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Welcome here this evening Rt Hon William Hague MP who, as I think, we all know that he is the Shadow Foreign Secretary and has held that position since the summer of 2005. He will be speaking this evening on Thinking Ahead: The Foreign Policy of the Next Conservative Government. He will be tackling a wide range of subjects. I noticed earlier on that I think I think he said at the Conservative Party Conference that Foreign Policy or Foreign Affairs maybe the greatest of all challenges for the next government and given the range of topics that the government current government is facing and that the future government will face for being in the Middle East and other regions of the world, Afghanistan, Russia, the rise of China, changing power balances. We have international terrorism, proliferation. The potential range of topics that you could cover is enormous. We look forward very much to your remarks. Just I think certainly in terms of formality if I could just note that William Hague is somebody who rose very rapidly through the ranks in the Conservative Party having become an MP back in 1989 and having served as its leader in 1997 to 2001. Having held positions private to that is parliamentary Private Secretary Rt Hon Norman Lamont when he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer joined parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and then Minister of State at the DSS and joined the cabinet in 1995 the Secretary of State for Wales. Thank you very much for coming this evening. It's really a pleasure. We look forward to your remarks. I think we will have time for question and answer at the end. Please if anyone could switch off any cell phones you might have them on and preferably off rather than just on buzzers. We don't have any interference with the sound system. Thank you very much and welcome, put forward your comments. Well Robin - ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Indeed it's a great pleasure to be here at Chatham House. Thank you for saying that I show you can rise rapidly through the political ranks I also show you can sink rapidly through the political ranks as well. If you look at other parts of my career that you are kind enough not to mention and I can't resist beginning with a story because actually the story that I told somewhere last week and it was incompletely reported in the newspaper on Sunday so I will tell it for the last time. Now, so that you will have the full story and mindful all - with all the international guests here today. This was one of the first time I ever visited Japan which was back in 1992 with a delegation of MP recently visited Hiroshima and we laid a reef of the spot where the atom bomb had been dropped and had all the due ceremonies and then we sat on to a banquet with the Mayor of Hiroshima and he was speaking through an interpreter of course and welcoming us to the city and I was speaking back on behalf of the MP's and saying what a great pleasure it was to be there and we ate - beautiful food. I never have been to Japan before, there is food all over the table beautiful things I never seen before, I was hunger, ate bit of this and a bit of that and the Mayor kept talking I kept talking, the interpreter is very, very busy on back and forth. Eventually, after we eat nearly everything on the table, the interpreters started looking very uncomfortable and the Mayor was looking rather strangely at me and the interpreter came to my right and said, "Mr. Hague sir" I said, "Yes". He said, "You have now eaten the flower display." And I had actually yeah, I have munched my way. The Mayor was looking at me as if to say however did they win the war and I'm hoping that under the next Conservative Government we will do a better job of handling diplomatic occasions than I did on that - early occasion. But I'm most grateful to Chatham House for hosting this event and asking me to speak about the developments of the Foreign Policy of the next Conservative Government. And I must say that for me returning to frontline politics is been a rather more refreshing and encouraging experience than I expected at least so far. I think one must always have that qualification. And this is for several reasons. First of all British Politics has become fully competitive again. Thanks to the combination which you would expect me to say of David Cameron's highly effective leadership of the party and of spreading disenchantment with the government. And when I used to assert in 2001, when I was the leader of the party, that the Conservatives could win the election of that year. Everyone understood that this assertion was somewhat theoretical and that it was technically true but very unlikely to come about. It required a blizzard on polling day all of the labor constituencies that are not in the Conservatives one so something like that. The position with regards to the next election is quite different, and is understood to be so not only here at home but throughout the world, with very important implications for the access we have to governments around the world and for the interest their leaders are talking in us now. A second factor is that the leadership team in the Conservative Party is the most cohesive and mutually supportive that I have known at anytime in the last two decades or at least in my involvement anytime the only member of the Shadow Cabinet who served in the last Conservative Cabinet. And I can tell you the unity of purpose and readiness to work together today is a vast improvement on what our experienced then at the very end of that Conservative Government. And thirdly, perhaps as a result of the factors I have already mentioned, we do tend to asks ourselves each day and the opposition now as we consider the issues before us. What would we actually do if we were the government rather than just how can we embarrass the government today or how can we oppose the government today. And this approach means that we support the government when we think they are right, for instance, of a greater independence for schools to take a domestic policy example although we oppose and we challenge them when we think they are wrong. For instance, with regard to the unremitting incompetence now displayed in the Home Office. And this approach is very much reflected in our approach to foreign policy. We are not looking for differences from the Labor Government for the sake of it. Indeed we are mindful that any countries foreign policy becomes more effective, credible and well understood when it enjoys a degree of consensus across parties and continuity between governments. And when the government makes long term decisions which we believe are in the interests of the country. For instance, on the decision to replace Trident, we therefore give straight forward support. But equally our time and opposition is our best opportunity to think afresh. We must not shy away from the shifting of priorities and the changing of policies when it is necessary to do so. And to some extend we can try even in our opposition to lay the groundwork for a fresh consensus. For instance to take a controversial example, perhaps I and my colleagues were treated rather like voices in the wilderness when we declared our opposition to Britain joining the Euro nine years ago. But today there is no substantial body of political, economical or business opinion in this country in favor of joining the Euro in the foreseeable future. And it is against this background that I would like to use the speech to describe the work we have done so far on our future foreign policy, making the points as I do that an enormous amount of work remains to be done. It is now for a good time to react to and influence that policy. But you may be helped in doing so by hearing a stock take or summary of what we have so far arrived at, and what the implications are for one or two of the immediate crisis and challenges that we face today, and it maybe useful if I summarize the main pointers to our approach so far over the last year. Our first action in foreign policy was to appoint a Policy Commission, one of the six principle commissions established by David Cameroon to consider international and national security linked crucially with the cohesion of our own society. And we have been reminded again by events today of the importance of that Dame Pauline Neville-Jones is Chairman of this Commission. The former Defense Secretary, Lord King is Deputy Chairman. They produced an interim report in December which I will refer to in a moment. In February, I went to Washington to reestablish our connections there and set the tone of our approached relations with America accompanied by the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne and the Shadow Defense Secretary Liam Fox. We reaffirmed in Washington the broad and historic alliance of our countries in which vast and mutual sacrifices are added to a sense of special partnership. But we also pointed out that relationship should be solid, but not slavish as I put it at that time, firm, but also fair. And in my speech on that visit in Washington, I regretted that much of the world no longer sees America as a great but compassionate power. I see the reports of prisoner abuse by British and American troops, however isolated or accounts accurate or not of the mistreatment of detainees of Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition flights flights leading to the torture of suspects had led to the critical erosion of our moral authority. And this had resulted in a lost of goodwill towards America which could be a serious in the long term as the show piece of military defeats. In June, in London, I set out comprehensively our approach to the European Union, pointing out the opportunity, with the Constitution becalmed, for a British government to set out a positive agenda of a different kind, incorporating genuine completion of a single market and the creation of an outward looking Europe characterized by freedom and flexibility rather than ever-closer political integration characterized by bureaucracy and fossilization. On September 11th, the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York, David Cameron made his most extensive speech to date about foreign policy, reaffirming the "solid but not slavish" approach to America, acknowledging that fighting terrorism is the most consuming concern for modern government, and calling for humility and patience in the reassessment in foreign policy. He defined our approach in that speech as "liberal conservatism" based on five propositions - that we should understand fully the threats we face, the democracy cannot quickly be imposed on other countries from outside, that our strategy needs to go far beyond military action, that we need a new multilateralism to tackle the new global challenges we face and then we must strive to act with moral authority. More recently, I have written about the paradox that global institutions are the ones finding it particularly difficult to cope with the effects of globalization and that British leadership is required in putting that right. We have called for the extension and deepening of our alliances, particularly in the Persian Gulf. The interim report of our policy commission has set out proposals exactly on that theme, involving a Partnership for Open Societies, a strategy of re-engagement and reform to reduce the appeal of terrorism, fundamentalism and revolution as a method of change in Muslim societies. It also called for the creation of a United Kingdom National Security Council, on the basis that current methods of policy making do not take into account the important interactions between domestic security, foreign policy and defence requirements. My colleague Liam Fox, has set out in detail the over-stretch of the armed forces in the light of current commitments, and has drawn attention to the current strains on NATO and the emerging importance of energy security. The Shadow International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has staked out our efforts to tackle international poverty and the huge discrepancies of wealth and opportunity which exist today. He has made clear that a Conservative Government will focus far more than currently on results, outputs and effectiveness in aid spending, and recently announced that in Government we will set up an Independent Aid Watchdog to provide objective monitoring of British aid and reassure taxpayers that their money is being well-spent. Hilary Benn recently indicated that he may take up this idea it is always encouraging when Ministers offer to steal our ideas. These have been our major pieces of work so far. I want to use this speech today to reemphasize and expand on some of these points, and to show how they fit together. And a good starting point for that is our determination that under a Conservative Government, consideration of these issues will always fit together. We are far from alone in considering that in relation to foreign policy in recent years the machinery of government has broken down. In the words of the former Foreign Secretary, Lord Owen David Owen speaking of recent years and specifically of the war in Iraq he said, "I can think of no other occasion - certainly since the First World War - where the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Deputy Prime Minister, to say but two, have not been members of a war Cabinet which would have the independent advice of the chiefs of the Ministry - in the Ministry of Defence; the full flow of information coming back from the field from commanders, the full flow of information from a Foreign Secretary who was reporting not just to the Prime Minister but to the Cabinet and the war Cabinet. The issue should be evaluated and the decisions he said should be taken in a properly balanced way with documents and minutes, and reported back from the war Cabinet to the full Cabinet." This is an opinion that we share. The sofa-style decision making of Blair's Downing Street may be pleasingly chatty and informal in its own way but it does not encourage the full flow of information and decision making across Whitehall or facilitate the inclusion of cabinet Ministers whose departments are not directly involved. Collective discussion appears to have been weak and last minute on several of the major events of recent years. And it is in the light of this that David Cameron, who I can testify after working with him for the last 14 months is very collegiate in his style, has declared his utter determination to restore the principles of Cabinet government. And it is also in this light that we are studying the proposals for the creation of a National Security Council or its equivalent The experience of Iraq, we have too much weight being placed. Not only on intelligence that was not known to be flimsy, but on intelligence that was known to be flimsy. And with inadequate attention given to plans for the occupation of the entire country suggests that the opportunities for experienced people to ask intelligent questions were insufficient. The great expertise of the Foreign Office appears sometimes to be sidelined. And in the conflicts of recent years our own forces have never let us down. It is therefore vital that the machinery of governments does not let them down. Such a failure needs to be put right in general, but also learnt from in particular. And that is why we give full support to the idea of a Privy Council enquiry into the origins and conduct of the Iraq war and its aftermath based on the model of the Franks Committee that considered the Falklands war. It is argued in response that such an enquiry should only begin its work when the Iraq conflict is over. But it seems to us that an enquiry into events in 2003 must begin its work before the end of 2007, if memories are not to fade and e-mails are not to disappear. It appears that it appears to us that the Dardanelles Commission set during the First World War was raging and defining the end points of the Iraq conflict may not in any case be an easy matter. The proper management of the processes of government and learning from mistakes is therefore one important theme for us. A second theme is related to that. The effective management of the relationship with the United States of America, I have already illustrated that we intend our relationship with American leaders to be one of great friendship coupled with honest criticism. From everything we have seen of their reaction to that, they consider this to be entirely appropriate and normal. Indeed this is very much the tone of a friendship, its some of the high points of UK-US strategic cooperation and the Churchill and Roosevelt or Thatcher and Reagan. We do not see this as distancing ourselves. But simply as recovering the art of managing the relationship while admittedly as the junior partner. The loss of moral authority can't be put right. And the United States remains the Worlds only arsenal of democracy, current trends in population and economic growth suggests we are not at the end of an American century but perhaps only midway through it. To any British government the United States will remain an indispensable partner in diplomacy and intelligence and crucial to our national security. We should not overstate of course our influence on the world's only super power but we should not under use the influence and leverage that we have. It is surprising after the closeness of our cooperation on Iraq and Afghanistan that it's taken so long to secure American commitment to share with Britain the technology for the joint strike fighter. It's also surprising that the British government appears to have had so little influence on President Bush's recent redefinition of his strategy in Iraq. The effect of 10 years of the Blair government is that Britain has never seemed so uncritically aligned with the United States yet seldom found it difficult to get its way. If America's continuing economic and military weight in the world means that it remains our truly indispensable allies as I believe it does, that does not mean that we should be blind to the increasing economic diplomatic and sometimes military weight of many other countries of the world. Indeed it can be argued that Britain has been slow in recent years given its concentration on affairs in Washington and Brussels to adapt to the rapid changes taking place in newly industrialized countries, industrializing countries. We've reached the end of what is being called the hub and spoke age in the Atlantic area. Daily flights now fill the skies between Shanghai and Dubai, between Beijing and Cairo, between Tokyo and Mumbai, Delhi and Sydney. Most oil from the Middle East now goes eastwards. China and India are at the front edge of hi-tech innovation. Decades of Chinese passivity in international affairs seem to be coming to an end with China emerging and active player in the international arena. As the missile crisis over North Korea intensified last year most eyes were focused on Washington. Less noticed perhaps more important in the end was the role played by Beijing. The deepening of our relationships with these countries and other Asia-Pacific countries, We will need to shift more of our political weight to the relationships of the Asia-Pacific region. The focus of our activities and opposition has already recognized this. Last September David Cameron, George Osborne, Liam Fox and I paid simultaneous visits to India, China and Japan. Britain has not yet been sufficiently successful at promoting trade with China and India, and has sometimes lost out to other European nations as a result. In Shanghai a few months ago, I met a city councilor who was proud to say that he had met our Prime Minister in recent years. However, it turned out, he met the German Chancellor three times in the same period, the city councilor in Shanghai always on missions to promote German exports. The deepening of our relationships with these countries and other Asia-Pacific countries, as well as the leading nations of Latin America, will be important to us. In parallel and perhaps most important of all from the point of view of point of foreign policy, defense and security, we need to focus much increased attention on the many friendly nations of the Middle East. The combination of events in Iran and Iraq, the difficulties we are experiencing with Syria, and the State of Israeli-Palestinian relations, all mean that we must come to office - when a Conservative Government comes to office, steeped in knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs. In recent years, some of the Gulf countries have felt that they have not received attention from Senior British Ministers in the current government. Belatedly, the Prime Minister visited the United Arab Emirates just before Christmas for the first time in his life, let alone his premiership and, rightly, established an improved level of bilateral cooperation. This, however, should only be the beginning of a concerted national effort, pursued consistently over many years and across parties, to elevate our cultural, diplomatic, parliamentary and economic links with many of the countries of the Gulf and possibly of North Africa as well. The potential dangers that lie ahead call for a maximum understanding of Middle Eastern societies as well as the firm anchoring of the friendships between countries of the Middle East and of the wider West. And while we are certainly engaged in a struggle against international terrorism, we are most certainly not engaged in a clash of civilizations. Eyes earnestly hope that the government will call for and initiate this kind of national effort while they are still in office, and will not be put off it by the fact that it is the opposition that keep calling for it. It will be evident from all of this that our approach to foreign policy demands as David Cameron put it on September 11th, a new emphasis on multilateralism. It is vital to widen the circle of British influence, making more for instance of the recently underused institution of the Commonwealth. To enhance our cooperation with countries to whom we have good historical cultural, political and economic ties yet if we are to be effective multilateralists. We must give urgent attention to the worrying state of leading multilateral and global institutions. Hard as it may seem, the very institutions of globalization, those rapidly undermines are global. The nation state is alive and well. The continuing focus of loyalty and identity for the vast majority of the world's people, it is global organization, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, global agreement such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other multilateral bodies such as the EU and NATO that find globalization harder to take and one reason for this, I think, is that the shifting pattern of economic and political power soon leaves representative bodies out of date. The UN Security Council still reflects the outcome of the Second World War. The less its composition corresponds to real to today's real distribution of power, the less legitimate it will seem and the more open to challenge. The IMF faces a similar problem of legitimacy. Newly industrializing nations are building up large foreign currency reserves unwilling to rely on an organization where they see little attachment or sense of ownership. Such institutions are therefore showing their age. But to allow them to collapse and die would be a disaster. We need adaptable and defective nation states, but we also need global institutions that command respect. As Francis Fukuyama has written they confer. They, global institutions, confer unique legitimacy on international action and our multilateral alliances greatly enhance our ability to protect our own interests. Britain must therefore be a powerful advocate of the reform of these institutions, giving for instance, Japan, India, Germany and Brazil permanent seats on the UN Security Council. We also have to do our utmost to galvanize NATO into doing what is necessary to make a success of the deployment in Afghanistan. Something that would have astonished its founders, of course a deployment in Afghanistan. But is a justified recognition of the threats to its member security now comes from more distant parts of the globe. And that means other countries summoning the political will to make a major contribution and to do away with the dozens of national caveats and restrictions which bedevil attempts to use forces there to the best advantage. As for the European Union, its widening to include twenty-seven members is a truly historic achievement, with enormously beneficial results for the security and prosperity of the whole continent. That widening should continue in the future, with countries of the Balkans, Turkey, even the Ukraine in mind. But what Europe's leaders did not notice when they embarked on such widening is that they simultaneously made the deepening of European integration, even if it were desirable, highly impracticable. The recent referendum results in the Netherlands and France are symptoms of that. Continued attempts to push for political centralization, of which the European Constitution is an example, will not only fail, but will create division and distraction in the meantime and it's highly regrettable, in my view, that we have a government which, despite its complete lack of enthusiasm for the European Constitution, cannot summon up the courage to say so or indeed to say much at all on this subject. In the meantime, the so-called Lisbon agenda to make Europe the world's leading base knowledge economy by 2010 has become a failure so serious as to be farcical, attempts to create a single market in services, 70% of the European economy, have proved disappointing in scope, and much of the continent is in danger of being overtaken in research and development and the quality of higher education institutions by the rest of the world. Britain should be the advocate of Europe's urgent reform, and to that end, David Cameron and the new Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek have founded "The Movement for European Reform", to create a focus and a momentum for Europeans of all nationalities to float the ideas and put the case for a positive but very different agenda - a flexible Europe that concentrates on practical solutions to today's challenges of globalization and climate change, not the old, failed goal, of ever closer political integration. It is, of course, essential that the reform of multilateral institutions and the improvement of our alliances around the globe are always based on the advancement and upholding of our basic values. It is notable that one of the motivating factors behind adherents of a group such as Al-Qaeda is a contempt for Western society. The huge efforts we have to make through intelligence agencies and security forces to combat such threats will therefore not be successful if we fail to uphold the strongest attributes of our own society and regard them as virtues ourselves. That means a strong attachment to human rights, a belief in the rule of law, the defense of political freedom, the promotion of economic liberalism and humanitarian intervention when it is sensible and practical. All governments find, of course, that idealism in foreign policy has to be tempered with realism. But it is important to remember that a world based on any other set of values will be without the means with the tolerance and acceptance of diversity which is of such critical importance to a globalized age and of central importance to any hope of harmony in the world will be the driving forward of international agreement and action on climate change with Britain together with our European partners doing everything it can both by the force of it's own example, and the persistence of it's own leadership and ideas. In recent days China has recognized it's shortcomings in this area. And America seems at last to be awakening. In David Cameron we would have a Prime Minister who would take his passionate advocacy on this subject to all the leading nations of the earth. These are now emerging themes of a conservative foreign policy that it is always useful to give meaning to a policy approach by applying it to a current and particular instance. Rather than merely setting it out in the abstract. As it happens current relations with Iran represent a case in which many of these themes, the proper management of the American relationship, the sensible use of European solidarity, the deepening of relationships in the Middle East and the reinforcement of international institutions, all come together. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the most important of all international agreements in the post war world. And, as I have argued in another speech last July, it also needs reform in terms of placing additional obligations on its signatories and giving greater powers to its inspectors. But if you ran proceeds with the development of nuclear enrichment and then production of a nuclear bomb this fundamental pillar of international peace and security would lie broken and ruined. It is highly likely that other nations in the Middle East would follow suit. The dangers we and other nations face in future decades would multiply rapidly. There is already a discussion in the media as to whether a viable form of military action is available. In the Conservative Party we are not advocating such action. Although like our own government and the leaders of France, Germany and the United States we have entered this stage, release out. Yet given the dangers posed by such military action or by Iran's successful development of nuclear weapons greater attention is needed now to the enforcement of the requirements of the UN Security Council and the Non-Proliferation Treaty it place on Iran. A combination of carrots and sticks has turned other nations notably Libya away from any nuclear weapons program. The carrots are of assistance for the development of civil nuclear power has rightly been presented to Iran by the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany. The White House has declared, again rightly, it's readiness for dialogue with Iran if it complies with international requirements. The stakes however, in the form of limited sanctions by the UN Security Council have so far been insufficiently worrying to the Iranians. It must now be time to step up the peaceful pressure on Iran, to desist from confrontation with the international community. Iran's nuclear program appears to have run into some difficulties in recent months. There are signs of discontent within the country. About the implications of their president's foreign policy and the risks it creates. At the same time raging inflation and a drop in oil prices have increased the pressure on the Iranian government. In years to come we may look back on the next few months as a crucial time in which the international community showed or failed to show it's resolve at the right moment. When the UN Security Council meets again next month, to discuss the matter we should advocate additional sanctions. But in addition EU countries could do much more to place peaceful pressure on the Iranians. Particularly by adopting financial measures similar to those put in place by the United States. EU action against investments in Iran's oil and gas fields and limitation of the access of Iranian banks to the European financial system could have a significant effect. One way or another, Iranian persistence in its nuclear activities will be disastrous for Middle Eastern and world affairs. The pressure placed on Iran should be multilateral, legitimate and peaceful but unless it is intensified the opportunity to change its policy maybe lost and for action on this crucial matter we look to our government and our allies now. In the longer term the objectives I set out this evening, the strengthening of our processes of government, the proper management of our relations with the United States, the extension of our alliances and trading relationships elsewhere, the reform of the European union and of other multilateral or global institutions and the upholding of our own highest values will guide us in addressing the issues and crisis faced by a future conservative government. This work is work in progress and we await the future reports of our policy commission and the continuing advice of many experts, thinkers and friends at home and abroad, many of them in this room. The themes I have highlighted, however, are once that I believe will endure and will be a vital part of our thinking when we come to exercise the immense responsibility of determining the policies of our nation. Thank you, very much indeed.