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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 13:25 GMT
Bin Laden's death 'will not end attacks'
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw says Bin Laden is 'psychotic' and 'paranoid'
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has warned killing or capturing Osama Bin Laden would not stop further acts of terrorism being carried out by the al-Qaeda network.

He said the Saudi-born dissident "will get caught in the end" but this alone would not curtail the activities of the al-Qaeda organisation, thought to be behind the US terror attacks.

Every time a British diplomat moves around the world, he or she is complimented on what the prime minister and the United Kingdom have been doing

Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary
Meanwhile Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told the BBC that the aim of military action remained to remove Bin Laden and to weaken his supporters - a move he described as "cutting off" al-Qaeda's head.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair later denied there was any disparity between the position adopted by Mr Straw and that by Mr Hoon.

"If you remove the head that does not mean you are not going to have to cut off other limbs elsewhere and I think the foreign secretary is making the point that we have always seen this as a phased process," the spokesman said.

New government?

"We have always said this is about more than one man."

The foreign secretary later signalled that plans to create a broad-based government to replace the Taleban had taken a step forward.

He said that the UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, had finished outline plans for a future government for the country.

The plans could be placed before the UN Security Council as early as next week, he said.

Geoff Hoon
Mr Hoon says that removing Bin Laden remains the objective
Although he stressed that the themes outlined in the plans were "more descriptive than prescriptive" adding that they needed to be "fleshed out".

Mr Straw earlier compared the cult of personality built around Osama Bin Laden to that of Hitler, describing it as "similar to the Nazi phenomenon".

Mr Straw, who is due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, described the al-Qaeda network's leader as "psychotic and paranoid" and said his "theology is terror".

In an interview in The Times newspaper on Tuesday, Mr Straw said Bin Laden was not irreplaceable.

He said: "What we know from the way terrorist groups have operated in the past, even when they have been destroyed, is that those still at large may decide to carry out some further acts of terrorism."

He said Bin Laden's latest videotaped statement, in which he attacks the United Nations as an enemy of Islam, showed that Bin Laden was increasingly isolated and practising "a religion of terrorism with which we are in conflict".

"The [video] shows a degree of hatred of humankind that is impossible to avoid," he said.

International praise

Mr Straw went on to defend the prime minister's shuttle diplomacy, which has taken him around the globe, to gather support for US strikes on Afghanistan.

"Every time a British diplomat moves around the world, he or she is complimented on what the prime minister and the United Kingdom have been doing," he said.

"It has been hugely beneficial to the efforts of British diplomacy," he added.

Tony Blair with Syrian President Assad
Blair: diplomatic efforts included a trip to Syria
He said other European Union states now expected Britain to take the lead in any talks over the international crisis.

Mr Straw hopes to use the UN address as a platform for urging a tightening of sanctions on Iraq, the Times reports.

He is expected to push for US-backed "smart sanctions" that would target oil smuggling in return for more imports of non-military goods.

However, similar measures were blocked by Russia over the summer and Moscow outlined its continuing opposition when the foreign secretary visited last week.

Mr Straw later addressed journalists at a Foreign Office briefing and suggested that a future government of Afghanistan might find room for Afghans who joined the Taleban regime under duress.

"Will there be a role for people who may have gone along with the Taliban for their own personal or family survival? The answer to that is yes," he said.

Speaking in the Foreign Office, he added: "There are plenty of people around, who, faced with a bullet in the back or technical subscription to the present regime are now signed up with it and there might be a role for some of those."

The BBC's Claire Marshall
"The foreign secretary has lashed out at Osama Bin Laden's character"

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01 Nov 01 | UK
Blair the 'quiet American'
01 Nov 01 | Middle East
Assad's strong words
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