UK vows to extend hand to neglected allies
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 01, 2010, 18:02
London: British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised on Thursday to woo neglected allies and win new trading partners in an overhaul of the country's "patchy" foreign policy.

In a first major speech since the country's Conservative-led coalition government took office in May, Hague promised to reach out to nations who claim to have been overlooked while the previous governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown cozied up to Washington.

Countries including Saudi Arabia and India have complained they were often ignored by the Labour government, and claimed Britain only came calling in times of global crisis.

"In recent years Britain's approach to building relationships with new and emerging powers has been ad-hoc and patchy, giving rise to the frequent complaint," Hague says in excerpts of his speech released in advance.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government has vowed to build a so-called "new special relationship" with India, suggesting the British administration sees future trading opportunities with emerging markets as likely to be as important as ties to the White House.

Britain plans to send government ministers and leading business executives on new trade delegations across the world, Treasury chief George Osborne has confirmed.

Hague planned to say his ministry's new emphasis will be to help boost exports to spur Britain's economic recovery after emerging from a deep recession, secure London's role on the world stage and bolster national security.

"The previous government had neglected to lift its eyes to the wider strategic needs of this country ... what we must do as a nation if we are to secure our international influence and earn our living in a world that is rapidly changing," Hague's text said.


First Published: Thursday, July 01, 2010, 18:02

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