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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

War on Iraq, terrorism weakened UK influence, says think-tank

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, April 15, IRNA -- The events of 9/11, military action against 
Afghanistan and Iraq and the war on terror have had a negative impact 
on Britain`s foreign policy, according to a new report published 
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which is closely 
associated with Prime Minister Tony Blair`s government, said that the 
UK`s influence around the world and commitment to human rights had 
weakened significantly as a result of following US policy. 
Respecting human rights - civil, cultural, economic, social and 
political - is "key to tackling the underlying causes of terrorism 
and global instability," it warned. 
"A greater commitment to a more prosperous and socially just 
global economy, in which the corporate sector has an important role 
to play, can reduce the risks of violent conflict," the report said. 
IPPR associate director David Mepham said that the new global 
security environment should "lead the UK to strengthen, not weaken, 
its commitment to human rights on issues such as arms exports, reform 
of the UN and the responsibilities of UK companies when investing 
"Democratic societies that respect human rights, particularly the 
rights of minority communities, are the best defence against 
political and religious extremism and terrorism," he said. 
The report suggested the UK government`s support for the Iraq war 
"was driven less by a concern for human rights, international law or 
the authority of the UN, and much more by the view that it would be 
dangerous for the world if the US were to take action unilaterally." 
It proposed that Britain`s international agenda should focus on 
specific human rights issues, including supporting amending the UN 
Charter to make more explicit the legitimacy of intervention on human 
rights grounds. 
The IPPR also recommended that the UK records and publishes the 
number of people killed because of military action in Iraq and 
consider a structured system of compensation for the dependants of 
the victims. 
The UN, it also believed, should have a much more central role 
following interventions, in overseeing political transition and the 
holding of elections in situations like Iraq. 
The UK`s four military interventions since Blair came in power in 
1997 used humanitarian arguments, which were both selective and 
inconsistent to justify, the report said. 

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