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Queen Elizabeth II Outlines British Legislative Program - 2003-11-26

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has formally opened parliament, outlining the government's legislative program for the coming year. Strengthening relations between Europe and the United States and combating international terrorism are among the government's top foreign policy priorities.

In time-honored tradition, it was the queen who unveiled to the parliament the government's legislative agenda for the coming year. Among the main foreign policy concerns of Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet is rebuilding the trans-Atlantic relationship that has suffered since the war in Iraq.

"My government will work for a strong partnership between Europe and the United States, underpinned by NATO, and for effective action in tackling the threat from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction," she said.

The government plans to meet the threat with tougher anti-terrorism legislation and measures to strengthen civil defense.

"The threat from international terrorism and a changing climate have led to a series of emergencies and heightened concerns for the future," continued Queen Elizabeth. "My government will introduce a bill creating a long-term foundation for civil contingencies capable of meeting these challenges at national and local level."

Mr. Blair's government also reaffirms its long-term commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

"My government will maintain Britain's commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq, to promoting peace in the Middle East and to tackling the underlying causes of conflict and extremism", she said.

Among the more controversial measures on the domestic agenda is the government's plan to introduce a national identity card and impose tighter controls on asylum seekers in Britain.