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Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Inverness, West): Although all sane and democratic-thinking people throughout the world will acknowledge the importance of the summit, not least as another essential reaffirmation of the fight against international terrorism, which poses the most fundamental threat to us all, I think that the Prime Minister will accept that despite the progress achieved, there were elements of serious disappointment about the summit.
Will the right hon. Gentleman acknowledge, not least when we hear some of the more strident tones on this side of the Atlantic as well as on the other side, that an important lesson is that progress can be best effected through efficient international institutions in which countries play a constructive role and do not run with the tide of short-term populist opinion, which, when it comes to unilateralism, far less isolationism, history proves does not work and will not deliver? Does he agree that that is an important conclusion to emerge from the weekend and from the events that have followed on since the summit itself?
Specifically, in welcoming the reaffirmation statement about the middle east process, will the right hon. Gentleman again take the opportunity to underscore the fact that it never looks good for international countries, democratically based, to be seen to be trying to dictate what other countries should be deciding, not least through a democratic process, however difficult the circumstances may be, where the leadership of those other countries and other states are concerned?
Thirdly, there is the central issue of African relief. Obviously, there will be a great welcome for the progress that has been achieved. The Prime Minister quoted the World Bank, but will he acknowledge that the bank has said in the context of what was achievedthat is the progress that was made at the G8 summitthat many of the poorest and most heavily indebted countries will still have unsustainable levels of built-in debt for a long time to come? Therefore, as the right hon. Gentleman has acknowledged, this can be only the beginning of the process. It is by no means the termination of a process.
Finally, I return to the important lesson of international co-operation. As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, as a party that has long since supported the International Criminal Court, will he confirm again that this country will continue its commitment in that direction, and point out to the American Administration the fundamental error of their ways in that respect?
As for the United States and the Palestinian Authority, it is important to be clear about what the United States is and is not saying. The United States is not saying that the Palestinians cannot choose who they want. They can choose who they want. The United States is merely saying that if the Palestinians choose someone who is not a serious partner for peace, that will make it far more difficult to conduct negotiations, and frankly I agree with that.
As for the WMD, it is true that there are worries about Iran's nuclear weapons programme. There are also worries about other countries' nuclear weapons programmes. However, the WMD focuses specifically on the countries of the former Soviet Union. That is important because it is in those countries that there are large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. There is the nuclear programme, and so on. They need help to clean up the nuclear submarines, for example, and we should give them that assistance.
In relation to the African situation and NEPAD, the truthful position is that, of course, there is a lot more that must be done. It is true that we will make a significant impact on the situation, but we will not manage to deal with it all. However, we have made huge progress on where we were a few years ago. The fact is that we have a plan in place that allows us to deal with all the issues in a comprehensive way, increase aid and assistance in return for good governance and deal with issues such as conflict resolution, which are dramatically important in respect of this issue. It is no use dealing simply with issues of debt and aid; we must deal with debt and aid, trade, conflict resolution and some of the specific health
Mr. Tony Lloyd (Manchester, Central): I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the way in which the G8 has handled relations with Russia. It is very important that signals are given to the Russian people that Russia is a welcome partner at the very top table because there is a role for the Russians to play. The Americans deserve congratulations on the funding provided for nuclear stocks improvements. Long before Europeans took the issue seriously, the Americans were contributing and trying to persuade the Russians to make their nuclear stocks safe. The contrast with the United States position on the International Criminal Court is odd, as it is moving in almost the opposite direction on that issue. An America that, at its best, gives leadership and, working together with the rest of the world, gives us all something to work towards, is equally one that at certain moments, as in dealing with the ICC, heads in completely the opposite direction and gives the world the wrong view, namely, that it wants to behave above and beyond international law. That is not possible even for the United States.
The Prime Minister: What my hon. Friend says about the United States position on Russia and the problem of weapons of mass destruction is absolutely rightAmerica has taken the lead on that issue. In relation to the ICC, America has a very clearly established position that it has held under both its current Administration and the previous one. We have an equally clear position, which has been held under both our current Administration and the previous one. It is important to recognise that there will be differences from time to time. However, it is wrong to see that as colouring the entire relationship. It is important to understand that, from time to time, on issues such as climate change or steel and the tariffs imposed in the United States, there will disagreements, but the broad basis of the relationship between this country and the United States is absolutely solid. It is a foundation stone of British foreign policy and will remain so, and it is absolutely vital that any people, from whatever quarter, who want to undermine it realise that that is not in the interests of this country, America or the wider world.
Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East): The Prime Minister made only the briefest reference to India and Pakistan. Will he expand on that, especially in the light of the very worrying report that al-Qaeda forces now seem to be moving into Kashmir? I am sure that he appreciates more than any of us the danger that will arise if such people start to fish in those exceptionally dangerously troubled waters.
The Prime Minister: That is rightit is a very substantial danger. For that reason, it is important to ensure that Pakistan does all it can to prevent terrorists from crossing the border and the line of control there. There is evidence that it has stepped up its efforts significantly. I think that we have a respite from this issue, but we have not solved it by any means. What is important is that we redouble our efforts to ensure clear dialogue on the basis of an end to any form of Pakistani complicity in terrorism, and to ensure that, in response, there is proper dialogue between the two countries about all the issues
Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie): I congratulate the Prime Minister on the leadership that he is giving on Africa, which contrasts significantly with the neglect and disengagement of 18 years of Conservative government.
My right hon. Friend rightly spoke about NEPAD and the sense of partnership that it creates. That has to be so. One of the major problems is that the resources of Africa are not used for the people of Africathey are robbed from them by corrupt elites and corrupt Governments. We must play our part by ensuring that northern firms do not support corruption and by backing the campaign that northern firmssuch as BP, which has agreed to be part of itshould declare the money that they put into Africa so that the people of Africa know what is being given to their Governments and can identify the corrupt resources. Does my right hon. Friend agree?