In his New Year's message to Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair has hailed the global anti-terrorism campaign, but he says much work remains.
September 11 and the events which followed are at the core of Tony Blair's New Year's address. He says huge progress has been made in bringing down Afghanistan's Taleban regime and in disrupting Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, but the British leader makes the point that thousands of extremists are still at large around the world. He says many of them were trained in camps in Afghanistan, which are now destroyed.
Mr. Blair says the job of combating terrorism has only begun. He warns that the international community must continue to be vigilant and determined to root out extremists and shut down their networks.
Elsewhere on the foreign front, the prime minister urges countries to come together in 2002 to work for stability in the Middle East.
Domestically, Mr. Blair has pledged to improve Britain's public services, in particular transportation, health care and education. But according to opposition Conservative Party education spokesman Damian Green, those same promises have been heard before. "The fact is," he said, "in the five years since he has come to power, the train services have gotten worse, the health service has gotten worse, teachers are leaving the teaching profession in higher numbers than ever before, and every year we get words. What we have not had so far is concrete action."
Given the state of the British economy, the prime minister says there will be enough funds to cover his promised domestic reform programs. In his speech, Mr. Blair reiterates that Britain is better placed than many other nations to weather what could be a difficult financial year around the world.