David Miliband

Foreign Secretary

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Saturday 02 August, 2008

The road to Gatwick

We are on the way to Gatwick - shutting down for the holidays (traffic jams and take off times permitting).

The decision of the Turkish constitutional court this week not to suspend the Turkish governing party, and its leading figures, is a big cause for relief.  The banning  of the AKP would have been completely contrary to the European ideals that the Turkish government want to embrace, and it would have been a huge distraction.  Now there is a massive opportunity for Turkey and for Europe.  Turkey needs to take forward its own reform programme internally and make progress externally - on relations with the Kurds in northern Iraq and in supporting a bi-zonal, bi-communal settlement of the Cyprus dispute.  Europe needs to embrace the opportunity to work through the accession issues for European membership.  At least this is not now going to get me back from holiday.

Blog resumes in three weeks or so.  Hopefully browner and fresher.

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Have a good holiday David. It'll be interesting to see what you do when you come back...

Posted by Louise on August 02, 2008 at 09:07 PM BST #

Enjoy David, I'm sure it is truly deserved. Best wishes and a safe journey to you and your family. Paul

Posted by Paul on August 02, 2008 at 10:26 PM BST #

Why - o - why did the British Government well UK trade & invest decide to remove their services in Macedonia. This potentially new EU partner is ripe for UK investment opportunities, yet in a very unLabourlike way these services seem to have been left in the hands of a profit making organisation.. Macedonia has very high unemployment, a highly educated workforce and good trade routes to the UK. ie, Cheap and good. Given that the UK apparently supports the integration of Macedonia into the EU and NATO we seem to actually do very little to back up our words. Surely there is budget in the FCO for a single Executive Officer and an Administrative Assisstant to act as liaison for British and Macedonian companies to co-operate, or will we simply leave the potential profits to our European partners and miss a glorious opportunity. Your thoughts while on holiday would be greatly received. mark

Posted by Mark Farren on August 03, 2008 at 12:54 AM BST #

Have a fabulous holiday. You deserve it. You've worked really hard this year and your efforts are appreciated.

Posted by Jane, Miranda and Eva on August 03, 2008 at 09:01 PM BST #

I hope that Turkey will never be a member of the EU because: 1. Then the EU would suddenly have a common border with highly volatile nations like Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Turkey has a quarrel with Armenia, and closed their common border years ago. The length of our SE border would increase from the some 300 km now between Greece/Bulgaria and Turkey, to some 2000 km, and our problems along that border would increase more than proportionately. 2. Turkey is not European by culture, as the nations to its north are, from Ireland, Iceland and Portugal in the west, to Vladivostok in the east, even Moslem Albania. I spent a year working in Turkey, I have good friends there, they can be wonderful people -- but they are not Europeans by culture. 3. Turkey is still in denial about its role in the genocide of the Armenians during 1915-23. 4. Turkey invaded an EU member, Cyprus, and is still occupying its northern part. Politicians and media people support Turkey's eventual entry into the EU, but the common people do not. Best wishes, Mikael Grut

Posted by Mikael Grut on August 04, 2008 at 05:58 PM BST #

It is ironic that you should call for new policies to restore the Labour Party`s fortunes! The best thing to do would be to change our foreign policy. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan now. Break with Blair`s illegal war. Restore Britain`s reputation for fair play and moral authority. Don`t hang on to USA`s attempt to dominate the world by their economic and military might. Save billions for our ailing economy. Restore our pride in our country.

Posted by victor parry on August 05, 2008 at 01:03 PM BST #

Can't wait for you to get back. Missing you already.

Posted by Guido Fawkes on August 05, 2008 at 08:48 PM BST #

I have a friend in Baghdad, he returned there two years ago after living in England for six years. I am getting first hand knowledge from him how difficult life is. Only yesterday he told me it was now over one week since he had any water in the house, and the same with electricity. Things are really bad, but we hear nothing of this on the news reports. Instead of him now having to jump through hoops to escape this situation, your department should be bending over backwards to help him. Enjoyed your holiday?

Posted by Hilda Simpson on August 06, 2008 at 01:46 PM BST #

Interesting use of 'browner' as Jonathan Isaby points out. You could have simply said 'tanned', couldn't you?

Posted by Coming up for Air... on August 06, 2008 at 05:27 PM BST #

enjoy your break!

Posted by peter on August 06, 2008 at 06:55 PM BST #

I am concerned that we are focussing on the middle east and Afghanistan as our immediate concern. I believe Russia should very much be the focus, and that Iraq and Afghanistan should be treated as distractions. I believe Russia is regressing back towards it's imperialist past and actions such as the Russian Navy claiming the seabed off of Iceland because of oil interest, I believe, evidence Russia's more forcefull stance. I have just finnished reading about Russia's dealings with Moldavia and the Romanian's which has lead me to believe Russia is by nature a bully and should very much be treated as one. Appeasement of bulleys should be avoided Neville Chamberlaine. America's economic expansionism provoking Russia should also be kept at arms length.

Posted by Rob Courtney on August 11, 2008 at 10:26 PM BST #

Miliband wants his blog to return "Browner". Oh the irony....

Posted by jenni on August 12, 2008 at 10:27 AM BST #

Hi David, re your R4 comments on the Georgian crisis today, 13/08/'08. Why are you joining the queue to condemn the excessive use of force by Russia without any condemnation of the initial massive bombardment on South Ossetia by Georgia? After what they have done to Chechnya and their use of assassination against overseas opponents I have no regard for the government of Russia, but the lunatic actions of the Sakashvili government deserve condemnation and disassociation by all democratic governments. They bit off more than they could chew and thousands of ordinary people are paying the price. Sakashvili must go, and quickly, so that a new rapprochement between Georgia and Russia can be established. All that you and other European ministers are doing with these comments is feeding Russian paranoia, and the futile belief of Georgians that NATO will support them militarily. This is irresponsible cos while they believe this they will not engage in the reality of their situation. By the way Russian use of excessive military force is not '19th Century' as you claimed....a better comparison is to events of March 2003. Which is why I believe we will eventually see the behind the scenes cheerleading of Dick Cheney revealed to have been a factor in last weeks tragic events in Georgia. Someone must have led the Georgians to believe that they could take on the Russians with impunity. Nice company you keep, Dave.

Posted by Tom O'Brien on August 13, 2008 at 11:49 PM BST #

I noticed your recent comment regarding Russia to Reuters: The most telling thing being to state that Russia had broken "...the rules of the international game. " Maybe a game to you mate but not to the hundreds that died and the thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two "wars" started on less pretext than Russia's "invasion" of Georgia. I hope you will also be calling an emergency NATO summit regarding your and the Democrats behaviour there condemning it? And while we are on the subject, what about the mass genocide happening in Darfur that you and "New" Labour ignore because there is no oil or geopolitical/military advantage in the territory? http://uk. reuters. com/article/worldNews/idUKLAL00200120080819 LONDON Reuters - Foreign Secretary David Miliband said NATO allies agreed at their emergency meeting on Tuesday that Russia had violated international law with its military incursion into neighbouring Georgia. Speaking after the meeting in Brussels, Miliband told Sky television: "There was no division today. The NATO membership was clear that Russia had violated international law as well as the rules of the international game. " Months of tension between Georgia and Russia erupted on August 7, when Tbilisi sought to regain control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia, which backs separatists there, launched a massive counter-offensive that extended well into Georgia. Miliband said Russia must understand the consequences of its actions. "Russia has failed to live up to its commitments, and that has serious consequences for the trust that is placed in Russia as an international partner," he said.

Posted by me on August 19, 2008 at 04:11 PM BST #

Hi David You back yet? Hope you had a great holiday. I'm trying to persuade my colleagues at the International Boundaries Research Unit of the merits of keeping a blog on their travels. Best wishes Astrid

Posted by Astrid Alvarez on August 27, 2008 at 05:10 PM BST #

As THE ECONOMIST recently corrected noted, Russia remains surprisingly sensitive to its international image despite its show of militarism and renewed isolationism. Given this, it's hard to take seriously the claim that Moscow is indifferent to the prospect of a new Cold War. It's necessary now to lead a global effort to curtail Moscow's access to international organizations that are desirable to it, at the same time making it clear that it is both the West's sincere desire, and in Russia's practical interest, for a new Cold War to be averted. - Nicholas J. Slabbert

Posted by N.J.Slabbert on August 28, 2008 at 08:13 PM BST #

It is encouraging that Her Majesty's Foreign Minister deals with blogs. As to Turkey and her role in the region, on September 6th Turkish president Mr.Gul will attend football match in Yerevan, Armenia. As a part of the Caucasus Stability platform initiative, this step will enforce regional cooperation ties and try to solve the frozen conflicts. Hope Britain will adopt a friendly attitude to these initiatives and will make an official statement in this regard.

Posted by Hovhannes Nikoghosyan on August 31, 2008 at 12:51 AM BST #

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