British foreign policy and the "Arab Spring" - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents


4  Support for democratic transitions


Progress in democratic transitions to June 2012

Tunisia

After the fall of President Ben Ali, an interim government was formed headed by Mohamed Ghannouchi,to oversee the transition. Following a slightly rocky start, in which protestors criticised Ghannouchi and other ministers' links to the old regime, new ministers were appointed and the interim authorities oversaw elections for a constitutional assembly in October 2011 that were considered free and fair by international observers. The moderate Islamist party Ennahda won the most seats (41%), with the centre-left secular Congress for the Republic Party (CPR) coming second with 14% and centre-left secular Ettakatol in third place with almost 10%. Representatives of 25 other parties won seats, with the secular centrist Progressive Democratic Party as the largest opposition party. A coalition government was formed by the three largest parties. The constitutional assembly took up its role in November 2011, with the dual task of acting as a legislative assembly and as a constitution-drafting committee, and an agreement to take no longer than 18 months to draft a constitution and hold elections to the new legislative bodies.

Egypt

Egypt has experienced a far more turbulent transitional period than that in Tunisia. Following the departure of President Mubarak the Supreme Council of the Allied Forces (SCAF) took executive control, promising to oversee a transition to democratic elections. Despite the surge in popularity of the army following its announcement that it would not fire on protestors during the revolution, concern quickly mounted about the SCAF's control of power and its lengthy timetable for the elections, The SCAF's first suggested timetable for the transition foresaw the transition lasting until late 2012 / early 2013, and prompted major protests. The arrests of protestors and trials of civilians in military courts, also caused outcry. Major street protests took place in October and November against SCAF rule, during which accounts emerged of police and security forces' abuse of protestors, including women. Following a revised timetable, parliamentary elections took place in three stages between November 2011-January 2012, resulting in a landslide win for the Muslim Brotherhood's party, which won 47%, and the conservative Islamist Salafist Party, with 24%. Liberal and secular parties won fewer seats, prompting comment that the revolution had been "taken over" by Islamist groups from the young, liberal activists who took part in the Tahrir Square protests. This was of particular concern in relation to the Parliament's decision to appoint a 100-member assembly dominated by Islamist members to write the new constitution. A court subsequently dissolved the Assembly before it had begun work.

Presidential elections, which were originally planned to complete the transition, took place in June 2012 against a background of confusion as to the rules on who could run and the nature of the new President's role. Only four weeks before the first round of voting, the electoral commission barred 10 candidates from standing, including a number of front runners. Liberal and secular candidates did not perform well in the first round, and the presidential race was narrowed down to a rather polarised choice between the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party candidate Mohamed Mursi and former Prime Minister and retired air force general Ahmed Shafik. Relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF deteriorated even further with each accusing the other of attempting to distort the progress of the revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood characterised Shafik as a counter-revolutionary member of the 'old guard', while others expressed concern that the Muslim Brotherhood would become too powerful if it held both the parliament and presidency, and could control the constitution drafting process. Four days before the Presidential election was due to take place, a court ruled that the Egyptian Parliament was to be dissolved and new elections held, prompting public outcry. In a further surprise move, on the eve of elections the SCAF announced a 'constitutional declaration', which gave the army powers over legislation and budget, removed the army from legislative oversight and gave it a veto over the decision to go to war. This has widely been interpreted as an attempt to strip the presidency of its power and remove the SCAF from parliamentary oversight. Both candidates initially claimed victory in the Presidential election, but after some delay Dr Mohamed Mursi was announced as the winner on 24 June 2011.

Libya

The Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) was established during the uprising and recognised by a number of foreign countries, including the UK, as the legitimate governing authority of Libya. In August 2011 it issued a constitutional declaration outlining a roadmap for a transition to a democratic government, including the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution and holding of free and fair electons. The NTC announced Libya's liberation on 23 October 2011 and became a caretaker government, headed by Mustafa Abdul Jalil as Prime Minister. The NTC has since struggled to impose its authority across the country. It has proved difficult to bring the militias that fought against Colonel Gaddafi under government control, and there have been sporadic battles between rival militias, as well as a refusal to hand over prisoners to a central authority. Security and stability remain major concerns, and there have been a number of attacks on government, and foreign embassies and aid organisations, some of which have been blamed upon radical Islamist groups. In addition, leaders in the eastern part of the country, including Benghazi, have suggested that it could be run as a separate federal state. Progress towards elections has also been slow, in part because Libya had fewer established institutions than Egypt and Libya, and infrastructure was damaged during the conflict in 2011. Elections to a constitutional assembly were scheduled to take place in June 2012 but have been delayed until 7 July 2012.


59.  In March 2011 the Foreign Secretary spoke about the need for a major international response to the Arab Spring, stating:

It is a historic shift of massive importance, presenting the international community as a whole with an immense opportunity. We believe that the international response to these events must be commensurately generous, bold and ambitious.[89]

In its submission, the FCO identified a number of "key principles" that have informed the UK's response to the Arab Spring; including the adoption of a "values based" approach, the recognition that "each country is different and has the right to develop its own political model", and support for the transitions in Arab Spring countries on both a bilateral and multilateral basis. We will examine each of these elements in turn below.

Legacy of UK involvement in MENA region

60.  Witnesses and written evidence voiced diverse and significant criticism of the UK's previous foreign policy approach to the MENA region. A number of submissions referred to the widespread belief that "For many decades Western governments favoured stable military dictatorships over democratically elected civilian rule", and that the UK had accepted authoritarian governments as "guarantors of 'stability' and dedicated opponents of 'Islamic fundamentalism'".[90] Dr Spencer, from Chatham House, characterised the UK's approach as being "dominated by an obsession with controlling terrorism and a secondary obsession with controlling migration."[91] Amnesty International and PLATFORM, a research organization that monitors the impacts of British oil exploration, both suggested that "commercial considerations, particularly regarding arms sales"[92] were also significant, and PLATFORM argued that the UK's foreign policy toward Gaddafi had been particularly misguided with regard to the UK's encouragement of British oil companies in Libya, on the basis that the revenues were an "important source of funding" for the Gaddafi regime, making the British companies "complicit in its abuses".[93] Perhaps most damningly, Intissar Kherigi told us that "There has been a perception that there is a gulf between the UK's values and its external practices, and this is a very widespread perception in the region."[94]

61.  Amnesty International acknowledged that the UK's foreign policy toward the region had not been "monolithic" and had varied between states, but concluded that:

the UK Government's failure to be more outspoken about human rights violations in countries which were seen as strategically important for counter-terrorism operations was an error of judgement which has been borne out in the popular uprisings of the 'Arab Spring'. A consequence is that the credibility of the UK government is now damaged in the eyes of many people who have deposed leaders previously supported by the UK Government."[95]

The UK's continued support for Bahrain despite clear evidence of human rights violations in 2011 has been cited as an example of such an error of judgement. We look at this in more detail at paragraph 179.

62.  The Henry Jackson Society acknowledged the problems of the UK's foreign policy, but noted that the application of coercive pressure to oppressive regimes is extremely difficult without sanction from the international community. The Minister told us that the UK "maintains, and has maintained, relationships with states whose values may not be ours. This has been in the United Kingdom's strategic interest." He noted that the UK's engagement had also provided opportunities to raise governance and human rights issues, adding: "So our engagement neither implies total acceptance of the system of government of another state, nor complete rejection, except in the most extreme circumstances."[96] Lord Malloch-Brown agreed, stating that: "I don't think that we should be whipping ourselves too severely for dealing with the regimes that were in place." He added:

ultimately, the balance was wrong, but my point is that, anyway, the impetus for change was always going to come from within these societies and not from our external pressure. We should self-critique ourselves, in that we could have done better, managed more balanced relationships or pressed for change, but we should not go on from that to say that, if Britain had broken earlier with Mubarak and Tunisia, the regime change would have come sooner. That overstates our influence.[97]

63.  We conclude that the UK's policy of engaging with autocratic powers in the MENA region while remaining relatively quiet in public on human rights and political reform has linked us in the eyes of many people with those deposed and discredited governments. However, even if the UK had applied more pressure to the previous autocratic governments on human rights and democratic reforms, it would have been unlikely to have brought forward the revolutions. Yet an approach that more consistently advocated the need for human rights and democratic reforms might have helped to improve the human rights situation in each of these states, as well as having a positive impact on the public perception of the UK in the region today.

A values-based approach

64.  The FCO told us that it has adopted a "values-based approach" to the Arab Spring, as set out in the Prime Minister's speech to the Kuwait National Parliament in February 2011. In this speech the Prime Minister spoke about previous UK foreign policy and the Government's new approach:

For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk. So, the argument went, countries like Britain faced a choice between our interests and our values. And to be honest, we should acknowledge that sometimes we have made such calculations in the past. But I say that is a false choice. 

As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse. Our interests lie in upholding our values—in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law. But these are not just our values, but the entitlement of people everywhere; of people in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.

The Prime Minister went on to offer "a new chapter in Britain's long partnership with our friends in this region" that embraced political and economic reform, while emphasising that the UK would respect different cultures and not dictate how each state should achieve such reform.[98] The FCO's submission supported the Prime Minister's statement, "judging that the UK's long term national interests in security and prosperity in the region are best served if we are dealing with governments with legitimacy built on the consent and participation of their people."[99]

65.  Some witnesses welcomed the Government's commitment to upholding UK values in its foreign policy, with Christian Aid agreeing that "when we consider how best to assure our long-term interests, we can do so most effectively by consistently aiming to uphold our values."[100] The Henry Jackson Society said that the Prime Minister was "absolutely right" and agreed that the belief that the UK could choose to advance either its values or its interests was a "false dichotomy."[101]

66.   Other submissions to this inquiry cautiously questioned whether it would always be possible to avoid a conflict between perceived interests and values. Robin Lamb, Director of the Libyan British Business Council (LBBC), was supportive of an approach which recognised that "our values must also be counted among our interests." However, he concludes:

it will generally be possible to uphold both our values and our material interests. But when there is a perceived potential conflict between them, the government's responsibility to its people will require a public interest test around whether giving our moral interests superior weight would cause significant damage to our material interests. The latter should prevail.[102]

PLATFORM has criticised the LBBC for this position, stating that it should be regarded "with most anxious scrutiny".[103]

67.  Dr Eugene Rogan was also sceptical that this approach was practicable in the long term, stating:

It would be ideal to try to square national interests with national values, but the real interests that Britain holds in the region have to do with energy security and markets. Those realities are not going to go away because it happens to be a revolutionary year.[104]

However, Dr Rogan suggested that by clearly advocating its values during the transition period and forming good ties with the new governments, the UK Government could gain advantages for its interests in the region in the long term.

68.  Amnesty International also anticipated that the Government would have to make choices:

The UK Government's approach to the MENA region is that such values and interests are mutually reinforcing—in our view, however, this will not always be the case and clearly has not always been the case. There are occasions when in their diplomatic and other relationships the UK Government will have to make choices.[105]

However, Amnesty concluded that in such circumstances, values "must and do come first."[106] We conclude that it is right to place democratic values at the heart of the UK's response to the Arab Spring. The Government is right to consider interests and values as connected, although we share our witnesses' doubts that they will always be in such clear alignment.

69.  Bell Pottinger commented on what it considered to be a lacklustre public response in the region to the Prime Minister's Kuwait speech, stating: "all communications attributed by the local audience to the British Government will be viewed with a significant degree of scepticism or indifference by the majority. Regional responses to the Prime Minister's keynote Kuwait speech and to most HMG-attributed comment since consistently display this scepticism."[107]

70.  Middle East Monitor (MEMO) warned that "Public declarations of support for such aspirations could backfire if they are not backed by action and achieved."[108] But Christian Aid also offered a way forward, recognising that "The UK should recognise the often limited options available for action", and considered that by seeking to act in partnership with others, the UK could "minimise the potential gaps between values-based policy raising expectations and being able to implement those values".[109]

71.  The Government must be sensitive to the scepticism with which British statements on human rights and freedom are met in the region. We recommend that the Government avoid discrediting its 'values based' approach by promising more than it can deliver.

TRADE PROMOTION AND ARMS SALES

72.  The MENA region is a primary market for British arms sales, with the region accounting for over 50% of all UK defence sales by value in the past 10 years.[110] A number of our witnesses questioned whether the UK's stated aims of a "values-based" approach and human rights promotion are compatible with its arms sales to illiberal regimes. The Henry Jackson Society called for the UK to "fundamentally reappraise its policy of selling arms to undemocratic regimes", and warned that the UK should recognise "how quickly situations can develop where those arms are used not to deter foreign aggression but to quell internal dissent."[111] Amnesty International was even stronger in its criticism, asserting that "the UK's focus on arms sales to the MENA region both now and in recent years is completely at odds with its stated aim of upholding human rights."[112]

73.  When we put these concerns to the Minister he told us that:

We do make no secret of the fact that the entitlement of people to defend themselves in a volatile region, and other places, is extremely important. This country sells arms to other people. It is legal; it is known, and it is covered by some of the most severe rules that, we think, exist anywhere in the free world.[113]

The Minister later added that "We have the tightest rules we can, to ensure that the United Kingdom does not engage in selling things to those who would use them to further regional conflicts or to oppress their own people."[114] He argued that by providing proper training, the UK can do positive good by being engaged, arguing that "where people have been poorly trained in the past you get a much higher degree of violence, risk of death and the like."[115]

74.  The issue of British arms sales became particularly controversial during the Arab Spring. The Government revoked a number of export licences to Libya and Bahrain, and allegations were made that equipment sold by the UK was used by Saudi Arabia in dealing with protests in Bahrain.[116] The Minister stated that he had seen no evidence to support this. In its latest report, the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) concluded that "whilst the Government's revocation of an unprecedented number of 158 arms export licences following the Arab Spring is welcome, the scale of the revocations is demonstrable evidence that the initial judgements to approve the applications were flawed." CAEC recommended that the Government state whether it remains satisfied that none of the extant UK arms export licences to states in the region, including Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia (among others) contravenes the Government's stated policy not to issue licences where it judges that there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression.[117]

75.  Dr Eugene Rogan commented on the anger that was directed at the USA after the Egyptian security forces used US-made gas canisters in Tahrir Square, labelling it a "disaster scenario" and stating:

That kind of perception should be avoided at all costs. There should be sympathetic engagement, and nothing made in Britain that brings harm to the people. Then when the transition comes, the markets will all still be there for the interests, but you will be doing so with friendships that are based on having respect and values.[118]

Dr Rogan also warned that, at the current time, he would urge "particular caution" with regard to the arms trade and the monarchies in the Gulf Cooperation Council. He viewed these states as highly likely to encounter protests in future, and considered that "the need not to be seen to be bolstering autocracy against demands for change at this moment will serve your long term better interests."[119] We conclude that arms sales to the MENA region have been a source of concern for a number of years. In calculating whether to award export licences, the Government should also consider the effect on the public perception of the UK in the region.

PRIME MINISTER'S TRADE DELEGATION, FEBRUARY 2011

76.  The Prime Minister's Kuwait speech was made during a three-day visit the Gulf aimed at promoting trade ties, on 20-23 February 2011. In response to the success of the revolution in Egypt, a stopover was arranged so that the Prime Minister could visit Cairo on 21 February before starting the Gulf trip. Several witnesses to our inquiry commented on the inclusion of seven defence industry representatives in the Prime Minister's delegation during the Gulf leg of the visit. Intissar Kherigi argued that this played into old stereotypes of the UK, noting that people felt:

a sense of déjà vu when David Cameron first visited the region and it emerged that the vast majority of his delegation were in fact defence companies and arms traders. I think that sent a mixed signal to the region in terms of whether the UK had really changed its thinking or whether it was just on the level of rhetoric.[120]

77.  Dr Rogan told us he would have liked to see the Prime Minister accompanied by a more sensitive delegation of "wise women and men" who could offer assistance to Egypt and Tunisia as they move from an autocracy to an open political system, rather than defence representatives in the Gulf.[121] We conclude that the goodwill that could have been generated by a Prime Ministerial visit to the region at such a critical time was somewhat squandered by the Government's misjudgement in including members of the British arms trade in the delegation to the Gulf, as indeed it has been damaged by decades of arms sales to repressive governments. Regardless of its legality, it was a mistake for the Prime Minister to be seen to be promoting the UK's arms trade on a visit to a region undergoing uprisings in which some authoritarian regimes had used force against their own people.

Accepting new partners: Islamist electoral success

78.  Although Islamist groups did not play a leading role at the start of the Arab Spring revolutions, they have since emerged as the dominating political force in the region and have won striking successes wherever elections have been held so far. Dr Rogan explained the popularity of Islamist parties, noting that while other parties have been discredited:

The people who have filled the gap, who have been eloquent in expressing opposition and who have shown the courage of their convictions by taking on the regimes for the past 20 to 30 years have all been Islamists. They are organised, and they are omnipresent in providing for social needs—welfare and education—in societies[122]

A recent paper by the Carnegie Middle East Centre noted that many of the current leaders of Islamist movements have experienced long periods of repression under the previous regimes and have personally experienced imprisonment:

For example, in Egypt, Khairat al-Shater, deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, was imprisoned for a total of more than twelve years between 1992 and 2011, while FJP vice chairman Essam el-Erian spent the equivalent of eight years in jail between 1981 and 2010. In Tunisia, the current prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, spent a total of sixteen years in jail after 1990, ten of them in solitary confinement. Ennahda Chairman Rached Ghannouchi was imprisoned in 1981 and again in 1987 for a total of four years, spending another twenty-two years in exile.[123]

79.  There is a broad spectrum of Islamist parties across the region, many of which had been banned under the previous regimes. The Ennahda party in Tunisia is often described as 'moderate'; having accepted a requirement to alternate male and female candidates on the electoral lists in Tunisia, it has governed in coalition with secular centre-left parties for the last eight months. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was founded in the 1920s and is the largest Islamic organisation in Egypt. One of its stated aims has been to create an Islamic state based on Sharia, although the Freedom and Justice Party has more recently referred to an Islamic "frame of reference" and has stated that it will not impose Islamic dress codes, for example. For some, the political success of the more conservative Salafist El Nour party in Egypt was a new and more worrying development. Salafism refers to an interpretation of Islam that seeks to restore Islamic faith and practice to the way they existed at the time of Muhammad and the early generations of his followers, and considers that the only valid system of rule for Muslims is based on Sharia law.[124] Although electorally unsuccessful in Tunisia, Salafist groups have staged a number of protests including, for example, occupying a university in protest against men and women being taught together. The success of these Islamist groups after decades of repression by authoritarian leaders has required many Western states, including the UK, to adjust their foreign policies to begin engaging with the new political leadership.

80.  Several witnesses have called for the West to exercise greater discernment in its approach to Islamist groups, noting that the term "Islamist" is unhelpfully applied to parties across the spectrum, from moderate to extreme. Intissar Kherigi explained that:

There is a disconnect between what the term means in the West and what it means in the Muslim world. In the Muslim world, it seems to mean any Muslim who enters the political arena using their faith as a frame of reference, whereas in the West it has increasingly come to mean those of a Muslim background who take up violence as an end and means of political change.[125]

Dr Claire Spencer agreed that "far too often, we have assumed that the word 'Islamism' covers everything on a spectrum from 'moderate and engaged in democracy' to 'radical'".[126] Intissar Kherigi further stated that Islamist parties have existed since the 1920s and "have increasingly embraced democratic pluralism and the concept of equal citizenship". However, she noted that different Islamist parties in the region have "very different visions, different views."

81.  Although there has been a great deal of concern expressed by commentators both within and outside these countries about the commitment of Islamist parties to democratic freedoms and human rights, there was overwhelming support among our witnesses and submissions for the UK to accept and engage with Islamist movements that operate within democratic systems. MEMO, for example, argued that Islam is part of the Middle East's identity and culture, and stated that "To try to negate reality would be self defeating. Let the people choose who they trust."[127] The FCO's policy is now clear: "We will interact with parties which are committed to the democratic process, operate within the law of their country and reject violence."[128]

ISLAMIST PARTIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS

82.  For some witnesses the success of Islamist movements is an ominous development that threatens to hijack the revolutions and take them in an anti-democratic direction. Religious minority groups and women's rights organisations have registered particular concern that their rights and access to public life may suffer if conservative Islamist groups seek to impose strict religious laws and culture upon the new state structures. Some groups have reported growing discrimination, and there have been instances of sectarian violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt.[129] Amnesty International has registered concern that women are being shut out of the political process in Egypt and Libya, and a Salafist occupation of university campuses in Tunisia, in support of the demand that women wear headscarves, has surprised and concerned observers in a state that has been known for its relatively advanced approach to women's rights.[130]

83.  Partly in response to these concerns, the UK Government revised its National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security in February 2012 to include a Middle East and North Africa component. The review registers concern that the role of women in the revolutions and improvements to women's education in the region "is not translating into political and economic opportunities for women," and sets out the Government's "emerging thinking" on the topic. A further plan will be submitted in June and a full plan developed by September 2012.[131] Amnesty International has called on the UK to ensure that there is a "clear gender component" to the Arab Partnership Initiative and to require that women are not discriminated against in the provision of development assistance and in the process of economic reform.[132] We recommend that the Government prioritise the particular concerns of women and religious minorities as it pursues closer relations with new Islamist governments.

UK bilateral support for democratic transitions

ARAB PARTNERSHIP

84.  From a small pilot project launched at the end of 2010 with four staff and a £5 million fund, the FCO's Arab Partnership initiative expanded to become a full FCO department by May 2011, alongside a joint fund with DfID totalling £110 million. The Arab Partnership Team's work is now the top priority on the MENA Directorate Business Plan to 2015.[133] The amounts of money involved in the project are extremely small relative to the size of the states and their political importance, but the FCO argued that it would provide a "targeted, high-impact UK-led bilateral programme of support for reformers in the region through the Arab Partnership Fund".[134]

85.  The FCO states that the over-arching objective of the Arab Partnership is "Politically and economically open and inclusive societies in the MENA region."[135] Arab Partnership funding is available for programmes in 19 MENA countries. The FCO has defined seven as priorities: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Syria.[136]

86.  In 2011 the FCO's Arab Partnership Participation Fund (APPF) spent £5.27m million.[137] It expects to increase these allocations to around £10m in 2012, but states that it is limited by a lack of recipient capacity; the risk of duplicating efforts (noting that the US has spent significant funds on their Economic Governance and Egyptian Government and Democracy Fund); and its desire not to "exacerbate existing tensions about international interference."[138]

87.  The FCO told us that its 2011/12 APPF programme for Egypt was the "largest and most challenging", spending £1.4m. This comprised five projects relating to political participation, two media projects linked to the parliamentary elections, and two projects on countering corruption and promoting transparency and integrity, as well as a series of smaller initiatives, including visits between the UK and Egypt, and supported British Council work. The APPF spent £1.2m in Tunisia on 12 projects on electoral assistance, public voice, countering corruption and economic reform. APPF assistance to Libya in 2011/12 was limited to a project that worked with local television broadcasters to develop 'Question Time' style programmes. The FCO is developing a full programme in Libya for 2012/13 and expects to spend around £2m.[139]

88.  DfID did not have programmes based in the MENA region prior to the Arab Spring, due to their status as middle income countries. The DfID-led Arab Partnership Economic Facility (APEF) was established in May 2012, and the first round of APEF programmes worth just over £13m was approved toward the end of the 2011/12 financial year and three further programmes worth £14.8m were approved in April/May 2012. The APEF programmes place strong emphasis on working with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to leverage funding and expertise for projects, and has so far funded projects with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the African Development Bank, the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.[140]

89.  We welcome the Arab Partnership programme as a tool to promote political and economic reform in the region and a demonstration of the UK's support for reform and commitment to the region. The FCO should provide us with an annual report on the spending and achievements of the Arab Partnership.

90.  We recommend that the UK be bold in seeking new partners for Arab Partnership funds. In its response to this report the FCO should set out the steps it is taking to improve its communication with alternative organisations that could bid for funding, and to raise public awareness of the programmes it funds in each country.

BRITISH COUNCIL AND BBC WORLD SERVICE

91.  As part of its response to the Arab Spring, the FCO told us that it had sought to deepen its relations with "strategic partners", including the British Council and World Service.[141] While not part of the UK's formal diplomatic mission, these organisations help to represent British arts and culture abroad, and are vital tools for the UK's projection of 'soft power'.

British Council

92.  The British Council is long-established in the MENA region, operating in Egypt since 1938 and in Tunisia since 1962. It re-opened its offices in Libya in 2006 following a 30 year break. Its aim is to build the UK's cultural relations with other states via the English language, education and skills, the arts, and youth leadership and networks. The British Council states that there is "endless demand" in these areas, noting that the region's population is getting bigger and younger, further increasing the already substantial demand for English.[142] Existing British Council programmes in the region include English for the Future, supporting the development of national policies for English language teaching; Skills for Employability, which helps to provide work skills directly linked to local industry and business needs; and Global Changemakers, a youth engagement programme that works with social activists and young entrepreneurs.

93.  The British Council argues that its long history of work has enabled it to build a "legacy of trust" that will be "crucial" to the UK's engagement with the region in the future, stating that "in the post-revolutionary period the British Council is still trusted and wanted".[143] With the help of Arab Partnership funds, it has expanded its programmes in Tunisia and Egypt and expects to work with government ministries responsible for education and vocational training in Tunisia and to establish a Centre for English education reform in Egypt. It has also introduced new youth engagement and arts programmes in Tunisia and Egypt, some of which engage directly with the Arab Spring.

94.  The British Council's work in Libya is more limited than in Egypt and Tunisia, both because of its shorter history in the country and the suspension of its work between February and September 2011. It was officially re-launched in December 2011 and expects to bring further UK-appointed staff to Libya in the near future. The National Transitional Council has requested that the British Council continue its work in Libya and the Council expects to resume and expand its English and vocational training programmes, as well as youth engagement and civil society support.[144]

95.  The British Council's long history of providing education and vocational training, as well as its work with youth networks, makes it ideally placed to respond to the Arab Spring revolutions that were led by young people in part as a response to a lack of employment and opportunities. We conclude that at a time when soft power and public diplomacy is more needed than ever, the British Council programmes are vital in generating goodwill and promoting Britain and British education in the region. We particularly commend the British Council's youth engagement work, including its Global Changemakers programme.

BBC World Service

96.  The BBC World Service also has a long history in the MENA region and is a leading international broadcaster in the Middle East. BBC World Service radio is available throughout the MENA region in English and Arabic, BBC Arabic TV was launched in 2008 and the English-language BBC World News television service is also available throughout the region. The World Service told us that BBC Arabic offered uninterrupted coverage during the height of the protests and reaches an audience of 22 million, while its online audience grew by 300% during protests in Egypt, adding that "the World Service's strong reputation meant that audiences turned to the BBC for accurate news and information they could trust during the upheavals." As proof of its impact, the World Service drew attention to "reports of crowds gathering around huge screens in Tahrir Square in Egypt, and other major cities in the region, showing BBC Arabic TV".[145]

97.  The BBC told us that its well-established reputation for providing a "uniquely thorough, balanced and independent perspective" gives the UK an "exceptional advantage" in the region that is admired by other states. In addition to its news and information services, BBC Arabic broadcasts a range of political, social and other content including discussions and interactive programmes such as Question Time, "which expose Arab audiences to a unique range of views on current topics and debates." The BBC World Service Trust, an international charity that trains journalists and supports local independent media outlets, is also active in the region and has a number of ongoing and new programmes to support the development of national and independent media in the region, including through a programme funded by the Arab Partnership to transform the Tunisian national television station into a public service broadcaster.[146]

98.  On 16 January 2011, the Government announced cuts to the BBC World Service as part of its implementation of the Spending Review 2010. The Arabic Service was scheduled to lose 60 jobs in 2010/11, the single largest concentration of job losses in the World Service. In our report on The Implications of cuts of the BBC World Service we concluded that the events in the Arab Spring required that the World Service reconsider its announced changes and instead commit itself to providing enhanced resources to BBC Arabic.[147] The Government did not immediately come forward with additional funding, and on 19 May 2011 we instigated a Backbench Business debate in the House on the BBC World Service, in which members of the Committee questioned whether the planned cuts to the BBC Arabic Service were in the nation's interest. In response, the Minister (Rt Hon David Lidington MP) acknowledged that "even before the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the decision to curtail Arabic broadcasting was somewhat surprising". The Minister argued that there was a need for spending cuts and "hard decisions" in both the FCO and World Service, but also referred to efforts to find "potential sources of additional money for the World Service".[148] On 22 June 2011, the Foreign Secretary announced additional funding for the World Service of £2.2m to enable the current level of investment into the BBC Arabic Service.[149]

99.  We conclude that the Arab Spring further highlighted the importance of the BBC World Service in providing a vital independent news service to the world and in enhancing the UK's reputation in the region. We welcome the Government's belated move to secure funds for the BBC Arabic Service, and hope the Government's funding will not prove to be a one-off commitment, but rather a sustained investment. However, we remain concerned that cuts made elsewhere in the World Service will prove detrimental to the UK's national interests. We stand by our previous conclusions that funding for the World Service must be protected and maintained as responsibility for funding transfers from the FCO to the BBC.

Multilateral support: a 'Marshall Plan' for the region?

100.  It has been widely recognised that the new economies of Tunisia, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Libya will need significant support and extensive reform. Economic problems such as unemployment, income inequality, rising food prices and corruption all contributed to inspiring the revolutions, which were themselves responsible for a precipitous drop in tourism income in Egypt and Tunisia and a temporary halt to oil production in Libya, further damaging the economy of each. Egypt and Libya both experienced lower GDP growth than in 2010, and Tunisia's GDP fell in 2011. Egyptian and Tunisian government reserves have declined and unemployment has also significantly worsened since 2010.[150]

101.  Witnesses agreed on the need for a "massive effort" to support the economies and put in place necessary economic reforms, with Dr Claire Spencer stating that "the worst case scenario is continued attrition in the economies".[151] Lord Malloch-Brown spoke about what he said he reluctantly termed "a kind of Marshall Plan for the region", drawing a comparison to the US programme to provide financial and economic support to its post-war allies in Europe in the 1940s.[152]

102.  The international community, including the UK, has recognised the need for substantial economic assistance to the region to be coordinated and supplied multi-laterally. The UK is involved in the large-scale EU and G8 responses to the Arab Spring countries, which are able to facilitate greater funding lines than the UK could achieve alone.

G8 DEAUVILLE PARTNERSHIP

103.  The G8 "Deauville Partnership" was announced at the G8 summit in Deauville in May 2011 to act as an umbrella for reform-related assistance in the MENA region by G8 partners. The Partnership committed to support MENA countries and encourage them to put in place economic and social reforms through a two-track process involving the states' Foreign and Finance Ministers. The partnership was targeted initially at Egypt and Tunisia but is also open to other MENA countries that are engaging in reform.

G8 Deauville Partnership

Partnership countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, and Libya

G8 countries (UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia), Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey

The International Financial Institutions include:

The African Development Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the World Bank. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is also a Partnership member.

104.  The Deauville Partners identified up to $38 billion of support available to countries in the region in a combination of loans, grants, budget support, and technical assistance.[153] However, reports in the press in October 2011 claimed that little of these promised funds had actually been disbursed in the region.[154] Lord Malloch-Brown echoed these concerns in January 2012 when he told us that "the large amounts of international public assistance promised in the early days have frankly not got there." He suggested that the most evident reason for this failure was that Western countries were struggling for funds during the economic crisis, and he highlighted the need for regional partners to be involved.[155]

105.  When asked why the promised funds had reportedly failed to materialise, the Minister denied that there was a problem in terms of the commitment to release funds and suggested that "the reason for the hold-up of the transfer of funds is purely that you have got to get the right projects in place". He said that among EU and G8 countries there was "a recognition that unless the economies of these countries are supported, the impact on the European Union will be very severe. It is not in our interests to promise and not deliver."[156]

106.  It is important that the UK and its Deauville Partners are seen to be keeping their promises to states in the MENA region. The UK should make the Deauville Partnership a priority of its G8 presidency in 2013. The Government should set out in its response to this report more information on the use of the UK's contribution to the $38 billion identified by Deauville.

International Financial Institutions

107.  Much of the funding identified by the Deauville Partnership is expected to come from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Several of our witnesses commented on the poor reputation these institutions have in the MENA region because of their associations with the former authoritarian regimes, and that IFIs are now suffering from a "massive backlash" against them.[157] Lord Malloch-Brown told us that this was particularly true in Egypt, where the fact that a former Egyptian Finance Minister now holds a senior position at the World Bank has furthered the sense that the World Bank was "completely in bed with the regime".[158] Dr Claire Spencer told us that when the outside world "applauded" Tunisia before the revolution for its liberal economic reforms, "most people in Tunisia knew that the money was not coming to them, and it was not creating sustainable employment."[159] Christine Lagarde, Director of the International Monetary Fund, acknowledged some of these criticisms in a speech in December 2011:

speaking for the IMF, while we certainly warned about the ticking time bomb of high youth unemployment in the region, we did not fully anticipate the consequences of unequal access to opportunities. Let me be frank: we were not paying enough attention to how the fruits of economic growth were being shared.[160]

108.  Another witness stated that a key problem for IFIs in the region is "a belief that the liberal recipes, if you like—the Washington consensus of opening up the economy to trade liberalisation and the private sector—led directly to the kind of corruption against which the protestors went to the streets."[161] Lord Malloch-Brown agreed that "poorly considered privatisation" by the former governments under pressure from IFIs to produce greater liberalisation had resulted in "almost a fire sale of state assets", which the people had seen as deeply unfair.[162]

109.  While Tunisia has agreed international assistance packages with the World Bank, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank, [163] Egypt was noted for having rejected World Bank and IMF funding last year. Egypt's economy is now widely recognised as the most vulnerable economy in the short term, having experienced credit-rating downgrades and capital outflows, as well as a major fall in its international reserves leading to fears of devaluation.[164] We heard several reasons for Egypt's refusal to accept funding, including its resentment of IFIs, domestic political considerations, and a reluctance to make major decisions in a transitional period. The Minister expressed "frustration on behalf of the UK and the international community at the fact that we believe well-intentioned and good measures that would assist the Egyptian economy were not picked up at an earlier stage."[165] He accepted that transparency and governance conditionality had been attached to the rejected loans, and that it is a "fine judgement" to make, but argued that this is "a pretty important principle to establish at an early instance."[166] Mr Burt pointed out that the Egyptian government has since resumed negotiations. Following the election of Dr Mohamed Mursi as president, media reports described his office as "upbeat" about the prospects for agreeing a loan with the IMF, noting that he had spoken to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde but an IMF staff visit had yet to be arranged.[167] We share the Government's frustration that Egypt did not accept international funding last year. The UK, as a key member of the international financial organisations, should engage with the new loan negotiations to ensure that they result in an offer of funds that is acceptable to Egypt.

THE EUROPEAN UNION: GOOD NEIGHBOURS?

110.  The Government has been clear in its position that changes to the European Union's approach to the MENA region were required in response to the Arab Spring. The Foreign Secretary told the House in March 2011 that the UK "would urge the European Union to change radically its thinking about the neighbourhood […] it is time for European nations to be bold and ambitious." He said that the EU must "give every incentive to countries in the region to make decisions that bring freedom and prosperity" and stated that at the upcoming meeting of the European Council, "the Prime Minister will call for Europe to set out a programme to bring down trade barriers, to establish clearer conditions for the help that it provides, and to marshal its resources to act as a magnet for positive change in the region."[168] The European Union first responded to the Arab Spring by issuing a joint communication on 8 March 2011 titled A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean. In it, the EU expressed its intention "to support wholeheartedly the wish of the people in our neighbourhood to enjoy the same freedoms that we take as our right" and highlighted its own "proud tradition" of supporting countries in transition from autocratic regimes to democracies in southern and in central and eastern Europe. The Communication outlined a new "incentive-based approach based on more differentiation ('more for more')" for its partners in the region, promising that "those that go further and faster with reforms will be able to count on greater support from the EU."[169]

NEW PARTNERSHIP

111.  In May 2011 the European Commission produced the results of its year-long review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the instrument by which it conducts relations with states to its east and south, including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The review extended what the FCO described as "an ambitious offer to the EU's reforming neighbours: a new partnership with the EU based on greater economic integration, trade and increased funding for the Southern neighbourhood."[170] As part of this offer, the EU allocated an extra €1.24 billion in funding for the region, on top of €11.5 billion already allocated for the period 2007-13. It also announced that the European Investment Bank had been authorised to increase its lending by €1 billion for Mediterranean countries undertaking political reform, as well as the creation of several funding tools, including a European Endowment for Democracy, a Civil Society Facility, and a €26 million 'umbrella' programme named SPRING to supplement reform efforts in existing country programmes in the region.[171]

112.  The Government told us that it was "broadly happy" with the EU's review and that the UK, "with like-minded partners such as the Germans, had argued strongly for the EU to make a bold and ambitious offer to the southern neighbours".[172] Lord Malloch-Brown was more critical, suggesting that instead of the major new initiative that is required, "we have seen each institution try and re-jig its old programme for new leaders".[173]

113.  The European Council for Foreign Relations has called for a "bolder EU approach", suggesting that the EU has "struggled to achieve influence" in Egypt and that the EU "could and now should do more" to respond to the revolutions.[174] Lord Malloch-Brown agreed, describing the EU's response to the Arab Spring as "disappointing", and stating that it had been "quite unable to assert itself as a real strategic partner of economic and political change in the way it did in central and Eastern Europe." He added:

This is meant to be all the things that Europe claims it is supposed to be good at. Its own neighbourhood, and soft power, not military power projection, is what is needed, but it is missing in action.[175]

PROGRESS SO FAR

114.  A further joint communication entitled Delivering on a New European Neighbourhood Policy was issued in May 2012 and provides details of the ENP's progress. The Commission highlighted some key innovations, including the appointment of an EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region and the extension of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development's mandate. It described progress as "rapid but uneven". Tunisia appears to have benefited from the 'more for more' approach, as the EU's financial assistance has doubled from €80 million in 2010 to €160 million in 2011, to reflect the "decisive steps" made in its democratic transition. The Commission has reported "substantial progress" in its partnership dialogue with Tunisia to negotiate a 'mobility partnership', which would ease migration, visa and asylum issues between Tunisia and the EU, and the Council has also agreed for the Commission to open negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) which would allow Tunisia greater integration with the EU single market. The Commission has also re-launched discussions on the EU-Tunisia Agriculture Agreement.

115.  The Commission's review of Egypt was less positive, stating that ongoing political uncertainty and reluctance among the interim authority to engage on long term objectives had meant that "few advances were made". Unlike in Tunisia, Egypt's interim authorities were "not ready to engage" with preliminary negotiations with the EU for a DCFTA, and they had declined the EU's offer to start a dialogue with the aim of concluding a mobility partnership.

116.  Although a member of the EU's southern neighbourhood, Libya does not have a partnership agreement with the EU. The Commission's review of the ENP states that it is "supporting the transition progress" in Libya and is "ready to engage in negotiations with the new Libyan Administration for a contractual agreement and, in that context, discuss Libya's participation in the ENP based on shared commitment to the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights."[176]

117.  We conclude that the EU's response to the Arab Spring has been somewhat mixed. We welcome the EU's stated commitment to a new approach, but there have so far been limited results. We recognise the difficulties in engaging with countries that are undergoing transitions but are disappointed that the EU has yet to engage with Egypt during a critical period for that country.

118.  We further conclude that the number of separate EU funding programmes contributes to a lack of transparency about where and how money is spent. We regret that this inhibits proper parliamentary scrutiny in this area.

CONDITIONALITY

119.  The FCO told us that it had argued strongly for "clearer conditionality" to be attached to EU aid to the MENA region in the wake of the Arab Spring.[177] At a press conference in Qatar in February 2011, the Prime Minister stated:

I've been very clear—including at the last European Union Council—that Europe has given a huge amount of aid to these countries, and while it has signed so-called association agreements it hasn't really insisted on proper conditions for this money, and we've seen far too much money disappear down a great big black hole in some of these countries, not actually helping them to develop their democracy, to develop their systems. And I think we should insist on much greater conditionality in the future.[178]

120.  Witnesses to our inquiry shared the Prime Minister's assessment that in the past the EU had failed to insist on reforms in exchange for its aid. Intissar Kherigi described the EU's relationship with Tunisia as "all carrots and no sticks" and told us that:

at the height of the crackdown on political opposition in the 1990s, when Ben Ali put 30,000 members of opposition parties in prison, the EU entered an association agreement with him. At the height of corruption in the decade leading up to the uprising, when corruption was reaching its worst levels, the EU was in advanced negotiations for advanced status.[179]

121.  Lord Malloch-Brown indicated that the situation was similar in Egypt, describing the EU-Mediterranean strategy, "which celebrated Mubarak and others long after that stuff should have been handled much more austerely," as "particularly egregious".[180]

122.  The FCO told us that it had "lobbied hard" in the EU to ensure that the Tunisian proposal for 'Advanced Status' with the EU "was linked to specific and measurable steps on human rights to deliver real reform in Tunisia."[181] However, Intissar Kherigi commented that Tunisians believe that while others are not responsible for human rights abuses under President Ben Ali, "there has been complicity in the sense that the UK and EU have not done enough to condemn them and have actually facilitated them by giving millions of pounds and Euros of funding."[182]

123.  The Government claimed that, partly as a result of UK lobbying, strengthened conditionality is now a key feature of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Government has hailed this as a success. However, some observers have noted that the imposition of stronger conditionality rules on new governments struggling to transition to a more democratic situation could be seen as double standards. Dr Claire Spencer described the reaction of Tunisian and Egyptian youths to being assured that conditionality would now apply, who reportedly responded: "Where were you in December 2010? Why should we believe you? We don't want your conditionality. We want you to listen to us".[183] Similarly, Intissar Kherigi commented that:

conditionality of aid is something that civil society activists have long campaigned for. It is something that, unfortunately, was not seen under the previous EU policy. […] now that Tunisia has elected a democratic representative body and will have a democratic government, for the EU to come in and say, "Now we will place conditions on our engagement with you," might send the wrong signals. So it depends on how the message is delivered.[184]

124.  The Minister defended the Government's policy, stating that it shows that "lessons have been learned." The Henry Jackson Society agreed with the application of greater conditionality, believing that "the UK should not be in the business of providing unconditional aid to undemocratic or oppressive regimes".[185]

125.  We conclude that for many years the UK did not do enough to prevent, or apply conditions to, the EU's provision of support to authoritarian governments in Egypt and Tunisia before the revolutions and that this has consequences for attempts to do so now. It is right that there be a relationship between aid and improvements in human rights, but this should be done sensitively and in a phased manner, with conditionality increasing gradually rather than being imposed immediately on struggling and fragile democracies.



89   Foreign Secretary speech to the Times CEO Summit Africa, 22 March 2011, via the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk) Back

90   Ev 174 [Middle East Monitor], Ev 166 [Amnesty International], Ev 142 [Professor Caroline Rooney] Back

91   Q 56 Back

92   Ev 166 and Ev 180 Back

93   Ev 181 Back

94   Q 17 Back

95   Ev 166 Back

96   Q 147 Back

97   Q 107 and Q 109 Back

98   Prime Minister speech to the National Assembly in Kuwait, 22 February 2011, via Number 10 website (www.numberten.gov.uk) Back

99   Ev 62 Back

100   Ev 149 Back

101   Ev 190 and Ev 197 Back

102   Ev 106. See also Ev 123-124 [supplementary evidence from Robin Lamb]. Back

103   Ev 182 Back

104   Q 29 Back

105   Ev 170 Back

106   IbidBack

107   Ev 208 Back

108   Ev 174 Back

109   Ev 150 Back

110   Ev 63 Back

111   Ev 198 Back

112   Ev 167 Back

113   Q 147 Back

114   Q 149 Back

115   Q 151 Back

116   See, for example, evidence given to this Committee by Amnesty International as part of its Human Rights report. Foreign Affairs Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2010-12,The FCO's Human Rights Work 2010-11, HC 964, Ev 9-10 Back

117   Committees on Arms Export Controls, First Joint Report of Session 2012-13, Scrutiny of Arms Exports (2012): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2010, Quarterly Reports for July to December 2010 and January to September 2011, the Government's Review of arms exports to the Middle East and North Africa, and wider arms control issues, HC 419, p.6-7  Back

118   Q 29 Back

119   Q 30 Back

120   Q 13 Back

121   Q 31 Back

122   Q 27 Back

123   Marina Ottaway and Marwan Muasher, "Islamist Parties in Power: A Work in Progress", Carnegie Middle East Center, 23 May 2012, www.carnegie-mec.org Back

124   Jonathan Brown, "Salafis and Sufis in Egypt", The Carnegie Endowment, December 2011, www.carnegieendowment.org Back

125   Q 12 Back

126   Q 51. See also Ev 202 [Royal African Society and Libya-analysis.com]. Back

127   Ev 175 Back

128   Ev 62 Back

129   See Ev 176-179 [Barnabas Fund], which notes that the Foreign Secretary, warned that "the unleashing of sectarian divisions" was one of the biggest risks of the Arab Spring. Back

130   See Ev 165-170 and Ev 213 [Amnesty International], Ev 177-9 [Barnabas Fund] and Ev 183-185 [Human Rights Watch] Back

131   Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Government National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security, November 2010 to November 2013, February 2012 Revision  Back

132   Ev 165 Back

133   Ev 66 Back

134   Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "The Arab Partnership Strategy", FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk)  Back

135   IbidBack

136   The fund is also open to programmes in Mauritania, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen and Iran. Back

137   Ev 127 Back

138   Ev 72. For projected spending, see Ev 127-134, and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "The Arab Partnership Strategy", FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk). Back

139   Ev 133 Back

140   Ev 134-141 Back

141   Ev 66 Back

142   Ev 151 Back

143   Ev 150 and Ev 153 Back

144   Ev 186-189 Back

145   Ev 186 and Ev 223 Back

146   Ev 75-82 Back

147   Foreign Affairs Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2010-12, The Implications of cuts of the BBC World Service, HC 849, paras 49-50 Back

148   HC Deb, 19 May 2011, Col 550-556 Back

149   HC Deb, 22 June 2011, Col 15WS Back

150   International Monetary Fund, "Middle East and North Africa: Historic Transitions under Strain", 20 April 2012, via IMF website (www.imf.org) Back

151   Q 113 [Lord Malloch-Brown] and Q 58 [Dr Claire Spencer] Back

152   Q 113 Back

153   HC Deb, 17 October 2011, col 618W Back

154   "The economics of the Arab spring", Financial Times, 9 October 2011, via website (www.ft.com)  Back

155   Q 113. See also: Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, to the EBRD 21st Annual Board of Governors meeting, 18 May 2012, via the Treasury website (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk). Back

156   Q 158 Back

157   Q 113 and Ev 148 [Christian Aid] Back

158   Q 113 Back

159   Q 42 Back

160   Speech by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, "The Arab Spring, One Year On", 6 December 2011, via IMF website (www.imf.org) Back

161   Q 158 Back

162   Q 103 Back

163   Ev 71 Back

164   International Monetary Fund, "Middle East and North Africa: Historic Transitions under Strain", 20 April 2012, via IMF website (www.imf.org) Back

165   Q 177 Back

166   Q 179 Back

167   "Egypt upbeat on IMF loan agreement", Financial Times, 1 July 2012, via FT website (www.ft.com) Back

168   HC Deb, 7 March 2011, Col 644  Back

169   European Commission, Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Affairs Committee and the Committee of the Regions, A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, 8 March 2011 Back

170   Ev 75 Back

171   "Statement by President Barroso: a concrete response to the Arab Spring and the aspirations of our Eastern Partners", European Commission, 25 March 2011  Back

172   Ev 75 Back

173   Q 113 Back

174   Anthony Dworkin, Daniel Korski and Nick Witney, Egypt's Hybrid Revolution: A bolder EU approach, European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2011 Back

175   Q 114 Back

176   European Commission, Joint Communication, Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy, 15 May 2012 Back

177   Ev 75 Back

178   Transcript of press conference with the Prime Minister of Qatar, 23 February 2011, via No 10 website (www.numberten.gov.uk)  Back

179   Q 15 Back

180   Q 109 Back

181   Ev 66 Back

182   Q 17 Back

183   Q 61 Back

184   Q 15 Back

185   Ev 190 Back


 
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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 19 July 2012