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Britain Unveils Security Strategy


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled a broad security strategy of how the government, security and health services would deal with national emergencies, including terrorist attacks, outbreaks of disease and natural disasters. VOA's Sonja Pace has details from London.

Speaking to parliament, Mr. Brown unveiled a list of measures he said were vital to meet Britain's security needs in a world of changing threats.

"Once when there was instability in far away regions or countries, we had a choice to become involved or not," he said. "Today, no country is in the old sense far away from the consequences of regional instability and terrorism, and then also other risks like climate change, poverty, mass population movements and even organized crime reverberate quickly around the globe."

Mr. Brown said international terrorism remains the main threat to Britain, noting the security services are aware of 30 specific plots and are monitoring 200 different networks and 2,000 individuals.

The prime minister said strong, modern and flexible military and intelligence services remain a cornerstone of the security strategy. He also outlined plans to help fragile and potentially failing states in world trouble spots.

"Again, a lesson learned from recent conflicts ranging from Rwanda and Bosnia to Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, is to create a standby international civilian capability so that for fragile and failing states we can act quickly and comprehensively by combining humanitarian, peacekeeping, stabilization, reconstruction support that these countries need," he said.

Mr. Brown announced the creation of a 1,000-member civilian rapid-reaction force of police, emergency service and humanitarian personnel to deploy quickly to assist failing states and to help rebuild countries emerging from conflict. He urged other countries to join that effort.

The strategy also calls for stronger efforts on nuclear non-proliferation and Mr. Brown said he is planning an international conference to help non-nuclear states meet their energy needs.

The opposition Conservative Party welcomed the announcement of the security strategy, but said it was too long in coming and short on specific details of action.

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