Letter: Unethical policies

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was intrigued by your leader (14 January) arguing that the Foreign Office should pay greater attention to supporting British citizens abroad and less to its ambitious role in the world. The worst foreign policy commentary at the moment is that which rubbishes the Government's attempt at a more principled foreign policy - something you decry as an "absurd ethical foreign policy". Better to judge its successes and failures than to discard its ambition.

British citizens - including aid workers - often get in danger overseas because of the epidemic of wars which characterises the 1990s. Consular protection can be vital, but British citizens, and millions of others, will still be in danger from Sierra Leone to Sudan while such conflicts run on. The Government's start at controlling our arms trade, and taking a tougher line on bringing human rights abusers to book, is at least a contribution to a safer world which deserves more, not less, political attention.

STEWART WALLIS

Deputy Director, Oxfam GB

Oxford

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