BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES

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The Independent Online
ETHICAL FOREIGN POLICY...

1 The arrest of General Pinochet: a strict observance of international law against a traditional ally, which many predicted would be avoided with a fudge allowing the former Chilean dictator to go home.

2 The International Criminal Court: Among Robin Cook's finest hours, which saw usually trusty Britain break ranks with the US, and lead the campaign for a permanent ICC under the aegis of the UN.

3 The landmines treaty: another case of London breaking with Washington, by voting for the treaty and promising to get rid of its stock of such weapons by 2000. But will it make any difference ?

PRAGMATIC FOREIGN POLICY...

1 Arms to Indonesia:

The great blot on the credibility of Mr Cook and the Government. Why did the Government wait so long to impose a ban on the delivery of arms? Why did the government not act when British made Hawks flew over Dili in July? Because under Labour as under Conservatives, money drowns out principles.

2 Arms and mercenaries to Sierra Leone:

A fiasco by any standards, which quickly took the sheen off the much ballyhooed "ethical Foreign Policy." After exhaustive enquiry it transpired that the Foreign Office was guilty of deceit rather than immorality. Tony Blair called it "hoo-ha." He was probably right.

3 Turkey's environment and the Kurds:

Earlier this month, the Foreign Office was alleged to have been helping fund the development of the Ilisu Dam project on the River Tigris in Turkey.

According to the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell the project would not only ruin the environment, but would also leave thousands of Kurds homeless and could trigger the world's first "water war" by disrupting supplies to Iraq and Syria.

4 Bahrain and Human rights: Government ministers have been accused of keeping close links with the Bahrain government - including holding regular meetings of defence ministers, and maintaining a staff of over 85 in the country - despite the country's record of torture and extra-judicial executions.

Also, despite the EU's insistence that member states should "refrain from supplying arms or security support to the Government of Bahrain", New Labour granted 24 arms export licences to the regime in the first 12 months of their period in office.

5 Arms to Africa: Zimbabwe Although Labour have not allowed any arms export licences to Zimbabwe, they have kept open licences granted under the Tory government, enabling President Mugabe to keep his Hawk jets - which have been used for waging war against the Democratic Republic of Congo - supplied with parts, and therefore in operation. Mr Cook has also allowed the Foreign Office to heavily subsidise the purchase of 1,500 Landrover Defenders by the regime - which has a legacy of brutality against its own people - even though they may well be used for so-called "riot control".

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