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UK defends Mideast policy on 7/7 anniversary
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said that Britain had improved its relations with Muslim countries following last July's London bombings.
In a statement to mark the first anniversary of the 7/7 bombings Friday, Beckett said that "foreign policy differences are among the many factors manipulated by extremists to justify the terrorist attacks on London in July last year."
"That is why our response mattered and that is why it was watched so closely around the world," she said.
Much debate, she said, followed the attacks with the Muslim community, who "unsurprisingly, raised out foreign policy, particularly towards the Muslim world."
A police document, leaked to the Guardian newspaper Friday, blamed the effect of the war in Iraq as having a "huge impact" on motivating acts of terrorism.
The report, compiled by anti-terrorist specialists, also warned it will take time to answer grievances to justify terrorism, namely the gradual "removal of justifying causes (Palestine, Iraq), the erosion of perverted beliefs and day-to-day frustrations," according to a police report compiled by anti-terrorist specialists.
In her statement, the Foreign Secretary admitted that the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan was "clearly a cause for concern among many, both in the Muslim world and outside it."
"It would be a disaster for the prospects for peace in their regions, were current efforts to fail," she said, but went on to argue that there had been improvements.
"Our recent troop deployment to Afghanistan's Helmand province is working to bring stability to that troubled country so that the Afghan people can look forward to a peaceful and bright future for the first time in many decades," Beckett maintained.
In Iraq, she said the UK "welcome the formation of a new elected Iraqi Government and watch with hope as they begin to govern for themselves and carve out a nation that is democratic and free from tyranny."
"In both these lands we fight with the elected national authorities against an enemy that is committed to a way of life that is repressive and violent. We will not let them succeed," the Foreign Secretary said in her statement.
Regarding the Palestinian issues, she admitted that there had been "difficulties" but said the UK continues to press for a peaceful end to the Middle East conflict.
"We will persevere along with all our international partners to work to establish a stable and secure state of Palestine, next to a stable and secure Israel," Beckett said.
Asking herself if anything had changed since 7/7, she replied:
"Yes, our commitment to the values that matter most to us - liberty, tolerance and justice - has grown even stronger and deeper, as have our relationships with countries across the Islamic world."
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