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I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Drayson for setting out the interlinked issues in foreign policy, defence and international development—the challenges that we face today—and the strategies available to tackle them. He also described some of our progress. I am very grateful to all noble Lords for their remarkable insights and analysis during this debate. It would be unfair to pick out one established Member over another, but the noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, as ever gave some surprising insights.

I join others in congratulating the noble Lords, Lord Patel, Lord Leach, Lord Browne and Lord Jay, on their outstanding maiden speeches, which are surely just the trailer for what they will give to this House in the future. However, throughout the debate, I wholly disagreed with the analysis of foreign policy as being in a vacuum, or of our interdependence on others being a liability. I hope that I can demonstrate that.

Where are we now? In our debate in May 2005, the United Kingdom was some months into the G8 presidency and about to start the presidency of the EU. Within weeks I had attended the African Union summit and then had the good fortune to be at Gleneagles. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Jay of Ewelme, whose speech enriched today’s debate, played a central role in the build for Gleneagles and the event itself. The theme was to bind the world together in unprecedented solidarity to fight poverty, disease, conflict and poor, corrupt governance. Aid, debt relief and African commitment to better governance were our weapons in this monumental project.

There has been no talk of failure in this by the poorer nations, for whom this project was designed. The noble Lord, Lord Roberts, asked us about the humanitarian lead that the country might show. I look immediately to the Commission for Africa, and suggest that we look there for our ambitions for children.

At Gleneagles, as I well recall, we were enthused by the news that London had won the 2012 Olympics—well, perhaps President Chirac was not, but most of the rest of us were. The conference worked with great spirit and to a great cause through to 6 July. On 7 July, the House will recall—indeed, this country will recall—the shock and horror of the devastating bomb attacks in London on people of all creeds. I said then, and I say tonight, that no bomb, no violence, however sickening, has ever forced the people of my home town—of any creed or none—to surrender their freedoms, their way of life or their values; nor would it in any UK city. Not then; not ever.

Whatever our spirit and resilience, however, a lesson came home. International terrorism threatens our security. It is global, even when the murderers are home-grown: vicious sectarian killing, suicide bombing, in Kabul or Kings Cross, has the same aim. So combating terror is our number-one priority. Conflict and violence block the basis for economic and political growth and development. These matters are inextricably linked. No growth: persistent poverty; persistent poverty: renewed conflict. That is why I

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want to talk about interdependence tonight and to repudiate some of the simplistic nostrums. Pursuing the UK’s interest depends on understanding interdependence.

Our first UK interest is to make the world safer from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Dealing with terrorism is no conventional war. Of course it is right to reach people’s hearts and minds, to learn from them and to express our values to them. For most people—and, let me say in this specific context, for the overwhelming majority of Muslims, I am sure—there are few difficulties in embracing moderation, tolerance and a love of freedom. Most of us choose to respect and admire diversity, to welcome our richer differences rather than infuse them with hatred, division and reaction. Some people do not. That is why it is a conflict, first and foremost, about values. Just as some have committed themselves to wage physical war—on 9/11, 7/7, in Indonesia and Algeria, in Kenya and Madrid, on other Muslims, on Christians, Hindus, Jews, on Arabs and on the West—we must decide what we agree on about our values, and why it is necessary to fight for them.

These developments have crept up on us over a long time, probably at least two generations. I fear, as others in this House do, that we were perhaps not always watchful enough, sometimes not wise enough, as these things developed—too ignorant of the currents in the Islamic world, too prone to see terrorist incidents as isolated rather than grasp a pattern, an emerging strategy among some fanatics. The noble Lord, Lord Browne of Belmont, eloquently called on us to understand the political patterns in history.

Who understood early enough the meaning of the emergence of the Taliban, or the character of the struggles and atrocities in Chechnya? I just use those as examples. The noble Lord, Lord King, calls on us to use all our knowledge in this context and, of course, that must be right. I shall return to the subject of Israel and Palestine in a moment, but I cannot say that that conflict crept up and surprised us because that would not be true.

A basic truth remains: the United Kingdom did not attack anyone, but we have been attacked. We are entitled to defend ourselves and to work with those in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else who are committed to building democracy. At the heart of this is a battle of ideas and I recognise that, at the heart of the battle of ideas, soft diplomacy is an essential stock-in-trade. I say to the House, especially those noble Lords who, for the best reasons, emphasise hearts and minds in our debates, that the more al-Qaeda and reactionary regimes push back against us, the more we have to deal with the ideas at the root of it all. Their final fight will be for their ideology and for the despotisms that protect it.

How much more difficult it will be if they can do so in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Our tasks are clear, if difficult. The nuclear test in North Korea roused everyone, especially regional neighbours, to insist on renewed talks. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, referred to North Korea in

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powerful terms. Although the talks are focused on weapons, I hope that they will lead to recognition of the legitimacy of the UN special rapporteur on human rights and of the plight of the starving and political prisoners. China, which is the principal nation of influence in that region and which is becoming a massive force in the world, has a vital role in that. Food aid is never conditional and cannot be. I shall check the point, but I am not aware of a significant diminution of food aid.

In Iran, there must be compliance with Security Council decisions, and the decisions must have real consequences. I do not underestimate the continuing role of diplomacy or deny the right to civil nuclear energy, but I emphasise the need for a resolution in the way we deal with it. Ahmadinejad may sound theatrical when he says that Israel should be wiped off the map, or grotesque when he denies the Holocaust, but we would do well to take him at his word. In that, I differ from the noble Lord, Lord Lamont. I do not think that his speeches are for local consumption, but I am not prepared to guess or to take the risk. The UN and the IAEA carry global responsibility.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Owen, that our objectives are to deal with non-proliferation, not with regime change. In Darfur, we have been at pains to say that our objectives are humanitarian and not, in the case of President al-Bashir, regime change.

There are tests of immediate security; they are tests of the fundamental health of the non-proliferation treaty. Given the difficulty of distinguishing between peaceful and non-peaceful uranium enrichment, I particularly welcomed the statement made on 26 May by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister that:

Our task, however complex, is to turn that proposition into reality.

I have touched on instability in that region, but I must say more about Iraq and Afghanistan. I know that many noble Lords believe that we should not be in Iraq. The noble Lords, Lord Wallace and Lord Jopling, made that point very clearly, as did many others. A few noble Lords take the same view about Afghanistan. I recognise that other noble Lords do not regard either step as intrinsically wrong but worry about the length and sustainability of our presence. I do not doubt that there are differing views about military deployment among many former commanders of our forces, but I do not accept that those with current responsibilities have ever said anything that falls on deaf ears with the Government.

On one thing almost all of us can agree. Tonight, just a week after Remembrance weekend, when we stop and pay the deepest tribute to those who died on the side of freedom and democracy, it is right to pay our respects, as we have done in the House this evening, to our forces defending those same values today. Noble and gallant Lords have served, but I have not, and it is hard to grasp the courage required or the harshness of the theatres of conflict. It is also

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hard to understand what families who endure the inevitable uncertainties go through. They also deserve our profound admiration.

We owe it to everyone to hold on to some facts as we think about that, whatever attitude was taken to military engagement. Let me start with one fact. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Patten, that the £100 million is new money.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, we have seen the demand by the citizens facing terrible threats, none the less to strive for democracy. They have chosen constitutions—no doubt imperfect and capable of improvement—and they have elected Governments. Day by day they face those stoking up civil war not by accident but by conscious plan.

I believe that we should listen with greater care than we have done historically to those newly elected leaders. They speak for their countries and their aspirations. They are nobody’s puppets. They believe in democracy and are fighting for it. Their fight is not always, or even frequently, blessed with success, but it is the right fight, fought for the right reason. And they want us to leave when the conditions are right for Iraqis and Afghanis to carry that burden alone.

The noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, is certainly right—a federal Iraq must be the best outcome. Rational discussion needs to take place, but it needs conditions of greater stability in order to take place. The international community inevitably must play its role in all this, and it needs to be a process in which the elected Government of the country is not bypassed. The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, provided useful information on how one successful part of the region operates. The noble Lord, Lord Owen, expressed the emerging difficulties of engaging Iran on federal and other issues. Plainly, we must get that discussion right, too.

Historically one thing is always true: there is terrible fragility in any state until democracy and democratic values take root. It has been so everywhere. Europe’s own history certainly is characterised that way. Either a nation and its friends commit the time necessary to see democratic institutions and a democratic culture grow, and grow durably, or we resign ourselves to living with the consequences of fragility.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda showed the consequences of this fragility in New York and on many other targets. A Sunni dictator showed it over decades as he attacked and killed at least half a million of his Shia neighbours, eliminating every domestic socialist and trade unionist he could lay his hands on, and he gassed a number of his own people. Gassing his own people takes a very special kind of dictator. The noble Lord, Lord Dahrendorf, is wholly right to say that non-intervention is to allow precisely those nations which most resist any kind of influence for democratic purposes to get away with unchecked brutality.

So we will do the job. The job is to get Iraqis and Afghanis to the position where they can do the job. The noble Lord, Lord Hurd, expressed his anger at that. I never disagree with the need for self-criticism,

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but it would not be right to say that the British people have not had the opportunity or capacity to criticise or dismiss the politicians who lie behind the policy, as Americans have recently—a general election took place and it was at the heart of that general election campaign. We had the right to take that decision. We took it. I say to the noble Lord—who is a very distinguished former Foreign Minister, in post I believe very close to the time when Srebrenica broke out—that it is very hard to arrest the complexity of some of these brutal outcomes in any country where there are people who are intent on that kind of mayhem. I hope he recognises that.

The noble Lord, Lord Jay, described our responsibilities better than I can. The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, and others are right when they said that we face risks with whatever course we take. Of course we will always listen to the chiefs of staff. I tell him though that there is evidence of al-Qaeda operating in many other places than where he believes—south-east Asia and east Africa. Possibly for that reason it is more likely to take a generation to deal with it.

The noble Lords, Lord Garden and Lord Astor, asked about Afghanistan. I do not think that I could ever be accused of being over-optimistic. I try not to brush matters aside. I believe that real progress is being made. The beginnings of a democracy are being established. The security situation is becoming more stable, although it is plainly very fragile in the south. The Afghanistan compact provides a vehicle for continued international support for Afghanistan and our commitment remains strong. The legitimate economy is growing. Reconstruction and social development are beginning to move. The challenges are plainly there in security, the rule of law and drugs, but we can see the beginnings of a positive trend. Commanders will get what they need to do the job.

Our second main priority is to prevent and resolve conflict through a strong international system. It is clear that, as the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Inge, said, we need to do that with continuous strategic thinking. At the heart of that, our mission should be to focus on the Middle East peace process. No other long-term conflict so divides the world or fuels mistrust, however cynical are those who may manipulate that mistrust. The centrality of the Middle East peace process has been stressed across this House. The noble Lord, Lord Wallace, emphasised it; so did my noble friend Lady Symons when she talked about the Prime Minister's role. I am quite clear that the United States must be involved positively, which may well come about more as a result of the election. The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, said that we should all avoid language that reinforces the propaganda of the dictators with whom we are trying to deal on occasion. I agree with him.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may have lasted decades with huge suffering among civilians on both sides, but its potential solution is built from relatively clear blocks. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, described it as very complex with no clear line of development—I hope that I am not putting words into his mouth unfairly; I certainly do not intend to.

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We can become transfixed by complexity and lose sight of some of the relatively clear elements. The Palestinians are entitled to live in a viable, contiguous state with its own secure and democratic institutions. In that state, they should control their own political and economic destiny. As the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, said, they will need economic opportunity to drive that forward. The Israelis are entitled to live at peace within their state and in a normal relationship with their neighbours. That means that their neighbours must recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist, cease violence against it and normalise relationships.

Of course, many things can disrupt the two-state solution. Rocketing civilians in their beds at night is intended to reverse any progress. Building a security wall on or annexing and building on other people's land fundamentally disrupts the search for peace. Both sides must respect non-violence and, when they are attacked, the need for proportionality, or they infect each rising generation with the virus of violence. The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, called for a robust but honourable criticism of Israel. I understand what she means, but, on occasion, we should also pause to consider the psychology of a people who are subject to rocket attacks in their homes every night.

The Prime Minister has committed us to a push for peace to remove the detonator of wider insecurity. The effort needs all of us—the United States included—to try for dialogue, including dialogue with Iran. I say to colleagues in the House who have made this point that the bones of any peace attempt will include elements of the road map. That is inevitable and the EU is eager to find a Palestinian Government to deal with in finding the two-state solution. The flow of arms to Hamas and Hezbollah is a counter-pressure. For example, whenever the world calls for progress on non-proliferation with Iran, we find that destabilisation, including destabilisation in southern Iraq, is one consequence.

Those are the realities with which we have to deal, and we will have to deal with them by talking. That has become more imperative: talking with Iran and Syria and across the whole region. On that need, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, and others. I note the experience of the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, in such talks. Equally, legitimate international pressure becomes imperative if any state chooses conflict over talking.

Iran is a young nation and, at the same time, an extraordinarily ancient civilisation. Its youngsters have a tradition of intellectual inquisitiveness and are unlikely to be trapped for long by theocracy. That is why I am delighted that the BBC World Service is to start a Farsi TV channel to bring the region the impartial objectivity for which the BBC is renowned worldwide. As the noble Baroness, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, said, progress elsewhere in the Middle East is needed. Soft diplomacy will be one of the factors. It is certain that it must be, and must be seen to be, indigenous progress for which people can take credit for themselves.

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I described the priority as resolving conflict across the region through strong international institutions. This is a time for major reform. We owe Kofi Annan many debts; he has identified the reforms that Secretary-General Ban must introduce. The Security Council must be reformed. The absence of India, Japan, Germany, the major regional powers in Latin America such as Brazil, or an African power such as South Africa—other than temporarily, as at present—is not really sustainable. The Secretary-General, who faces so many unresolved disputes, needs the authority to propose action and to see it through. That in turn will be blunted unless he can appoint a secretariat and have oversight of the resources. Moreover, it will be sub-optimal if the UN continues to deal with development and humanitarian work through multiple agencies that are each in a silo. My noble friend Lady Jay of Paddington rightly insisted that this must be addressed. One agency should have explicit responsibility, acting through a UN single office dealing with each country and with an obligation to try to predict crises rather than simply to react to them. I assure my noble friend that we will pursue this.

We will not focus solely on the UN. My right honourable friend the Chancellor is chairing an international monetary and finance committee of the IMF, and driving change to improve the stability of the international financial system. Independence of political influences, improved surveillance capability and better alignment with emerging economic powers are all needed to make it more effective. The Chancellor and my right honourable friend Hilary Benn will work to ensure that the fight against world poverty remains the key purpose of the World Bank. I share the view that the Commonwealth can play quite a role in this.

Fighting poverty is the third priority that I want to mention. It is inextricably linked to our work on human rights, democracy and good governance. The noble Baroness, Lady Northover, repeatedly described these areas as displaying neglect. She is profoundly wrong. I am grateful in a way that we look to the judgments of the nations that are receiving our help rather than to some of the judgments made this evening. The United Kingdom is working towards an aid level of 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2013. In 1997, it was only 0.26 per cent. Today, it is almost 0.5 per cent.

The noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, called for better, more intelligent aid. Better aid, debt elimination and fair access to developed markets through trade are vital ingredients for achieving the millennium development goals. It is harder for Governments to do this than for NGOs. We would probably all agree that micromanaging large numbers of small projects has never been a great strength of Governments. However, it is also very important that we support good governance. In all this, accountability is vital.

The poverty that we seek to address forges wars. It incubates international criminals and narco-traffickers, spreads HIV/AIDS and drives millions on to the roads as economic migrants or refugees. It all

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happens despite the growth in world wealth, and every one of these calamities will end up in due course on our doorstep. It is never very far away, which is why we have an obligation to attend to these issues and not let Africa and other countries slip off our agenda. Nor must we let humanitarian work be the only work. Work on good governance is also critical. Starvation and a lower life expectancy in Zimbabwe, for example, are no accident, and they can be resolved. We must work to resolve that.

In mentioning Africa, I shall touch briefly on the fourth priority: climate security through sustainable, low-carbon economics. I am grateful for the remarkable work of Sir Nicholas Stern and the role of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary as a champion of this cause. I shall deal with it not so much globally but specifically. Climate change threatens security and stability, and it is often the precursor to conflict. Drought and desertification, flooding and land loss destabilise peoples, and this will worsen. Seventy-five per cent of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa works on the land, and climate change means there is less land on which to graze animals or grow crops. That was the origin of the fights over resources in Darfur. I am not in a position tonight to give the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and the House details of the force dispositions that have been discussed over the past week, but I make the point that, when a settlement is finally achieved in Darfur, unless we get to grips with sustainable living on that difficult patch of land, more or less nothing will work.

Many issues have been raised and I shall mention them briefly. Uganda is committed to poverty reduction. The proportion of people living below the national poverty line fell from 56 per cent in 1992 to 38 per cent in 2002. School attendance has increased by 86 per cent, national out-patient attendance has increased by 117 per cent, and we are addressing the problem of poverty. That is essential if there is to be a settlement in northern Uganda. We will try to deal with the problems in Rwanda, as the noble Lord, Lord Cotter, has asked for. We are acting on finding and returning genocide perpetrators and I believe that Rwanda has made significant progress in many ways.

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