Straw: No more Great Games (with Afghan people) : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread




Straw: No more Great Games

Julian Borger in New York

Monday November 12, 2001

The Guardian

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, told the UN yesterday that the Afghan people must be allowed to form a post-Taliban government free of the foreign intervention that has led to decades of bloodshed.

"There must be no more Great Games with Afghan people the pawns," Mr Straw said, referring to the 19th century contest fought principally between the British and Russian empires and their proxies for control of Central Asia.

In a speech to the UN general assembly, Mr Straw said that the September 11 attacks had produced an international consensus "for the first time in decades" on the need for a broad-based government in Kabul "reflecting Afghanistan's rich ethnic diversity".

British officials say the government is determined to harness the outrage over September 11 to make breakthroughs in resolving long-festering international conflicts, particularly in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

British diplomats welcomed President Bush's general assembly speech on Saturday in which for the first time he spoke of Israel and Palestine coexisting on equal terms.

Mr Straw echoed the president's words in his own address, calling for a settlement which "must deliver security for Israel within recognised borders, while at the same time creating a viable Palestinian state".

The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, had been expected to deliver a detailed blueprint for a Middle East agreement, but it has been delayed by disagreements within the US administration, and by fears of appearing to hand Osama bin Laden a victory.

The White House position has been that such an address should not be made before a pause in the violence between Israelis and Palestinians, but the British believe such an approach gives a veto on progress to radicals on both sides.

In his address, Mr Straw said that to defeat terrorism, diplomatic efforts must be made alongside military action to reduce the global tensions exploited by terrorists.,11017,591981,00.html

-- Jackson Brown (, November 11, 2001

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