Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
1. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has
prepared this initial Memorandum for the Foreign Affairs Committee
enquiry into Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism,
covering the areas of particular interest to the Committee.
II. FCO'S ROLE
2. Since 11 September the Foreign Office
and its posts have been actively engaged in the Government's intensive
efforts to promote international cooperation to create and sustain
the coalition against terrorism. The immediate aim remains to
close down the Al Qaida network and bring UBL and his associates
to justice. We continue to take action against the Taleban regime
because they have sided with Al Qaida. Politically, we and others
are agreed on the need for a broad-based interim administration
in post-Taleban Afghanistan, reflecting the diversity of the country.
The international community is united in its readiness to provide
humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and reconstruction. A
robust coalition has been built around these aims. The UK has
been at the forefront in promoting them, in close alliance with
3. Condemnation by governments of the 11
September attacks has been virtually universal, as have been statements
of support for the fight against terrorism. Some examples: at
the UN, where Resolution 1368 made clear that those indirectly
as well as directly responsible must be held to account and where
Resolution 1373 imposed obligations on all states to suppress
terrorist financing and deny terrorists safe havens in which to
operate; at NATO, with the invocation of Article 5; in the EU,
where many practical and legal measures are being taken to strengthen
cooperation against terrorism; in the Organisation of American
States, with the invocation of the Rio Treaty on Mutual Assistance;
and in statements by the Commonwealth, the G8, the Organisation
of the Islamic Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council, CARICOM,
the Organisation of African Unity and the Association of South
East Asian Nations. The UK played an active role in promoting
the UN resolutions, the NATO decision, the EU programmes of action
and the Commonwealth and G8 statements.
4. Military offers have been made by a wide
range of countries. All the NATO allies have pledged support.
At NATO we have pushed forward the deployment of joint NATO assets
such as the Standing Force in the Mediterranean and the NATO AWACS.
Japan has taken a big step in allowing its Self Defence Force
to fill a non-combat role. Russia has agreed overflights and offered
Combat Search and Rescue support. Other countries which have made
military offers include India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
and Turkey. Many countries have approved overflights. We have
been active in encouraging a positive US response to the offer
by allies, especially our European partners.
5. The future government of Afghanistan
should contain representatives of all ethnic groups, and should
respect the human rights of all the Afghan people, cooperate fully
in international efforts to combat terrorism and illicit drug
trafficking, and facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian
assistance. The UN should play a central role in supporting the
efforts of the Afghan people to establish an interim administration
urgently. These principles are encapsulated in UNSCR 1378 (based
on a UK/French draft), which also encourages Member States to
support efforts to ensure the safety and security of areas of
Afghanistan no longer under Taleban control. The Foreign Secretary,
senior official emissaries (Paul Bergne and Robert Cooper) and
posts have consistently promoted these key messages in their contacts
with relevant governments.
6. This crisis has shaken the political
kaleidoscope and opened up new opportunities, which we are seeking
to seize. Russia is not only working closely with the West against
terrorism but also wants to come closer to Western organisations
such as NATO and the EU. At the Prime Minister's direction, the
FCO has developed ideas on how to promote this. China has not
pressed its traditional position on non-interference in internal
affairs and is working constructively with the other Permanent
Members of the Security Council. Its objectives for post-Taleban
Afghanistan are close to ours. Pakistan's decision to support
the coalition was immensely important and has greatly changed
its relations with the West. The UK is in constant touch with
the Pakistani government at all levels from the Prime Minister
downwards, and is providing significant humanitarian and other
assistance. Our post in Islamabad is a key asset for contacts
with Afghan parties and humanitarian agencies, as well as the
government of Pakistan. Iran has closed its borders to stop terrorists
escaping, though agreeing to allow humanitarian assistance through.
The UK is maintaining an active dialogue with Iran, initiated
by a visit by the Foreign Secretary.
7. We have taken a leading role in the international
effort to strengthen counter-terrorism measures worldwide. The
European Council has agreed to the introduction of a European
Arrest Warrant and the adoption of the common definition of terrorism.
We have also taken a leading role in the work on this in both
the General Affairs Council and the Justice and Home Affairs Council.
The UN has been the primary forum for building and consolidating
global support. The UK Permanent Representative in New York, Sir
Jeremy Greenstock, chairs the Counter Terrorist Committee set
up under UNSCR 1373. This is now working intensively to ensure
that governments live up to their obligations to suppress terrorist
financing and deny terrorists a safe haven from which to operate.
Also in the UN, there has been intensive work on a draft Comprehensive
Terrorism Convention, though consensus has yet to be reached.
8. We have been particularly active in the
G7 and G8, which in various formats are seeking:
to extend previously agreed recommendations
to combat money laundering to cover terrorist financing;
to cooperate on financial sanctions,
on aviation security, on arms trafficking, on drugs/terrorism
links, on aviation security, on non-aviation security ; and
to promote cooperation between CT,
law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
9. The Financial Action Task Force, meeting
in Washington on 29-30 October, broadened its previous mandate
to deal with the proceeds of crime so that it now includes terrorist
finance. We are heavily engaged in work now in hand on new regulatory
standards to combat the financing of terrorism.
III. THE FCO'S
10. The FCO works in support of DFID in
this area. From the outset we have stressed the importance of
doing everything possible to get humanitarian assistance through
to the people of Afghanistan. That is obviously important both
in its own right and to show the Afghan people and other countries
in the region that our quarrel is with the Taleban and their support
for terrorism and not with the ordinary people of the country.
Significant amounts of assistance are now getting into Afghanistan:
over the seven day period from 4-11 November the World Food Programme
(WFP) was able to despatch on average 2300 metric tonnes per day
into the country, and weekly quantities despatched now average
over five times pre-bombing levels. WFP have, however, now increased
their daily target from l700mt to 3000mt to ensure that supplies
are adequate and stockpiles maintained. We have made clear that
we will not turn our backs on Afghanistan after the present action.
We will help with reconstruction over the long term.
11. The UK seeks to support the UN lead
on recovery issues, implementing initiatives already established
to strengthen the UN response to the conflict. DFID have set aside
£lm to support the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative
for Afghanistan, Lakdhar Brahimi, and the Integrated Mission Task
Force (IMTF), which will enable the IMTF to consult the Afghan
diaspora. DFID also intend to support a proposal from the International
Organisation for Migration to identify qualified Afghans in the
diaspora to join the reconstruction effort. Policy is evolving
fast. We are in touch with the World Bank, EU and other key players,
endeavouring to maintain coherent support behind the UN.
12. A paper by the Department for International
Development (DFID) on an emergency plan for the first 100 days
of recovery in Afghanistan is attached at Annex A.
IV. FCO'S ROLE
13. If the political coalition is to remain
broad and be sustained, we need to make every effort to reinvigorate
the Middle East Peace Process, as the Prime Minister has made
clear. Dissatisfaction with stalemate in the Peace Process is
one of the factors which have, over time, created a climate in
which desperation and extremism have flourished. We have long
been engaged in efforts to resolve the crisis in the Occupied
Territories and build a secure future for the region. The events
of 11 September have underlined the need to make tangible progress
soon. Tackling the Middle East conflict is necessary on its own
merits, but would also help dry up a major source of terrorist
recruitment and maintain the consensus for action against international
14. All parties agree that full implementation
of the Mitchell and Tenet recommendations offers the best way
forward. The immediate steps needed to reduce tension and create
the confidence which will allow for sustained progress are clear:
Israel must withdraw from the Area A (ie Palestinian-controlled)
land which the IDF is currently re-occupying, and the Palestinian
Authority must take concrete and specific steps to arrest and
detain cease-fire violators.
15. In the longer-term our goal is a solution
which embodies the two principles of Israeli security and a viable
Palestinian state: a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement
based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,
the principle of 'land for peace', security for Israel within
recognised borders, and an end to occupation. We have continued
to urge the parties to work towards these goals. We have underlined
the importance of the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and the need
for an agreement based on the Security Council Resolutions, and
have reminded other Arab countries of the contribution they can
make by strongly and publicly confirming their commitment to Israel's
security within recognised borders.
16. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary
have been fully engaged in sustained efforts to reinvigorate the
search for peace. The Prime Minister visited Egypt on 11 October
and travelled to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian
Authority between 30 October and 1 November. The Foreign Secretary
and Ben Bradshaw, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, have
also visited the region. We have concerted closely with the US,
whose leverage with the parties is essential to the success of
international efforts. We have co-ordinated our activity closely
with our EU partners, supporting the efforts of the EU High Representative
Javier Solana and EU Special Representative Miguel Moratinos.
The General Affairs Council has called on the parties to resume
negotiations without preconditions. The Foreign Secretary and
his EU Ministerial colleagues have co-ordinated their visits in
an effort to maintain a constant presence in the region, encouraging
and pressing both parties to lift their view beyond the current
violence and focus on the need for political negotiations to create
a future free from bloodshed.
17. Our efforts will be maintained. Making
progress will not be easy but remains very necessary. We have
worked to ensure leaders and public opinion in the Islamic world
understand that we are determined to address the obstacles to
sustained progress on the MEPP.
18. We have also focussed on the need to
reduce the levels of tension between India and Pakistan. Since
11 September, the Prime Minister has seen President Musharraf
and Prime Minister Vajpayee twice, and the Foreign Secretary has
spoken to his Indian and Pakistani counterparts on several occasions.
Pakistan has begun to clamp down on Pakistan-based terrorist organisations
operating in Kashmir, and President Musharraf unequivocally condemned
the 1 October attack in Srinagar. The Indian government has acted
with restraint, and has not conducted any military action across
the Line of Control.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
19th November 2001
1 See Evidence, pp Ev 3-Ev 7. Back