Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Sixth Report


187. The countries covered by our report have been facing traumatic change, which has amounted to nothing less than a revolution in their civil, political and economic structures. As we argue, it is a major Western interest to help to establish regional stability and to resolve some of the long outstanding conflicts. We found in a number of the countries visited a particular wish to develop stronger bilateral relations with the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is looked upon as a nation with strongly rooted traditions in democracy and in a civil society upholding human rights, the rule of law and individual liberty. We have a clear role to promote such values and practices within the region. We have identified diplomatic, commercial and cultural opportunities which would give a greater meaning to our relations with the countries of the region. They are opportunities we would be foolish to spurn. We welcome the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's efforts to date, but conclude that more could and should be done to promote Britain's interests, good governance and stability in a region that will be of increasing significance in the years ahead.

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