'We are in the midst of a long struggle against murderous terrorists': Cameron urges G8 countries to share burden of tackling terrorism


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Indy Politics

The G8 group of developed countries should agree to “share the burden” of tackling terrorism in flashpoints around the globe, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Setting out his priorities for Britain's year-long presidency of the G8 in 2013, Mr Cameron warned that the world was "in the midst of a long struggle against murderous terrorists and the poisonous ideology that supports them".

Defeating the menace of al-Qa'ida and the Islamist terror groups it has inspired will require "tough, intelligent and patient" work not only on security and military action, but also through diplomacy, aid, political relations and support for democracy, he said in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

And he made clear that the job cannot be left to only a few states, like Britain.

"I want to open up a new debate... on how we share the burden of meeting this threat," Mr Cameron said.

"The G8 can discuss how we can best divide up some of the work between us - and how we can partner up with the countries worst affected to overcome this threat... This will be right up there on our agenda."

Britain has provided two RAF transport planes to support France's military operation against Islamist insurgents in northern Mali, but Mr Cameron has made clear he does not want UK troops in a combat role in the west African state, which as a former French colony has traditionally been seen as falling within Paris's sphere of influence.

While saying that the UK should "thicken" links with the north African region following this month's hostage crisis in Algeria, the PM has also warned of the danger that different members of the international community "overlap" and duplicate one another's efforts.

He told the House of Commons on Monday: "I do not want us to try to track or double up with other allies on this, but we should be working together, and that is what we are focused on."

Today, Mr Cameron told the Davos gathering: "I believe we are in the midst of a long struggle against murderous terrorists and the poisonous ideology that supports them.

"As we have successfully put pressure on al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so al-Qa'ida franchises have been growing for years in Yemen, Somalia and parts of north Africa - places that have suffered hideously through hostage-taking, terrorism and crime.

"To defeat this menace, we've got to be tough, intelligent and patient - and this is the argument I'll be making at the G8.

"Let me be absolutely clear. There is a place for a tough security approach - including, at times, military action where necessary.

"The French are right to act in Mali and I back that action.

"But we need to combine a tough security response with an intelligent political response.

"We need to address the poisonous narrative these terrorists feed on, close down the ungoverned space in which they thrive and deal with the grievances they use to garner support.

"This means using everything at our disposal - our diplomatic networks, our aid budget, our political relations, our military and security co-operation and yes: supporting - in those countries and elsewhere - the building blocks of democracy like the rule of law and a free media."