Britain will work with newly-elected Islamic govts

Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 15:12

London: British Foreign Secretary William
Hague today pledged to support governments elected in the wake
of the Arab Spring uprisings, despite "legitimate concerns"
over the rise of parties rooted in Islam.

Writing in The Times newspaper, Hague argued that the
recent success enjoyed by religious parties did not mean the
Arab Spring had turned into a "cold winter", warning that bad
governance would again force demonstrators onto the streets.

"It is true that parties drawing their inspiration from
Islam have done better at the polls than secular parties and
there are legitimate concerns about what this will mean,"
Hague wrote in today`s edition.

"We must respect these choices while upholding our own
principles of human rights and freedom and urging the highest
standards," he added. "The true test of these governments will
be how they act in office."

The former Conservative Party leader warned that
expressing favour for certain parties or philosophies in the
ongoing series of Middle East elections would "fatally
undermine faith in our intentions and our support for
democracy."

Prime Minister David Cameron avoided meeting with
officials from Egypt`s Muslim Brotherhood during a visit last
year, calling them "extreme", but Britain now seems keen to
build bridges after the party`s strong showing in recent
polls.

Hague vowed to "redouble our diplomatic and long-term
support to the region", saying that the Arab Spring was
"always going to be a long process, not an instant fix".

The minister predicted a bumpy ride ahead for the region,
pointing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s violent
crackdown on protesters.

Britain remains devoted to supporting the Arab League in
its attempts to broker an end to the Syrian violence while
maintaining economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime,
stressed Hague.

Britain was at the forefront of international efforts to
support Libya`s rebels against then leader Muammar Gaddafi,
and was one of the first countries alongside France and the US
to launch military action under a UN mandate in March. (AFP)

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 15:12

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