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banner Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Blair's global vision
tony blair
Tony Blair: Building a coalition for more than revenge
Nyta Mann

Prime Minister Tony Blair has sought to show more clearly that the US-led response to 11 September will be more than a revenge attack for the terrorist assaults on America.


I tell you if Rwanda happened today as it did in 1993, when a million people were slaughtered in cold blood, we would have a moral duty to act there also

Tony Blair

"To the Afghan people we make this commitment," he declared in his speech to Labour's conference.

"The conflict will not be the end. We will not walk away, as the outside world has done so many times before."

If the Taleban were removed from power by the US-led "war on terrorism", Mr Blair made clear it would be in order to help install not just a regime which the west could do geo-political business with in a realpolitik sense.

"We will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broad-based, that united all ethnic groups and that offers some way out of the miserable poverty that is your present existence."

Vision for Africa

A key section of his speech to Labour's conference was the vision he painted of an international "Partnership for Africa", describing the state of the continent - its endemic poverty and endemic political turmoil - as "a scar on the conscience of the world".


The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world. But if the world as a community focused on it, we could heal it

Tony Blair
The prime minister sought to dispel accusations that double standards lay behind the unprecedented US-led coalition he has thrown himself into helping build, clearly implying that previous spectacular instances of international inaction could not be repeated.

"I tell you if Rwanda happened today as it did in 1993, when a million people were slaughtered in cold blood, we would have a moral duty to act there also," he told the conference.

It was telling that he chose to refer to the genocide in Rwanda of the 1990s, as among critics this has been a recurring example of failure to intervene in ongoing large-scale massacre when there were no clear US or UK interests at stake.

Deal for Africa

Aid "untied to trade", debt write-off, investment and help with building "good governance" were what the developed world would offer Africa.

"But it's a deal," Mr Blair made clear.


Skulls of some of the dead killed in the genocide in Rwanda
Africa's side of that deal was "true democracy, no more excuses for dictatorship, abuses of human rights; no tolerance of bad governance, from the endemic corruption of some states, to the activities of Mr Mugabe's henchmen in Zimbabwe".

His first party conference speech since polling day emphasised the "moral duty" of the international community to uphold the principles of democracy, peace, stability and development wherever in the world they are under threat.

"This is the politics of globalisation," Mr Blair said.

He warned that if the developed world chose to ignore the suffering of African states - the example Mr Blair cited was the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo - it would breed anger and frustration which would threaten global stability.

Chaos crossing borders

The events of 11 September had shown how conflict and unrest in one part of the world could travel across borders to destroy the lives of people thousands of miles away, he said.

"Today the threat is chaos," said Mr Blair. "For people with work to do, family life to balance, mortgages to pay, careers to further, pensions to provide, the yearning is for order and stability and if it doesn't exist elsewhere, it is unlikely to exist here."

He added: "A Partnership for Africa, between the developed and developing world based around the New African Initiative, is there to be done if we find the will.

"The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world. But if the world as a community focused on it, we could heal it.

"And if we don't, it will become deeper and angrier."

In the run-up to the June general election Mr Blair said he wanted to make Africa a key concern of his second term in power.

Since his re-election, his proposed Partnership for Africa has been discussed at gatherings of African leaders which he has hosted at his Chequers country retreat.

See also:

02 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair: Key quotes
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