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David Miliband

(Archived), London

Signing Off

Posted 06 April 2010 by David Miliband  | 
The British General Election is being called today. While it is going on I cannot post blogs for the Foreign Office website.  So for now, thank you for all your comments.  I hope we'll continue the conversation soon!

David Miliband
06 April 2010
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Governance in Afghanistan

Posted 01 April 2010 by David Miliband  | 
Following on from the decree launching the High Office of Oversight , the Afghan government announced last week the approval of a new sub-national governance policy.

This is another significant achievement against the London Conference commitments. As I have mentioned in the past, the experience of government for most Afghans takes place predominantly at the village level. Getting governance right locally is crucial to showing the Afghan people that their government can deliver the services they need.

This has been a major weakness – as I highlighted in my recent MIT speech  But this announcement is an important step forward, which shows real commitment and leadership from the Afghan government. The new policy defines the responsibilities and authority of local administrations, strengthens local governance structures and will improve the delivery of services. The test now is to ensure that this is followed through– with the full support of the international community.

David Miliband
01 April 2010
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Beyond Copenhagen

Posted 01 April 2010 by David Miliband  | 
Yesterday, Ed Miliband and DECC launched “Beyond Copenhagen: The UK Government’s International Climate Change Action Plan”. It explains how the UK is pushing to build on December's Copenhagen Accord, and move towards securing a global deal.

At the launch was President Jagdeo of Guyana - in London for  yesterday's meeting of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance , co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia.  President Jagdeo spoke about the UK's continued leadership in the fight to combat global climate change and secure a legally binding deal.  Our advocacy of such action makes a difference – and we will continue to work with partners in the international community,  like President Jagdeo. to achieve the outcome we all want: the avoidance of dangerous climate change, and all the risks and threats that come with it.  

David Miliband
01 April 2010
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Somalia: Tide Turning Against Extremism?

Posted 31 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  1 comments
In Somalia there are signs that opinion is building against the extremist group Al-Shabaab, who threaten attempts to restore stability. A recent conference of major Islamic scholars in Dubai, including the Egyptian televangelist Amr Khaled and the Saudi-based Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, issued a declaration condemning Al Shabaab's interpretation of Islam. The declaration  denies that fighting the transitional government in Somalia can be justified as a legitimate jihad, examines the constructive role Islam can play in resolving the country’s 20-year long civil war, and calls for all Somalis to support President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.  

Separately, citizens in Mogadishu – fed up with Al Shabaab’s brutality and cultural intolerance - marched on Monday to protest against the desecration of the graves of revered Sufi saints.

I don't underestimate the difficulties or the complexities, but the growth of opposition to extremism in Somalia is encouraging.  Al Shabaab’s interpretation of Islam is alien to Somalis who traditionally practise a moderate Sufi-led form of the religion.  This intervention from internationally renowned Islamic scholars supports isolation of the extremists, who work to their own agenda, and against the interests and traditions of Somalia and its people.

David Miliband
31 March 2010
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>> Respected Sir, awareness in Somalians, against Al Shabab, came after the saturation of their...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
01 April 2010

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Iran

Posted 30 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  3 comments
One of the problems we face in dealing with Iran is the constant confusion about who is wielding power. This has implications for our policy on the country’s nuclear programme. I wrote about this in the International Herald Tribune last weekend.



David Miliband
30 March 2010
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>> Confusion at international level in foreign policy of a nation is neither good for nation and nor...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
30 March 2010

>> That is a very good article. Many good points. However if Iran is secretly hoping seriously to...<<
Abu Sultan, bangladesh
30 March 2010

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Cluster Munitions

Posted 30 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  2 comments
On Thursday, parliament passed a bill banning the use, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions in the UK. This step brings us a bit closer to an eventual global ban on these devastating weapons.

104 countries have already signed up. Our priority now is to get others to join them. This is an important issue - cluster munitions can cause high rates of civilian casualties whenever they are used, and unexploded ordinance can present a hazard for decades to come - cluster bombs are still causing casualties in Vietnam 40 years after they were used.



David Miliband
30 March 2010
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>> That is a very impressive action by British Parliament. The other countries must also follow this...<<
Abu Sultan, bangladesh
30 March 2010

>> Sir, excellent effort by UK government to free this planet from lethal weapons. Weapons are lethal...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
31 March 2010

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Afghanistan: A Step Forward in Fighting Corruption

Posted 29 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  1 comments
Last week President Karzai issued a decree boosting the Afghan High Office of Oversight (HOO) – a key anti-corruption body in Afghanistan. The issue is vital, as I mentioned in my recent speech at MIT in Boston.   In some regions the average Afghan is paying $100 in bribes to officials  every year. Action against corruption was- rightly - high on the agenda at the London Conference in January.

The decree empowers the HOO to investigate allegations of corruption and forward cases for prosecution. It also creates a Monitoring and Evaluation Committee which will report on the government's fight against corruption.

The move provides the basis for a strong anti-corruption framework in Afghanistan – leadership by President Karzai will be important

David Miliband
29 March 2010
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>> Sir, corruption is a universal social disease; it is continuously killing development process at...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
29 March 2010

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Earth Hour

Posted 29 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  2 comments
FCO Switches off fro Earth HourThe FCO switched its lights off for an hour on Saturday night in support of WWF’s Earth Hour campaign.  And we weren't the only ones. Businesses, homes, schools, community groups, government departments, local authorities, and major landmarks all went dark for an hour. And the same thing happened in over 100 other countries around the world. 

As with last year, a number of our overseas Embassies and High Commissions also used the occasion to organise or participate in local climate change events.

Initiatives such as WWF’s Earth Hour campaign and the 10:10 campaign are important in helping to maintain attention on the global challenge climate change presents. I've blogged previously about the impacts of climate change and the science behind it.  Moments like this are there to remind us that, working together, governments and people can make a difference as we all work towards the goal of preventing dangerous climate change.
 

David Miliband
29 March 2010
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>> Sir, Earth Hour is giving a very important message that by just changing the way of life we can save...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
29 March 2010

>> Dear David, it´s really a good sign that so many people in so many different states with...<<
Ingo-Steven Wais
30 March 2010

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Women in Saudi Arabia

Posted 26 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  3 comments
This article by Ian Bremner in the New York Times  is an interesting read, particularly in the context of the recent FCO Human Rights Report . Saudi Arabia remains a country where our HR Report sets out concerns about human rights - particularly for women. They are 130th out of 134 countries for gender equality according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Index

But Hissa Hilal's success shows that the picture isn't quite as monochrome as these facts suggest. We should applaud those women who continue to puncture stereotypes in Saudi Arabia, and the progress Bremner points to - however localised and limited - should be welcomed. Ultimately, demographics, education and globalisation are changing the role of Saudi women - 50% of university graduates are female. When I was in Riyadh last year I met some remarkable young women who were leaving education and entering the work force. The challenge for Saudi society will be extending such opportunities beyond the very few who currently enjoy them. The UK will continue to provide support in any way we can.



David Miliband
26 March 2010
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>> Sir, 21st century is the century of open societies, open for both men and women. World is growing in...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
26 March 2010

>> I agree with Mr Misra. Closed and conservative societies cannot make the same level of progress as...<<
Abu Sultan, bangladesh
26 March 2010

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Foreign policy and the internet

Posted 25 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  3 comments

I’ve spoken before about foreign policy and the internet. We’re still only beginning to explore the impact it will have – on states, and on individuals. But the debate is definitely starting. This piece by Misha Glenny in the Financial Times gives an interesting view on the different ways online developments are being viewed by policy makers.

For the FCO, it’s something we’ve been engaged on for a while. This think-piece by Shane Dillon on Stephen Hale’s Digital Diplomacy blog gives an insight into some of the areas we need to consider. Ultimately, the internet is already changing the way we conduct diplomacy – in my opinion for the better. It can increase openness and empower individuals. But things happen fast in cyberspace – we need to keep working hard to make sure we stay ahead of the curve.





David Miliband
25 March 2010
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>> Sir, in 21st century IT have important role to play. World is transforming into GLOBAL VILLAGE....<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
25 March 2010

>> Transparency provides the space in which a spirit of openness can pervade. Although, as I think you...<<
Mark Pawlak
25 March 2010

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The UK and Japan

Posted 24 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  2 comments

Last week Nissan announced that they will produce their LEAF electric car at their plant in Sunderland.  This is good for the car industry, and a further sign of how central low-carbon technologies are to future economic growth.  It's another great UK-Japan success story and a chance to reflect on the depth and breadth of our work together. 

On climate change there was good news last week that Japan is preparing to debate a new bill which will put its ambitious targets - to cut emissions 25% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 - into law. 

In Afghanistan, Japan has made a huge financial commitment – pledging to spend $5bn over the next five years, and we worked closely with Japan in the run-up to the London Conference. 

And we'll be in close touch as we approach the NPT RevCon in May. Nuclear disarmament and counter proliferation have a high public profile in Japan.  With memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and with North Korea not far away, that is no surprise.




David Miliband
24 March 2010
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>> Sir, on 27 March, the world will celebrate “Earth Hour”. Nissan's announcement is a good...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
24 March 2010

>> Japan is excellent country. Also very beautiful people. The destruction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki...<<
Abu Sultan, bangladesh
24 March 2010

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Elections in Sudan

Posted 23 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  3 comments
Next month's multi-party elections in Sudan would be an incredible achievement, if they pass successfully. This article by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian underlines their importance and some of the difficulties involved.
 
I met the Foreign Minister of Sudan last week. Elections next month would certainly be a remarkable achievement if they promote a national dialogue about the future. After all, we are less than year from a referendum that will decide whether Sudan exists as a single country.


David Miliband
23 March 2010
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>> Sir, it is a good moment for politics of Sudan that after 25 years, multi-party, elections are going...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
23 March 2010

>> Sir, it is a good moment for politics of Sudan that after 25 years, multi-party, elections are going...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
23 March 2010

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Khamenei doesn't get Obama

Posted 22 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  4 comments

Iran's leaders don't yet get what is on the table from the international community. See this article from New York Times

But their people do.



David Miliband
22 March 2010
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>> Rejection of opportunities and isolation from remaining world is not a reasonable decision by Iran....<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
22 March 2010

>> Hi Dear David.I`m from Iran,you didnt now mullas,they are cheater.just trust Iranian people.we have...<<
Ashkan
23 March 2010

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EU and Afghanistan

Posted 22 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  2 comments
The Foreign Ministers of Europe are discussing Afghanistan.  I have said today there are 3 roles for the new EU representative in Kabul: to be a voice for the collective  view of EU member states, to be a catalyst for building high capacity in areas like policing and governance, and to deliver aid in a coherent way.



David Miliband
22 March 2010
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>> Sir, current joint efforts by US, EU and other nations are excellent in Afghanistan. Stability,...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
22 March 2010

>> Yes, your thought is exactly right. Good luck to Afghanistan's people....<<
被リンクサービス
23 March 2010

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External Action Service

Posted 22 March 2010 by David Miliband  |  2 comments
I am in Brussels for the monthly meeting of Foreign Ministers from around the European Union, chaired by the High Representative Cathy Ashton.  High on our agenda is the External Action Service.  This is an important innovation as part of the Lisbon Treaty - it will be a network of officials advising Cathy and others in Brussels, and heading EU delegations around the world.  I strongly support Cathy's vision for the EAS.

As I said to the International Institute for Strategic Studies back in October I want to see the EU playing a stronger role round the world, making more impact, and pursuing our shared aims more effectively.  I have three top priorities - Europe's neighbourhood, making a difference in conflict and crisis areas, and the EU's relationships with the big powers.  The Chinese leaders I met in China last week wanted a more strategic relationship between the EU and China.  So do I.  The External Action Service is one of our best vehicles to achieve this and those other priorities.  

So we need the EAS to be strong and effective.  That doesn't mean weakening either  the Commission or the member states.  The Service will work for them.  But it does mean the institutions working coherently together, so that the total European effort really does add up to more than the sum of its parts.  To achieve this, the EAS should be a modern foreign policy machine, able to add value on issues like climate and energy security as well as on the traditional foreign policy issues.  The member states should be represented in the EAS from the start with secondees chosen, ultimately, by Cathy Ashton.

David Miliband
22 March 2010
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>> Sir, EAS is the good effort to make stronger EU with common foreign policy. EAS can play challenging...<<
Prabhat Misra, District Savings Officer, Etawah, U.P., India
22 March 2010

>> One always hopes that the EU will effect change for the good in the world. Unfortunately when the EU...<<
L Pain
24 March 2010

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