News / Europe

British Foreign Secretary: Arab Democracy Movement Needs International Support

Demonstrators chant slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of the Syrian government, in front of the Syrian embassy in Cairo April 26, 2011
Demonstrators chant slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of the Syrian government, in front of the Syrian embassy in Cairo April 26, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

In a speech late Wednesday, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke of the historical significance of the recent uprisings.

"The eruption of democracy movements in countries of the Middle East and North Africa is, even in its early stages, the most important development of the early 21st century in my view, with potential long-term consequences greater than either 9/11 or the global financial crisis in 2008,” Hague said.

And he said the future looks bright for the other parts of the world as well.

"The forces that led to the Arab Spring will sweep more widely across the globe," Hague said. "Demands for open government, action against corruption and greater political participation will spread by themselves over time, not because Western nations are advocating them but because they are the natural aspirations of all people everywhere."

Hague said governments that are resisting change, like those of Libya and Syria, are “doomed to failure”.

But he said the so-called Arab Spring needs international support in order to stop countries backtracking towards even more authoritarian regimes.

Europe, he said, should build more economic ties with those countries working towards democracy.

Politics expert Richard Whitman, of Britain’s Bath University, says countries across Europe want to move towards greater economic integration.

British Foreign Minister William Hague (File)
British Foreign Minister William Hague (File)

"The question of supporting economically and particularly liberalizing trade, providing foreign aid and so on, is uncontroversial to be done collectively by European governments," said Whitman.

But he says Hague’s speech also reflected a general division in Europe.

Whitman says Britain and France have reacted to the crisis in Libya unilaterally, rather than as part of a wider European Union. They have pushed for greater intervention, he says, where other countries have held back.

"What is highly controversial, and which there is a much smaller group of countries willing to consider, is the provision of military support or military-related support in terms of training, equipping and so on," said Whitman. "That is really where you find quite a difference of opinion between different governments."

Whitman says it has been a blow to the E.U. effort to work as a cohesive unit on foreign policy.

Hague said he never has believed the European Union can or even should act as if it were a nation state with a national foreign policy.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid