trust us not to expose them.</p> <p>Foreign partners need to have certainty that what they tell us will remain secret – not just most of the time, but always.</p> <p>Without the trust of agents, the anonymity of our staff, the confidence of partners, we would not get the intelligence. The lives of everyone living here would be less safe. The United Kingdom would be more vulnerable to the unexpected, the vicious and the extreme.</p> <p>Secrecy is not a dirty word. Secrecy is not there as a cover up. Secrecy plays a crucial part in keeping Britain safe and secure.</p> <p>And without secrecy, there would be no intelligence services, or indeed other national assets like our Special Forces. Our nation would be more exposed as a result.</p> <p>Without secrecy, we can’t tackle threats at source. We would be forced to defend ourselves on the goal-line, on our borders. And it’s more than obvious that the dangers of terrorism, nuclear proliferation and cyber attack are not much impressed by international borders.</p> <p>Ladies and Gentlemen: the remarkable men and women who make up the staff of SIS are among the most loyal, dedicated and innovative in the entire public service. We ask more of them than we do of any other public servants not in uniform. Exceptional people, doing extraordinary things for their country.</p> 2011-03-24 23:07:54 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=565125782 Sir John Sawers Britain's Secret Frontline None 28 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Lord Mayor, Minister, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests.</p> <p>Good morning and welcome.</p> <p>I am delighted that the British Government, through UK Trade &amp; Investment, has been able to support this event. A high profile conference on opportunities in Oman is long overdue. My congratulations go to the Middle East Association; the Omani Centre for Investment and Export Development; and the OBFA Business Council; for their hard work in its organization.</p> <p>It is a particular pleasure to help launch your conference today in the company of Maqbool Ali Sultan. I have known him for about 15 years and can attest to his achievement and dedication as a Minister. He is but one of a team of Omani leaders who have done so much to make the Sultanate such an attractive place to invest.</p> <p>I have been going to Oman for over 20 years, and am such an enthusiast for it that I am sometimes accused of being half-Omani. My enthusiasm stems from one simple fact: it is a very special country. In just 40 years, it has arisen from unchanging simple existence into a most remarkable nation. Its landscape is varied and beautiful, its people are polite and elegant, and its government is enlightened and effective.  It enjoys dignity, the rule of law, and well-developed institutions.  </p> <p>This is a very important year, marking as it does the 40th anniversary of the rule of His Majesty the Sultan. I am delighted that this will soon be celebrated by a State Visit by Her Majesty the Queen – and I am certain that this will help to pull us even closer together and to open up new possibilities for greater partnership.</p> <p>Last year, the Gulf was the UK’s seventh largest export market, with exports of goods and services worth around £14 billion, which put the region on a par with India and China combined.  </p> <p>Last year too, we were the largest overseas investor in Oman. The UK exported £349 million in goods there in 2009 and £137 million in services - while Omani exports to the UK reached £113 million.</p> <p>The good news is that the overall trend is upwards – with trade with Oman increasing by 60% over the past 5 years.  But it concerns me that the UK appears to be losing market share, both to established competition (such as the USA, France and Germany) and to emerging markets (like India, China and Korea).</p> <p>Pricing may have played a part – and the reality is that we cannot compete with some other nations on price alone. But, in a global economy, we should be maximising the potential offered by traditional British strengths: the value that British firms add in terms of greater technical ability; our reputation for delivering projects on time, to budget and to the highest international standards; and through proper aftercare for our projects.  </p> <p>I want British companies to be viewed as “partners of choice” in Oman - building on our long-standing and very close ties - in trade, finance and politics. British Standards are widely used and accepted. British technology and expertise in capacity building and upgrading industrial sectors is in demand. British architects, consultants and specialist service providers have a long record of successful operation and continue to win large, strategically important contracts in the Sultanate.</p> <p>We are, I am pleased to say, detecting renewed interest in Oman as a commercial partner. Five UK trade missions have visited the country over the last 12 months. British companies that have re-entered Oman include Taylor Woodrow and Laing O’Rourke. And new investors, such as RMD Kwikform and Lotus Cars, are expanding operations. British companies continue to win significant levels of new business. But we could and should be doing more.</p> <p>So where do we see the main opportunities for the UK?  </p> <p>As you will hear today, a multi-stranded infrastructure development programme is underway and gathering momentum – focused primarily on free-trade zones, industrial hubs, ports, roads and core utilities. Increased government spending has produced an upturn in construction, with more than $10 billion of civil, industrial, transport, petrochemicals, oil and gas, and tourism projects planned.  Carillion Alawi, WS Atkins and Mott McDonald all report good progress in 2010.  </p> <p>Government spending has been a key driver but, increasingly, with much more private sector involvement. In the pipeline, are investments of $7 billion in power generation and water desalination projects, including the expansion of power transmission and distribution networks. With our world-class consultancy expertise and technical capability in the power sector, you can imagine the potential on offer to British companies.</p> <p>Oil &amp; Gas has been key to Oman’s prosperity for the last 50 years and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Recent new oil discoveries are estimated to be in excess of 1 billion barrels. And a significant amount of gas has been found too. Existing fields are maturing - so there are opportunities for UK companies involved in Enhanced Oil Recovery. On the Renewables front, a new generation of solar and wind power projects are being explored.</p> <p>Education is of critical importance in today’s fast-moving and ever more inter-connected world. There is a strong commitment in Oman to ensuring that the population has the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the market place of the future. Education and training is a vital component of every industry – from tourism to oil &amp; gas – as well as in its own right. It is a sector in which the UK has an outstanding reputation – and is well placed to offer guidance and support.</p> <p>You will hear more about these and other opportunities over the programme today.</p> <p>The Omani British Friendship Association (OBFA) has put a huge amount of effort over the past two decades into promoting and encouraging trade between the private sectors of our two countries. Today’s Forum is a fine example of what can be achieved and I wish OBFA’s current Presidents, Yahya Nasib and Martin Amison, every success over the coming decades.</p> <p>The Coalition Government will play its part too. We will not just send Defence Ministers on visits; we will send Trade Ministers, and Education Ministers, and Foreign Ministers and even a Minister for International Development – whenever he can find an excuse to go there. In Oman we are looking at loyal and generous ally, but who we must never take for granted.</p> <p>I wish you all an interesting and fruitful day and I urge you to make the most of the opportunities you will discuss.  Realising those opportunities together would be the best way to celebrate the 40 years of His Majesty’s rule and the great association between the Sultanate and the UK.</p> <p>I am certain that Oman has a bright future and I am committed to ensuring that the UK plays a major role in helping to achieve this.</p> <p>(Check against delivery.)<br></p> 2011-03-24 23:08:03 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=565118382 Alan Duncan Oman Trade & Investment Forum keynote address by International Development Minister uk.org.publicwhip/member/40515 21 October 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen</p> <p>It is an honour for me to address the General Assembly today for the first time as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.</p> <p>And it is a privilege to be here with you to discuss how together we can reach the Millennium Development Goals;</p> <p>To make the necessary commitments towards eradicating the problems that blight the world we share: Poverty, hunger, disease, and the degradation of our natural environment.</p> <p>This week we are reviewing progress, assessing obstacles, and agreeing a framework for action to meet our targets.</p> <p>These are the technocratic terms in which governments must necessarily trade.</p> <p>But let us be clear: behind the officialese of summits lies our single, common purpose: To uphold the dignity and security that is the right of every person in every part of the world.  </p> <p>Development is, in the end, about freedom. It is about freedom from hunger and disease; freedom from ignorance; freedom from poverty. Development means ensuring that every person has the freedom to take their own life into their own hands and determine their own fate.</p> <p>The last decade has seen some important progress. That progress has, however, been uneven, and, on a number of our goals we remain significantly off track.</p> <p>So my message to you today, from the UK government, is this - we will keep our promises; and we expect the rest of the international community to do the same.  </p> <p>For our part, the new coalition government has committed to reaching 0.7% of GNI in aid from 2013 – a pledge we will enshrine in law.</p> <p>That aid will be targeted in the ways we know will make the biggest difference.</p> <p>And I am pleased to announce today that the UK will be stepping up our efforts to combat malaria.</p> <p>In Africa, a child dies from this disease – this easily preventable disease – every 45 seconds. So we will make more money available, and ensure that we get more for our money, with the aim of halving malaria-related deaths in ten of the worst affected countries.</p> <p>The UK government is also proud to be boosting our contribution to the international drive on maternal and infant health. Our new commitments will save the lives of 50,000 mothers and quarter of a million babies by 2015.</p> <p>The UK makes these commitments at a time of significant difficulty time in our domestic economy.</p> <p>The new government has inherited a £156bn budget deficit, so increasing our international aid budget is not an uncontroversial decision.</p> <p>Some critics have questioned that decision, asking why, at a time when people at home are making sacrifices in their pay and their pensions, are we increasing aid for people in other countries?</p> <p>But we make this choice because we recognise that the promises the UK has made hold in the bad times as well as the good – that they are even more important now than they were then.</p> <p>Because we understand that, while we are experiencing hardship on our own shores, it does not compare to the abject pain and destitution of others.</p> <p>Because we take seriously the fact that the new coalition government is now the last UK government able to deliver on our country’s promises in time for the 2015 MDG deadline.</p> <p>And because we know that doing so is in our own, enlightened self-interest.</p> <p>When the world is more prosperous, the UK will be more prosperous. Growth in the developing world means new partners with which to trade and new sources of global growth.</p> <p>And, equally, when the world is less secure, the UK is less secure within it.</p> <p>Climate change does not somehow stop at our borders.</p> <p>When pandemics occur, we are not immune.</p> <p>And when poverty and poor education fuel the growth of global terrorism, our society bears the scars too.</p> <p>Twenty two of the thirty four countries furthest from reaching the MDGs are in the midst of or emerging from violent conflict.</p> <p>Fragile spaces – like Afghanistan – where hate can proliferate and terrorist attacks can be planned, where organised criminals can harvest the drugs that ravage our streets, where families are persecuted, displaced, pushed to seek refuge with us.</p> <p>So we do not see the Millennium Development Goals just as optimistic targets for far away lands; they are not simply charity, nor are they pure altruism.</p> <p>They are also the key to lasting safety and future prosperity for the people of the United Kingdom, and of course, for people right across the globe.</p> <p>We welcome the General Assembly’s agreement to annually review progress made against the commitments agreed at this Summit.</p> <p>The UK will stand up to that test.</p> <p>Today I call on others to show equal resolve.</p> <p>The Millennium Development Goals must be a priority for each and every nation present in this room. Developed nations must honour their commitments.</p> <p>And developing nations must understand that they will not receive a blank cheque. Developing countries and donors must work together – as equal partners – towards securing our common interest.</p> <p>They will be expected to administer aid in ways that are accountable, transparent, and responsible - creating the conditions for economic growth and job creation.</p> <p>Prioritising national budgets on health, infrastructure, education and basic services.</p> <p>Managing natural resources, particularly biodiversity, in an environmentally sustainable way.</p> <p>Improving the lives of women and girls: empowering them; educating them; ensuring healthy mothers can raise strong children. There can be no doubt that women and girls hold the key to greater prosperity: for their families, for their communities, and for their nations too.</p> <p>If we each step up, we can meet the Millennium Development Goals.</p> <p>We can liberate millions of people from daily suffering, and give them the resources to take control of their lives, and their destinies.</p> <p>So let future generations look back and say that they inherited a better world because – at this critical moment, at this difficult moment – we did not shrink from our responsibilities.</p> <p>Let them say that we rose to the challenge, that we kept our promise.</p> 2011-03-24 23:08:57 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=565135582 Nicholas Clegg "If we each step up, we can meet the Millennium Development Goals" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40528 23 September 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office None
<p>Honourable Ministers, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.</p> <p>I am delighted to be here in Cardiff today on the final day of this sixth Commonwealth Local Government Conference.  And I am particularly pleased that the theme for this conference, ‘Energising local economies: partnerships for prosperous communities’, draws on so many elements of the UK’s vision for a Commonwealth of the 21st century.</p> <p>Some of you may know that I have long been a Commonwealth enthusiast.<br></p> <p>The Foreign Secretary highlighted in his Commonwealth speech in Sydney in January that the UK is committed to upgrading its relationship with the Commonwealth. We want to help to reinvigorate and strengthen it, so it can reach its full potential as a beacon for democracy, development and prosperity. Furthermore, we see the Commonwealth network as a key element in British foreign policy as we adjust or position to the new international landscapes and the rise of the great emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America.</p> <p>Today I want to focus on why the British Government believes that the Commonwealth is such an important international organisation, how your work contributes to this, and how we can work together to revitalise this unique organisation.</p> 2011-03-29 00:04:48 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=568943482 Lord Howell Energising local economies: partnerships for prosperous communities uk.org.publicwhip/lord/100308 18 March 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Cardiff
<p>It is a pleasure to be here this afternoon, and I congratulate The Times for staging this event.  It is an excellent idea to host a summit focussing on Africa’s successes and tremendous opportunities at any time; but to schedule it to be held at the precise moment when the eyes of the entire world are turned on North Africa suggests an extraordinary degree of prescience, and so I congratulate its organisers twice over.</p> <p>As I speak British Forces are conducting the fourth day of operations to enforce a no fly zone and arms embargo over Libya, to protect civilians against a government which has responded to legitimate demands for change with crushing military force and is now under investigation by the International Criminal Court.</p> <p>It is not for us to choose the government of Libya – that is for the Libyan people themselves. And I stress that they have a far greater chance of making that choice now than they did on Saturday, when the opposition forces were on the verge of defeat. With our partners we have halted the advance of Qadhafi’s troops towards Benghazi and prevented his planes from wreaking havoc from the skies, and this has undoubtedly saved many lives.</p> <p>We will continue to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 until there is a complete and genuine ceasefire and an end to attacks on civilians. At a time of such hope and optimism in the Middle East, we cannot let the Libyan government violate every principle of international law and human rights with impunity.</p> <p>The thirst for greater political and economic freedom continues to gather unstoppable momentum among the young people of North Africa and the Arab world. The sudden outpouring of this demand in so many countries simultaneously may have come as something of a surprise, but it is no surprise that people want freedom - the rule of law instead of the rule of state intelligence organisations, governments which they can choose and change, access to information, and economic opportunity free of corruption - for these are the common aspirations of people everywhere. I welcome the fact that the African nations currently on the UNSC, South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon, voted in support of action to protect the people of Libya. I met the President of the Gabon this morning and was able to thank him for his country’s principled stand.</p> <p>We are only in the early stages of what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East. It is already set to overtake the 2008 financial crisis and 9/11 as the most important development of the early 21st century, and is likely to bring some degree of political change in all countries in the Arab world.</p> <p>This is a historic shift of massive importance, presenting the international community as a whole with an immense opportunity. We believe that the international response to these events must be commensurately generous, bold and ambitious.</p> <p>The Prime Minister and I are working to galvanise a transformation of the European Union’s neighbourhood policy so that it can act as a magnet for positive change, providing clearer incentives for the creation of free, democratic and just societies that respect human rights. The EU already has vast means at its disposal to promote such reform, and we believe that it should also hold out the prospect of deeper economic integration with Europe so that the people of the region can see a clear path to a more prosperous future.</p> <p>But these momentous events do not necessarily stop at the borders of the Arab world.</p> <p>One of the emerging lessons of the crises in the Middle East is that the demands for freedom will spread, and that undemocratic governments elsewhere should take heed.</p> <p>The effects of this are already rippling out in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Following protests in Khartoum President Bashir of Sudan has reiterated that he will step down at the next election. In Zimbabwe over forty students, activists and trade unionists were arrested for treason on simply for watching video footage of protests in Egypt and Tunisia.</p> <p>Inspiring scenes of people taking the future of their countries into their own hands will ignite greater demands for good governance and political reform elsewhere in the world, including in Asia and in Africa. Africa led the way in this during the final decade of the last century, with South Africa’s successful struggle against apartheid led by man who became a global icon for freedom and reconciliation, Nelson Mandela.</p> <p>By making this argument Britain is not trying to dictate change, but pointing out such sentiments will spread of their own accord. The desire for freedom is a universal aspiration, and governments that attempt to isolate their people from the spread of information and ideas around the globe will fight a losing battle over time.</p> <p>Governments that use violence to stop democratic development will not earn themselves respite forever. They will pay an increasingly high price for actions which they can no longer hide from the world with ease, and will find themselves on the wrong side of history.</p> <p>Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to escape the judgement of their own people, or where warranted, the reach of international law.</p> <p>The action we have taken in Libya, authorised by the United Nations Security Council, shows that the international community does take gross violations of human rights extremely seriously.</p> <p>For just as Qadhafi is an obstacle to the peaceful development of Libya, there are some others who stand in the way of a brighter future for their countries.</p> <p>In Cote d’Ivoire former President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to concede that he lost last year’s presidential election, and is sanctioning attacks on defenceless civilians in a desperate attempt to cling illegitimately to power. I spoke last night to President Ouattara and discussed the need for UN sanctions on those who obstruct the African Union’s attempts to broker a peaceful transfer of power, and for those responsible for human rights abuses to be held to account.    </p> <p>In Zimbabwe today Mugabe’s security forces continue to act with impunity, ramping up intimidation in order to instil fear in their opponents and to prevent the people of Zimbabwe from expressing their democratic voice.</p> <p>And in a number of other African countries there have already been arrests and censorships of African journalists attempting to report on what is happening in the Arab world and raising the democratic deficit in their own countries. This is not only futile in this age of mass communication, but it is also directly contrary to the lesson the North African events have for the world, which is that such actions are deeply counterproductive.</p> <p>The foundations of good governance - the rule of law, free media and strong independent institutions - are not a luxury but a fundamental basis for economic long term development and security.</p> <p>It is clear to us that the opening up of closed political systems to more representative and accountable government is not only the appropriate response in affected countries in the Middle East, but applies to all societies everywhere.</p> <p>Democratic freedoms and long term stability and success go hand in hand. When we look at the success of Ghana, Botswana and South Africa the connection is clear, as is the deficit of both in countries held back by conflict or misgovernment. This is a point our Ministers constantly make with countries in the region.</p> <p>There is ample evidence that the coming years could be a turning point for Africa; a chance for it to build on successes across the continent, to overcome various legacies of the past and to realise the huge human and economic potential in many of its countries, if progress on reform and governance is stepped up.</p> <p>With three fifths of the world’s uncultivated arable land, a fifth of the world’s copper and half of the world’s gold, a combined GDP set to have more than doubled by 2020 and forecasts for the highest working age population in the world by 2040, Africa’s huge potential is clear for all to see. Many of you here are already part of Africa’s success and will be well aware of the exciting opportunities ahead. Others are waking up to it. One Chief Executive of a top financial services company who has spent many years advising US businesses on global opportunities said recently that while those US businesses normally discussed Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, last summer for the first time they clamoured “but what about Africa? Tell us about Africa!” Much of this is down to improvements in the quality of government.</p> <p>The African Union is now approaching its 10th anniversary and has been involved in successful mediation in Mauritania, Guinea and Niger. It is wrestling with the current challenges in Cote d’Ivoire and it is willing to deploy essential peacekeeping troops to the most challenging of conflict zones such as Somalia and Darfur.</p> <p>There are many countries where democracy is flourishing or where hard won gains are being consolidated. Botswana has provided a pillar of political stability and democracy in the continent since its independence. Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Sierra Leone have all seen peaceful transfers of political power with Niger and Guinea Conakry both holding peaceful elections in the last year. Even in a country as wrought with conflict as Somalia, the stable region of Somaliland enjoyed a remarkable transfer of democratic power from one elected government to an opposition party last summer. And in Sudan we will see Africa’s newest nation come into being this year following a remarkably peaceful referendum on secession, accepted by North Sudan, which Britain worked very hard to achieve, making it an early priority of our foreign policy to focus the UN Security Council on the potential crisis there and demonstrating that targeted engagement from the international community can achieve very real results.</p> <p>Improvements in governance are helping to drive Africa’s prosperity. The African continent is second only to Asia in its growth and projected growth, which averaged 6 per cent in the five years to 2009 and avoided recession since the onset of the financial crisis.</p> <p>Alongside the big success stories of Nigeria, South Africa and Angola are the smaller economies who have made significant progress.  Even in Zimbabwe, which has been blighted by decades of misrule, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has steered the economy from a rate of hyper-inflation in 2008 to growth of 8% last year. This is a remarkable feat.</p> <p>Parts of Africa have become a byword for smart innovation.  We are all familiar with the mobile phone banking phenomenon in which Africa has lead the way, after the Kenyan company Safaricom was the first to make this commercially successful.  However equally striking is the use of mobile phones by Ugandan farmers to check market prices, by Senegalese fishermen to select the best ports to unload their catch and by Ghanaian customers to guard against counterfeit medicines. The Webbox, designed to transform a standard TV into an internet portal, is being developed by South Africa’s Vodacom.</p> <p>These developments show how Africans are developing their economies and societies in their own ways. Given that 80% of global poverty reduction comes from economic growth we can all see what these developments along with increased regional economic integration and freer trade will mean for millions of Africans currently living in poverty.</p> <p>Africa’s prosperity is also good news for countries like our own.  </p> <p>Britain has an ambitious foreign policy which seeks to build up our standing and influence in the world, and to support our economy. We are working hard across government to support African growth and encourage British companies to make the most of Africa’s business opportunities. I have tasked all of our Embassies and High Commissions in Africa to make this a priority, working with our UKTI trade and investment teams. The Department for International Development is also working to promote African wealth creation and support free trade initiatives.</p> <p>UK exports of goods to Africa have more than doubled since 2001, and there are many further opportunities for trade and investment between us. British companies and educational establishments can support African growth through the transfer of finance, skills and technology. Our networks of people to people links are strong and we enjoy a vibrant and active community of British Africans living in the UK. Leading government figures in Africa, including from Zambia, Kenya, Botswana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa and the Seychelles have studied in the UK, and of course Britain and 19 African countries share membership of the Commonwealth.</p> <p>We are committed to meeting the target to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on international aid and are the first country in the G20 to set out exactly how we will do so. Following a root and branch review of all UK aid spending led by the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell the UK will focus our aid programme in fewer countries where the need is greatest and where UK support will make the greatest difference. Over the next four years our aid will help provide tens of millions of Africans with the means to work their way out of poverty.</p> <p>Africa must also get better breaks from the international community. In the EU, the world’s largest trading block, we remain a consistent advocate of the sort of free trade policies that benefit African economies, and of course we strongly support Africa’s ambitions to achieve a common market by 2028.</p> <p>Finally, we also recognise that Africa’s place on the world stage will be increasingly important.  Many countries are already playing their part internationally, such as AU co-ordination of pan-African positions at G8 and G20 meetings, South Africa’s invitation to the forthcoming BRIC summit and simultaneous membership of the AU Peace and Security Council and the UNSC, alongside Nigeria and Gabon.</p> <p>We want to build strong bilateral partnerships and work with African countries on areas of mutual interest, such as free trade areas, development, conflict resolution and climate change, and to see Africa’s permanent representation on a reformed UN Security Council. Because we see the nations of Africa as important partners we are expanding several of our missions in Africa, particularly in South Sudan where we hope that our growing Consulate-General will become a fully fledged Embassy in July.</p> <p>And we will work resolutely with our partners in the region and internationally to address problems facing particular African countries. I mentioned Cote D’Ivoire at the start of my speech. In Zimbabwe, we support the crucial work of SADC, led by South Africa, to develop a roadmap towards credible elections with Zimbabwe’s leaders. In Somalia, instability is fuelling the spread of terrorism and piracy, which I discussed with my G8 colleagues last week. I can announce that we will be channelling £6 million into projects to develop the capacity of regional countries to prosecute pirates, as well as to help equip the Seychelles Coastguard as it deals with these threats.</p> <p>We will be unhesitating in arguing for the good governance that is needed if we are to speak of Africa’s economic lions in 2040 in the same way we do of Asian tigers today. Fourteen Presidential elections are mooted in Africa in this year alone, each of which will be a test for the future direction of the continent. Credible elections are not the whole solution for Africa’s future but they are an essential ingredient.  </p> <p>If the challenges facing Africa are met successfully it will reinforce the shift of the balance of economic power and political influence to the South and the East that we are already witnessing. For too long now Africa has been viewed as the continent of wars or poverty. This audience today knows there is another story, one of steady progress and of great potential. People used to talk of Brazil as the country with a great future. Brazil has now made its leap into its own future; many African nations are doing the same. Britain stands ready to work with African countries every step of the way in a partnership that we hope will enable us to prosper together.</p> 2011-03-22 22:50:59 http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=570682182 William Hague "Britain stands ready to work with African countries every step of the way" uk.org.publicwhip/member/40499 22 March 2011 Foreign and Commonwealth Office London
<p>It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon and I congratulate The Times for staging this event.  It is an excellent idea to host a summit focussing on Africa’s successes and tremendous opportunities at any time; but to schedule it at the precise moment when the eyes of the entire world are turned on North Africa suggests an extraordinary degree of prescience on the part of the editor of The Times and the organisers and I congratulate them twice over.<br><br>As I speak British Forces are conducting the fourth day of operations to enforce a no fly zone and arms embargo over Libya, to protect civilians against a government which has responded to legitimate demands for change with military force and is now under investigation by the Intern