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Mr. Jimmy Hood (Clydesdale): Before my hon. Friend the Minister continues, can I say that there is great unease on his own Benches at what some see as a softening-up process for taking action that will not get the support of our allies and friends in the middle east? I ask the Foreign Office in particular to take cognisance of that concern and to think about it before we go down a road from which we will find it difficult to withdraw.
Mr. Bradshaw: Of course my colleagues and I will take notice of the points made by my hon. Friend, because of his wisdom and experience in this area. However, we should not overestimate the amount of support that Saddam Hussein or his regime have in the Arab world, if that is what my hon. Friend was implying by his question. We need to think carefully and rationally about how the international community deals with a state which has used weapons of mass destruction on its own people and its neighbours, and which is acquiring chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as we speak. We believe that that state would have no inhibitions about using those weapons not just on its immediate neighbours, but on us and further afield. If my hon. Friend has a miracle solution as to how one deals with such rogue-state behaviour, I should be pleased to hear it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood also mentioned Syria. We accept that Syria plays host to a number of terrorist groups. It allows terrorists to set up their headquarters in Damascus. As my hon. Friend has said, both the External Security Organisation of Hezbollah and the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine have a presence in Syria. Both these organisations are proscribed in the UK as terrorist organisations.
We have made it crystal clear to the Syrians that we expect them to use their undoubted influence to secure de-escalation and restraint. They must dissociate themselves from the terrorists responsible for the tragic and futile upsurge in violence over the last 12 months. I will look into the specific allegations that my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood made and, if he will allow me, I will write to him.
We are broadly encouraged by the Government's contacts with the Syrians in recent months. There are signs that Syria may be exerting some helpful influence to contain the violence. If such a policy is confirmed and sustained, Syria will find that it can advance its objectives effectively using political means.
It is also a cold fact that no party in the current confrontations will obtain security or peace until the cycle of violence ends. There is no solution through violence for either side. As the Foreign Secretary wrote in a newspaper article last week:
State sponsorship of terrorism is a cruel and cowardly policy that is now more than ever beyond tolerance. The Government will engage with sponsors and potential sponsors in order to tell them how profoundly we deplore their conduct and how gravely their actions destabilise fragile regional security.
All nations have new obligations to stop supporting terrorism under the two UN resolutions passed unanimously after 11 September. The international community is determined to ensure that those resolutions are fully implemented and, in doing so, it will enjoy Britain's full support.